On October 3 drag queens will reclaim Oxford St in the name of fabulousness and charity, with the long-awaited return of Shop Yourself Stupid.
Once an annual fundraiser for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, the event has been sorely absent from our calendars since 2005. But with all economic forecasts pointing up, there has never been a better time to open your wallet, buy up big and help HIV positive people in need.
For Shop Yourself Stupid first-timers, consider it to be a shopping spree set in a fantasy world, where drag queens roam the streets free, there are strategically-placed sausage sizzles and entertainers to soothe you when you are weary and, best of all, there’s no such thing as buyer’s remorse, because every purchase you make benefits the Bobby Goldmsith Foundation.
“Hopefully Oxford St will come alive under the sunlight,” official host for the day, Sydney Star Observer columnist Maxi Shield said.
“When it used to be in full swing, you used to have queens out the front of shops doing numbers. The colour and the movement and the street coming alive, that’s the gist of it, and where it should be going again. It’s one of those things that’s absolutely hilarious, and one of those things that Oxford St really is in dire need of.”
“We’d had a few requests to bring it back, and there’s been an effort on behalf of City of Sydney and some of the venues to regenerate Oxford St, so we thought it was a really good time to come back,” BGF CEO Bev Lange said.
“We’re  keen to re-connect Oxford St and the surrounding areas, to connect the businesses running in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills and Paddington and to connect new people to charity giving.
“It’s important for organisations like ours, who are asking people to donate, to put something back, and I think Shop Yourself Stupid is a model of both donations to people living with HIV, but also about bringing business back to retailers, who have been hit with difficult times.”
Money raised on the day benefits local gay and lesbian business owners and community supporters, but most importantly raises money for BGF’s 1400 clients.
“Support your own community, it’s right there,” Shield said. “Some of the shops will be discounting things, but ultimately the money goes back to a fabulous charity and you may as well pick up a great product and help out, so dig deep.”
Held on the same day as Sleaze Ball, the atmosphere along the strip is sure to be buzzing with anticipation.
“Sleaze Ball day is a great day. There are more people out and about on the strip in any case, and if we can bring even more to the retail organisations that would be fantastic,” Lange said.
New Mardi Gras CEO Anna McInerney also offered her best wishes for the event’s re-emergence.
“New Mardi Gras congratulates BGF for bringing back this fun and colourful event on the Sleaze Ball weekend,” she told Sydney Star Observer.
“We hope to see thousands of partygoers dashing around getting those last minute items, enjoying the atmosphere and getting into the mood for the big party.”
The mood and scope of Shop Yourself Stupid are sure to be more elaborate than anything people may have seen in the past, with more retailers, more space and a connection to the city’s Art and About calendar adding to the experience.
“It used to be an event which principally occupied Oxford St,” Lange explained.
“We’ve been bowled over by how excited the retailers and venues have been, and how excited the city has been. One of the elements of SYS and indeed throughout the month of October, will be art tours to galleries around Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Paddington.
“We wanted to concentrate on the local area in its first new outing, and just concentrate on our surrounding areas. We will go all the way up Oxford St, it won’t just be the strip between Oxford Square and Taylor Square, we’ll go all the way up to Paddington markets.
“It will involve M.A.C cosmetics, you’ll see the venues coming out with shows and special occasions that we haven’t seen in a long time and we’ll be set up in a little hub on Taylor Square where there’ll be performances, music and DJs.”

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