Fundraising gala events on the island are typically glamorous affairs with live auctions, guest speakers and maybe some dancing at the end. And then there is Dinner, Drinks & Drag, organised by the Cayman AIDS Foundation.
This year’s DD&D will be held on Saturday in the Marriott ballroom. Yes, it has all the glam of its peers, but in place of the live auction, there is a live dance-off; and rather than listen to a guest speaker, the audience will instead be treated to a performance from none other than drag queen, Chi Chi DeVayne.
Robust ticket sales led to the announcement last week that the event is sold out for the first time since its inception. This should come as no surprise to those who attended the 2018 gala, which featured drag superstar Monét X Change. Attendees were on their feet, dancing along to the high-energy show, with an exuberance rarely seen at similar functions.
Noel Cayasso-Smith, CEO and AIDS Programme Coordinator for the Cayman AIDS Foundation, will also return to the stage as his alter-ego, Miss Delicious, who has been known to belt out a tune or two.
Cayasso-Smith said that he felt the event is fun because he and the other organisers “think outside the box to create something different”.
“Using the theme ‘Dinner, Drinks & Drag’, we thought it would catch everyone’s attention and we hoped that [people were already] familiar with ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’,” Cayasso-Smith said.
“We sold 159 tickets in the first year. The second year, we sold 185 tickets. This year, we sold over 250 and could have sold more, but because of space we had to close the ticket sales as the Marriott could only hold up to 255 persons.”
Monét X Change proved to be such a huge hit last year, it will probably be difficult to top her, but the organisers
are confident that Chi Chi DeVayne is a great choice for 2019.
“We chose [Chi Chi] because when she appeared on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, her first outfit was made from black garbage bags,” said Cayasso-Smith. “She was straight from the South with very little experience.
“Since that show, she has proven herself and become a great performer, [despite being] told by others she was not good enough. [She is a great example of how] you can overcome negativity. It sends a strong message to all our HIV persons that they too can overcome being stigmatised and discriminated against,” he explained.
The Cayman AIDS Foundation
The Cayman AIDS Foundation (CAF) is a community-based organisation which gives support and guidance to all people living with, and affected by, HIV, AIDS and STIs. It also provides education about the dangers of the disease and preventing it being spread to others.
The foundation states its belief that:
• All people have equal intrinsic worth.
• The spiritual nature of human beings must find positive expression in order for life to have meaning and purpose.
• Each individual is ultimately responsible for his or her actions.
• Each person has the right to be safe and healthy.
• The family is the primary vehicle/unit of moral values and health education.
• People need each other.
• Education is vital for the survival and progress of a society.
Dinner, Drinks & Drag will be held in the Marriott ballroom on Saturday, starting at 6pm. Tickets start at $150. This event is presently sold out. For more information about the Cayman AIDS Foundation, visit www.caf.ky.