ABOVE: A sample of the bonnets auctioned off at the 2018 Babes in Bonnets event. Photo by Tabitha Widby

ORLANDO | The Parliament House will once again host the Easter holiday auction Babes in Bonnets, which fund raises for the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA).

Each fundraiser over the past several years has continued to surpass the one before it, with last year’s auction bringing in a record $32,171. The fundraiser itself has been around for 21 years and was started by the legendary drag queen Carmella Marcella Garcia.

“There is always appreciation for all the businesses and individuals who come together to help us out,” says Michael Slaymaker, chief executive director of OYA.

This year’s bonnets will be created by OYA, Parliament House, The Venue, Southern Nights, Savoy Orlando, Jorge Estevez, The Center, Hamburger Mary’s Orlando, The Orlando Dental Group, The Orlando Fringe, MAC Cosmetics, House of Health, The Queen of Versailles, Come Out With Pride Orlando, Ted Live, Commissioner Patty Sheehan, the Hammered Lamb and more.

“They all come up with these bonnets that are just so over the top and that’s the fun of it,” Slaymaker says.

OYA is a nonprofit organization that provides safe spaces throughout Central Florida to LGBTQ youth in the form of a free peer youth group. Members range in age from 13–24. Slaymaker notes that all the funds donated during the event will go toward college scholarships for the youth who plan to go to college and for training OYA’s volunteers in suicide prevention.

The Babes in Bonnets 2019 auction will be at the Parliament House’s Footlight Theatre on April 15 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit Babes in Bonnets’ Facebook event page.

Check out the photos from lat year’s record-breaking event here.

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