While this particular piece focuses on Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, each tip could easily be used for any large-scale march.
There is no greater feeling than waving your arms at a hungry-eyed crowd, screaming with them and celebrating the right to be yourself. And if you’re reading this, then I can only assume you’re yet to experience such gloriousness. Trust me, it’s amazing. However, as always, it’s best to know what you’re getting yourself into before you take your first step. Whether you’re marching along in all your beauty or riding on the back of a truck or ute; whether you’re wearing a full body contraption, a sequined frock or a just pair of knickers; and whether you’re brimming with stamina or haven’t been to the gym in a while (or forever), these tips are essential!
What To Bring
The immediate answer is “not much” because the last thing you want is to be drowning in bags. The following list is not compulsory; please feel free to disregard any items you feel unnecessary.
- Water bottle: because you’ll be hanging around all afternoon and need to keep your fluids up. This is especially for those who are easily susceptible to dehydration. Preferably one you can throw away.
- Powerbank for your phone: especially if your phone has a dismal battery life. You’ll be standing around for a good two hours or more, depending on where you are in the queue. This means you’ll probably be using your phone – unless your group is good at keeping up a conversation.
- Snacks: as previously mentioned, you’ll be standing around for a while, so be sure to keep your stomach grumbles at bay. I will let you make your own snack-purchasing decisions.
- One SMALL bag: if you really must bring a bag (that’s not easily disposable), make sure it is a small one. I can guarantee that if you have a moving float, there will be very little room on it. If you can get away with a bum bag, I heartily recommend! Those donning scantily garments or extravagant frocks should invest in a shoulder clutch that blends in with their outfit.
- Comfy shoes: for the guys donning budgie smugglers or butch outfits, you’ll likely get away with wearing cushiony joggers – which is extremely recommended. But for the lovely ladies – especially those walking in the parade – if you must wear heels, be sure to pack a pair of joggers. Trust me! Your feet will appreciate it. I once wore 4-inch heels and my feet were screaming by the end. I also damaged the heel tip on my left side – since roads are not made for walking on – which made me sound like a melancholy tap dancer on my way home. So wear cheap heels or at least work joggers into your outfit.
What To Expect
Being a huge parade that brings in nearly a million revellers, expect your normal travel routes are altered. Plan ahead and don’t assume. When you’re in the marshalling area, expect a lot of glitz and glamour, with an added touch of frivolity. Socialising is highly recommended, and feel free to snap pics. But make sure to keep your group in sight. You’ll be hanging around for a while, so make the most of it. Don’t fret over your choreography either, as you’ll probably be rehearsing it a good dozen times before you take off. Hence why I say bring joggers if you’re wearing heels.
When you start marching, go wild! If you’re on a truck, hold on and wave those arms. And when you reach the end, be sure to disembark from the truck quite quickly.
Lastly, make sure you have a plan afterwards. Are you gonna party on afterwards? Then have your tickets booked way in advance. Are you going home straight after? Then be sure to have alcohol awaiting your presence at home. Or at least a warm bath!