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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Camp turns Vinegar Hill pink
30 December 2004

There are homosexuals of every hue at Vinegar Hill, but together they are turning the Rangitikei campsite a distinct shade of pink.

The annual Camp Camp - the gathering has no official name, despite being in its 28th year - sees homosexuals from across the country converge for a week of fun in the sun.

Drag queen and cabaret chanteuse Mika, from Auckland, is at the festival for the first time, and says it provides an opportunity to enjoy "the solitude of a day in the country", away from the giddy whirl of his Auckland life.

The Manawatu Standard found Mika soaking up the sun and sharing a cup of coffee with his friend Franzi, a German tourist who learned about the camp from the internet.

As far as Franzi knows, there is nothing like Camp Camp in his homeland, and definitely not in "conservative" Bavaria.

The pair spent Tuesday with fellow revellers, watching the movie Hadwig and the Angry Inch - the tale of a rock-star transsexual whose lover steals all her songs.

Camp festivities are presided over by the Camp Queen, appointed on a year-to-year basis.

This year's appointee is Auckland electronics technician Colin Waterhouse.

Mr Waterhouse, who is visiting Vinegar Hill for the fifth year, says he was chosen by a committee of former queens, who get together to decide who has done the most good works for the festival.

His official duties include "collecting camp fees" and "keeping everyone in line".

The event will reach its climax with a New Year's Eve party tomorrow night. Word around the campfire is that the concert will boost numbers at the camp - currently about 250 - to 700 or 800.

Camp Camp will be finished for another year by Monday.


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