Darlinghurst celebrates Mardi Gras with Oxtravaganza!


Three drag queens and a drag king pose on Sydney's Oxford Street
Oxtravaganza is a fringe festival to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Photo: supplied.

Oxtravaganza, a Darlinghurst-wide fringe festival celebrating the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, is back again for its 8th incarnation in 2024!

The Oxtravaganza Festival is centred around Oxford Street and Sydney’s Rainbow Precinct, but stretches out across Darlo and into Surry Hills and Kings Cross.

This year this ‘festival-within-a-festival’ will run from the 16th February until the 3rd March.

“Oxtravaganza pulls out all the stops,” says Festival Curator Lorraine Lock.

“I mean it’s not unusual to find something happening on Oxford Street on any night of the week, but Oxtravaganza and Mardi Gras ramp it up to another level!”

There are two weeks of events including art exhibitions, an Art Walk, live performances, the Darlo Big Drag Brunch, retail deals, a dedicated Family Zone with storytelling, face painting, kids goodie bags, the ever popular Shop till You Drop, and more.

Something is happening every night of the week from drag shows and cabaret, to book readings and sweaty disco nights. There will also be nude drawing classes, a design market, and activations at the Sydney Design Centre and Sydney Jewish Museum.

And of course, this all builds towards the finale of Parade Night, a glittering glamorous celebration of our LGBTQIA+ community and the rowdiest party that Oxford Street gets to host each year!

All around Darlinghurst a host of businesses are putting on their sparkle for Oxtravaganza in 2024, including galleries, restaurants, small bars, pubs, clubs and retailers.

“We’re also lucky to have the National Art School and the Australian Museum on our doorstep,” says Lock, “plus a host of smaller galleries in the immediate neighbourhood.”

“Art is a big deal and such a huge part of our history!”

This year also sees the opening of the Qtopia Sydney Centre for Queer History and Culture, a hugely anticipated conversion of the old Darlinghurst Police Station into a queer museum and events space.

Qtopia Sydney will also be programming The Bandstand in Green Park, and The Substation and toilet block on Taylor Square (all heritage listed buildings) as cultural and performances spaces on the northside of Oxford Street.

All up, there will be around 100 different events across 40 venues that span the length and breadth of Darlinghurst. Reason enough to start marking your diary for 2024!

HIGHLIGHTS OF OXTRAVAGANZA INCLUDE :

DARLO BIG DRAG BRUNCH – Saturday 24 February
Darlinghurst does Drag Brunch better than anywhere else in Sydney!
Restaurants, bars and cafes will be hosting their own Drag Brunch, not just on Oxford St but right across Darlo. Some venues will offer bottomless deals every day of the week!

PHOTO EXHIBITION – 16 Feb till 3 March
Featuring the “best of Oxtravaganza” from years gone by plus a series of portraits of local faces. Look out for theses amazing pics in the windows of local businesses. You may see a friend or two!

SHOP TILL U DROP – Saturday 24 February
Retail deals and performance at key stores and galleries. There will be dj’s, discounts, drag queens, giveaways and more. Join us for a shopping spree like no other!

FAMILY ZONE – Saturday 24 February
Drag story time and craft activities for kids and rainbow families. Just a stone’s throw from Oxford Street at the East Sydney Community and Arts Centre (ESCAC), but less hectic for the little ones. Fairy floss, goodie bags, make-up, stories, painting and more.

THE HUBS – 16 February – 3 March
Darlo is a lot more than just Oxford Street. There are other hubs to be explored like the Rainbow Precinct, Hollywood Quarter, Stanley Street, the Glittering Mile, all within a short stroll from Taylor Square or the CBD.

Check out the Oxtravaganza website for more updates! www.oxtravaganza.com

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