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Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival kicks off

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website.The annual Progress Pride Flag Raising Ceremony to mark the start of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival will take place at 6pm Friday March 18.The flag will be raised at Sydney Town Hall.Other events for the Sydney Mardi Gras include Laugh Out Proud.Laugh Out Proud is a comedy event on February 25 showcasing rising stars in the Australian queer comedy scene.As COVID-19 restrictions ease across NSW just in time for Mardi Gras, many pubs and nightclubs will be hosting events.Singing and dancing will be back on the cards.Other events include the Mardi Gras Film Festival exhibiting more than 110 films, all "unabashedly and proudly queer".It is currently underway until March 3.Lifesavers with Pride have teamed up with Surf Life Saving Clubs along the east coast of Australia to bring the spirit of Mardi Gras to the country's iconic beaches on Sunday February 27.Lifesavers with Pride have marched in the Mardi Gras parade for over a decade.Surf clubs up and down the coast are dressing up and decorating in rainbow to celebrate Mardi Gras.Beach patrollers, nippers and swimming clubs are adding colour to their equipment and fluro zinc to their sun protection.Clubs hosting Rainbow Beaches celebrations include Bronte, Tamarama, Coogee, Bondi, Dee Why, Bigola, Avalon and Queenscliff, Byron Bay, Brunswick and Yamba.Rainbow Beaches first started in 2021 to celebrate diversity and including among Surf Live Savers.Ivan Power from Lifesavers with Pride said: "Surf Life Saving has evolved to become far more diverse and inclusive since it was formed over 100 years ago to make our beaches safer.""The more diverse, inclusive and welcoming we are as a community, the stronger and more effective our movement can be.".

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