There's "something for everyone" at today's 17th annual Big Gay Out, including drag queens and an all-day dance party.
The event at Coyle Park in Pt Chev is one of the key fixtures of Auckland's Pride festival, which began on Friday and will end on February 26.
More than 10,000 people have attended Big Gay Out in recent years and this year should be no exception, said spokesman Joe Rich.
"It's really grown over the years ... It's become a staple in gay pride celebrations," Rich said.
"The day itself is a really great opportunity for not just the rainbow community, but friends and loved ones - there's something there for everyone."
This year's event is focused on the AIDS Foundation's mission to end new HIV infections by 2025.
Politicians from all major political parties had been invited to speak about ending the spread of HIV, however the day was mainly about celebration rather than politics, Rich said.
Seven hours of entertainment has been planned on the main stage, with veteran drag queens included in the MC line-up along with TV personality Suzanne Paul.
"Miss Ribena is the host at Family Bar and Buckwheat and Cindy of Samoa have been on the drag scene for years," Rich said.
"They've been long-time supporters of the event and are all fantastic performers."
Gay US singer Parson James is headlining the main stage, which would have more of a "family picnic vibe", Rich said.
On the park's harbourside a dance party was set to run throughout the day.
"Last year we dipped out toe in the water in terms of doing a proper dance [event] on the other side of the park, it was so popular that this year we've expanded it.
"It's a full dance party happening with harbour views, a licensed bar and Auckland DJs."
More than 100 market stalls would be set up at the event as well, including stalls for LGBT community groups like Rainbow Youth.
"It's a great space for community groups that have formed to celebrate their uniqueness within our community and meet people."
The Big Gay Out provided a safe public space for people to express their identities, Rich said.
"It's a welcoming place for everyone."
The event is free and buses will run every 20 minutes from Family Bar on Karangahape Rd.
Other Pride Festival events:
Same Same but Different LGBTQI writer's festival: 17 - 18 February on AUT's central Auckland campus. Ticket prices vary. Check sessions and times here. [https://www.iticket.co.nz/go-to/samesame-but-different]
The Great Auckland Pride Debate: Labour MP Jacinda Ardern and Auckland councillor Richard Hills head teams debating whether or not 'girls do it better'. February 20 at Galatos live from 7.30pm, $30
"Mini-music-festival" New Normal: February 24 at Golden Dawn from 8pm, $15
Pride Parade: February 25, Ponsonby Rd from 7.30pm, free
Proud Party: February 25, Galatos St from 10pm, $55
More information can be found at aucklandpridefestival.org.nz