The preparations for the 35<sup>th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, scheduled to start on Saturday, are at their peak.

The event, which Fair Field City Champion, calls "Dykes on Bykes" is believed to one of the most anticipated events of its kind and will feature 350 women on 200 motorcycles. The participants must identify themselves and have a motorcycle license to be eligible for the historic event, which first started in 1988, with just 15 motorcycles.

The president of the Sydney Chapter, Nic Fletcher, is hoping to ride on her 1000cc Kawasaki. Her first ride was in 1996, as part of her "coming-out".

"For me, that Mardi Gras was my big coming-out party. What better way to come out than have people stand on the side of the road and give you a clap and a cheer? I got off my little 250cc that day and felt 100-foot tall and bombproof," she is quoted as saying in the FFC Champion.

The parade will run along Oxford and Flinder streets and will have Asian marching boys, gay and lesbian police officers, queer lifesavers from Bondi Beach, student pride groups and Jewish and Arabic gays and lesbians, according to Local Central Sydney.

More than 9,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex pride groups will participate in the parade this year, portraying the strength of their community. The main attraction for this year's parade is also the performance of Kylie Monogue, who is celebrating her 25 years in the music industry.