It’s all a masquerade for Headdress Ball 2013

By : Susan Clary
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Orlando – When organizers of the outrageous, lavish black tie gala known as the Headdress Ball found out their 2013 event would be pushed to October 26, they took advantage of the delay.

In its 24th year, they are combining Halloween and Las Vegas, for the largest Masquerade Ball held in Central Florida.

“It will be the most amazing black tie event of the year, a feast for the eyes and senses,” said Chris Hessler, Event Planner for Hope and Help Center of Central Florida. “Until you live it and breathe it and do it, it’s almost indescribable.”

The eight hour event at Hilton Orlando features cocktails, a gourmet meal, live and silent auctions, a Las Vegas-style show and the magnificent headdress competition, with local businesses creating headpieces up to 13-feet tall.

Top drag queens will perform including: Darcel Stevens and Sassy Devine of the Parliament House, Roxy Andrews of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Miss Renaissance 2009 Tasha Long.

What began as a small floral headdress competition has evolved into a large choreographed production with more than 100 dancers (body builders, strippers, go-go dancers, it’s risque) and a production crew of another 100 people.

All the script writing, choreography and set design is donated by Hardrive Productions and J.M. Best Entertainment. The multi-million dollar production features costumes by Feld Entertainment of Ringling Bros. circus fame.

More than 150 volunteers sign up for the extravaganza expected to raise $500,000 for Hope and Help, which offers support for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties. Of every dollar raised, 90 cents goes directly to programs. Tickets start at $300 apiece and VIP tables are available. At 1,000 tickets, the event sells out.

The highlight of the night is the competition featuring outlandish headdresses designed by seven contestants: Parliament House, Feld Entertainment, Spinal Cord Injury Association of Central Florida, Savoy Orlando, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Winfield Murdock Creative Works and Heirloom Cutting Boards.

This year’s celebrity judges are: Philanthropist Harriet Lake, XL 106.7 radio host Laura Diaz, Real Radio 104.1’s Jana Banana of the Phillips Phile, Mix 105.1 morning host Dana Taylor and Mike McCleod, Editor of Orlando Life.

This year, Windermere’s Michelle Damon, wife of Cleveland Indians veteran outfielder Johnny Damon, is chairing the event.

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