This year’s celebration, held 6-10:30 p.m. June 9 at the center, 1315 Spruce St., will depart from the inaugural picnic-styled event with a new format that will include an auction and awards presentation for longtime center and community supporters.
The evening will feature a Mediterranean-style buffet, specialty cocktails and an open wine and beer bar, which center director of development Michael Pomante said gives the party a more upscale feel — and also is more logistically feasible than last year’s outdoor barbecuing.
Center executive director Chris Bartlett will pay tribute to three awardees — electronics-industry consultant Avi Eden, leather club Philadelphians MC and the four participants of weight-loss and community fundraiser Weigh It Forward.
Pomante said Eden is a longtime community ally who recently donated to the center the original sign that hung outside the now-defunct gay bar 2-4 Club, while the Philadelphians MC have a hefty philanthropic background that has included fundraising efforts for the center.
The Weigh It Forward participants — Franny Price, Micah Mahjoubian, Debbie Spadafora and Dan Calhoun — have spent the last five months taking community pledges for each pound lost, with the funds to be donated to the center and other community groups.
“We have been blown away by the amazing work they’ve done for themselves and for the community, so we wanted to recognize them,” Pomante said.
Also recognized will be the 2012 Homecoming Court, a group of six “unsung heroes” of the LGBT community who were selected by a committee of center staff, board members and community leaders.
This year’s court will include TransWay volunteer facilitator Tammyrae Barr, 2012 Miss Philly Gay Pride The Goddess Isis, center marketing and public-relations committee member Ed Hall, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia adolescent psychotherapist and Attic Youth Center clinical coordinator Linda Hawkins, Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council and Black LGBT Archivists Society of Philadelphia founder Kevin Trimell Jones and out Iraq War vet and Philadelphia Fins member Efren Cazales.
Later in the evening, guests can enjoy a performance by drag star Mimi Imfurst. Hosted by The Notorious OMG, the show will also feature Isis and drag performers Tammy Faymous, Porcelain, Miss Mary W., Liberty City Kings and dance troupe IdiosynCRAZY productions.
Pomante said the community turned out in force to support the silent auction.
Items up for bid include an overnight stay in Bucks County, a package of tickets to Philadelphia theater performances, a gym package offered by Optimal Sport Health Clubs valued at $1,000, a year’s worth of local brunches and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Philadelphia Zoo, among other gifts.
The event is expected to bring in about $15,000, but Pomante said Homecoming is focused more on the “friendraising” aspect.
Last year’s Homecoming attracted one of the center’s most diverse crowds ever, Pomante said.
“It crosses all generations, from people who are 21-91, and all races, with a lot of trans representation and a great mix of men and women, and quite a few straight allies,” he said. “There’s something for everyone. Some people may be interested in the burlesque and drag show while others may want to come for the dinner and hear about the awardees. It’s a really diverse audience, which is exactly what we want.”
Tickets are $45 for center members and $50 for non-members, with a discounted $35 admission for seniors, students, “sober friends and starving artists.”
The official after-party will be hosted by Stimulus Productions’ Arouse, from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at Adesso Night Club, 1519 Walnut St.
For more information, visit www.waygay.org
or call 215-732-2220.
Jen Colletta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.