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Masquerage 2015 goes Vegas for AIDS research

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Masquerage 2015 takes place Oct. 17 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds; photo: Scott Robbins

Public Enemy once rapped that the people should party for their right to fight. The organizers of the annual Masquerage event seem to be embrace this spirit as well, as Masquerage is indeed a party thrown in the name of fighting AIDS in the Dayton community.

“Masquerage raises money for AIDS Resource Center Ohio while in a unique and fun way,” says Masquerage committee chairperson Lauren Williams. “Masquerage has earned its nickname as ‘Dayton’s Party of Parties’ because it raises crucial funds in a wild atmosphere!”

Indeed, Masquerage has attained a reputation for being one of the sexiest, most decadent and over-the-top events on the Gem City’s calendar each year. Every October for the past 14 years Masquerage has turned The Roundhouse at Montgomery County Fairgrounds into a lavish ballroom complete with eye-opening lights, fancy decorations and a bumpin’ sound system that puts hundreds of party goers on the dance floor, dressed to the nines in festive couture. This year’s theme is all about Sin City, Las Vegas, and attendees should expect elements of all things Vegas, including bright lights, dancing girls, Elvis and more.

“We’ll be bringing aspects of both old and new Las Vegas to Masquerage,” Williams says. “This year’s event will channel Las Vegas from the food, to the décor, to the entertainment—couples can even get married at Masquerage this year for the first time!”

Also on hand at this Saturday’s event will be Masquerage regulars The Rubi Girls, a Dayton-based comedic drag troupe who have performed all over the country for AIDS-research and awareness charity events. General admission tickets include entertainment and appetizers. VIP Red Ribbon Lounge level tickets include complementary drinks with admission as well as catered food from Salar, a swag bag of goodies and exclusive entertainment with some very special Masquerage guests. With general admission tickets priced at $50 a pop and VIP tickets at $150, the cost might have some potential partiers feeling apprehensive about going to Dayton’s Party of Parties. But according to Williams, attendees should assured not only will they get mucho bang for their buck, but also their ticket revenue is worthwhile to those in need as well.

“The general admission ticket gets you all the excitement of the event, plus delicious food from Scratch Catering and Events, an all night dance party, and the chance to experience a one-of-a-kind fundraising party,” Williams says. “Fifty dollars is how much it costs for ARC Ohio to do one HIV test, so you’re already helping just by purchasing a ticket.”

And while Masquerage is definitely all about a good time and a sexy party, at its heart is the mission to benefit ARC Ohio’s AIDS-related research, awareness and treatment in the Miami Valley. To date, Masquerage’s nearly 10,000 attendees in just 14 years have raised over $1,250,000 that have contributed to ARC Ohio’s many efforts related to HIV/AIDS case management, education, prevention and advocacy.

“Funds raised at Masquerage help support ARC Ohio’s lifesaving work,” Williams explains. “In 2014, ARC Ohio opened a Medical Center & Pharmacy at the Wright Health building that provides comprehensive care and treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS through a patient-centered medical home model. The Medical Center & Pharmacy integrates, primary care, specialized HIV care, case management, onsite lab draws, mental health services as well as pharmacy services in one location. These types of cutting-edge services are only made possible with support from fundraising events like Masquerage. Since its opening, the Dayton Medical Center has enrolled more than 500 patients and is demonstrating incredible results in patient engagement and viral suppression. ARC Ohio Medical Centers boast a viral suppression rate of 79 percent, more than twice the national average of 30 percent. The success of this type of medical care means patients stay in care and are 96 percent less likely to transmit the virus. Treatment has become prevention. The Dayton Medical Center is also now offering Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a pill a day medication that prevents HIV infection, a game-changing tool to help in preventing new infections. ARC Ohio is the largest community-based provider of PrEP services in Ohio.”

If Masquerage 2015 sounds like a kick-ass party and an even more kick-ass cause, Williams suggests potential attendees break out their most festive party gear and come on down this Saturday, as after this year’s party, Masquerage will no longer be an annual event.

“You won’t have another chance to experience the night—that is, until 2017,” she says. “Masquerage will be going to an every two year event starting after this year, giving ARC Ohio to focus both more on this event as well as the new to Dayton AIDS Walk. We would love to see the event continue to engage those who might not have been familiar with ARC Ohio and their mission. Leave your inhibitions at the door and enjoy yourself! This is a night to let loose, put on a mask and have a good time. You don’t know what you’re going to see. But there is sure to be good looking people having a great time!”

Masquerage 2015 takes place this Saturday, Oct. 17 at The Roundhouse at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 1043 S. Main St. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $150 for VIP Red Ribbon Lounge. Party begins at 8 p.m. For more information, please visit masquerage.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Gary Spencer
Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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