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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
September 1, 2006

'A really good time'

A little rain doesn�t stop Dancin� revelers

Cleveland--The second year of Dancin� in the Streets� comeback as a street party suffered from one thing: Mother Nature.

A rainy weekend cast a pall on the August 27 event, with intermittent drizzle dampening early attendees, but not their spirits.

The fundraiser for the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, which was discontinued after the 2004 event, was brought back last year by John Katsaros of Twist, David Peifer of Club Cleveland, and Gregg Witbeck in the early planning stages.

Taskforce development director Judy Price gave them guidance and advice. She returned this year, despite a move two months ago to a new job in Baltimore.

Last year�s reinvigorated Dancin� brought around 2,000 people to Clifton Blvd. between West 116th and West 117th Streets. At press time, organizers were still tallying counts for this year�s event.

�I�d say we were down probably about 20 percent from last year, just because of the weather,� said Peifer, who, along with Katsaros, returned to the event this year. �That�s just an estimate.�

�Other than Mother Nature being mean to us, I thought everything was great,� he continued. �There was a real energy, especially in the second half of the day.�

While the rain precluded the return of the mechanical bull that made such a huge impact last year, other attractions, including a climbing wall, dunk tank and jousting arena, filled the vacancy.

According to Katsaros, the company that owned the bull would not bring it out because of the rain, fearing that it would be damaged.

The other attractions, though, brought in $5 donations and filled the gap. Katsaros himself made at least two trips up the rock wall.

Another change made this year was moving the �dance floor� to the middle of six-lane Clifton Blvd., which organizers believe was more conducive to booty-shaking.

�Right in the middle of the street was perfect,� Katsaros said. I think the whole rearrangement of it, I think we made it more conducive to what it was supposed to be.�

He also pointed out that Price, while settling into a new job and a new state, was an integral part of the planning team.

�She was as helpful and had just as much input as last year, and we were doing it all long distance,� he noted. �She was a great mentor to get this up and running.�

�I think that John and David did a fabulous job,� said Taskforce executive director Earl Pike. �This year I was looking around and . . . people were having a really good time, which is the essence of Dancin�.�

�The significance of Dancin� is a community party that acknowledges the debt of the AIDS Taskforce to the LGBT community,� he noted, pointing out that in the early years, staffers probably would not have been paid without the income from Dancin�.

In addition to ticket, beer and attraction money, Katsaros held a party at his bar on Friday night, matching the donation and giving the Taskforce a check for $5,000. He also donated the attractions.

Both Peifer and Katsaros say that they will be back for another go.

�Next year we�ll be bigger and better,� Peifer insisted.

 

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