Its tribute to superstar compatriots U2 has already won over Mardi Gras parade crowds.

Now local gay group Queer Irish is hoping its I’m A Beautiful Gay float -“ inspired by U2’s hit song Beautiful Day -“ makes a similar splash in the St Patrick’s Day parade in central Sydney on Sunday.

As in Mardi Gras, the Queer Irish St Patrick’s Day float will feature about 25 Bono look-alikes, but there will be a serious theme beneath the fun.

I think in the Irish community people are very aware that, particularly in the United States, gays and lesbians have been banned from marching in St Patrick’s Day parades, Queer Irish organiser Noel Dunphy told Sydney Star Observer.

The Sydney organising committee have shown themselves to be far more broad-minded and outward-looking by actually inviting a gay and lesbian group to come into the parade.

I think that’s why we’re quite looking forward to walking up the street -“ being gay doesn’t make us any less Irish.

Since forming in 1996, Queer Irish has fielded eight Mardi Gras entries but none in the St Patrick’s Day march. The Irish parade and Mardi Gras are usually scheduled a week apart, making it tricky to find the time to enter both.

This year the Mardi Gras regulars are taking advantage of a two-week break between events. They are hoping for a response like the absolutely fantastic one they received at Mardi Gras this year.

We’re always amazed when we go up Oxford Street in Mardi Gras at the number of Irish people in the crowd and at the overwhelmingly positive response we get from them, Dunphy said.

The St Patrick’s Day parade and Family Day are on Sunday 19 March. The parade begins at noon in Bathurst St and makes its way to Hyde Park North by 1pm. The Family Day is on in Hyde Park North from 1pm to 7pm.

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