One Magical Weekend: A Charitable ’Fun-Raiser’
On the first weekend of June, hundreds of thousands of LGBT people and their friends travel to Orlando to take part in the annual Gay Days events. One of the most popular Gay Days events - though not one produced by Gay Days itself - is One Magical Weekend, to be held at the Walt Disney World from May 31 to June 3.
An exciting event in its own right, OMW is also a fundraiser for two HIV/AIDS charities in Florida: Broward House in Fort Lauderdale and the Hope & Help Center in Orlando.
One Magical Weekend’s premiere event is RipTide, an after-hours private party to be held Friday, June 1 at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark. From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., community members and their friends will revel in a unique aquatic spectacle as they scream down the water rides or surf the Lagoon’s incredible tidal wave.
Broward House’s Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Fundraising and a producer of OMW, Terry DeCarlo, calls RipTide "the crown jewel of the weekend."
RipTide, DeCarlo adds, "hosts over 6,000 people in bathing suits, drinking and dancing on the sand to the sounds of international DJ/Producer Randy Bettis. The event has sold out two years in a row and is very close to selling out again."
On Saturday, June 2 Magical Weekenders will join 30,000 of their closest friends on a pride-filled day as Red Shirts Create the Magic at Magic Kingdom. Topping off the weekend on Sunday, June 3 is "Drink Around the World" all day and the Retro T party from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., both at the Epcot theme park. The Retro T dance, DeCarlo says, "is the only LGBT event in history held in a Disney Park while it is open." It features master DJ Robert Leslie and a private VIP close-up viewing area, set up with food and bars, to watch Epcot’s amazing fireworks, "IllumiNations, Reflections of Earth."
Last year, the producers of OMW celebrated the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by donating 250 RipTide tickets to lesbian and gay service members. This year, OMW will continue its commitment to the LGBT community by donating a portion of every ticket sale to Broward House and the Hope & Help Center.
According to DeCarlo, "Broward House now has 13 locations throughout South Florida, but the money that does come in through One Magical, as well as events like it, goes to help us keep our promise to never turn anyone away who needs our help. So many people come to us with nothing that sometimes we need to go to extremes to get them set up with everything they need and it is philanthropic ventures like One Magical that help us keep that promise."
Visit OneMagicalWeekend.com for more information.