The side streets leading to this year’s Mardi Gras Parade will be staffed by colourfully-dressed people and dotted with rainbow flags to guide viewers to the best spots from where to watch the extravaganza.

All of the streets approaching the Oxford St and Flinders St portions of the Parade will be closed from 5pm on March 5, the day of the Parade.

New Mardi Gras (NMG) has put out the call for volunteers to staff these areas, to be known as the Rainbow Zone, and act as hosts to the Parade audience and help them avoid congested viewing areas.

NMG is also encouraging businesses and venues in the Rainbow Zone to enter into the spirit of celebration and to fly rainbow flags.

In addition, NMG has announced improvments to the Parade start area

“Parade is a major Sydney event and, hosted by the GLBT community, it showcases the diversity and tolerance of our city to the world,” NMG CEO Michael Rolik said.

“We are delighted that, with the introduction of Rainbow Zone and a vastly improved start area, we’re able to offer a better than ever experience for our Parade 2011 audience and our Parade entrants and volunteers.”

The City of Sydney has made available the south-east portion of Hyde Park exclusively for the Parade start area, which will also encompass Liverpool St and College St. This start area will be closed off with a secure perimeter, and will also benefit from an enhanced police presence, ensuring a reduction in anti-social behaviour in Hyde Park and the surrounding areas.

There will be food and drink vendors, and more toilets than last year, and there will be areas of Hyde Park exclusively set aside for entrants to sit and relax while they wait for the Parade to begin.

“We are grateful to the City of Sydney for making available to us such a spacious and well-situated start area, and we support the NSW Police in their continued efforts to address public order issues in the area and to keep Hyde Park safe, so that everybody can enjoy Parade night,” Parade producer Victor Petroff said.

“We recognise that last year’s start area made it very difficult for Parade entrants and volunteers, although it significantly aided the police in their efforts to combat anti-social behaviour.

“This year, we’ve worked with the NSW Police and the City of Sydney to come up with solutions that build on the successes achieved by the police last year and that provide a better space for Parade entrants. So, while Parade entrants are waiting for everything to kick off, everyone can be comfortable and safe, grab a bite to eat, and have a great start to the night.”

info:
To volunteer for the Rainbow Zone welcome teams, visit www.mardigras.org.au

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