Of all the parade marching groups, one particularly stands out. And despite their entry name, the thing that sets them apart is not their skin colour.
The Asian Marching Boys are about the most-awarded parade entry ever.
Since entering in 1999, they’ve won the award for best choreographed group three out of five years (there were no parade awards in 2003).
This year should be no exception.
The group has been in rehearsals for weeks for their Unite In Diversity entry.
As well as playing up an extremely recognisable Australian song, the marchers will subvert some traditional Asian dance steps.
Organiser Patrick Fox says the group is a mix of men and women, straight and gay, Asian and Caucasian.
Everyone, he says, is there to draw attention to the fact that not everyone in Oxford St is blond-haired or blue-eyed.
We’re asking the question, -˜What is it to be Australian?’ Fox says. It’s not just about having good-looking boys and lots of fun.
For co-producer Saha Salim, who is marching in his fifth parade this year, it’s about representation.
It’s about representing our community. That is the Asian community and the gay and lesbian community as well.
The Marching Boys are kicking off their Mardi Gras weekend on Friday night with Exposed, a fundraising party at Arq Sydney.
Shows will feature Marching Boys and Sara Lee, and Mardi Gras DJ Shigeki is providing the music.
Exposed starts at 8pm with shows from 9pm. Tickets are $10 on the door.