The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Wednesday made the difficult announcement that Fair Day will not proceed next year and will instead return on Sunday, February 20, 2022.

Speaking with Star Observer Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said, “The whole team had worked really hard over the last six months to find a way to stage Fair Day in a way that met the current health guidelines, whilst also keeping the spirit of the event intact. Fair Day works because of the volume of people moving freely around the park. It wouldn’t be an enjoyable event with a heavily reduced capacity, where attendees had to remain seated.

Fair Day is an important event to connect LGBTQI+ groups and organisations with the wider community and our priority is always staging events that are safe for our community to come together. The Health and Safety of our community has been at the forefront of all of our planning this year.”

A highlight of the annual Sydney Mardi Gras program, Fair Day is traditionally held in Victoria Park. The community focused event regularly attracts around 80,000 happy revellers. However, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, which has seen the Mardi Gras Parade move for the first time since 1978 to the Sydney Cricket Ground, the festival team decided that it was not feasible to hold Fair Day in a reduced capacity, as they explained in a statement on the website.

 When working with NSW Health on COVID-Safe planning for the event, we didn’t want to be restricted to a heavily reduced capacity with limited attendees requiring everyone to be seated. It’s an outcome that we felt would impact the experience and enjoyment of those who could attend,” Mardi Gras’ statement read.

So while Sydney Mardi Gras has shown and should be commended for their immense resilience in having pushed on with delivering a parade for 2021, the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be too great of a challenge for pushing on with plans for Fair Day. This news will likely come as a devastating blow after a year that has been dominated by themes of isolation from each other, and most importantly from our communities.

Concluding, Kruger added that “there will be other opportunities for us to come together in the future and we look forward to staging an incredible Fair Day event for the community in 2022.”

Mardi Gras is yet to announce if the 2021 Afterparty is able to proceed.

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