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EVENINGS OUT

 


August 14, 2009

 

Putting our best foot forward

Sites, prices and ‘Frivolity’ impress Gay Games panel; decision due Sept. 29

Cleveland--The Federation of Gay Games site selection committee’s whirlwind tour of northeast Ohio highlighted the best and brightest of the region, centered around a massive party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on the shores of Lake Erie.

The three-person committee was shuttled to sporting and social venues in Cleveland and Akron from July 30 to August 2 to support the Cleveland Synergy Foundation’s bid to bring the Gay Games to the city in 2014.

The visit to northeast Ohio was the first of three city tours for the committee. Later, they went to the other candidate cities, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Those cities’ expressions of support for their bids were far less lavish than Cleveland’s. Both had public rallies, Boston on August 6 and Washington on August 10.

Only Cleveland threw a true party.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame allowed participants in the free Frivolity party open access to the museum, and an estimated 7,000 people went through the exhibits along the course of the evening.

Stages were set up both in the courtyard in front of the Hall of Fame and in the main lobby, which was filled to bursting with the city’s LGBT community and corporate and government supporters in the worlds.

Attendees rubbed shoulders with Cleveland City Council members, including Matt Zone, Joe Cimperman and Jay Westbrook, as well as Mayor Frank Jackson.

Entertainment including the North Coast Men’s Chorus, the Blazing River Freedom Band, drag kings and queens, fetish performers, the Rainbow Wranglers and dozens of others kept both stages in perpetual motion for hours, while a VIP reception at 7 pm saw the glitterati supping on passed hors d’oeuvres from Executive Caterers, cocktails and freshly-made quesadillas.

The final decision on which city will host the 2014 Gay Games will be made at the organization’s annual meeting in Cologne, Germany. The vote will be on September 29.

The three cities’ bids, which are available on the Federation’s website, outline official support and plans for the finalists.

Their bids were required to include four cultural events in choral and band music, a visual arts event and a memorial run in honor of those who have died of AIDS and breast cancer.

Each city was also required to include at least 18 of the 24 “core” sports, and are allowed to include other optional sports and to propose new sports. There is a limit of 30 sporting events.

The Northeast Ohio bid proposed 34 sports, illustrating the ambitious nature of the area’s plans. It included more core sports than either of the other two cities: Boston proposed 20, Washington 23, and Cleveland all 24.

Cleveland’s proposal also suggested adding three “new” sports: darts, flag football and rodeo. Boston wants to add darts and flag football, and Washington suggested three exhibition sports, including skateboarding.

Cleveland and Washington proposed seven additional sports, although one of Washington’s would be for exhibition only. Only Cleveland’s bid included open-water swimming.

The Northeast Ohio bid includes some interesting twists: Golf would be at Akron’s Firestone Country Club, where Tiger Woods just won his seventh Bridgestone Invitational Tournament.

As mentioned, it is also the only one of the three cities to include rodeo, which would be held at the Summit County Fairgrounds.

Cleveland’s only real visible deficit is in the extra cultural events, where a music showcase and laser show at Games Village is the sole entry.

Boston includes a gay and lesbian film festival, a theater event, a panel on HIV and sports, and a “history project.”

Washington proposes a movie event, a sportswriters workshop, a women’s sports symposium and a gospel concert.

Cleveland, with its lower cost of living, does provide for lower registration and sports fees than the other two cities. Its projected revenue is on par with the other two larger cities, and falls solidly in between Boston and Washington in projected operating income.

With each city having hosted the site selection committee and submitted their itemized bids, it is now a waiting game to see which impressed the committee the most, and who the Gay Games General Assembly thinks has the best plan.

If Cleveland and Akron are selected, the 2014 Gay Games will be held August 9-16. If Boston or Washington win, the Games would be July 26-August 2, 2014.

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