The fortunes of the New Mardi Gras season have lifted thanks to an impressive community response to Fair Day last weekend.
Two weeks after a widely criticised season Launch, an estimated 75,000 people headed to Victoria Park for Fair Day on Sunday -“ about 25,000 more than last year’s event, which was washed out in the late afternoon.
Sweltering temperatures helped Fair Day bars reach a virtual sell-out, while an entertainment line-up including visiting stars and regular favourites kept main stage spectators happy.
New Mardi Gras chair Marcus Bourget told Sydney Star Observer he was absolutely pleased with Fair Day.
It was a great day -¦ everything worked well, he said.
It’s all the circumstances coming together, like the weather, the fact that the bars worked really well, the entertainment on stage worked really well.
There was so much going on through the course of the day and there was something for everyone.
Main stage crowd favourites included US singer Sophie B. Hawkins and the Fair Day’s Most Fabulous costume competition won by Tooshy O’Really.
Elsewhere in Victoria Park, about 5,000 people planted pink hearts at the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby’s Sea of Hearts relationship equality event.
Among Lobby supporters on the day were federal shadow ministers Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek, Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore, Greens senator Kerry Nettle, NSW lesbian MP Penny Sharpe and Bankstown mayor Helen Westwood.
The Lobby had hoped to plant 10,000 hearts, but was pleased with the final tally.
We can’t be disappointed given that we had so many people coming to the stall, so many people giving their support to our campaign, co-convenor David Scamell told the Star.
Picnic group St Muscle Mary’s Cathedral also had a memorable Fair Day, taking out the inaugural Sydney Star Observer picnic competition.
The 20-strong party’s spread of gourmet cheeses, p? and sandwiches won them $1,000 in catering from food company Buth Kuddeh.
By the time the last of the crowd left at around 8pm, the Fair Day bars had nearly sold out, with organisers estimating about $100,000 in total bar takings.
New Mardi Gras will give the final Fair Day financial result after the season ends on 4 March.