Preparations for the 2003 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade are on track with 30 applications for floats received so far.

Some people I’m talking to are really excited about putting floats in that haven’t done them for years. That says to me that it could be at least as big as last year’s, New Mardi Gras co-chair Michael Woodhouse told Sydney Star Observer.

It’s possible this will be a slightly smaller parade, Woodhouse said, adding that New Mardi Gras had not set a target figure for the number of entries.

I don’t think that [size] will actually impact on the quality, or the enjoyment of it, Woodhouse said.

Award-winning costumier Ron Muncaster will return this year with a retrospective entry featuring 36 of his costumes and the participation of marching group Sydney Flags. Muncaster told the Star he wants the entry to involve lesbians, gays, children, tranys and all to demonstrate that we’re all one big family.

Muncaster added that his involvement this year was because we’re sort of almost starting from scratch again, and being that I’d always been in it right from the beginning, I’m making an extra special effort this time to do as much as I can for it.

Representatives from Dykes On Bikes, ACON, Sydney Leather Pride, Twenty10, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Canterbury Bankstown District Social Group, Asian Marching Boys, the South Sydney Greens and Harbour City Bears told the Star that their preparations for the parade were well under way.

A coalition entry entitled Generation Youth is also planned, which will incorporate members of ACON’s Fun And Esteem group and youth groups from Manly, Hornsby, Wollongong and Armidale.

The decision on which of five contending floats will lead the parade will be made at a New Mardi Gras board meeting this Monday night. The organisation will not be presenting an official marching boys or marching girls entry this year, although they will be working closely with the producers of the successful lead float entry.

Woodhouse also said that New Mardi Gras was currently in discussions with television broadcasters, and there were a number of options for parade telecasts.

Applications for parade entries have been extended to Friday 7 February and are available at www.mardigras.org.au. New Mardi Gras are also seeking applications for the position of workshop manager as well as volunteers to help supervise the workshop over the coming weeks. An orientation for workshop volunteers will be held at Mardi Gras’ Erskineville Road premises this Saturday at 11am. For more information visit www.mardigras.org.au or phone 9557 8261.

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