The 40th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade transformed the city into a sea of glitter, colour and pride on Saturday night as 300,000 spectators filled the streets to watch more than 12,000 people take part in a huge celebration of the LGBTQI community.

The parade saw support from the travel industry with Qantas celebrating the occasion with an ode to its history and involvement in the parade.

On Saturday night, viewers caught a glimpse of Qantas’ float, the Gayviation, a replica of its first float featured in 1997, before it transitioned into the newest aircraft in the Qantas fleet: the Dreamliner.

Photo Credit: Qantas, Brent Winstone.

Photo Credit: Qantas, Brent Winstone.

Old met new, tied together by a rainbow and the Qantas troupe taking flight with their own wings.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu said this year’s parade was their most iconic yet and one that would go down in history.

“The participation of every single person in this year’s special anniversary Parade helped produce a dazzling display of self-expression, reflection and celebration”

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu.

“Beyond the glitter, flamboyance and satire, there were so many floats reminding us of the serious issues. Acceptance, inclusivity, diversity, respect,” she said.


Among this year’s many floats were many paying tribute to the original Mardi Gras marchers, ‘the 78ers’ and the 40 year anniversary.

Over 200 78ers from all over Australia made their way to Sydney to lead the Parade train with the First Nations float.

Marchers from all over Australia were out in force: representing the beaches around Australia with the Surf Life Savers with Pride float, showing the world the Northern Territory’s unique LGBTQI community, and celebrating the LGBTQI activist groups of Tasmania.

Photo Credit: Qantas, Brent Winstone.

Photo Credit: Qantas, Brent Winstone.

Pop star Cher was a major drawcard of the event. walking alongside the Qantas float with CEO Alan Joyce and grabbing a quick selfie with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

READ: Are you ‘Strong Enough’ for this? Cher is headlining Australia’s 40th Mardi Gras!

READ: AccorHotels partners with Mardi Gras, APT’s new destination & more travel news

Did you attend this years Mardi Gras? Let us know about your night below.