Blue Ball Turns 20

Sapphire Fund's popular party kicks off five days of fun starting Jan. 26 at Woody's

Two decades ago, gay and lesbian Philadelphia was a very different place. AIDS was taking no prisoners. And public attention on gay issues was at a premium. But for 20 years, the Sapphire Fund‘s annual Blue Ball has been raising money for LGBT organizations since it’s humble beginnings as a men’s circuit party. This year, the organization hopes to raise thousands more for the Mazzoni Center, Attic Youth Center and William Way LGBT Community Center with five days of non-stop parties around town.

Blue Ball is all about inclusion in the interest of equality,” says Domenic Gallelli, this year’s event chair. “Not only do we want to celebrate the strength and diversity of our community, but we want to renew our commitment to securing equal rights for every person in the LGBT spectrum.”

Five days worth of events kick off Jan. 26 (5-7 p.m.) at Woody’s (for the 18 and older set) to celebrate a scholarship program for LGBT youth. Blue Ball also partners with Our Night Out (7-9 p.m.) on Jan. 27 for a networking event at Q Lounge, followed by a dance party at the 13th and Locust St. venue with DJ Carl Michaels.

Then it’s back to Woody’s for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” party (9 p.m.-2 a.m.) on Jan. 28, the same night the gorgeous gals of Stimulus host the Winter Wonderland Ball (9 p.m.-2 a.m.) at the TLA on South Street – complete with go-go dancers and DJs Jovil Baby, Nikson and Sparkles on deck.

If you’re looking for the legendary Blue Ball party – the one that attracts thousands of LGBT folks to Philly each year – it’s at Trust (the former Real World house at Third and Arch sts.) on Jan. 29 (10 p.m.-3 a.m.) with an evening of non-stop dance and live entertainment. Thirsty party people may like to know Absolut Vodka and Playboy Energy Drinks are both sponsors of the annual fete.

Finally, revelers can enjoy Sunday brunch (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) on Jan. 30 with DJ Bryon Stout at the Pyramid Club, followed by a tea dance at Woody’s (3-9 p.m.).

Need more info? Check out the Sapphire Fund’s official blog.