By Kat Thomas
Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival has consistently been an inaugural event that our staff loves to open the season with, and our partnership with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) gets stronger with each passing year. Competing for our site’s footprint against the hordes of vibrant spring breakers at Fort Lauderdale Beach is always a fun challenge for our security team, but in the end, we all come together to walk, cheer, listen to music, and fundraise for the greater good of our community. We have a running joke that the three months of “off season” can make us a bit rusty, but it feels like riding a bike once we have our gloves on, headlamps charged, and zip ties at the ready.
This year’s event felt like it was about as smooth as the well-executed AIDS Walk Atlanta this last fall. Our team has dialed in the ingress, with precisely honed on-event and load-out timelines for these event builds. Hats off to our incredible teams for making it look easy to bring together 34 vendors, 38 sponsors, and 12 beneficiaries for a seamless load-in. Providing a first-rate experience is beyond imperative not only for the event sponsors, but also the invaluable vendors we collaborate with year after year.
Crowd favorite, Kitty Meow, was our exuberant emcee for the day and was joined by Flo Rida and DJ Citizen Jane as the musical talent. I don’t know that I’ve seen so much crowd interaction as we did from Flo Rida that day, and it absolutely brought energy that carried into DJ Citizen Jane’s time on stage. With AHF helping to support over 1.75 million patients in care across 45 different countries, this spirit is one that consistently transcends our events and goes out into the world. As the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care across the globe, AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s work is more than invaluable to a number of vulnerable populations. Between testing, pharmaceutical support, affordable housing, political, social, and economic advocacy, we are blown away by the passion and sheer scale of their ambitions and are proud to partner with them.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s unique fundraising model means that 100% of the money raised remains in the hands of the extraordinary Florida-based organizations on the frontlines battling the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The culmination of these efforts has resulted in them blowing their $1.5 million dollar goal out of the water with their current total at $2,383,120 (and counting!). Fundraising will continue through the end of April, when we start dreaming of what’s to come in 2024. We can’t wait to see you on the beach next year!
Is your organization already dreaming of your 2024 event season? Contact us for a free office hour. We’ve got the tools to bring your dream to life.