Tis the season to feel jolly, la la la, it’s like a huge gay balloon has exploded over Sydney. Mardi Gras fever is here.

What makes a good Mardi Gras season? It’s not just about the parade and party — there are other things in the lead-up to the fabulous finale.

One thing I have seen this year that has been lacking the last couple of years, is the number of tourists already in Sydney. Every second person is from either the UK or the US.

You only have to walk into any of the clubs to notice how many newbies are here — the loudness of the US tourists or the booziness of the UK tourists, they are all here. Or even better, turn Grindr on, and see how many international flags pop out at you.

During the day the streets are alive with fresh faces, converting their money, trying to see as much as possible, hungover from the festivities the night before.

Maybe this is what makes a good Mardi Gras — interstate and overseas visitors coming to our city, adding their own flavour, and here with that party attitude that rubs off on anyone who comes in contact with them.

Granted, Mardi Gras isn’t all about the parties and it has a serious side, making who we are visible to the whole world, but this mixing of cultures and people is a very important part of it. We would all love to be interested in the political side of everything, but could there be something in sharing a drink with someone from the opposite side of the world? You’ve never heard of where they’re from, yet you’re having a beer and a dance with them.

That is what makes a great Mardi Gras for me — meeting strangers who share their experiences about being gay but have grown up totally differently from me.

Let’s have a safe and fabulous Mardi Gras and show the whole world that when it comes to fabulousness we kick arse here in Sydney.

To the international tourists out there — the rule is you need to have sex with at least one drag queen to complete your Mardi Gras experience.

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