The event, which regularly attracts crowds in excess of 10,000, is organised and sponsored by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and Marquis Condoms as a vehicle for raising HIV awareness, encouraging safe sex for gay and bisexual men, and building strong communities.
The Big Gay Out has come to be known as Auckland's annual fair day for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, takataapui and transgender communities, and is promising something for everyone. If you can't find what you're looking for, you can ask one of the Big Gay Out ambassadors, who will be roaming the park throughout the day to hand out site plans, entertainment guides and to answer questions.
Following a short HIV/AIDS memorial service at noon which includes the New Zealand Quilt Project, a huge variety of entertainment is on offer at the Marquis Condoms stage; from kapa haka group Toa to drag divas Buckwheat and Cindy of Samoa, singer/songwriters and dance covers band "Pulse", who made a big impact when they last appeared at the Big Gay Out in 2004.
"There are still some slots available for entertainers," says event organiser Jonathan Smith. "If you're interested in performing, you can register through our online application form at www.gaynz.com/BGO ."
Also back by popular demand are the Stiletto Stampede, Toss The Handbag and infamous Dog Lookalike contests. Midget The Clown will be on hand to keep the kids entertained, while the adults can party down in the Family Dance Tent, relax in the Fluffy Beer Garden, or enjoy the fare on offer at the international food stalls.
Food stalls have been increased this year and as well as regular fair day food of hot dogs and fish and chips, there'll also be gourmet wild food, Indonesian cuisine, finger foods, rolls, organic coffee, crepes, shaved ice, Brazilian BBQ and ice-cream.
Health promotion activities targeted at gay and bisexual men will also play a key part in the day. The winners of last year's Safe Sex Poster Boy contest will be launching a new resource and posing for souvenir photos with the crowds, and recruiters will be on hand to encourage participation in the biannual Gay Auckland Periodic Sex Survey.
The Big Gay Out is the flagship event of the month-long Hero Festival in February, which celebrates the diversity of Auckland's GLBTT communities.
"Each year it's a challenge to make the Big Gay Out a bigger and brighter event than it was the year before," Smith says, "but we've risen to the challenge and I think the crowds will be thrilled with what we've put together for 2008."
For more information about the Big Gay Out, including a site map and entertainment schedule, visit www.gaynz.com/BGO .