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Blowout in North Carolina: What a weekend!
Gay bingo goes out with a bang, Community Center holds PRIDE fundraiser, AIDS Walks in Raleigh and Charlotte attracts thousands, Charlotte’s Royals Rugby team ties with Atlanta and the Tradesman Levi/Leather club celebrates 20.

by Donald Miller
On Friday, May 5, 1,500 attendees packed Charlotte’s Grady Cole Center for the final evening of the hugely successful fundraiser for Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN).
That attendance figure set a national record for similar events across the country, according to Rodney Tucker, a former staffer at RAIN and continuing volunteer. Although exact figures for how much was raised weren’t available at press time, to date the games have raised over $600,000 for RAIN.

On Saturday, May 6, in the N.C. state capital of Raleigh, thousands gathered for the Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina AIDS Walk and Ride. Their efforts raised the organization more than $100,000.

Back in Charlotte that same morning — many in the LGBT community kicked off their day by attending the annual RAIN AIDSWalk. Their efforts reportedly raised as much as $177,000.

As the afternoon progressed, gay rugby fans and players for teams in Atlanta and Charlotte gathered at 1 p.m. at Nevins Park for a face-off between the Charlotte Royals and the Atlanta Bucks.

Counting rugby players and attendees, the crowd numbered around 150 or so.
Meanwhile, back at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Charlotte, volunteers had been hard at work since 8 a.m. with a massive yard sale designed to raise funds for the Center and for their newly initiated PRIDECharlotte Festival slated for Aug. 26 at Gateway Village.

The yard sale continued throughout the day as shoppers — both gay and straight — continued to peruse the eclectic collection of knick knacks and gently used household items and furniture. Around 1 p.m. the festivities kicked in at the Center as organizers held a mini block party that included musical performers, food and drink and a handful of vendors and organizations.

According to Linda Davis, the Center’s administrative manager over a thousand dollars was raised and throughout the day on Saturday approximately 500 people showed up for the event.

That night, another celebration was in progress at the Charlotte Eagle. The Tradesman Levi/Leather Club hosted a huge party at the club for their 20th anniversary. Dance music diva Anaya Day was on hand while hundreds packed the club inside and out.

But the fun wasn’t over yet — despite the grey clouds and moderate rain that dampened most of the Queen City on Sunday, May 7, pet owners and volunteers still showed up at the You Dirty Dog salon to raise even more funds for PRIDECharlotte and the Center.

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