The Sydney Opera House was lit up with rainbow lights to celebrate the launch of the 2018 Mardi Gras program.

Thousands of people flocked to see the building’s sails illuminated for the first time using rainbow colours, Gay Star News has reported.

The show to launch the Mardi Gras program featured a performance by Dannii Minogue.

The 2018 Mardi Gras theme is ’40 Years of Evolution’.

“This festival we celebrate all the amazing activists and leaders, including our 78ers, who have fought tirelessly for our rights over the last four decades,” said Mardi Gras Arts CEO Terese Casu.

“Mardi Gras is for everyone and this year you will see new spaces and events for more of our community and families to enjoy and share.”

The opening weekend of the festival will include drag favourite Trevor Ashley’s Mardi Gala at the Opera House.

The festival promises 17 days of parties, exhibitions and community events.

If you missed the launch, you can still check out our photos from the night.

The Mardi Gras kicks off on Friday February 16.

Tickets for festival events are available now.

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