Mardi Gras float to celebrate the people who have built the festival over the past four decades

Mardi Gras float to celebrate the people who have built the festival over the past four decades
Image: Photo: Supplied.

This year’s Sydney Mardi Gras will feature a Special Moments and Memories float, celebrating the many activists, volunteers, artists, performers, and staff who have built and sustained the event since 1978.

Themed as a huge hive representing the diversity of people who have contributed to Mardi Gras over the years, up to 70 ‘worker bees’ will carry flowers and images representing their contributions and memories.

“We have a fantastic creative and we have representation from each of the four decades among our participants,” said organiser Jane Marsden.

“Our float has been eagerly welcomed by Mardi Gras and we will be right there following up the 78ers.”

Marsden has been celebrating Mardi Gras for many years and was at the 20th anniversary parade in 1998.

“One of the things that strikes me about Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is how it brings people together to celebrate our difference and our diversity within the LGBTI+ communities,” she said.

“But more than that is how people give their time, energy and expertise to keep this living and breathing behemoth growing over the 39 years since that first protest in 1978.

“The 78ers are rightly honoured and celebrated every year and especially so at every significant anniversary.

“The idea for our float is the tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of heroes who have nurtured and built Mardi Gras through those 39 years also deserve recognition and celebration.

“The heroes of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras include volunteers, committee and board members, performers, participants and staff who often match their paid hours with unpaid hours. Mardi Gras is the hive that attracts these worker bees year in year out.

“Every person in these categories tends to have a special moment or memory that brings the tears to their eyes or stirs some emotion and excitement. Special Moments and Memories: The Other 39ers celebrates these heroes, and their special moments and memories.”

The sponsors of the float have also played a significant role in Mardi Gras’ history.

“Iain Reed and 32 Hundred Lighting has spent over 20 fabulous years providing technical advice on sound and lighting for parades, parties and fair days past,” said Marsden.

“He has been wonderfully generous with time, truck, sound, lighting, generators, staff and warehouse space.”

Second float sponsor Marsdens Law Group honours their founder, John Marsden, who was a civil liberties activist and one of the lawyers to respond to the original protesters at the time of their arrest and mistreatment by the police in 1978.

Third sponsor the Newtown Gym has been an active participant in the Mardi Gras Parade over many years.

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