Lips, the ultimate in drag dining, kicks-off the fundraising for this year’s fourteenth annual Smart Ride with their “A Night of Stars” HIV/AIDS awareness event scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9.
The fundraiser is an effort to raise funds that will go towards the annual 165 mile Smart Ride bicycle ride taking place in November. The ride, that stretches from Miami to Key West, benefits HIV/AIDS-related charities, including Broward House, Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Centers, Metro Wellness and Community Centers, Pridelines, AIDS Help, Compass Community Center, and Miracle of Love.
Over the past 13 years, Smart Ride has raised more than $8.5 million, and 100 percent of the money raised by its participants are given to AIDS Service Organizations throughout the State of Florida to provide direct services to those living with, affected by, or at risk for the disease. In this 14th year, both Lips and Smart Ride are pulling out all the stops to make sure it’s their biggest and best yet.
The Lips event, hosted by hostess Nicolette with a special appearance by Michael Dean as Cher, will feature celebrity guest servers: Jane Bolin, Victor Diaz Herman, Stacy Hyde, Mark Ketchum and Tom Runyan.
"Lips continues its proud support of the community with this fun night planned especially for Smart Ride, which donates 100 percent of proceeds to statewide AIDS care service organizations,” said Yvonne Lamé, Lips founder and co-owner. “A Night of Stars will showcase Lips’ unique brand of dragalicious fun while raising funds to offset costs of the huge successful biking event.”
Michael Goodman, event organizer and spokesperson for Lips, said this year’s event to kick-off the Smart Ride funding is sure to be a blast.
“Lips is known as the celebration place, and this event is just that as the official kick-off of Smart Ride.” Goodman said. “It will be amazing with a night of stars, including the celebrity servers, special guest talent and the cast of Lips, plus everyone will be excited to help launch this year’s amazing ride. “
According to Goodman, the partnership between the Lips family and Smart Ride has been a natural one, and one that just makes a ton of sense.
“Lips is proud to support the community and respected organizations like Smart Ride. It is a good match and a cause that is near and dear to the Lips family.”
For Smart Ride founder Glen Weinzimer, raising funds for HIV/AIDS charities hits home. Weinzimer was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS over 20 years ago. Last year Weinzimer told SFGN just how important getting funds to help get HIV/AIDS patients support and treatment is, as he’s a living testament as to what advances in medicine have done for those living with the HIV and AIDS.
“I shouldn’t be alive.” Weinzimer said last year prior to the Smart Ride race. “I was one of those people who wasn’t supposed to live 10 days.”
Lips has been a partner of the Smart Ride event for several years now. The fundraisers have helped the annual event raise money that’s been critical to making the ride happen every year.
“We are grateful to Lips for their continued support for the past four years, which impacts several statewide organizations committed to helping those affected by HIV/AIDS,” Weinzimer said. “Our amazing group of celebrity servers to this kick-off event, we know this will be our best year as we challenge ourselves and the community to raise more than $1.1 million.”
Reservations are required for Lips’ “A Night of Stars” to benefit SMART Ride. Tickets are $50 per person, which includes a three-course dinner with soft drinks, gratuity and the show cover charge. A $75 VIP level enjoys the same plus premium seating and one complimentary drink. To reserve your seats for Lips’ “A Night of Stars” in support of Smart Ride, call Smart Ride at 866-696-7701 or visit TheSmartRide.org.