Gay Christmas Is Here! Mardi Gras Celebrations At Merivale’s Top Venues Are Set To Thrill
By GARY NUNN
Gay Christmas is here! Step into one of Merivale’s venues across Sydney and you’ll be in for a treat. Instead of tinsel, there’s glitter. Instead of Mariah, there’s Kylie. And you might just get to sit on a bearded man’s knee…
But Merivale Mardi Gras is for everyone — not just the bears! Every colour of the rainbow is represented, welcomed and sure to have a gay old time.
In partnership with Absolut, Merivale’s Mardi Gras 2024 festival, Loudly Proud, runs from 17 February to 3 March with over 20 events around Sydney, including drag brunches, dog shows, rooftop parties, recovery days and more.
Now obviously Merivale venues are an LGBTQI haven any time of year (Hello, Beresford Sundays!) but this Mardi Gras, they’re really pushing the rainbow boat out.
We’ll start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. Chronologically – kind of – here’s what you can expect during Mardi Gras at Merivale’s vibiest venues.
We begin at Sydney’s most gorgeous beachside venue, the Coogee Pavilion Rooftop on Saturday 17 February at 11 am for Sip & Strut Drag Affair. Drag performers Ivy League, Kalin Klein, Dammit Janet, Rhys Lightning, and Dominique Topp will dazzle you. Dance to the summer vibe with beats played by DJs Jacqui Cunningham and Chrs Ndrsn. You’ll receive an Absolut Rizz Fizz cocktail on arrival, a three-hour bottomless drinks package and roving bites by Jimmy’s Chicken, and best of all? Your $125 reservation price includes a donation to Bobby Goldsmith Foundation and ACON.
The following Saturday — 24 February, head to one of the city’s best Asian restaurants — Ms. G’s — for a drag brunch featuring Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestant Coco Jumbo, Kalin Klein and Dammit Janet. Not only will you receive a three-hour drinks package and Absolut Rizz Fizz cocktail on arrival, your bottomless brunch will include delicious crowd favourites from the menu. Tuck into cheeseburger spring rolls, ‘strange flavour’ burrata and mini banh mi. The package price, once again includes a donation to the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation and ACON.
Well, now it’s time to get your dancing shoes on… you’ve reached the ivy Club and Pool Club party section of the offering!
Party at ivy Pool and Club
Talking of crowd-pleasers! This one has been a runaway success every year since it started — Kaftana at ivy Pool Club. It’s a pool party with a twist: everybody’s invited to wear a kaftan! Fabulous! Be quick — tickets are already selling fast. Drag artists, cabaret performers, and funky DJs. And there’s a best-dressed award, which is, we hear, hotly contested!
Candyland at ivy Pool Club on Saturday, February 24, 12 pm – Australia’s favourite circuit party. There’s an international Circuit Party DJ royalty line up which includes dazzling performances, sexy go-go boys, and some of the finest global party trade.
And of course, we need the recovery party!
POOF DOOF Recovery at ivy Pool Club on Sunday, March 3, at 2 pm is this year bringing a bit of London town to Sydney with Vauxhall favourite from The Eagle HORSE MEAT DISCO coming to town! Expect banging disco beats from DJs including DJ ENN from Barcelona, ivy league and more, plus performances from drag royalty Coco Jumbo and Vybe.
Pre-parade events at The Beresford
How about some live music from the winner of The Voice Australia? At the Upstairs Live With Alfie Arcuri you can enjoy an intimate evening of your favourite anthems, original music and some unexpected confessions by the talented singer on Wednesday, February 28, at 7 pm. The ticket includes an Absolut Rizz Fizz cocktail on arrival and a delicious three-course set menu.
Did someone say Mardi Gras Dog Show at The Beresford? Yes, by popular demand, it’s back and it’s as barking brilliant as ever! Completely free entry on Saturday, February 25, 11 am — walk-ins fine. Bring your fur babies along for the chance to win some fab prizes.
Which brings us to the big day itself! Saturday, March 2: PARADE DAY.
Parade day events:
Start the day right with Brunch with Kylie at 11 am at The Beresford. Step back in time and pay tribute to the padam padam pop princess, Kylie Minogue. Enjoy an Absolut Rizz Fizz cocktail on arrival, three shared courses and drag performances by Minnie Cooper, Mynx Moscato and April Mae June.
The Beresford’s courtyard will screen a live viewing of the parade, with DJs on the decks, from 2 pm. Get in early to secure your spot, and make your way upstairs to keep the party going.
Meanwhile, at The Alex, there’ll be a live broadcast of the parade, as well as drag performances by Tina Bikki, Logan The Drag Queen, Eli Crawford, James Vidigal, Sexy Galexy, Rhea Fend, DJs, a basketball competition, a dog parade and games. Free entry!
Finally, if you’re in the Inner West, Aunty Jonny will host the annual Vic on the Pardi Gras at the Vic on the Park. The theme is Tuck Shop Core, an ode to recess in the 90’s. Plus, the parade will be broadcast live in the courtyard beer garden. Free!
The full program can be viewed here.