Gay Pride celebrations in Australia take a decidedly different tack than those in many parts of the world. In the country's largest cities, the premier GLBT annual event is actually a major queer cultural festival lasting two to three weeks, with Gay Mardi Gras in Sydney and Adelaide Feast Festival being the most famous of these. Melbourne's beloved Midsumma Festival, which takes place from mid-January through early February (the dates this year are January 12 through February 2, 2014), is one of the most popular of these events, drawing tens of thousands of participants from within metro Melbourne's sizable GLBT community as well as from all over Australia and - increasingly - from throughout the world. Midsumma celebrates its 26th anniversary in 2014 - the festival was begun in 1988 by the city's Gay Business Association, and it comprises three weeks of high-caliber, engaging arts events and parties. A "Gay Pride" component, in the form of Pride March Victoria, takes place the last day of Midsumma, on February 2.
Events during Midsumma consist of a wide range of diverse programming - films, spoken word, live music, theater, cabaret, stand-up comedy, community-group gatherings, sporting events, and visual arts exhibitions. The festival breaks down the many gatherings during Midsumma into Major Events (Carnival, the T-Dance, and the official dance party, Confetti, which all take place on Sunday, January 12, the first day of the festival) and a much longer list of Premier Events (everything from the Australian Same-Sex Dancesport Championships to Radicalism, described by organizers as "an exploration of radicalism, resistance, and defiance around questions of gender and sexuality in the contemporary moment"), and you can also get a detailed list of what's on throughout the festival by checking out the official 2014 Midsumma Melbourne Program.
Midsumma culminates with yet another major event, the Annual Pride March Victoria, which takes place during the early afternoon of, Sunday, February 3, and ends with an all-day festival at Catani Gardens in the lovely bay-side community of St. Kilda - one of Melbourne's most gay-popular neighborhoods.
You can find out more about the Melbourne gay scene by consulting local LGBT media like Melbourne Community Voice, the Queer Melbourne section of TimeOut, SameSame.com's Melbourne section and Nighttours Gay Guide to Melbourne. Also take a look at the city's excellent official tourism organization, Visit Melbourne.