The Very Best of Special Events

3rd Annual New York City LGBT Wedding Expo, 12th Annual Midsummer Night Drinks, 2012 Mermaid Parade, 10th Annual Mermaid Parade Ball, Fusion, GLAAD Manhattan, Hamptons Tea Dance, Diva Dodgeball Tournament, 2012 Human Rights Awards—A Celebration of Courage, New York Liberty, Sand Blast

If you’re planning on walking down the aisle this year, don’t miss the 3rd Annual New York City LGBT Wedding Expo at City Winery Jul 21. Presented by Rainbow Wedding Network, the expo features more than 40 gay-friendly wedding professionals, an amazing fashion show, giveaways, music and more.

Join friends of God’s Love We Deliver at the East Hampton home of Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper on Jun 16 for the 12th Annual Midsummer Night Drinks, one of the most anticipated events of the Hamptons summer season. Mix and mingle as you enjoy a memorable evening of delicious food, cocktails and music. All funds raised will benefit the mission of God’s Love We Deliver to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition.

Get out your fish tails and coconut bras for the 2012 Mermaid Parade in Coney Island Jun 23. The parade attracts a wide array of characters from around the U.S., all donning hand-crafted mermaid costumes and other odd eye-catching attire, resulting in an absolutely fun family-oriented party. Stay later for the 10th Annual Mermaid Parade Ball at the New York Aquarium.

Celebrate Pride and more than 30 years of the New York Anti-Violence Project at Fusion, AVP’s annual fundraiser at XL Nightclub Jun 20. Mix, mingle and meet other LGBT professionals from all backgrounds while enjoying an open bar, snacks and music by DJ Randy Bettis. This year, Fusion honors community members Will Clark, Folsom Street East, Emily Beyer, Suresh Dianand and Alison Fichera with the first ever Community Heroes Award for their dedication and support of AVP. Proceeds benefit the Anti-Violence Project.

On Aug 7, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) invites you to GLAAD Manhattan, an enchanting summer evening featuring delicious food, great music and hosted cocktails at Humphrey’s at Hotel Eventi. The attire is summer chic for this annual fundraiser that celebrates and highlights GLAAD’s work and accomplishments. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, receive gift bags and purchase raffle tickets to win extraordinary prizes. All funds raised go to GLAAD’s work to amplify the voices of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and training grassroots organizations to communicate effectively.

Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation kicks off the summer with the annual Hamptons Tea Dance on Jul 14. More than 1,000 supporters and friends of the foundation will enjoy an afternoon of dancing and fun—including activities for the little ones—on the beautiful grounds of Nova’s Ark Project overlooking the South Hampton Polo Club. Proceeds benefit Empire State Pride Agenda’s programs and advocacy in the LGBT rights civil movement.

Expect plenty of girl-on-girl action for players and voyeurs at the Diva Dodgeball Tournament at 5th Avenue Beach in Asbury Park Jul 13-15 and Aug 24-26. Come show off your athletic abilities, beautiful biceps and yummy suntan—or just pull up a chair with all the other bikini babes and cheer on your favorite Xena Warriors as they go at a mean game of dodgeball on the beach. Come for the tournament, but stay for the parties scheduled all weekend.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Honorary Chair Alan Cumming invite you to the 2012 Human Rights Awards—A Celebration of Courage at the Art Directors Club Jul 16. This year’s honorees include Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Judge Karen Atala. Proceeds benefit IGLHRC’s mission to improve the lives of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

The ladies of the New York Liberty continue their 2012 season and host the defending Eastern Conference Champions Atlanta Dream Jun 24, and the 2010 WNBA Champion Seattle Jun 30. On Jul 8 the Liberty plays San Antonio and Jul 13 they play Washington. They have two home games in Aug against Connecticut on Aug 16 and Indiana Aug 30. This Fall they host Washington on Sep 1, Phoenix on Sep 5 and Chicago on Sep 7. All home games are played at the Prudential Center.

Reserve now to enjoy three glorious days and nights of hot fun at Asbury Park’s 11th LGBT summer splash weekend, Sand Blast, returning to the shore Jul 20-22. You won’t find Snooki at this Jersey Shore bash, but you will have the opportunity to dance and play with some of the hottest men and women from the Garden State, New York, Pennsylvania and beyond. The party kicks off on Friday on Sunset Beach with a steamy volleyball tournament hosted by the Asbury Park Gay Volleyball League, followed that evening at the huge Lost At Sea kick-off party where more than 1,500 revelers will dance to music by NYC’s DJ Whitney Day and Asbury Park favorite James Anthony. The rest of the weekend is packed full of events, including NJ’s Women’s Flag Football tournament, yoga on the beach, an art gallery crawl, beginner surf lessons and much more.

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