After retiring the Seattle Red Dress Party in 2014, the founders of the popular Northwest benefit event have handed the reigns for the party over to PrideFest, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, the organization responsible for PrideFest at the Seattle Center among other events. The Seattle Red Dress Party will take place on Saturday, April 2 at Fremont Studios (155 N 35th St.). Key members of the original steering committee are playing a handoff role with PrideFest to ensure a smooth transition and to preserve the key elements of the event going forward.
'We're humbled that the founders of Seattle Red Dress would trust us with this honor,' said PrideFest Executive Director, Egan Orion. He and his organization supported the first Red Dress Party back in 2008, but this will be the first time that PrideFest is in charge of producing the event end-to-end. 'Sam Galano and his team produced something really special with this event. We're very mindful of their legacy and, for those who have been to Red Dress in the past, you'll find a lot that's familiar: the venue, the spirit of the event, and, of course, the signature of the event - everybody in red dresses raising money for local non-profits. Over time, PrideFest will put its own stamp on the event. The Pride Festival is known for a diverse lineup from across the country, and we'll bring this and our ability to produce large-scale events to the Red Dress Party.'
Proceeds from the event will benefit PrideFest and local HIV/AIDS charities. 'A big part of ending HIV/AIDS is building a strong community,' says Orion. 'We think that's what PrideFest does best. We run the largest free Pride Festival in North America and have a fan community of over 60,000 on Facebook, a figure matched only - amongst Pride organizations - by NYC Pride. Non-profits are the core of our community and they're a central tenet of the work we do at PrideFest. When we have strong non-profits that are well-funded and connected to the community they serve, our entire community is stronger. Red Dress only expands upon this principle, having raised tens of thousands of dollars for HIV/AIDS charities. This work is key to ending AIDS.'
Sam Galano, the founder of the Seattle Red Dress Party, explained how the transition happened. 'The Steering Committee was a group of volunteers that every year rallied to put on Red Dress,' Galano said. 'Over time, as we built the event, volunteers moved away, got full time jobs, and in the end it became more difficult to put on the event and do it well. In 2014, we decided to retire the party altogether. Over the last two years, many organizations have contacted us wanting to take over the party, but it wasn't until we sat down with PrideFest to discuss the possibility that it seemed to fit. They helped support the first year of the event, and PrideFest has shown since they took over the Pride Festival in 2007 that in everything they do, they have the skills and the community mindedness that are essential to running the Red Dress Party. We can't wait to see where they take the event!'
Talent for the Red Dress Party will include Ultra Naté, DJ Bret Law, and DJ Tina T. Ultra Naté is best known for her #1 Billboard dance hit 'Free' but has had countless hits over the last 20 years. We can't wait to see her rock Red Dress! A staple of Red Dress, DJ Bret Law is from Seattle but can be found on stages throughout North America, including the PrideFest Dance Stage. Born and raised in Seattle, DJ Tina T has taken the world by storm. She's one of Vegas's hottest DJs and was a finalist on VH1's 3rd Season of 'Masters of the Mix.' Get your red dress and prepare for a party like you've never seen!
General admission tickets are now available at www.seattlereddress.org. GA tickets are $35 in advance (through April 1). Day of event (April 2), GA tickets will be $45, if tickets are still available. PLEASE NOTE: VIP tickets have sold out, but some ULTRA-VIP passes may open up before the event. For more information, visit www.seattlereddress.org.
Seattle Red Dress Party's original steering committee includes Sam Galano (founder), John Fulton (designer), and Jason Brotman (local business owner and event producer), in addition to countless volunteers who helped produce the event from 2008-2014.
PrideFest is the producer of many key Pride events every June. With partners Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, they produce Clean Sweep (Sunday, June 5, 2016), a neighborhood clean-up that launches Pride month on Capitol Hill. PrideFest produces the Queer Art Walk (Thursday, June 9, 2016), an unofficial part of the Capitol Hill Art Walk. In partnership with Three Dollar Bill Cinema, PrideFest also produces the PrideFest Film Festival, also in June. Pride weekend, they produce two events: PrideFest Capitol Hill on Saturday and PrideFest Seattle Center on Sunday, the biggest free Pride festival in North America. Find more information on PrideFest at www.seattlepridefest.org.
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WHY DO WE WEAR A RED DRESS?
The color red is commonly accepted as the international symbol of AIDS awareness, the Seattle Red Dress Party builds on that idea that all guests, despite age, gender or sexual orientation, attend the event wearing a red dress. The visual of all attendees donning red dresses whether male, female, Gay, straight, old or young, serves as a powerful symbol of solidarity of people living with HIV/AIDS and also reminds us that we are all here to make a difference and support a common cause.
A NORTHWEST TRADITION
The Seattle Red Dress Party is a Pacific Northwest community tradition, one that draws crowds as diverse as Seattle itself. It's a special evening, one during which people of all backgrounds come together for a celebration full of dancing and music, spirits and laughter. This light-hearted fun provides the background for the real purpose of Red Dress, the opportunity for supporters from all walks of life to unify behind the common goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic and building a stronger community. As an annual symbol of hope and solidarity, with every last attendee donning the signature-colored dress, the Seattle Red Dress Party is a true testament to the power of our community coming together to affect positive change.
HISTORY & FUTURE
From 2008-2014, Seattle's Red Dress Party was produced by a Steering Committee of devoted volunteers, including founder Sam Galano, designer John Fulton, and small business owner Jason Brotman. In 2014, they announced that they were retiring the party, and in 2015 there was no Red Dress Party in Seattle. In 2016, the Steering Committee decided to hand the event off to a new generation of producers, not a decision the group took lightly.
They hand-picked a new organization that was capable of respecting the history of the event, maintaining the mission of Red Dress, and capable of putting on such a big event. Seattle Red Dress Party is now being produced by the nation's largest free Pride festival producers, local 501(c)(3) non-profit PrideFest. The Seattle Red Dress Party remains dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the HIV/AIDS movement and to building a strong, unified LGBT and allied community. With the color red as an international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness, we require all attendees regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation to attend the event adorned in a red dress.
While the exact origins of The Red Dress Party are unknown Seattle's event is fashioned after our sister city to the south, Portland. The Portland event started out as a small band of committed supporters and has grown to a grand scale that today welcomes more than 2,000 attendees each year. Now in its fifth year in Seattle, Red Dress continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The red dress network of parties now includes Chicago and Sacramento.
Courtesy of PrideFest
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