Turn it Up: Sundance 2017—Rainbow XXX: Solar NRG
“A magical weekend filled with family and friends, old and new,” is how Stephen Strasser, auction DJ and Sundance host, describes Sundance, the not-to-be-missed, two-day event that supports CAMP Rehoboth. Strasser says he can’t imagine a better way to spend Labor Day weekend. Nearly 1,000 people each year seem to agree. “We are running out of superlatives,” says Murray Archibald, founder of CAMP Rehoboth. “Sundance just keeps getting bigger and better.”
It’s hard to believe, but this will be the 30th Sundance. In the beginning, it was a modest event, born out of a need to do something in response to the terrible devastation that the AIDS epidemic was causing in the gay community. But the event has grown, and each year seems to outdo the last. Dozens of volunteers transform the venue’s empty space into the equivalent of an international dance party, with a top DJ/producer cranking out big anthems, house rhythms, progressive beats, and tribal drums through a massive sound system, with professional lighting effects to ramp up the energy.
For those who have never been to a Sundance, or who haven’t been in a while, it’s hard to convey just how amazing the experience is. “Sundance, both the auction and the dance are THE events of the season,” says volunteer Joe Mirabella. “You need to experience the incredible venue, food, open bars, and most important, everyone in the community joining together for a great cause, CAMP Rehoboth.” He says he particularly enjoys “that moment of walking into the hall, and seeing a kaleidoscope of color, fabric, and lighting.”
Sundance 2017—Rainbow XXX: Solar NRG—will be held September 2-3. By popular demand, the event is returning to the Rehoboth Mall atrium and interior, a venue that provided not only abundant free parking but also ample party space, creative design options, and a dynamic backdrop for high-energy fun. Event organizers will transform the mall space to create a lively setting for the popular auction and dance events. Shuttles will be provided from downtown Rehoboth on the night of the dance.
The first night of the event, Saturday, September 2, 7-10 p.m., is the silent and live auction. More than 400 items will be available for bidding, including vacation packages, dining opportunities, fine art, gift items, one-of-a-kind experiences, cruises from Olivia Travel and Accent on Travel, and other auction items across a wide spectrum of price points. Popular auctioneer Lorne Crawford will lead the live auction, and a cocktail buffet and open bar are available all night. “It is a really easy way to have a fun night and help raise money,” says Sondra N. Arkin, Sundance volunteer. “All of the auction items are donated, so 100% of the funds raised go to support the CAMP Rehoboth mission of civil discourse among all peoples, but especially ensuring that the local LGBT community is served with programs that are important to the community.”
For many, the highlight of Sundance is the dance itself, which this year is Sunday, September 3, 8 p.m.-2 a.m. With music by Joe Gauthreaux, one of the most sought-after DJs and producers in the industry, and lights by Paul Turner, touring lighting designer/director for Robin Thicke, attendees feel as if they have been transported to a club in New York or Rio. “The dance brings out everyone at some time in the evening to have a turn on the floor,” says Sondra N. Arkin. “Thirty years of dancing with old friends and new friends. It is the most special club around—yours.” Some people see the dance as a place to make new friends, while others go as a group. “Since we treasure every dancing minute, our house is in attendance from start to finish,” says Arkin. “My memory is full of songs that brings our whole house—and all of our nest, as we call it—out on the dancefloor, waving our arms in the air, stomping and clapping, shouting out words, laughing and nodding.”
Sundance participants can attend either or both nights of the event (tickets are $45 for one night, $80 for both). Tickets can be purchased online at camprehoboth.com. Sponsorship and hosting opportunities are also available. To discuss opportunities and payment options, call the CAMP Rehoboth office at 302-227-5620.