Headdress Ball celebrates 25 Years

By : Dylan Drobet
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Orlando – Headdress Ball celebrates its 25th anniversary on Sept. 20 and plans call for it to be the largest and wildest ball yet. The milestone event is the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida´s largest fundraiser of the year and the Central Florida AIDS service organization has raised over $5 million since its inception. The center’s mission is simple: to save lives by treating and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Central Florida.

Headdress Ball is often referred to as Orlando´s most outrageous black tie event. It is an evening of food, drinks and lively Las Vegas-style entertainment. In addition to the dinner, awards, live auction and entertainment there is, of course, a headdress exhibition.

Chris Hessler, events manager at Hope and Help, is sure that this year is going to be one that no one will ever forget.

“We’ve pulled out all the stops this year,” Hessler said. “We are already at a ticket and table sales record. It is going to be a packed house. People are coming from all over the country.”

The house will be so packed that Hope and Help had to add an additional 30,000 square feet to the ballroom this year to accommodate travelers from near and abroad.
Not only is the space substantially larger this year, but so is the fundraising goal: $700,000.

Hessler feels appreciation for the 25th anniversary of Headdress Ball.

“It kind of feels like something that shouldn’t of happened or probably wasn’t going to happen,” he said. “This was a very small group of friends that banded to help a best friend when no one was giving money and there was no such thing as government grants. This was done as a way to help a person and the event continues to grow.”

Orlando residents and visitors from all over the world have come to make the ball an annual must-do despite the odds.

“They realized that they found something Orlando really loved and it was a way to supplement a lack of federal funding for, back then, AIDS,” he said. “Historically, for an agency of this size this event wouldn’t last this long. This is an agency that celebrate lives and an agency that has managed to weather the tough times. There is a big legacy with this agency and with this event. I’m sure the founders never thought they would still be getting up on stage 25 years later.”

According to Hope and Help 90 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to client services at Hope and Help.

Scheduled performers this year include Debbie Gibson and Chad Michaels.

The 25th Headdress Ball is Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Hilton Orlando. For tickets and details, visit HeaddressBall.org.

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