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It’s official: Sydney Mardi Gras won’t be taking place on Oxford Street in 2021

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, next year Sydney’s beloved Mardi Gras will be moving on from its iconic home of Oxford Street.

Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade is one of the most iconic cultural celebrations of our time. So many of us have fond memories of strolling down a glowing Oxford Street, revelling in the chaotic energy of friends, lovers, and strangers alike.

But if living in 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect change and adapt to it. In order to comply with contact tracing laws and social distancing regulations, the magic of Mardi Gras is now being adapted too. Mardi Gras CEO, Albert Kruger, recently announced that next year, the parade will be a seated and ticketed affair, holding up to 23,000 punters in none other than the Sydney Cricket Showground.

Mardi Gras Parade 2019
Photo: Ann-Marie Calilhanna

Kruger did acknowledge the expected changes of the parade, stating that there will be a focus on puppetry, costume, and props to replace the iconic Mardi Gras floats, while still retaining the magic of the original celebration. He did also justify the ticket cost (beginning at approximately $20) as a small contribution from punters to the organisers, to help the latter organise the event at a COVID-safe venue.

All in all, it’s a bittersweet moment, with the last Mardi Gras being the final proper celebration Sydney had before plunging headfirst into the pandemic. From 200,000 on Oxford street to 23,000 in their seats, Mardi Gras 2021 might be presented a little differently this year, but nevertheless, it aims to continue its legacy of beauty and empowerment.