The 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras is set to be a glittering affair, lighting up the city from 20 February to 8 March. The not-for-profit member-based organisation hosts the Parade and Festival as part of a wider program of events across the year.

While the program is still developing for 2015, highlights of the massive, colourful event include Fair Day supported by ANZ. This is the real glamour event of the festival, held on Sunday 22 February and covering Victoria Park for a breathtakingly beautiful picnic in the sun. Around 70,000 people are expected to turn out for the festivities, which see roaming drag talent and live performances entertaining crowds of young and old. There will also be food stalls and artisan goods to purchase during Fair Day.

For a party to remember, make your way to the Royal Botanic Gardens on Saturday 28 February for an extravaganza with world-class DJs and performers entertaining the masses. The pool party held at Ivy Pool Club on 2 March is another must-do, with a retro St Tropez vibe featuring shady palms and plenty of cocktails. Relax in a private cabana as you listen to the poolside DJs work their magic, or plunge into the pool and remain part of the action thanks to the underwater speakers.

If you only attend one event during the festival, make sure it's the parade held 7 March. This sees LGBTQI pride at its best, with hundreds of thousands of spectators showing up to watch floats pass by along with revellers dressed in ornate costumes. Spectators can head to the Flinders Seats or enjoy a premium viewing area complete with food and bars, or enjoy Tylor Square's Diamond Club for an al-fresco celebration of the event. Make sure you preserve your energy for the evening's Mardi Gras Party, which is known as one of the wildest in the world.

For those travelling from interstate (or internationally), make sure you book in your holiday accommodation as soon as possible, as the city swells at this time of year. Parking close to many of the events is difficult so it's best to take advantage of the city's many public transport options.

Experience the colour and festivity of the Sydney Mardi Gras 2015.

Banner image and photo courtesy of Hasitha Tudugalle via Flickr Creative Commons