Sydney’s Mardi Gras turns a colourful 40 | Sunday Observer

Sydney’s Mardi Gras turns a colourful 40

SYDNEY - Rainbow colours beamed from faces and floats parading through Sydney Saturday as hundreds of thousands of partygoers celebrated 40 years of the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Organisers predicted close to half a million people would witness the glittery spectacle as some 200 floats and 12,500 participants -- including police, politicians, indigenous groups and celebrities -- made their way down Oxford Street, Sydney’s gay hub.

The flamboyant displays included an over-the-top dinner party, featuring Mardi Gras costumes from the past four decades, and a giant champagne bottle that erupted, spraying confetti over onlookers.

The event grew out of a brutal and bloody police crackdown of gay and lesbian activists in 1978 and is now one of the biggest street parties in the world.