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Vinegar Hill gathering the biggest ever

Mon 15 Jan 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

This year's Vinegar Hill LGBT campsite was easily the busiest ever, says a regular attendee. Mike Binis says, “It was huge. It was by far the largest we've ever had. Some said it was around 700 or 800 people… that might be pushing it – but I wouldn't be surprised if it was more than 600.” There's normally a ‘straight side' and a ‘gay side', of the camp, Binis explains. “Each year, the gay side is slowly filling up when I get there. But this time, when I got there on the 27th, the gay side was completely full, and spilling over into the middle, and the straight side. It was packed.” Binis says the last four years have brought a lot more lesbians to Vinegar Hill, whose numbers have been on par with gay men this year and last year. “There's also more families with children. And the kids of the gay families are growing up, so they're helping around the camp more.” The ‘Fashion in the Field' event on 30 December was a highlight for Binis. “It was about making fashion out of the bush – using nothing but what they can find around. Mind you, the rules did get stretched a bit because people used the Warehouse blue tarpaulin bits that were all around the campground! But it was mostly fern leaves, flax and things like that. It was quite amazing.” Again this year, ‘The Vinegar Hilton' was the place to see and been seen. “They had a big marquee for a central cooking area, with seven massive chili bins colour-coded for the different kinds of food and drink. They had a gazebo that was screened in with a mirrorball installed – that was the casino! Then another marquee was the dance area, sponsored by Red Bull. The tents were all around it, like a community. It really worked.” Weatherwise, this year was not ideal. It was dry and bright when Binis arrived, but soon took a turn for the worse. “No storms, no floods, not much wind, just always drizzle. Always showery. On New Year's night it was dry – so the bonfire and the shows went well. And then on New Year's morning it was raining again, and it pretty much stayed like that until I left. “It didn't dampen many people's spirits, but they left a little earlier. It was a really good crowd, and the handful of straight people that were there joined in too.”     Ref: GayNZ.com (m)

Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff

First published: Monday, 15th January 2007 - 12:00pm

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