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How to celebrate Mardi Gras in Sydney this weekend without spending a cent

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is coming up this weekend and we have the ultimate celebration guide that won’t cost you a cent.

This years theme is What Matters, and to us, Mardi Gras is all about getting out and celebrating all things pride with friends, strangers and everyone in between. Why should you have to spend hundreds of dollars to celebrate what matters?

Photo: Jeffrey Feng / Mardi Gras

Celebrate what matters this Mardi Gras without worrying about bookings, tickets or a budget. Keep reading to find out events near you this weekend.

Queer Art After Hours

For the fourth year in a row, the Art Gallery of NSW is celebrating the spectacular event that is Mardi Gras. Head on down for a wonderland of ideas, art, movement, colour and sound inspired by the 2020 Mardi gras theme What Matters, and best of all you can enjoy this evening of wonder for absolutely no cost.

The event will be hosted by award-winning journalist Patrick Abboud and will feature a plethora of DJ’s, live music, performers and art installations.

There will be creative performances from avant-drag sensation Gendermess, Sydney’s First Nations drag trio Blak Divas as well as a range of left-field artists, and local drag royalty Verushka Darling will be giving an informed lecture on the history of Mardi Gras.

You can also get involved in a paper-sculpting workshop with artist Jordy Bos using recycled Mardi Gras posters and check out a dynamic series of Queer Film Shorts curated and hosted by activist and filmmaker Kelli Jean Drinkwater.

Read up more about the collaborators and featured artists here.

Location: Art Gallery of NSW
Date: Wednesday 26 February
Time: 5 – 10pm

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Official Parade

This one’s for all of you who love to celebrate pride in the most spectacular and popular way; by dressing the heck up!

Grab your pals and get ready for a night out on the town for the event of the year. The parade features incredibly produced floats, glittering colour and nothing but the glitz and glamour of a very proud community.

Expect huge crowds lining the streets and get there early to secure a good viewing spot! If you’re not too fussed about seeing the parade happen in front of you, dress up and head out to get amongst the crowds and celebrations.

Get more information on the official parade here.

Location: Oxford and Flinders Street, Darlinghurst
Date: Saturday 29 February
Time: 7 – 10pm

Chicks with Picks

With showcase events for woman and non-binary performers happening monthly for ten years, the Sydney community is no stranger to Chicks with Picks. Every year they host a huge night of live bands and open mic sets and this year will be no exception.

This year’s Fair Day after-party will feature BANDINTEXAS, Cookbook Book Club, The Cassy Judy Experience, Joan, and Sepora ft. Sela Moon.

Entry is free and happy hour is from 5 – 7pm so head on down for a fun evening out to wrap up your Mardi Gras celebrations.

Location: The Townie, Newtown
Date: Sunday 30 February
Time: 4 – 11:30pm