This past Saturday, SAVE Dade celebrated its 19th Annual Halloween Ball, with record attendance of over one thousand guests and thousands of dollars raised on behalf of promoting, protecting and defending equality for the LGBT community in Miami-Dade County.
The evening began with the inaugural Luminaries of Equality Awards, a VIP reception attended by 250 supporters that honored four young professionals doing notable work on behalf of the LGBT community.
Honorees included Tori Bertran, a prolific contributor to the local LGBT organizations such as Pridelines and SAVE Dade whose accomplishments include membership on the board of Aqua Foundation for Women; Victor Diaz-Herman, executive director of Pridelines Youth Services and longtime contributor and volunteer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Nastassja Schmiedt, queer issues researcher for SAVE Dade and a campus LGBT and women’s rights activist with national recognition; and Hansel Tookes, a student at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine researching HIV/AIDS prevention and activist for needle exchange policies to reduce HIV transmission rates.
Presenting the awards were City of Aventura Commissioner Enbar Cohen, Miami Beach Commissioner and mayoral candidate Michael Gongora, SAVE Dade Board Chair Brian Adler, and SAVE Dade cofounder Damian Pardo.
“It was a great night on Miami Beach,” said SAVE Dade Executive Director Tony Lima. “We honored the best and brightest young LGBT leaders, we had record attendance and we enjoyed the highest caliber of entertainment ever with superstar DJ/Producer, Tracy Young. I want to thank everyone who helped make this event such a success, especially the party goers who chose to support equality and celebrate Halloween with us.”
In addition to Tracy Young, SAVE Dade’s Halloween Ball featured entertainment by DJ’s FR8-O and Bill James, a theatrical “alien attack” featuring South Beach’s own drag artist Tiffany Fantasia with a corps of 30 performers, and a costume contest with over $1000 in cash and prizes.
Passion Spirits, Finlandia Vodka and El Jimador Tequila sponsored the event. The Luminary Awards were sponsored by celebrity designer David Bromstad, the law firm of Bilzin Sumberg with partner Brian Adler contributing to a joint sponsorship, Gary Hennes Realtors, Equinox Fitness Clubs, Italian fashion label Diesel, the Service Employees International Union Local Chapter 1991 (representing workers at Jackson Memorial Hospital), and local philanthropists Edson Pires and Scott Huizenga.
“As with every year since its inception, an all-volunteer committee planned the 2013 event,” added Lima. “Anyone interested in helping to plan and develop next year’s event by joining the 2014 planning committee should contact me personally at [email protected] or call our office at (305) 751-SAVE (7283). We hope that next year’s 20th anniversary event is the biggest and best ever.”
SAVE Dade’s Halloween Ball was first held nineteen years ago as an intimate event at a donor’s house in the Belle Meade neighborhood of Miami’s Upper Eastside. The event has since grown to become South Florida’s largest Halloween fundraiser in support of LGBT equality. This year, the Los Angeles Times even named SAVE Dade’s Halloween Ball one of the best Halloween parties in the Country. Along with sister event Champions of Equality held in May, the Halloween Ball, previously known as Hellrotika, helps fund a significant portion of SAVE Dade’s annual operating budget.