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|Halloween fundraisers help HIV organizations|
|by Jim Farmer|
|October 14, 2011 00:00|
Just in time for Halloween, two upcoming Atlanta events are scheduled to raise not just spirits, but also funds for local charities.
First up is Jerusalem House’s annual Carnevale, now in its 11th year. Jerusalem House is the city’s largest and oldest provider of housing for men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. Slated for Oct. 22 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Carnevale is the organization’s signature fundraiser.
“It is the biggest fundraiser that we produce ourselves for the agency,” says Alex Wan, development directory of Jerusalem House. “It is a costume party, with great music, food, drink and fun. All attendees will enjoy an open bar — cocktails compliments of Grey Goose Vodka and wine provided by HobNob — a buffet, and dancing to music provided by DJ Mike Pope.”
Carnevale is known for its highly creative, competitive costume contest. This year’s theme is Myths & Legends.
“This year’s theme aims to evoke images of Greek/Roman gods and gladiators, but we expect to see all sorts of costumes and interpretations,” says Wan, who is also the only openly gay member of the Atlanta City Council. “That’s one of the best things about the party – how amazingly creative people are!
“This has really evolved into a community event. We produce it ourselves, so all proceeds go to Jerusalem House. And it’s a very diverse crowd – just people with great costumes that enjoy having a great time for a great cause,” he says.
The costume contest is always a highlight, with $500 in cash prizes being awarded. This year’s celebrity judges are local personalities Mary Edith Pitts and Baton Bob, and WSB-TV anchors Jovita Moore and Amy Viteri.
The costume contest is always full of creative entrants, Wan says.
“Some great costumes that come to mind [over the years] include a one-night stand (a night stand with lamp shade and all), the freed Chilean miners, Glinda and Elphaba from ‘Wicked,’ ‘Avatar,’ and Julia Child,“ Wan says.
Throughout the years, attendance has steadily grown. Wan hopes for a big leap this season.
“Attendance has typically been between 300 – 400, but I’m really hoping to see between 400 and 500 this year,” he says. The event has traditionally been mostly gay, but not predominantly. We definitely have a fun loving, mixed contingent that attends every year.”
Tickets are $50 and $150 for VIP admission. Raffle prizes include a gourmet dinner courtesy of A Legendary Event, a one-week trip to Cabo San Lucas beach resort, 20 fine wines and a seven night stay in the Georgia mountains.
‘Boo-T Ball’ comes back
The following weekend sees “The Boo-T Ball Resurrection” party, benefitting Open Hand. The organization was founded to provide meals for people with HIV, and has now expanded to serve those with other serious medical conditions, the elderly and others in need.
Boo-T Ball founder Brandon Barron says he chose to add “Resurrection” to the title of the Oct. 28 fundraiser to show that the event is back after last year’s absence.
This year’s theme is “Carnevil.”
“’I’m excited to be able to revive the party,” he says.
In 2010, Boo-T Ball was not held because of bad timing and a lack of resources, so Barron and his team are especially keen on getting it going again.
“It was tough decision not to do it last year,” he says.
Boo-T Ball is being held in conjunction with the National Flag Football League of Atlanta, a gay flag football league, says Barron. He is the fundraising chair of the local chapter, which is one of more than two dozen chapters across the country. The NFFLA hosts tournaments throughout the year and also sponsors charity events/parties.
This year the event will be at Opera nightclub. On hand for “Boo-T Ball” are DJ Chris Griswold and DJ Justin Ryan. Lily White and performer Circus Envy will judge a costume contest at midnight with a $250 first prize and a $100 second prize. Admission to the event is $50 through Oct. 26 and $60 at the door.
Barron expects more than 650 partygoers this year and is eager for Boo-T Ball to grow.
The Boo-T Ball crowd is 70 percent gay but “we are open to everyone,” says Barron. “There is a real energy and vibe to this event. It’s not just a party – it’s people coming together for a common cause.”
Top photo: Carnevale, the annual fundraiser for Jerusalem House, gets into the Halloween spirit with one of LGBT Atlanta’s most popular costume contests. (Photos by Brent Corcoran / RNZ Photography)
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