The SMART Ride is now next month and quickly approaching — and groups in Palm Beach County are still fundraising for it.
Compass, the LGBT center of the Palm Beaches, and LGBT-friendly bar Penny’s at the Duke are teaming up on Oct. 5 for their sixth annual White Party. The party is a fundraiser for the SMART Ride and Compass’ HIV prevention services. The event takes place from 7 p.m. to midnight.
“It’s one of the biggest events of the year, and it’s always fun,” said Penny Johnson, owner of Penny’s. “We always get people coming who don’t otherwise come to the bar.”
The SMART Ride is a two-day, 165-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West that raises money for HIV/AIDS prevention programs like Compass and awareness of HIV/AIDS’ impact on the community. A percentage of the White Party’s proceeds will go toward Compass’ participation in the SMART Ride, and the rest will go directly to Compass.
The ride is the second largest AIDS bicycle ride in the country “and the only of its size” to give back 100 percent of its proceeds, according to the SMART Ride website.
According to Johnson, the White Party is named after the late Ryan White. White was an Indiana teenager diagnosed with AIDS at 13 years old in 1984 after a blood transfusion, according to the (HRSA).
Following his struggle to stay in school and withstanding AIDS-relating discrimination and his death, the federal government passed an act named after him that provides funding for HIV treatment to low-income communities, the .
Compass will host a raffle to raise money for the SMART Ride. Johnson’s goal is to raise at least $1,200. She said the party raised “just shy” of $2,000 last year.
So far, the Palm Beach County SMART Ride team, “What What,” is the top fundraiser for the ride with $114,702 so far. Compass is a part of the team.
One of the staples of the White Party is drag performances. One drag queen will be RaeJean Cox, who does Drag Bingo every Tuesday night at Penny’s. Miss Palm Beach Pride Kataleya Davenport Dupree and queer collective Haus of QUOTA will also perform, among others.
“It’s for a really good cause,” Johnson said. “It’s a celebration.”
Compass encourages attendees to dress in white.
The SMART Ride fundraiser, the White Party, is Oct. 5 at Penny’s at the Duke and will be held from 7 p.m. to midnight. Its address is 902 N Dixie Highway, Lantana, Florida, 33462.