killeen, gretelWith a ‘Time to Shine’ theme for 2013, the Sydney Pride Festival acts as a celebration, but also a remembrance of the beginning of gay liberation as we know it, the Stonewall riots.

It’s appropriate, then, that the festival kicks off at Stonewall, with a Star Observer-sponsored launch party from 7pm – complimentary drink and nibbles on arrival.

From there, the two-and-a-half-week festival encompasses arts, sport, literary, trivia and film activities – most with a charity bent.

From June 14-16, the annual Gay Men’s Personal Development Retreat will take place in beautiful Yanada, near Wisemans Ferry. The retreat is a place for gay men to come together and create an environment in which participants can consider and explore their lives and their relationships with others.

On June 15, the TAP Gallery in Darlinghurst will launch its ‘Nudes on TAP’ photographic exhibition, showcasing portraiture photography that celebrates both classic and contemporary expressions of the naked human figure.

The next evening Stonewall’s upstairs cocktail bar will play host to a similarly arty activity, with Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich launching the 2013 Outstanding Short Story Competiton for queer writers.

Stonewall will also host great fundraising parties on June 17, 19 and 20: on the 17th Charisma Belle will host the Pride Trivia Fundraiser, with great prizes on offer including pub vouchers, solariums, haircuts and gym memberships.

On the 19th you can head to Sydney’s hottest pick-up night, Malebox, and the following evening, Boys Bar Up Fully Loaded will act as a fundraiser for ACON – hosted by Candy Box and Miss Ribena, all dancer dollars purchased will be donated to the charity.

On June 21, the Imperial Hotel presents Transtastic: a night for all trans people and friends of Sydney’s much-missed trans institution, the Taxi Club. This Gender Centre fundraiser will feature shows by Darlene, Victoria Martin, Penny Clifford and many more.

The same night, drag diva Roma Therapy will host a bingo night with a difference at TAP Gallery, with tonnes of prizes and all proceeds going to the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.

On June 22, Sydney Town Hall plays host to one of the glittering jewels in Sydney’s LGBTI social calendar: the Aurora Dinner, this year hosted by the incomparable Gretel Killeen (pictured). With a ‘Yesterday Once More’ theme, the Aurora Group will explore the history of the party’s venue,  inviting guests back to a time when the Sydney Town Hall played host to bohemian artists’ balls.

Art lovers should head to TAP Gallery on June 26 for the Pride Exhibition and Art Award, where artworks received on the award’s ‘Pride’ theme will displayed and a winner chosen.

On Friday June 28, Pride is almost over for another year, but there’s time for one more party: a rainbow party, to be precise. Head to the Colombian for the Maxi Shield-hosted event, with an ‘Over the rainbow’ theme and giveaways all night.

Finally, after all the fun and debauchery of the previous night, the Pride Festival ends on a healthy note with the Sydney Frontrunners 30th annual Pride Run, from 9am Saturday June 29 at Centennial Park. Runners and walkers of all abilities are invited to say goodbye to Pride for another year with a 5km run around the park.

Info for all events found at www.sydneypride.com

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