The organisers of last year’s Kylie parade float are hoping to beat their own record for largest float, adding five more divas to the line-up.

Aiming for 300 male and female participants in total, the Madonna and Kylie sections filled almost immediately, organiser Mark said.

Other big names but smaller followings included Cher, Whitney Houston and Diana Ross.

“The one we’re finding hardest to recruit is Marcia Hines. I’ve been trying to convince them that Anthony Callea was a diva as well, we might have had more success recruiting for Anthony,” Mark said.

“We’ll have one person at the front impersonating the diva, but the marchers are mostly cute boys – shirt optional.”

The issue of clothing has proved contentious for the volunteers. The choreographer Nicholas Hutchings wanted each diva section to wear a shirt in one of the rainbow flag colours. But the vision was scaled back to meet the needs of the marchers.

“I do not go to the gym all year to parade up Oxford St wearing a shirt,” Jason, a volunteer, said.

But lest audiences think the gay community is shallow, Mark said there would be an additional section with a political message.

“One of the embellishments to the float will be a group of synchronised sniffer dogs, which will probably sit around any police officers they run into,” he said.

“In 30 years, they bashed us the first night, they attack us now, has anything changed? Most of the people on the street are straight people so you can’t be too subtle about it.”

Joining the team will be NZ drag queen Carmen Rupe who performed at the Purple Onion, one of Sydney’s first gay bars in the 1950s.

“They used to take us into the police station and give us a hiding and beat us up. I was locked up in Long Bay prison about a dozen times. But it made me a stronger person today,” Rupe said.

The float will use three professional mixes, each combining songs from two of the divas.

People wishing to participate can contact the organisers at www.drmarks-marchingacademy.com.

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