Pub crawls, a street festival, an AIDS fundraiser, party buses, more will be part of weeklong party
DAVID TAFFET | firstname.lastname@example.org
The return of Razzle Dazzle Dallas means North Texas will have a June Pride celebration. The five-day event begins June 1.
Scott Whittall, president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, said the June 1-5 dates were chosen, in part, to not conflict with Pride weekends in Austin and Houston.
The event begins on a Wednesday with a special edition of the Cedar Springs Wine Walk.
Thursday, June 2, will feature a pub-crawl. Shuttles and party buses will leave from Cedar Springs Road to visit different bars off the strip. The Brick and BJ’s have already committed to participate. Other bars are expected to join as planning continues through the spring.
Each stop will be about 45 minutes and feature specials and a VIP area for those who purchase special tickets for the week.
“The purpose is to introduce people to the bars off the Cedar Springs strip,” Whittall said.
The fifth annual Metro Ball held at S4 will become part of Razzle Dazzle Dallas as the Friday event. The fundraiser is staged by and benefits the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, which works with nine area agencies as a funding source of last resort to help individuals with emergency situations.
Tickets are expected to be $25 on line and $35 at the door. Crystal Waters headlined last year’s ball that raised $37,000. In 2011, the evening will include a silent auction and dance party.
Representatives of GDMAF, Inc., which stages Metro Ball, attended the first Razzle Dazzle organizational meeting to make sure there were no conflicts in dates.
“I expressed my concern to the committee,” said GDMAF President John Cooper-Lara. “But it made more sense to focus Metro Ball as the primary fundraiser for the weekend.”
By the end of the meeting, not only had Metro Ball become one of week’s signature events, but also Cooper-Lara signed on as co-chair of Razzle Dazzle Dallas.
“We’re excited to be part of a week-long celebration,” he said, hoping the community-wide effort will raise even more money for GDMAF this year.
When Metro Ball ends at 10 p.m., an after-party will be held at a different venue.
Saturday begins with a street festival — from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — that will highlight the Cedar Springs merchants.
Participating stores will have sale tents. Booths for artists and non-profits will be part of the day’s activities.
The main event will be Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cedar Springs will close from Reagan to Knight streets. Whittall said they were exploring closing even more of the street.
A main stage near Reagan Street will feature a national headliner and a variety of bands and entertainment. A stage near ilume will present a national DJ. A third stage in the middle of the block will also have a DJ keeping the party lively.
A sponsored VIP tent near Hunky’s will include a free cocktail of the evening and food provided by two area restaurants.
Sunday ends the five-day festival with a mini pub-crawl, afternoon t-dance and check presentations.
Whittall said the group plans to work with the Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and promote Razzle Dazzle nationally.
When Razzle Dazzle Dallas last took place in 2003, it was billed as the 26th annual event. That dates the first one to 1978.
Don Maison, who served on the board from about 1985-90, said he remembered it beginning as fundraiser for the Dallas Museum of Art. At the time, the museum was located in Fair Park and had just announced a new building downtown.
As AIDS took hold in Dallas in the early 1980s, Razzle Dazzle quickly changed its focus to raising funds for the first North Texas AIDS organizations, such as Oak Lawn Community Services that closed in 2000, and the AIDS Resource Center, now known as Resource Center Dallas. One year in the 1980s Razzle Dazzle was held at the old Dallas auto pound on Inwood Road where a UT Southwestern building now stands. Searchlights directed people to the abandoned facility.
Maison recalled having to repair the roof of the shed and call Dallas Power & Light to run more electricity into the site.
Fair Park was a frequent site of the event. In different years it was held in the Hall of State, Tower Building and Centennial Building.
Maison said the year Razzle Dazzle was held downtown in the Convention Center was costly. Market Center Hall and an abandoned building in the West End and the Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum were other venues before Razzle Dazzle moved to Cedar Springs Road in the 1990s.
In its last year, Razzle Dazzle featured the Village People who performed on an outdoor stage in Caven’s paid parking lot. Although the street was blocked off, many people entered without paying. The event lost money and Razzle Dazzle Dallas disbanded.
This year’s event should be well funded as it combines resources from a number of groups. Whittall said Ben E. Keith has already signed to be the presenting sponsor and other businesses including ilume and the Melrose Hotel have already agreed to be sponsors.
The new website will be live in January.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 24, 2010.