///BY Mark Dawson

Gay Day at Six Flags Celebrates a Decade of Thrills

Gay and Lesbia n Day at Si x Flags takes place Saturday, September 7, at Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. Officially known as Fairgrounds, the event is the largest private LGB T event in the United States. This year, to celebrate it ’s 10th year and to accommodate the growing number of LGBT families, the hours have been extended from 10:30 a.m. till midnight. At 8 p.m., however, the park will close to the general public and remain open exclusively to Fairgrounds X ticket holders. In addit on, for the first time in its 10-year history, Fairgrounds guests will have access to Great Adventure’s Wild Safari!
DJs Hector Fonseca, Steve Sidewalk and Eddie Baez will provide the musical entertainment. Fairgrounds’ co-founder Mark Nelson sat down with us to chat about the event’s 10-year anniversary.

Ten years of Fairgrounds. Did you expect to hit this point?
We have always gone with the one-year-at-a-time thought process, so here we are, 10 years later!

Where did the initial idea for Gay Days at Six Flags come from?
Oddly, there were two minds thinking alike. Chris Wright brought an LGB T group to the park in 2003 and arranged a private area. Not long after, I approached Six Flags about doing a private night just for the LGB T community. The park hooked the two sides up! Privacy was essential. I had been to Gay Days in Orlando and was always frustrated that, other than promotersencouraging gays to wear red, the park didn’t identify or publicly acknowledge the day. It caused great confusion, as some heterosexuals in the park wore red too!

How many people attended Fairground’s first year?
Almost 2,000.

Was it a successful night?
The park holds 60,000, so it felt a bit deserted. It was like a movie soundstage. But there were some great things. Brian Kent and Zhana performed, and they were fantastic! Plus, guests could literally get on any ride as many times as they wanted to without a wait.

What mistakes did you learn in year one?
We learned the importance of making sure we had enough park employees to serve all guests quickly and efficiently.

Why do people love Gay Day at Six Flags?
Because it doesn’t matter the size of your wallet, age, race or gender. Everyone is equal here.

How have the crowds changed over the 10 years?
More friends and supporters attend now. Also, lots of LGB T families!

Which was your favorite year?
Last year. The weather was fantastic! The performances were amazing. The success of last year has really driven us to do even better this year.

We know gays can be choosey. What’s their favorite ride at the park?
[laughs] Aside from riding each other? Kingda Ka. It’s the highest and fastest coaster in the world!

Favorite food?
Chili fries. Who says gays don’t eat? Lord, they seem to eat just about everything. Johnny Rockets is very busy on gay day.

Do gays keep the bathrooms clean?
Yes, very clean.

Why is the 10th year going to be the best Fairgounds ever?
It’s on a Saturday! After a long day at work, driving to the park on a Friday night was tough for many people. This year, we have no excuses! Plus we are open until 1 a.m. Let’s get wild!

A portion of the net proceeds will benefit the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, The Gay Lesbian Center of NY and The Imperial Court of NY.

Visit: gaysixflags .com