Twin Cities Pride has come and gone; Twin Ports Pride is barely in view. With the echoes of dance beats and power ballads still fresh in our ears, we all look for the next big bash to tide us over, and keep us in the spirit.
Mark your calendars: The next best thing takes place July 19. Wilde Roast Café, ordinarily known as an alternative to the bar scene, branches out. This year’s Fierce and Fabulous Block Party will be reminiscent of recent Pride festivities.
Headliner Kimberley Locke of American Idol fame is set to perform, along with comedian ANT from Last Comic Standing and Celebrity Fit Club. Joining them is dance recording artist Abigail, as well as several local bands and DJs, for a night of ruckus, entertainment, and Wilde partying.
However, this time, we groove with a purpose. Proceeds from the event go entirely to benefit One Heartland (formerly Camp Heartland). Recently, it was featured in last season’s finale of Extreme Home Makeover, as well as Kimberley Locke’s charity of choice on Don’t Forget the Lyrics. The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of youth living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
“One Heartland is a great organization. It used to be just camping, but it is now so much more,” Wilde Roast co-owner Dean Schlaak says.
For more than 15 years, Camp Heartland, now partnered with umbrella organization One Heartland, has been providing summer camp experiences to thousands of youth throughout out the country. In many ways, it is the same as any other summer camp: hiking, climbing, swimming, and fishing, all part of the extensive activities list.
But what makes Camp Heartland special is dedication to its campers. That is, it also offers counseling and fosters discussion on topics related to living with the disease. It is a place where youth can feel connected, accepted, and free from discrimination, perhaps for the first time.
Because so many of the youth live in poverty, the camp’s services are offered free of charge to all participants. It is supported almost entirely by donation and volunteer work.
“We’ve had great response from the performers,” Schlaak enthuses.
Dance recording star Abigail seems jazzed to perform for such a cause: “When the whole circuit party thing hit, I was very fortunate to be embraced by the gay community. I’m always thrilled. I just want to go out and sing and do my thing.”
The Fierce and Fabulous Block Party is sure to be a must-attend event. Wilde Roast Café is excited to be bringing entertainment to the Cities this summer, and hopes to continue the tradition in the years to come.
Tickets are $20, available for purchase at www.oneheartland.org, as well as at Wilde Roast Café.
Fierce and Fabulous
July 19, 5-10:30 PM
Wilde Roast Café
518 E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls.