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Wednesday 14 April 2010

Big Gay Day a big gay success

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 6th April 2010

Organisers are hailing the success of Auckland's Big Gay Day, with the weather coming out to play as much as the crowd for the inaugural event.

An estimated 1,200 people packed into the central city's Beresford Square on Sunday for the Easter feast of fun and fabulousness, which raised funds for HIV/AIDS charity Body Positive.

The line-up of entertainment included classic kiwi band Ardijah, Oxford St's Polly Petrie, as well as Miss Ribena, Steven Oates, Buckwheat, Tess Tickle, Dallas, Venus, Cindy of Samoa, De Za Star and pile of DJs.

A speech from Labour MP Chris Carter kicked off proceedings, while Free Gay and Happy was blasted through the sound system to set the tone for the day as punters knocked back hot dogs and tried out the bouncy castle.

Planner and MC Miss Ribena says organisers prayed to the gay gods for the rain to stay away – and it seems the gay gods were listening. There were early showers, but by the time the party got into full swing in the afternoon there were a few fine spells, though it was a little overcast.

Body Positive spokesman Bruce Kilmister was also a little worried about the weather, but was relieved when it got better and better and the crowd grew.

"We were blown away with the turnout – especially as it was a first time event. I wish it could have gone on for another couple of hours."

Miss Ribena loved seeing people from all kinds of communities in the crowd, "there were young and old, straight and gay, what a day Auckland had."

She has massive amounts of thanks for all the sponsors and the many people who gave their time and energy to make the event a success.

"Thank you to all the volunteers, from the DJs and performers to those behind the scenes, for making it such a fabulous day."

Plans are already underway for next year's event, with the Big Gay Day set to become a fixture on the gay calendar.

It's not yet clear exactly how much money was raised, with $10 from each of the $15 tickets going to Body Positive.  Kilmister is welcoming the strong support for the charity and is looking forward to the day being run again next year.

"It was just really good to see so many people having fun."

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