New Mardi Gras’ newly formed fundraising team has a fresh face at the helm.

Project manager Blake Weti told the Star Observer he was excited about his new role, which includes overseeing the fundraising activities at all New Mardi Gras (NMG) events, including the upcoming Big Gay Weekend.

“I don’t think there has been an occasion like this before, where all of the gay venues have really been pulling in the same direction. I think there’s a real buzz about it,” Weti said.

Eighty volunteers will help out during the weekend, which aims to not only raise funds for New Mardi Gras via a $5 donation from each wristband sold, but to ‘take back Oxford St’.

“We are encouraging people to come and have a post-work drink and stay a while. That’s what Oxford St used to be like. People have fallen into the habit of going home and only coming out when it’s late,” Weti said.

Weti first volunteered for NMG as a parade official in 2007. Most recently, he coordinated the fundraising at Fair Day which raised more than $30,000.

Asked about the benefits of volunteering at NMG events, Weti said it was difficult to put into words until you have seen an event “unfold from ideas on paper to the extravaganza that our audiences see”.

He said the most rewarding part of being a volunteer was giving back something to an organisation that brings the community together, and strongly encouraged people to consider volunteering at NMG events by visitng their website.

INFO: www.mardigras.org.au/recruitment

PICTURED: Two Big Gay Weekend fundraising volunteers.

By JEREMY MASPERO

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