But the celebrities in attendance still had a blast, with a number of stars putting on their glittering finest to take part in the festivities on Saturday evening. Leading the pack was special guest Rita Ora , with the British singer wowing the crowds as the headlining act for the evening. Disco ball! Sporting a plunging blue sequinned leotard, the year-old appeared in her element as she belted out the lyrics to three of her hits. Rita added matching blue gloves and a statement choker to the eye-catching ensemble.
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Spanning two weeks the Festival aims to increase visibility of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities and culture. The Festival officially launches at an enormous community picnic in the park, Fair Day. This kicks off two weeks with almost one hundred cultural, sporting and social events to appeal to every taste. Set in the tropical surrounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, with two beautiful garden dance floors, Harbour Party is the perfect recovery after the Parade the night before. Up to 70, routinely turn out to sit on the grass, browse the stalls, gorge themselves on the plethora of delicacies available at the stalls, have a few drinks, but most of all to catch up with old friends — and make some new ones.
Everything aligned. Even though the only attention I got for my leopard print shawl was from gay men who wanted to know where I got it from, I was home. As I mixed a bit of absinthe I got for my 18th birthday the legal age to drink alcohol in Australia with some lemonade into an empty water bottle, and heard the revs coming from the Dykes on Bikes — who always open the Mardi Gras — I was rewarded for going through the terrifying ordeal of coming out as a lesbian. I loved and still do being a lesbian.
Attended by hundreds of thousands of people annually, the Mardi Gras is one of the biggest events of the year. The parade is free to attend, but there are also ticketed stands where you can get prime viewing space along the parade route. Fair Day is a family-friendly carnival located in Victoria Park in Camperdown, which has heaps of market stalls and fun activities for you to enjoy.