11.30AM: Morning clouds have disappeared and the temperature is rising towards today's predicted high of 28 degrees at Auckland's inner-city Coyle Park, venue for the Big Gay Out picnic and fun day. Setting up: Ready for Big Gay Out fun Early picnickers, some with families in tow, have staked out favourite spots around the edge of the park and adjacent to the main entertainment stage, with several thousand people likely to attend what is New Zealand's biggest glbt event. Police and Maori wardens are casually strolling the grounds but no problems are anticipated at what is generally a relaxed and social afternoon. Celebrities are a little thin on the ground so far, but retired trans-politician Georgina Beyer has already arrived and a slew of other politicians, including Prime Minister John Key and Opposition Leader Phil Goff, are expected this afternoon. NZ AIDS Foundation staff are out in force, as ambassadors for the event, dressed in vivid blue t-shirts and offering advice and assistance. A double-decker Big Gay Out free bus is shuttling backwards and forwards along the length of Point Chevalier Road and kerbside parking spaces near the park are filling up rapidly. The BGO opening mihi has just concluded and the smell of food is beginning to waft from the refreshment stalls. Organisers are advising those attending the BGO to be careful of sun exposure and to drink plenty of liquids. GayNZ.com has a display stand this year with a photographer and whiteboard on which people can write messages and have their photo taken for display on this website this evening. The Big Gay out is one of the main events of Auckland's Pride 09 Festival which has replaced the annual Hero Festival this year.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Sunday, 8th February 2009 - 12:11pm
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