This year, one of Ognuquit’s gayest traditions is turning 40, and we couldn’t be happier to be wishing it a happy birthday. Equal parts speedo pageant and raucous beach party, the Mr. Gay Ogunquit competition has been a staple of Ogunquit, Maine’s LGBT scene for four decades, and it shows no signs of shrinking.
Mr. Gay Ogunquit: A Profile
Traditionally, the Mr. Gay Ogunquit competition has been held on Labor Day weekend, attended by scores of locals and tourists alike. This year, hordes of toned men descended on Ogunquit Beach, clad only in their skimpiest beachwear. The competitors pinned their numbers to their speedos and took turns strutting down the sandy runway, running down to the water, and then returning. Hundreds of spectators cheered from the sidelines as the contestants showed off their assets in hopes of emerging on top of the competition.
In keeping with the pageant’s theme, participants vied for the top spots in categories such as Best Package, Best Buns, Best Chest, alongside the coveted main title of Best Overall, Mr. Gay Ogunquit.
According to one regular attendee, the contestant pool never gets old because of Ogunquit’s status as a tourist town. “Over the years, contestants have been local as well as from all over the country and the world,” says Adam Dupuis of Instinct Magazine. “We love hearing French, German, Spanish, Tagalog, etc. being spoken on this little gay beach in little ol’ Maine.”
While there is a rotating cast of tourists to compete Mr. Gay Ogunquit, there are also regulars who attend the show year after year. Some of this year’s attendees proudly boasted of having been participants in the competition since the 1990s. Their loyalty underscores how important this lighthearted competition has become to its participants and to the wider LGBT community in Ogunquit, Maine.
The Host: Mainestreet Bar
The competition was hosted by Mainestreet, a bar that often finds itself at the center of Ogunquit’s nightlife. A panel of Mainestreet’s drag performers served as emcees and provided an entertaining running commentary. The ladies even got in on the action toward the end of the afternoon, kicking off their heels and quite literally clutching their wigs to compete in a race to the waterfront. The Drag Divas, as they are called when they perform at Mainestreet, were joined by DJ AGA, who kept the crowd going even before and after the main event. Later in the day, Mainestreet also hosted an OG-Tea dance party at which the afternoon’s victors were announced and celebrated.
As one of the largest gay bars in northern New England, Mainestreet prides itself on its involvement in the local community. The club hosts not only Mr. Gay Ogunquit but also a number of events that benefit local art and LGBT charitable causes.
Aside from their community involvement, Mainstreet is also always out to host a good time. The bar considers itself to be “Ogunquit’s Party Central” and remains open all winter, even when other clubs shut down, hosting year-round karaoke, drag shows, trivia tournaments, and other such events.
If you think you have what it takes to be named Mr. Gay Ogunquit (or if you have what it takes to watch from the sidelines), you’ll have to plan your trip for next Labor Day to find out. You certainly don’t need to wait until Labor Day to experience Ogunquit, though. Summer trips are perfect for exploring the expanses of beach. If you’d prefer to beat the crowds, there is still plenty to do in the “off-season,” including nightlife and live entertainment options.
Ogunquit has played host to thousands of LGBT couples over the years. If you want to find out what makes our little community so special, get in touch with us today. We’ll help you plan a trip that will make you fall in love with Ogunquit the way that so many have.
Photos courteously provided by David Sullivan Photography