For 30 years the October long weekend has been the main fundraiser for the Mardi Gras Parade. It still is but we are doing things differently this year.

The inaugural Big Gay Weekend has a number of aims. The primary one is to raise money to make the 2012 parade bigger and better. All profits raised over the weekend go directly to making those floats, whether they are community-based or Mardi Gras-built, more glamorous and entertaining.

Mardi Gras is also aware of the push to reinvigorate Oxford St, our traditional hub, and together with the City of Sydney council and organisations such as the 2010 business association we aim to reclaim our golden mile.

Big Gay Friday, in association with Gaydar.com.au, will start with a launch at Kinselas at Taylor Square at the very early time of 6pm and then the venues on Oxford St will take over with a host of shows, games, entertainment, singers and DJs to make it a night to remember. We have to start it early as there is so much going on. Come early or miss out

Patrons will buy a wristband for $10, of which $5 is a donation to New Mardi Gras, which will then enable them to stroll from venue to venue enjoying all they have to offer. Shops such as Aussie Boys, Sax Leather and Daly Male will be open late so you can pop in and support our local businesses. It’s all about supporting the places that support our community.

The remainder of the weekend is taken over by Sydney’s best party promoters who have very kindly agreed to donate an amount per ticket sold to the Parade fund.

There are some amazing parties for the girls, day parties, night parties, big-name singers, live bands, cabaret and everything in between. The options are varied and fantastic, there is something for everyone.

INFO: For details on how to buy tickets and for information on all the parties on offer, visit www.biggayweekend.com.au

By MICHAEL ROLIK, New Mardi Gras CEO

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