Oxtravaganza And The Glittering Mile Party On And Celebrate Local Communities

While the official Parade has relocated, Darlinghurst will continue celebrating Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras with their Oxtravaganza festivities for a sixth year: a collaboration with Oxford Street’s bars, clubs, and local businesses who’re determined to continue throwing glitter where the party started.

Oxtravaganza - Peach Fuzz (@peachykween) - Image © Robert Knapman

“I’m looking forward to a bustling vibe on the street and a celebration of local community,” says Darlinghurst Business Partnership Chair and owner of Record Store Stephan Gyory. “We have a fantastic programme with lots of fun things to do for everybody, and lots of specials to encourage people to support their local businesses. Darlinghurst is one of the most welcoming and inclusive suburbs in the country, and people feel at ease when they come here.”

With COVID having a huge impact on Mardi Gras numbers in recent years, Gyory says the one thing Oxford Street businesses need this year is customers. Oxtravaganza’s purpose is to showcase the very best of its restaurants, bars, and clubs, while also enticing Mardi Gras goers into its many queer-owned businesses.

“It’s to remind people we are here. That it’s not all doom and gloom, and that there is still a lot of beauty and fun left in the world. We have a creative, passionate community reflected in the types of businesses and premises in our area, and we love to share that with like-minded people.”

"Assemble a crew, organise a shindig, or go have a drink or a lunch or a dinner, and enjoy Darlinghurst for the beautiful, independent, free, creative, non-judgemental place that it is."

Launching alongside Oxtravaganza in 2022 is Kings Cross and surrounds event The Glittering Mile. In collaboration with Eastside Sydney, and Potts Point Partnership Chairman and owner of Dulcie's Bar Brandon Martignago, The Glittering Mile will extend Mardi Gras festivities further along Darlinghurst Road to Sydney’s quaintest, little gay ghetto.

“What makes Oxtravaganza and Glittering Mile incredible,” says Martignago, “is that both festivals work with the same intention. They’re both to celebrate the queer identity of the three postcodes, being Potts Point, Surry Hills, and Darlinghurst.

“Darlinghurst and Surry Hills are obviously centred on Oxford Street. Around the Parade. Around the weight of the party. They have a heap of viewing opportunities, and obviously a heap of queer venues. They have these amazing interactions that are possible for them because they’re the queer centre.

The Glittering Mile - Schisandra and Velvet Rage - Image © Robert Knapman

“We found with The Glittering Mile that Potts Point has the residents. It’s an older demographic. And we’re starting to see more young people, but it’s still very much a part of Sydney’s ‘gaybourhood’. And it’s probably a bit more sophisticated: less of the late-night party vibes, and more of a dinner show, stay-and-play kind of world.

“So that’s where I see the two sides of the festival separated. Oxtravaganza is more youth focused – a little bit more fun, a little bit more upbeat – whereas The Glittering Mile is more about gallery openings, cabaret, cocktails, dinner shows, and stay-and-play at hotels. Things like that.”

Martignago’s 1930s-themed cocktail bar, Dulcie’s, will itself feature panels with Mardi Gras’ 78ers and crime historians discussing Sydney’s famous cliff murders, among plenty of other events.

Start Mardi Gras off with a buzz on The Glittering Mile by shopping late on 17 February (the shopping doesn't stop there either, 26 February is Oxtravaganza's 'Shop Till You Drop Day'!) before settling in with a cocktail to plan your next two weeks at Oxtravaganza and The Glittering Mile. There’s everything from bottomless brunches, cocktail nights, and Parade viewing parties, to gallery exhibitions, live performances, and history tours. There’s speed dating with Maxi Shield, even Drag Queen Storytime and clowning scheduled for the kids, and boutique minding services for your pets.

To say King Cross and Oxford Street will be partying this Mardi Gras season is a severe understatement. The Glittering Mile and Oxtravaganza will be waiting to welcome you, with open arms!

Oxtravaganza and The Glittering Mile run from 17 February-6 March.


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