Organizers of Dallas’ June gay Pride festival are shooting for increases in attendance, fundraising during 2nd installment since decade-long hiatus
Organizers of Razzle Dazzle Dallas are hoping to double attendance and increase donations to beneficiaries compared to last year.
Dallas’ June gay Pride celebration and fundraiser returned last year after a decade hiatus. The five-day event brought in $60,000 for area nonprofits.
This year, Razzle Dazzle Dallas will be a four-day festival running from June 6–9 on the Cedar Springs strip.
“We learned how to market and get word out,” Cedar Springs Merchants Association Executive Director Scott Whittall said. “It took more than a year to get it going again.”
Whittall said the group that stages Razzle Dazzle, which includes merchants, bar owners, nonprofit organizations and community volunteers, has learned to focus more on fundraising and marketing.
“We learned from the old parties,” Whittall said. “It’s a charity event. They got away from that. We’re making sure everything is funded so every penny goes to charity.”
After two decades of parties, the old Razzle Dazzle fizzled when expensive acts were brought to Cedar Springs to entertain, but revenue failed to cover expenses. Current organizers said all expenses this year are covered despite losing a major sponsor of last year’s event.
One of the new fundraisers this year is a raffle for two travel packages.
The first package is to Vancouver Pride in August. The winner will receive airline tickets for two, hotel accommodations and admission to Pride parties and events.
The second drawing is for a trip to Hawaii, which includes guesthouse accommodations at a private house with an ocean-front pool on the Big Island. Airfare is covered by an allowance of $1,000.
Although Cedar Springs was fenced and entrance to the Main Event on Saturday night last year was controlled through gates, Whittall said organizers didn’t get an accurate headcount. He estimated between 15,000 and 20,000 attended, but he hopes to double that this year.
While admission to the street fair remains free, he said donation boxes will be at every entrance. And volunteers will be better trained to encourage attendees to donate to the beneficiaries.
“It’s a free party for June Pride,” he said, “But please give back. This is a fundraiser.”
Committee member Jimmy Bartlett said the theme of Razzle Dazzle is “Back to the ’80s.” A retro band called the M-80s will perform on the main stage near the Round-Up Saloon on Saturday night.
On Thursday morning, the group will perform at the Melrose Hotel and Channel 8 will do a live remote during its early morning news show.
Bartlett said a community stage between JR.’s Bar & Grill and Skivvies sponsored by Caven Enterprises will feature Uptown Players and
The Turtle Creek Chorale, among others. Patti LePlae Safe will host.
“This is the first year we’re closing the street during the day,” Bartlett said.
Among the new street activities will be a kid’s jump house, a water slide and an 82-foot challenge game, Bartlett said.
But it will all be well within RDD’s budget, thanks to steering committee member Chris Bengston.
“My job is to keep them from spending money,” Bengston said.
She said money is tighter this year because one of last year’s big sponsors cut back. But she said that a number of new sponsors have stepped in, including Red Bull and Stoli.
Bengston also works with the beneficiaries, and she said that they have stepped in by providing volunteers, selling raffle tickets and doing administrative work.
The four-day event begins June 6 with the Razzle Dazzle Days Cedar Springs Wine Walk and Dog Walk.
Whittall said Barefoot Wines has signed on as the sponsor, covering the cost of the glasses and the wine. Purchase a wine glass at Buli or Hunky’s and get a refill at each participating merchant. Discounts will be offered at a number of the strip’s shops and restaurants. Pet activities will also take place along the street.
Money raised from sale of the glasses goes toward the cost of a new full-time security guard the Cedar Springs Merchants Association has hired.
The Thursday evening pub crawl travels to four clubs off of Cedar Springs Road on the Jagermeister Party Buses beginning at 8 p.m. Each of the clubs features shows and entertainment. Board the buses at any of the clubs or at Throckmorton Street at Cedar Springs Road.
Participating clubs include BJ’s NXS and Zippers on Fitzhugh Avenue, Kaliente on Maple Avenue and The Brick on Wycliff Avenue.
MetroBall on June 8 is the major annual fundraiser for the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, which provides emergency financial assistance to persons living with AIDS.
Taylor Dayne will be the featured entertainer at MetroBall. Raffles, auctions and dancing take place at Station 4 from 7 p.m. to midnight.
On Saturday, June 9, Cedar Springs Road will be closed all day for the Razzle Dazzle Day Festival.
Last year the Antique Car Show was supposed to be held earlier in the spring, but bad weather forced it to be rescheduled. When it was held during the street festival, the reaction was so positive that it’s become a permanent part of Razzle Dazzle Dallas, and this year the Spectrum Motorcycle Show will be added.
Motorcycles will be on display on the patio at TMC and on the surrounding street.
At the Cedar Springs Art Fair, a number of artists who had very successful days asked to return, and a number of them will be part of a new Mini Art Show.
And WaterPalooza, a fundraiser for AIDS Arms LifeWalk usually held later in the summer, will take place during the street festival.
The Razzle Dazzle main event street party will be from 7 p.m. to midnight.
All-access passports are on sale for $100. The ticket includes admission to all events and entry to all VIP areas.
For the Wednesday wine walk, passport holders receive a wine glass and a $200 merchant coupon book. Passport holders also may attend a VIP reception at the Melrose Hotel on Friday night, which includes complimentary food and liquor. On Saturday night, the passport includes free valet parking at ilume.
Razzle Dazzle rundown
Wednesday, June 6
• 6 p.m.–9 p.m.
Razzle Dazzle Days Cedar Springs Wine Walk & Dog Walk
Thursday, June 7
• 9 p.m.–midnight
Jagermeister Oak Lawn Pub Crawl
Pickup bus at Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton
Friday, June 8
• 7 p.m.–midnight
MetroBall at Station 4 featuring a concert by Taylor Dayne
$25 in advance. $30 at the door
Saturday, June 9
• 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Cedar Springs Merchants Sidewalk Sale
Classic Car Show
Spectrum Motorcycle Show
• 7 p.m.–midnight
Razzle Dazzle Dallas — The Main Event
For more info, visit RazzleDazzleDallas.org.
Razzle Dazzle beneficiaries
Razzle Dazzle Dallas:
AIDS Interfaith Network
Cedar Springs Merchants Association Beautification Fund
Legacy Counseling/Founders Cottage
Legal Hospice of Texas
Resource Center Dallas
Turtle Creek Chorale
The Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.