• Territory Celebrities, Miss Ellaneous and Marzi Panne are set to represent the NT at this years' Mardi Gras (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Get ready for glam, gals and glitter as the Northern Territory float for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is racy, roaring and ready to go!
By
Laura Morelli

22 Feb 2017 - 4:49 PM  UPDATED 1 Mar 2017 - 2:40 PM

The Northern Territory will see more than 85 energetic and colourful participants help represent the country’s largest street parade ever, to sing, dance and celebrate sexual diversity on Saturday 4th March 2017.

The float, also known as Northern Territory Stars, is creatively themed to represent the ‘shining night sky of the NT and all the uniqueness it has to offer’ according to the organisers.

“All the stars in the sky are special and unique, just like the LGBTQI community in the NT.”

Darwin-born theatre makers, Daniel Cunningham and Ben Graetz (the creators of Darwin’s ‘Departure Lounge’ pop-up parties) have teamed up in partnership with the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC) to plan, perform and wow the crowd. Don’t be fooled by the rocks that they’ve got, you’ll still probably recognise Daniel and Ben who are well known throughout Australia for their infamous Drag characters 'Marzi Panne' and 'Miss Ellaneous’.

Their motivation? What else of course, but to flaunt it on the float! They will showcase the NT to Sydney and the rest of the world. The shining centrepiece will be none other than a dazzling huge, inflatable star, set to shine a bright light on their float and illuminate the stars amongst their group, amidst hundreds of fairy lights adorning the participants as they march through the parade.

Daniel says this isn’t just about looking good, but representing a rapidly developing group.

“The Sista Gals stand strong in their traditional dances and songs and continue to share their culture and stories for all of the LGBTQI community.”

“All the stars in the sky are special and unique, just like the LGBTQI community in the NT” he said.

Speaking of a growing community, apart from the glam and glitz expected on the float, there will be several Indigenous celebrities making their mark at the march.

They’re loud and they’re proud – At least 30 of the Tiwi Island SistaGals, will be travelling all the way down from the Top End of Australia to share their sexy sequins and more importantly, hometown stories.

“The Sista Gals stand strong in their traditional dances and songs and continue to share their culture and stories for all of the LGBTQI community,” said Ben.

The girls worked hard to raise their own money to get them over to the parade, in what will be their very first time attending the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

“We are over the moon that such a large contingent of the Northern Territory’s Indigenous community are able to attend. Some of them have never left the NT before, and here we are getting them to walk proud and strong in front of thousands of people in the parade,” Ben said.

Territory-born actress Miranda Tapsell, from productions such as The Sapphires, Love Child, Black Comedy and  Play School, will be marching this year, along with her Mum and Aunty.

And if you think it can’t get better than that, think again.

The one, the only, hot hunk who is also a leading Aboriginal role model, former sports star, actual model and youth and family advocate - Casey Conway will be making an appearance and without doubt, making everyone gawk at his gorgeousness. But seriously, apart from being ridiculously good looking, Casey has also been an advocate for sexual health issues impacting the Indigenous community especially amongst youth.  

“Casey is the face of NTAHC’s “Drama Down Under - Wet & Dry sexual health awareness campaign, so we are really excited to have him join the float!” Ben said.

The float has been facilitated through various fundraising activities in both Sydney and the Northern Territory, as well as from the generous donations of local individuals and Top End businesses.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has been held annually since 1978. With an attendance each year of over 300,000 people, it generates $30 million towards the NSW economy. Mardi Gras is one of the highlights of the LGBTIQ community globally, bringing a wide variety of people together and working as one to make the world a better, more accepting and colourful place.

The organisers say they’re ‘absolutely thrilled to be putting the Northern Territory on the international gay and lesbian map,’ and if you want to catch all the action, you certainly can!

Join NITV LIVE at the Mardi Gras Parade on the NT Float with Casey Conway, Miranda Tapsall, Tiwi Island Sistagirls and fierce drag act, Miss Ellaneous, Saturday, 4 March @ 6pm on Facebook.

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