Each year the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Awards recognise excellence and honour individuals and groups among us who go above and beyond to make the festival extra special.
Congratulations to all our winners! Of course, everyone involved in making Mardi Gras happen is a winner in our eyes. Mardi Gras is a community organisation made possible by and for the community. Thank you to all the people behind the scenes of our festival. Volunteers, staff, contractors, suppliers – each doing their essential part to help make Mardi Gras magic. See photos from the Awards night here!
2021 PARADE AWARDS
Ron Austin Award For Most Fabulous Parade Entry
Nominees: Colours of Our Community, First Nations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQ+ community, Emerald City Kickball
WINNER: Colours of Our Community
Colours of Our Community is a social group of LGBTQI+ individuals and their allies who come together to champion equality, diversity and LGBTQI+ love. They have participated in the Parade since 2018. Each year they create an even bigger and brighter entry with an important message of unity, which we believe would have made Ron Austin proud. Congratulations!
Ron Muncaster Award For Best Costume
Nominees: We Are Unique, Asian Marching Boys & Friends, Trans Pride Australia
WINNER: We Are Unique
We Are Unique is a small community group led by breathtaking fashion designer, Micky, who has participated in the Parade almost every year since 2007. To Micky, the Parade is the longest catwalk allowing them to share their imagination and creation with our community. Micky spent weeks hand-sewing every single piece of sequin and fabric to produce this stunning costume. You can see why the crowd loved it so much!
Best Individual or Small Community Group
Nominees: KathnJen, Order of Perpetual Indulgence, Emerald City Kickball
KathnJen have been in the Parade almost every year since 1997 with incredibly creative, fun and quirky designs. This year, they dressed as COVID Marshals with the same finesse and artistic flair we have come to love from them.
Nominees: Haka for Life, NSW Ambulance, Sydney Silverbacks Wrestling Club
WINNER: Haka for Life
Haka for Life is a Perth-based suicide prevention organisation that empowers Maori and Aboriginal people, including those that identify as LGBiTQA+, to connect with culture through dance. They have participated in the Parade since 2019. This year they performed the haka to an overwhelming and well-deserved cheer from the crowd.
Best Float Design
Nominees: Extinction Rebellion, Central Coast Pride | Coastal Twist Festival, Oz Fag Hags
WINNER: Extinction Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion is a global, politically non-partisan movement that aims to persuade governments to act justly on climate change. Their LGBTQI+ members, Rainbow Rebellion, banded together this year for their very first Parade entry. Their tongue-in-cheek concept was beautifully executed to the last detail.
Best Face Mask
Nominees: BiCONIC, Gay Pride Australia
BiCONIC is a Sydney-based organisation that hosts regular events for the Bi+ community, queer folk and allies. 2021 marks their Parade debut entry which was inspired by Lady Gaga’s “Rain On Me”, which is about persevering through hardship and celebrating life. They reimagined the costumes and completed them with personalised face masks across the entire group.
Asian Marching Boys and Friends for their Entry: “Firefly”
Different Strokes Dragon Boat Club for their Entry: “Rise of the Dragons Staying Safe. Staying Strong.”
NSW Nurses & Midwifes for their self-titled Entry
Queer Nurses Of Sydney for their Entry: “The Swab Mob”
Sydney Queer Irish for their Entry: “Flags of Colour – Pride, Strength, Unity”
2021 VOLUNTEER AWARDS
I-CARE Award – Christine Carey
Christine returns each year no matter what and does her everything to ensure everyone around her is having the best time! This amazing human is a long-serving volunteer who made all the new volunteers feel comfortable. She imparted her volunteering knowledge to them, and even had blister band aids ready packed for other volunteers – this is just one small example from that day/night that shows her caring and selfless nature… not only for her fellow volunteers but for Mardi Gras and for all. Christine is so passionate about Mardi Gras and it was infectious! Thank you!
Excellence in Service – David Mills
David has an extended history volunteering as a team leader for Mardi Gras. He showed great leadership in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras and was very busy on the day being in the parade a few times but still made sure everyone was accounted for and made everyone feel important and part of a team! He also assisted the 78ers filming in the morning of parade and then drove the buggy around the stadium with some 78ers which he was absolutely thrilled about doing. David really has the volunteer spirit and it shows through each and every single year he returns and gives his everything.
