Oxford Street businesses are still celebrating the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in a big way.
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In late 2020, it was announced the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was moving its legendary parade to the Sydney Cricket Ground for 2021 in a bid to keep the event COVID-safe. This is the first time in the event's 42-year history it won't be taking place on Oxford Street — but that doesn't mean the local businesses aren't still getting involved in the celebrations.
Thanks to additional funding from the City of Sydney, the Darlinghurst Business Partnership's annual Oxtravaganza event is bigger and better than ever this year. Between Thursday, February 19 and Sunday, March 7, the streets and businesses of Darlinghurst are coming alive with live performances, parties, special discounts, a self-guided art walk and much more.
Popular LGBTQIA+-friendly venues, including Stonewall, Universal, Claire's Kitchen and Trade, are hosting cabarets, burlesque shows and drag performances across the two weeks leading up to the parade. And, on the night of the parade — Saturday, March 6 — The Oxford Hotel, Universal, Darlo Bar and Kings Cross Hotel will host viewing parties.
Meanwhile, local retailers are offering some epic deals across clothes, accessories, shoes and more, so you can get your look sorted for the big night. And surrounding bars and restaurants are also helping to keep the good times rolling with special menus and discounts across the two-week period. Pop into Wings and Tins for $5 schooners or La Farmacia for $5 Mexican lagers. Meanwhile, Darlo institution Bill & Toni's is serving big bowls of spag bol for a tenner and Brick Lane is offering 15-percent off if you dine between 5–6pm.
Finally, Sydney brewery Young Henrys has special Karma Kegs set up at a bunch of nearby bars (Kinselas Hotel, Courthouse Hotel, Darlo Bar, The Oxford, The Strand and Universal) with all proceeds from beer sales going to The Gender Centre.
Images: Robert Knapman Photography