On the evening of March 3, Sydney's 40th Annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade was visited by a much welcomed presence: the one, the only, Cher! Wearing an orange wig, the music icon belted Strong Enough and Believe after the traditional parade literally stopped in its tracks to cheer for her arrival. And, just in case Cher wasn't yet feeling the love, an army of Cher doppelgangers arrived to back her up and make it one of the rowdiest Mardi Gras ever!
Even Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was amped for some Cher!
Turnbull described the event as a "wonderful part of Sydney." Bill Shorten, the federal opposition leader, was also in attendance as part of the Rainbow Labor float!
Cher has long been beloved by many in the LGBTQ community, and even won a GLAAD media award in 1999!
Followed by throngs of fans (many of whom bore a striking resemblance to the pop queen herself), Cher made her way to the media pit, where she delivered a message to the parade:
I love that everybody is having such a good time and there's no feeling of any kind of anger, there's no negativity and that's what I like most...All the people with everything hanging out, and fabulous girls with their slap on and big hair and no clothes – I love it.
Of course, the only sight more interesting than Cher seemed to be the crowds of people who looked just like Cher.
Over 300,000 people crowded onto Oxford Street for the massive parade. Yes, by the sound of it, most of them were dressed as Cher.
As this was the first major LGBTQ parade since gay marriage was legalized in Australia (in 2017), the parade organizers pulled out all the stops! 200 floats and organizations drifted down the parade route, including a group of 250 people who were part of the original Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, 40 years ago.