Excellence in Teamwork – Carolyn Mazariego
Carolyn displayed excellence in her professionalism dealing with both parade participants and volunteers. She went all out to ensure she knew exactly how her team would run on parade day. Carolyn hustled on days leading up to the event and on the day running from all teams to ensure everything was going smoothly. Even when there were issues, she helped her team overcome and ensured they had a fantastic time whilst helping our parade participants arrive in their right sections at the marshalling area, that’s all 5,000 of them! Congratulations Carolyn!
Excellence in Innovation – Marc Gore
Marc stepped up this year and took on a complete change of their usual role. They had their volunteer team triple in size, footprint completely changed, intaking 5,000 participants, using a new registration system, scanning every person entering the marshalling area and did so with a smile on his face. There were some busy times as you can imagine entering the new covid safe marshalling area, but this volunteer was there to ensure every volunteer and parade participant were having a great day and getting into the marshalling area smoothly. This was a massive job and his leadership and innovative skills shown through. Thank you Marc!
Excellence in Leadership – Bianca Prain
Bianca dedicated her time and professional knowledge to our organisation and helped us have a COVID-safe event. Bianca was working with NSW Health leading the NSW Covid Tracing teams, so we knew we were in good hands! Through planning stages to running the COVID teams on the day, she was always on top of everything. Every time you ran into her on parade day, without fail her team (and herself) were consistently genuinely happy and she had absolutely everything under control. Her team at various points throughout the day stated how fantastic everything was, and how much fun they were having working with her. When things were turning to pure madness for her and her team, they all stepped up and dealt with everything in such a truly fantastic way. Every single person in her crew all smiles and oozing positivity. She is well and truly the embodiment of a fantastic volunteer and leader, the kind that everyone wants on their team every year. Congratulations Bianca!
Volunteers of the Year – Adrian Hinder and Alan O’Riordan
Adrian Hinder has an outstanding attitude and professionalism whilst under a magnitude amount of pressure. Adrian has been volunteering for Mardi Gras since 2009 and has been involved in the parade community development team. He has always been passionate in supporting our community to ensure that all our diverse participants have their platform and experience the amazing sense of belonging and fun that the Parade brings. He kept his smile and enthusiasm even when dealing with some tricky situations. He was always there to help out whether it be a volunteer or a staff member, he was the first to put his hand up and help with anything. He truly is a wonderful human and a great volunteer. Thank you, Adrian!
Alan O’Riordan each year does absolutely anything to ensure our events are safe. He is kind, generous and extremely skilled, always having the organisation in his best interests. He runs our volunteer medical teams and ensures that our medical team are in good hands. Alan’s professionalism running these teams is incredible and his efficiency ensures our teams know what they will be doing on the day. He led the entire Medical team with great calm when we had an enormous amount of pressure and changes to the event itself, not to mention the entire COVID safety protocols that he helped implement throughout the Parade footprint. He truly is a wonderful human and a great leader and we thank him for giving his time to our organisation.
Regina Silveira Ramos
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Each year, the Mardi Gras Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award we bestow. Mardi Gras Lifetime Achievers are those volunteers, activists and community heroes who have been involved and contributed to Mardi Gras in outstanding ways over a considerable period of time.
Congratulations to Mardi Gras Lifetime Achievement Award winners Kathy Sant and Jenny Mann!
Seen in the 2021 Parade going viral as ‘COVID Marshalls’, they’ve delighted Mardi Gras crowds with incredible handmade costumes over many years – including the pink ‘Daleks for Equality’ and huge gowns made of recycled water bottles.
Kathy and Jenny also have assisted other LGBTQI+ community organisations with preparing and organising their Mardi Gras Parade floats. They’ve participated in many other community events too, including the creation of the ‘Lobby Legends’ who participated in Sydney’s Gay Games in 2002.
“Mardi Gras is multi-faceted – it’s different things to different people,” says Jenny. “A celebration, a protest, the glitz and glamour, and the fight for equality. I hope we can celebrate and embrace all the facets of Mardi Gras – and that it’ll keep on shining for the future.”