Sunday 3 March 2013

Mardi Gras Parade

You can tell something big's about to happen in town. People are walking around in funny hats, waving those rainbow flags, Oxford, College streets and the perimeters of Hyde Park have been barricaded, police are arriving by the bus load and wearers of bright t-shirts with volunteer IDs are running around looking busy. Must be Mardi Gras.

Nikita and George. 

It's mid afternoon but those who want the views have staked out their spots along Oxford Street.

Lovers from Sydney

Visitors from Japan.

It's Inna's hen's night out and she and her friends have chosen a bar on Oxford Street to kick off with. 

The fairy and her friend say they're happy to just watch the parade. 

Ian says this evening's outfit was influenced by combination of Lady Gaga and Elton John. Yes, it's definitely Elton hair.

I hear the man dressed in the Arab head gear wondering aloud what have we here. The enterprising man is selling stools for $10 a pop. Later I notice they're selling hot pink versions across the street.

This is Gary, originally from Canada, although he writes a blog about how great it is to live in Sydney. His friend Jordan's a kiwi and Gary reckons New Zealanders are the best nationality of all.

These girls tell me they're with the Take a Break float. 

Pretty gorgeous!

I follow someone to an upstairs shop on Oxford Street - one I've never noticed before. It's full to the brim with showgirl outfits. People snatch up last minute accessories. 

Back on the Street some of the final floats are coming down Oxford Street just before it's closed to traffic. 

Goodness! I hardly know where to look.

Hot stuff tells me he's from Campbelltown and hopes to be in the march. 

Great outfits - they'll be marching for sure.

A Brit who's rushing up the street with other schoolgirl friends. They're in too much of a hurry to stop for a photograph but I manage to catch this one on the run. He's pulled off a strong St Trinians look here.

Rainbow families.

There's a slight fall of rain but nothing like the downpour the Reverend Fred Nile and his congregation are praying for. In any case, nothing's going to dampen the exuberance around here. 

The man in the sparkly bowler hat on the right tells me this is Sabina St James. She's a very shy girl he adds, who might be coming out soon. 

Well there might be a hitch. Sabina has forgotten her special pass so isn't allowed past the barricades to get to her float. 

But help arrives with a winning sashay and an all important piece of temporary jewelry. I've not seen leg warmers like that since the days of Flashdance!

'You're a saviour dahls', says Sabina as she's given her fluoro yellow wrist band and pass. She's on a Coffs Harbour float, she says. 

The four main free to air television crews are here as well as others. It's a windy day and channel 10's reporter is having problems keeping her hair in place.

The guy from SBS is trying to remember his lines but keeps getting interrupted.

Spectators have plenty to look at.

Television people do quite a bit of directing while we wait for the main event.

This group are asked to sing a chant for the camera.

Interesting looking types are asked to come forward for preliminary tv appearances.

These women arrive with eyelash problems and one woman with a cracking headache. Nurofen anyone?

Having been booted out of a now media only zone, I manage to get a good spot near the corner of Oxford and College Streets. Sandy and Sam are the volunteers minding the area in front. It's a good posie, they reckon.

A short preliminary parade is about to start to amuse the crowd about half an hour out from the real thing. They're getting ready to go. The drums have started beating.

They're off!

This is who they're waving at.

We start getting close to lift off.

A countdown begins and we hear the roar of the dykes on bikes.

And the Parade starts.

The men follow....

Then the air force, army, navy followed by police officers, nurses, ambulance workers, tradies, and a myriad of organisations, causes, places or just people who have ganged together and want to celebrate, start their long proud march down Oxford and into Flinders Street. Around 10,000 participants mark this year's 35th anniversary.

Sydney stands tall tonight. Sure she's brash and bawdy and glittery but she also has a big fat heart with room for us all. With the rumour of political tides about to turn, I only hope she stays that way.

1 comment:

  1. thank you Jo i love reading your words and looking at your pictures