Attendance was down but the vibe was definitely up, up and away at Pride’s annual new year’s eve party, Superheroes, at Fox Studios.

A crowd of around 6,500 embraced the party’s theme and took the opportunity to shake, shimmy and boogie throughout the night. Thirty volunteer dancers took to the stage in the Hordern Pavilion at midnight for a Britney Spears number, while Verushka Darling charmed the crowds during the 3am show. Michal Nicolas closed the party with his rendition of the song Your Loving Arms -“ a show, said party organisers, that sent everyone home with a warm and fuzzy glow.

Pride co-president Lou-Anne Lind told Sydney Star Observer that the party went off without a hitch and that it was a relatively quiet night for the medical team. Three partygoers were admitted to hospital during the night.

Lind said Pride was especially pleased with how partygoers responded to the Superheroes theme.

It was really happy and uplifting and let people explore a more childish aspect of their life, which was a nice thing to do, she said. A lot more people turned up in costume than we expected -“ there were more capes than you could poke a stick at.

Party director (and Pride co-president) Chris Maynard said that Pride was extremely pleased with the event, given a general downturn in ticket sales for new year’s eve events which resulted in the cancellation of a few other parties.

We thought it was going to be a very tough year. Our competitors were reporting extremely low ticket sales, but fortunately for us, in the week between Christmas and New Year it all seemed to pick up, Lind said.

What we’re seeing is a preference for smaller, more intimate events, she said. Last year we started the Revolution dance parties, because as an organisation we decided it was a little bit risky to keep relying on one event as a sole fundraiser. Because the patronage of the large dance parties is declining, we have to react to that. Our position is always to be proactive and not wait for it to hit rock bottom before we decide to do something.

A smaller turn-out was also reported for the City of Sydney’s annual fireworks spectacular over the Harbour. An estimated 500,000 people clung to vantage points around the foreshore and on any building with a view.

The appropriateness of setting off fireworks while bushfires continue to rage across the state was the matter of some contention in the days leading up to new year’s eve. The mayor of South Sydney, Councillor John Fowler, added his voice to the chorus of protest.

The CBD fireworks demonstrate how Frank Sartor and his arts czar Leo Schofield are in reality only interested in pretty paving, opening nights, editorial posturing and glitzy fireworks, he said.

In reality the lord mayor and his elite advisers should have postponed the pyrotechnics until Australia Day in appropriate respect to those who were actually being evacuated as the crackers went off, Cr Fowler said. Those 150 families suddenly without homes and magnificent brave volunteers (including staff of South Sydney Council) who put their life on the line fighting our State’s bush fires deserve better recognition.

The record poor attendance -¦ is proof that the lord mayor is out of touch with the feelings of the broader community of Sydney, said Cr Fowler. Sydneysiders said, -˜This is not New York, you are not Mayor Giuliani, postpone this extravagance.’ Sydney locals consequently voted by not turning up!

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