With the annual madness of Mardi Gras just hours away, the final sequins are being glued into place for this year’s 25th anniversary parade.

As promised by New Mardi Gras, disorganised souls wanting to make an individual last minute entry into the parade will be able to do so this year. To get involved in the individual marchers float -“ Mardi Gras will supply the music and lights -“ turn up in costume or with placards at the registration stand in the parade marshalling area with photo identification by 6pm. No commercial banners or racist, sexist or homophobic content allowed.

Spectators can also join the last parade entry on its journey towards Moore Park. A giant phoenix, symbolising the rise of New Mardi Gras from the ashes of the burnt-out old organisation, will welcome all friendly spectators who feel like joining after the parade has passed by.

To get the best parade views, avoid the mess of Taylor Square and head down to the wide expanses of Flinders Street instead. South Sydney Council have posted signs saying no one will be able to even stop and check out the parade from the Square this year.

The million dollar views are, as usual, in the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation reserved seating stand close to the end of the parade. BGF reserved seating comes with views, pre-parade entertainment, commentary, catering and clean toilets. Tickets are $75 and proceeds will go towards supporting people living with HIV/AIDS. Call Ticketmaster7 on 136 100 or book online at www.ticketmaster7.com.

Public transport is the only reasonable way for non-locals to get to the parade. Transport NSW have issued their usual statement urging people to leave the cars at home and watch out for all of the road closures. There will be pedestrian signs from Central Station to the parade route. Call the Transport Infoline on 131 500 or visit www.131500.com.au for more information.

Glass bottles and milk crates are officially banned along the parade route this year. Transport NSW have also advised milk crates are not allowed on public transport.

Warnings are up about drug detection dogs patrolling the parade marshalling area and footpaths before, during and after the event. The police and their keen-nosed dogs will be out in force on Saturday night and will be watching for all kinds of suspicious behaviour.

It’s all-systems go for the post parade party. Not only have New Mardi Gras opened up the Dome and planned a last minute costume parade, they’ve secured two secret overseas stars -“ rumours have included everyone from the fabulous Alison Moyet to the less exciting Shania Twain. Organisers are expecting 17,000 and everything’s in place to make the biggest queer party of the year go completely off. New Mardi Gras say tickets are approaching a sell out and the price is below $100 for the first time in years. Concessions are also available. Tickets are available by calling 9263 0488 or at Ticketek.

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