Australia's most famous horse race, the Melbourne Cup, has been described as the race that stops two nations.
And while it may not bring the Bay of Plenty to a complete standstill, it certainly attracts local punters to dress up, drink up, and stump up for a bet or two.
This year's event signals the 158th running of the cup and sees a record $7.3 million in stakes on the line – making it the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world and one of the richest turf races.
In Rotorua a number of venues will be playing the race on the big screen.
For the second year The Hits crew will be at Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar from 3.30pm until late with a raft of things to do and prizes to give away.
The Hits Rotorua Brand Engagement co-ordinator Bryce Morris said sweepstakes would be drawn on the day as well as on-air with The Hits announcer Paul Hickey today and tomorrow.
"There's games with hobby horses on the to-do list and prizes for best dressed man and woman and also for the best fascinator or hat," Morris said.
Clarke's Bar at the Novotel will have a pig on the spit, and also entertainment and prizes for the best-dressed. The Rotorua Citizens Club is also offering punters the chance to dress up and get involved in sweepstakes, snail and dice horse races, door draws and great food.
In Tauranga the fourth Melbourne Cup Charity Auction goes ahead at the ASB Stadium.
Event co-ordinator Sharon Hitchcock said there's no better excuse to get dressed up to the nines as the Melbourne Cup.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to dress up. There's not a lot of events in Tauranga where people can get really dressed up, that's the driving force ... to have a luxurious afternoon and at the same time raise money for charity."
The Melbourne Cup Charity Auction is a joint venture between Tauranga Te Papa Rotary and Zonta. There are fabulous prizes for fashion in the field winners, both male and female. Magazine Designer Clothing are sponsoring the fashion in the field prize for women (plus best fascinator) and Mane Menswear for men's best dressed prize.
There's a chance to win big as well. Sweepstakes will be sold on the day. This year money raised will benefit Homes of Hope and Tauranga Women's Refuge, and other charitable activities of Zonta and Tauranga Te Papa Rotary.
Our Place in Willow St is another Tauranga venue that will be encouraging punters to get dressed up and get involved in sweepstakes, starting at 10am and finishing at 6pm.
The Tauranga RSA is also hosting a Melbourne Cup event for members.
This year's Melbourne Cup Race will be run tomorrow at about 5pm (NZT). As always it is Race 7 on the Flemington 10-race card.