As Sydney’s bare chest brigade prepares to support New Mardi Gras the best way they know how -“ going to Arq tonight -“ the organisation’s other fundraising efforts are moving along at a steady rate.

According to New Mardi Gras co-chair Michael Woodhouse the organisation will sign contracts to buy key assets of the old organisation this week. New Mardi Gras will then have 28 days to raise $150,000.

They’re well on the way. Woodhouse says the company has raised somewhere near $30,000, and tonight’s Mardi Gras fundraiser party at Arq is expected to bring the total significantly closer to target.

They’ve [Arq has] been amazing. They’ve done all their own publicity, they’ve organised pretty much every drag queen in Sydney to get involved, Woodhouse says.

A lot of the rest of the money is going to come from relatively small sums. People have been ringing and saying, -˜Well, can I donate $500?’ and I’ve been saying, -˜Thank you, of course you can.’

Woodhouse’s fellow chair Stevie Clayton says she hopes other gay and lesbian clubs and community members will follow suit: We’re hoping that other venues will come forward to put on similar fund-raising nights and for individuals to support us in ensuring Mardi Gras 2003 is a success.

New Mardi Gras has a new website -“ au -“ to get information to the community about the 2003 season.

The website is now live and we will be using it to keep the community informed about our activities and encourage them to get involved, Woodhouse said.

Donations to New Mardi Gras are tax deductible and can be sent to the AIDS Trust of Australia Mardi Gras fund, PO Box 1030, Darlinghurst, NSW.

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