LGBT Community Center of the Desert’s “Red Dress Party” a Whimsically Fashionable Affair with a Serious Purpose


The Center LogoPalm Springs, CA – More than 400 guests wore red to stand out and stand up for the programs of the LGBT Community Center of the Desert. The evening raised more than $30,000 for The Center thanks in part to sponsors Nesteggg Group, LLC and LULU California Bistro who helped to underwrite the evening.  The event was held Saturday night at the popular event home, Sand Acre Estate, managed by Gold Sponsor Beau Monde Villas.Guests in an inventive array of red garments descended on the estate for a cocktail party featuring food by LULU California Bistro, drinks by Hunters Nightclubs, desserts by Fusion Flair and coffee by Espresso Cielo. The evening also featured music by DJ Eric Ornelas and a Runway Contest with celebrity judges, hosted by The Judy Show’s Michael Holmes.

Leigh Anna Wickham Photo by David A. Lee PhotographyIn an evening full of merriment and outrageous costumes, a brief yet poignant moment came as the crowd fell to a hush as
Interim Executive Director Gary Costa introduced

Center volunteer Leigh Anna Wickham, the mother of a gay son, who volunteers in the Center’s Anti-Bullying program to 9th graders. “My sons have graduated, but I don’t want anyone else’s child to be bullied because they are different.  That difference is what makes them special and should be embraced.  These kids should not have to live in fear,” said an emotional Wickham to a cheering audience.

The Center has expanded programming over the past year and a half to increase the amount of counseling, anti-bullying, suicide prevention and wellness programs available to the community.

Gary Costa Photo by David A. Lee Photography

Costa said the Red Dress Party seemed an appropriate time to talk about it. “Tonight as we dress in these outrageous Red outfits – being very out – being loud and visible – let us not forget those teens who live every day doing just the opposite – trying not to call attention to themselves . . .Tonight we stand in solidarity for all those kids who
live in fear.  For those young boys who want to wear dresses to their high school proms but are not allowed to, for those…who are not allowed to attend their proms with the person they choose.  Tonight we rememberthem and stand up for them – until bullying is a thing of the past,“ said Costa.  The short message, Costa says, is “We have your back.”The panel of celebrity judges included Fashion Designer and Project Runway All Stars Alum Michael Costello, local philanthropist DonnaRunway Judges Michael Costello, Donna MacMillian, Joey English and Jenifer Daniels Photo by David A. Lee PhotographyMacMillan, KNEWS Radio Personality Joey English and CBS Local 2 Morning Anchor Jenifer Daniels.  Among the attendees were LULU California Bistro owners/philanthropists Barbara and Jerry Keller,Rancho Mirage Mayor Scott Hines and partner Kevin Blessing, owner of Beau Monde Villas, Bill Nicholson of Flooring Innovations and Gary Hall from Wells Fargo.
Silver sponsors for the event included Burke Rix Communications, Jim Houston, Randy Lowe, Jack Fulton, Dann Inc., McCormack & Associates, Joe Giarrusso & Charlie Paglia, The David Bohnett Foundation, Bradford Bates, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Peggy Cravens, J. Brad Lampley & Rigo Pedroza, Pacific Premier Bank and Vacation Palm Springs.  Media Sponsors included L-Spot Palm Springs, the Desert Business Association, Desert Daily Guide andLIVE Magazine.The LGBT Community Center of the Desert ( a 501[c]3 nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of the entire LGBT community in the Coachella Valley through health, wellness, social and educational programming to benefit members of all ages and backgrounds. The Center advances its mission through a clinical counseling and internship program, a weekly food bank, senior programming, youth anti-bullying and suicide prevention/support programs, extensive social and recreational offerings, computer training in the David Bohnett Cyber Center, a growing volunteer program and signature special events in the community for its members and allies.

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