With one Christmas over, it’s time for the next Christmas: the Gay Christmas. By “Gay Christmas” of course I mean Mardi Gras. Like most people I look forward to Mardi Gras – it’s the time of the year when we all come together. People come from far and wide to frock up, dress up and muck up. No one knows how to throw a party like Sydney does.

This year Western Sydney is playing a big part in the Mardi Gras festival. The Riverside Theatre in Parramatta is hosting the official Parramatta Satellite Program (film festival). For more information check out the Mardi Gras Film Festival Guide out this week, or you can also contact the Riverside Theatre at www.riversideparramatta.com.au.

Over the last few years I have enjoyed the parade in different ways. The standard way is to join the other 200,000 people and watch from behind the barricades. The slightly more glamorous option is to make friends with someone who has a balcony that overlooks the parade route and fish for an invite to their house party.

My personal favourite is to actually walk in the parade itself. It is such a liberating experience and one that is hard to explain, but there are people cheering you along the whole way, crowds everywhere you look. There is a lot of standing around in the holding areas, but it is a great way to see all your friends and meet new people.

The Warehouse Youth Health Service is currently working out their float entry and it’s not too late to get involved. Contact Sonya at The Warehouse on 4721 8330 for more information.

ACON’s float is always big, colourful and great fun. Call 9206 2000 to find out how you can be part of it.

If you are looking for something low-key in Western Sydney, come along and enjoy a barbecue at the Nepean Weir Reserve with ACON and other local GLBT organisations. It starts at noon on Sunday 24 February – contact me on the number below for more details.

Finally, come and check out the Western Sydney stall at Fair Day. Along with people from different services in Western Sydney I’ll be there all day talking to people and letting everyone know what’s happening in the west.

If you want any information about groups, services, organisations or community events taking place in western Sydney, you can contact Matt Vaughan at ACON on 9206 2000.

Matt Vaughan is the Community Development and Liaison Officer for the ACON Western Sydney Community Development Team.

E: [email protected]

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