We acknowledge that Mardi Gras is built on the backs of those that came before us and that our history is our strength. We strive to celebrate the amazing community activists, leaders, creatives, staff and Boards, over four decades who have worked tirelessly for and within our community.

Each year Mardi Gras works hard to support the original 1978 Mardi Gras marchers – known as the 78ers – at events we produce ourselves. Mardi Gras provides up to $10,000 for the 78ers Float to lead the Parade up Oxford Street behind the First Nations float. For those wanting to be spectators, we also ensure a dedicated viewing space on the Parade Route with easy access to toilets as well as complimentary travel back to Central station after Parade. 

An allocation of 20 complimentary Party tickets is also offered each year to the 78ers, many of which have never been used. Complimentary lifetime Mardi Gras membership is available to all 78ers which gives access to members discounts for Mardi Gras events, including the Party and many other discount incentives.

This year, we have implemented even more initiatives, including a 78ers creative working group, to help form tighter bonds between Mardi Gras and 78ers that aim to better help us support, celebrate and champion their past, present and futures.

Included in these initiatives are an additional 80 discounted tickets to Party at $45 per ticket on top of the annual allocation of complimentary tickets. Mardi Gras are also pleased to provide $5,000 towards 78ers experiencing financial hardship to help cover costs for travel across Australia to come to Mardi Gras for the 40th. Two things that have not been done in the history of Mardi Gras and something we hope to build on in the future.

We are also pleased to support the 78ers activation at Fair Day and provide a dedicated marque for the group to share their important history with Fair Day visitors and invite them to provide a welcome message to the 70,000 attendees.

As we celebrate all we have achieved over 40 years we remember and acknowledge our older LGBTQI community, including our wonderful 78ers, but also many many others who have dedicated their lives to social justice and equality. Our events are more accessible for those with mobility needs or experiencing disability. A new chill out space at Party is programmed for older guests in mind who want to enjoy party but be able to socialise in a more relaxed environment. 

Ongoing, we continue to work with our community to help create an accessible and inclusive Festival experience for the many different people that make up the vibrant and colourful rainbow with which we celebrate each year.

Learn more about our Mardi Gras history: From the original Mardi Gras march in June 1978 to our spectacular 40th anniversary festival in Feb/Mar 2018, you can discover 40 years of vibrant and diverse Mardi Gras history here on our Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Timeline.