What’s better than spending a warm summer day alongside a cool pool while surrounded by hot guys? How about if doing so also meant helping people living with HIV/AIDS?
That’s exactly what Joining Hearts hopes to accomplish with their Main Event, an annual pool party that hits the 25-year mark with the organization’s July 21 event at Piedmont Park.
After last year’s event raised over $180,000 – $30,000 above the fundraising goal – Joining Hearts is raising the bar with this year’s goal, a lofty $250,000.
The organization is well on its way to meeting the goal. General admission tickets for the event have completely sold out, and while VIP tickets were still available at press time, those will likely be gone by the time of the event.
So what can guests expect? For starters, attendees will experience music from two of Joining Hearts’ most popular DJs from prior years. Opening the day is Don Bishop, a mainstay of some of the earliest Joining Hearts pool parties. Bishop will be playing music ranging from the late 80s to 2000.
Current music hits will also be heard fall to the event’s other DJ, Roland Belmares. Belmares is also a prominent DJ from previous Joining Hearts events, as well as one of the favorites of attendees of years past.
Additional sources of funding come from event sponsors and patrons. Among the corporate sponsors of Main Event is Delta Air Lines, which first connected with the organization last year. At this year’s event, Delta flight attendants will serve cocktails in the VIP lounge, with their tips going to Joining Hearts.
The W in Midtown is another corporate sponsor that will have a heightened presence over the weekend. On July 20, the Spice Market in the W will have a special benefit going on during its dinner service. A donation of 50% of all proceeds from the evening will be donated to Joining Hearts.
A pair of parties bookend the Main Event. First up is the Official Kickoff Party at the Heretic Friday night. For this event, the Heretic is bringing back DJ Joe Gauthreaux, who also played the Heretic’s kickoff party last year. Gauthreaux makes multiple appearances at the Heretic throughout the year, and he’s excited to return.
“The crowd there is so amazing!” says Gauthreaux. “It always feels like family when I walk in there and I think that’s what makes playing there so special.”
A portion of the cover from the Heretic will go to Joining Hearts. Doors open at 9 p.m., with the opening set from DJ Lydia Prim kicking things off at 10 p.m.
Following Joining Hearts 25 is the Closing Party at Jungle. The doors open at 10 p.m. with Tony Moran returning to Atlanta to DJ the event.
Joining Hearts raises funds throughout the year to directly benefit two organizations, AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House. AID Atlanta is the largest organization that provides services relating to HIV/AIDS in the Atlanta area, while Jerusalem House is the largest provider of housing for homeless and low-income persons affected by HIV/AIDS.
AID Atlanta Development Director Jon Santos, who’s currently serving as the organization’s co-interim executive director, believes that Joining Hearts provides an unparalleled level of service to his organization and the Atlanta community at large.
“For 25 years AID Atlanta has been truly honored to be a beneficiary of Joining Hearts efforts to create a home. It is so great for us to see large groups of the Atlanta community gather together at a Joining Hearts event, and know that all of these people are having a great time and supporting AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House,” says Santos.
“No other organization provides the housing assistance that Joining Hearts provides, and their efforts over the past twenty-five years has helped thousands of people. All of us at AID Atlanta are proud to build this loving community with our friends and allies at Joining Hearts and we wish them much continued success.”