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!
To say fans were excited about her arrival is a bit of an understatement:
People in the #MardiGras crowd VERY excited for Cher! @abcnews @abcsydney @sydneymardigras https://t.co/b1Jv4wZH8G— Jade Macmillan (@Jade Macmillan)1520062480.0
Even Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was amped for some Cher!
Welcome to Sydney, Cher! @GladysB Lucy and I and all your fans thrilled to be with you at the 40th Mardi Gras & fir… https://t.co/bgdQUx2qEt— Malcolm Turnbull (@Malcolm Turnbull)1520071118.0
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!
She's so beautiful! @cher The Original Gay Icon! 🌈 #MardiGras40 https://t.co/qnX2yDE0tr— adamary (@adamary)1520072201.0
When she arrived, everything stopped. And I mean EVERYTHING.
CHER IS HERE. CHER IS HERE! They've actually stopped the parade for her. Look at her with the @Qantas drag queens a… https://t.co/g5hmrADaHL— JOY 94.9 🌈 (@JOY 94.9 🌈)1520070736.0
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.
Her procession was one heck of a sight...
Of course, the only sight more interesting than Cher seemed to be the crowds of people who looked just like Cher.
Cher watching all the Cher impersonators in the parade ❤️❤️❤️ #MardiGras40— SalLovesLove (@SalLovesLove)1520070477.0
Cher herself got to sit back and enjoy one of her concerts, perhaps for the first time!
Qantas doing Cher in front of Cher is A. MAY. ZING. #MardiGras40— Michelle 🐿💨 (@Michelle 🐿💨)1520070476.0
At the end of the night, aren't we all Cher?
Will the real Cher please stand up?! #MardiGras40— davidbyrnesbigsuit (@davidbyrnesbigsuit)1520070752.0
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.
@_AdamaryR_ @cher Ikr...so many Cher's...it's like the best place to be right now— Scarlet x 🇦🇺 (@Scarlet x 🇦🇺)1520070728.0
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.
It was the kind of night you half-remember forever.
Everyone has abandoned the parade to chase @Cher around the street hahaha. I love it. #MardiGras40— Scotia ❌ 🍾🌈👬 (@Scotia ❌ 🍾🌈👬)1520070604.0
I WAS NOT READY FOR @cher IN AN ORANGE WIG!!! #MardiGras40— adamary (@adamary)1520070636.0
Even Cher seemed to have a great time!
It just goes to show - when we choose to love, the world loves us back.
Bless the Cher float, bless Cher and bless all her clones. This is so beautiful. 😭😭😭😍 #MardiGras40— Kara Schlegl (@Kara Schlegl)1520070494.0