Oxtravaganza: The One-Day-Only Event Returns For Mardi Gras

Published in Arts  
Oxtravaganza Oxtravaganza Image © Robert Knapman

Triumphantly returning after a successful first run, Oxtravaganza will bring out the colourful world of Oxford Street in a one-day event in conjunction with Mardi Gras.

There will be performances, food and drink, a mobile outdoor disco and plenty more.

It's all presented by Darlinghurst Business Partnership and President Stephan Gyory can't wait to see the event in action for a second year.

“With Mardi Gras you've got Fair Day at the beginning and then the festival at the end but in the middle weekend, nothing happens,” Stephan says. “From a business point of view, the aim is to bring people to the area and increase foot traffic. I get bored in my own business unless I'm doing events every three or six months! There's a lot of really cool stuff going on around here and to get everyone showing it off on the same day is good for morale in the area.”

Though the weather wasn't so kind to Oxtravaganza-goers last year, Stephan was able to step back and evaluate just what it was that really worked, which meant being able to build on that to present an even better second round.

“We're going to do a much bigger set up at Oxford Square!” he says. “We're doing a wedding-themed market so we're putting nine marquee stores and a big outdoor sound system there. That should be a lot of fun, it's a really nice space that is underused.”

“If we get more store holders we'll go round the corner and put stalls in front of empty stores. The idea came from last year when we got rained on and we had to move,” Stephan reflects. “It was actually a really nice vibe on the footpath. The kids were painting on it with chalk too which was really fun. I think also we're going to put umbrellas and tables and chairs in Whitlam Square outside the front of the Thai restaurant so people can sit there.”

As well as providing a colourful, vibrant environment for patrons, all proceeds made from the big day will go to Twenty10+GLCS, an organisation working within the queer community.

Young Henrys, a Newtown brewery, will also be donating what they've called YES! Kegs, their own version of the Karma Keg, filled with Young Henrys Cloudy Cider and Newtowner.

“Twenty10 work with at-risk LGBTIQ+ youth and they're a newer organisation. Last year we went with Bobby Goldsmith and some of the feedback that came from our members was that we should go for a young and up-and-coming charity so we thought we would do that,” Stephan says.

As far as the end result of Oxtravaganza, Stephan's goal is a simple one: “We just hope people enjoy themselves. There's tonnes of really cool little businesses and the people that run them, most of the shop owners, are independent business partners. They all do really cool things and I guess we just want people to know what's here.”

“The people are all f***ing crazy, awesome, unique individuals. A lot of people come for Mardi Gras and we want to put on Oxford Street's best face for its visitors. The lifestyle up here is also pretty progressive and permissive... So why not celebrate it?”

Oxtravaganza takes place on 24 February at Oxford Street.



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