AIDS benefit raises record amount

Jonathan Reitan (R) with ISCWE hosts. Photo by Michael Williams.

On July 8 in Salem, Ore. at the Southside Speakeasy & Dance Pub, entertainers and audience packed the house from all across the Northwest and even as far as San Francisco and Chicago to raise money for Camp Starlight, an Oregon summer camp for children affected by HIV/AIDS, a program of Cascade AIDS Project.

The event, the 5th annual Red Ribbon Show, hosted by the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Willamette Empire (ISCWE), which chooses a different HIV/AIDS organization each year to receive the funds, raised a record amount of money this year — over $8,600. The event hosted a drag and variety show featuring performers from across the Northwest, as well as a silent auction, live auction and raffle, including vacation packages and donations from Nike, local wineries, JetBlue and local artists.

The Red Ribbon Show, established in 2007 by former Mr. Gay Oregon Jonathan Reitan, has raised nearly $20,000 for a variety of organizations including the Tijuana AIDS Fund as well as HIV prevention programs and support groups across Oregon.

“I was blown away by all the support we received this year. Our hard work really paid off. I’m proud that our record-breaking year went to such a worthy organization,” said Reitan. “The Red Ribbon Show is not just about raising money, it is about encompassing the entire umbrella of HIV/AIDS and how it affects our communities. It is about awareness, it is about prevention, it is about support. I am only one voice, but together we can and will make a difference.”

This year’s event also received support from openly HIV positive celebrities Jack Mackenroth (Project Runway), Olympian Greg Louganis, who donated autographs for the auction, and Styx bassist Chuck Panozzo, who sent in a signed electric guitar.

A charity for the 6th annual Red Ribbon Show has yet to be determined, however Reitan has a much higher goal in mind because of this year’s success and is already hard at work on the begging leg work for next July’s event.

Alley Hector

About Alley Hector

Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.

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