Mardi Gras glams up the screen

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What began as a protest march in 1978 is now 31 years old and a whole lot more cheerful. It is also enormously popular, attended by thousands of spectators from across the globe.

Drag queens, dancing boys, dykes on bikes and hundreds of fabulous floats will dress up and show Australia and the world what they are made of. This year the parade is on Foxtel's Main Event Channel, meaning you'll have to pay for the privilege. But if spectacle is your thang, it promises to be a load of fun.

Julie McCrossin will be one of three commentators, joining Australia's Next Top Model judges Charlotte Dawson and Alex Perry.

"Charlotte, Alex and I are probably going to be in a rather warm box," she laughs. "And the marvellous Joan Rivers, who I admire immensely, is going to be a part of it too. She's going to be on the 'Pink Carpet'."

Rivers is a veteran of Red Carpets, but quite what she will make of the drag queens and the sheer campery could be worth the pay-per-view fee ($24.95) alone.

"Pam Ann is going to be at Kinsella's in a flight deck. And we've got roving reporters including Ruby Rose and others.

"My understanding is they're going to have a go at giving Charlotte, Alex and I a trip outside as well as commentating. They're intending to cut pretty rapidly between all the different team members. Plus there will be advance interviews so there will be packages cut in as well."

The parade will be a first for Dawson and Perry, but McCrossin has been a part of the event over a number of previous broadcasts.

"It was great to be beside Julian Clary, it was great to be beside Rove and it will be great to be beside them. They will bring in people who wouldn't watch otherwise. And fashion, let's face it, has always been part of Mardi Gras."

The 2009 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras airs 7:30pm Saturday on Main Event.

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