The presentation of two lifetime achievement Preseren Prizes and six lesser Preseren Fund Prizes will be the highlight of the evening as top politicians, artists and other senior guests gather for the annual ceremony at the Cankarjev dom arts centre.
Unlike the previous years, when the names of the two Preseren laureates had been announced in advance, this time all the winners have been kept secret until the award ceremony.
Presented annually on the eve of 8 February, which marks the date of Preseren's death, the prizes named after the great poet were initiated in 1946.
At first they were also presented for scientific achievements, but the rules were changed in 1961 so that now only artists in different domains can get them.
The number of prizes changed through the years until a 1991 law reduced them to up to two Preseren Prizes and up to six Preseren Fund Prizes.
The winners are selected by the Preseren Fund Board at the proposal of four commissions: for visual arts, literature, performing arts, and music.
But the 2008 laureates show that the Preseren Fund authorities have changed their view on which disciplines make part of the top arts. Janez Gradisnik was the first translator and Miljenko Licul the first designer to win the award.
The most controversial event in the history of Preseren Prizes was in 2000 when poet Svetlana Makarovic rejected the lifetime achievement prize in her "acceptance" speech at the award ceremony.
The Preseren Prize winners since 1991:
1991: composer Jakob Jez, painter Zoran Music, writer Marjan Rozanec
1992: composer Uros Krek, writer Boris Pahor
1993: writer Drago Jancar, actress Milena Zupancic
1994: painter Andrej Jemec, composer Lojze Lebic
1995: film director Matjaz Klopcic, writer Alojz Rebula
1996: poet Veno Taufer, ballet dancer Vojko Vidmar
1997: painter Emerik Bernard, poet Niko Grafenauer
1998: theatre director and scenographer Meta Hocevar, writer Sasa Vuga
1999: composer Alojz Srebotnjak, poet Tomaz Salamun
2000: poet Svetlana Makarovic, painter Marko Rupnik
2001: painter Gustav Gnamus
2002: composer Vinko Globokar, poet Milan Jesih
2003: architect Vojteh Ravnikar, actor Zlatko Sugman
2004: writer Florijan Lipus
2005: painter Bogdan Borcic, flautist Irena Grafenauer
2006: poet and writer Milan Dekleva, film director Karpo Godina
2007: composer and pianist Janez Maticic, actor Radko Polic - Rac
2008: translator Janez Gradisnik, designer Miljenko Licul