Saturday event benefits the Rainbow Center

Purim Off Ponce celebrates in costume

From an all-volunteer cabaret to help kids to a costume party that celebrates a Jewish holiday while supporting LGBT rights, the weekend of March 9-10 will be busy with benefits.

The sixth annual Purim Off Ponce costume party will be held at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center on March 9 and will be themed around everyone’s favorite decade, the 1970s.

Purim Off Ponce is a benefit fundraiser for the Rainbow Center, a Jewish non-profit which aims to help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of all faiths and denominations.

Purim, an annual Jewish holiday, celebrates the saving of the Jews by Queen Esther and involves costumes and merrymaking.

The Rainbow Center, along with Jewish Family & Career Services and Congregation Bet Haverim, puts a gay spin on the holiday each year.

The theme for this year’s fundraiser was inspired by The Mike Veal Band, a musical group that plays a wide variety of music from the 1970s.

“It’s all surrounding the band,” says Rebecca Stapel-Wax, executive director of the Rainbow Center. “They’re from the ‘70s, meaning the era which they play their music. They’re just a phenomenal band that can play anything.”

Attendees are also invited to submit photos of themselves dressed in their best 1970s garb that will be included in the party’s decor.

Local community activist Owen Halpern will be honored for his work with the Rainbow Center during the fundraiser, as well. Halpern has been a volunteer and fundraiser for the organization for six years and is the director of OH! Atlanta Tours.

“A very generous kind person who wants to make the world right, who had a very difficult time being as when he was young, very tumultuous younger years, now he’s able to set it right,” Stapel-Wax says.

For the Rainbow Center, Purim Off Ponce has become the organization’s landmark annual event.

“It is our hallmark event. The Rainbow Center is known in many ways because of the event. We have many people that come that aren’t Jewish or aren’t gay. That’s the beauty of the holiday, to get people together who normally wouldn’t,” Stapel-Wax adds.

In addition to The Mike Veal Band, entertainment will also be provided by aerialist Sadie Hawkins, the burlesque troupe Dames AFlame and Atlanta’s camp drag favorites the Armorettes.

Tickets to the fundraiser range from $36-50.