All dressed up for Saturday’s Cotillion ball

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imageWith six months worth of lead-up events and individual debutante fundraisers behind them, the men of Saturday’s Atlanta Cotillion IX main event, an all-out drag ball, are coming at us like brides at a one-day dress sale.

What’s Atlanta Cotillion? As if. OK, so you’re new to Atlanta and we can’t blame you for asking. Or maybe you’re just snapping out of a years-long daze. Whichever it is, here’s the scoop in a nutshell:

Each year, men who don’t normally do drag transform themselves to become debutants for a night in a send-up of that most Southern of traditions. From March through September, they hold dozens of parties, bar nights and other events—like the March Cocktail Fashion Show at Saks through to last month’s Studs & Suds Car Wash and Cotillion Auction & Cabaret (photos)—that raise money for AID Atlanta.

image“It’s not about the dress; it’s why you wear it,” says Bryon Brown, co-chair for this year’s event. “The gentlemen of Atlanta Cotillion commit to raising funds all summer and wear a dress because HIV/AIDS is, simply, not over. Atlanta Cotillion is a fun and unique way to provide the much needed, unrestricted funds, to assist AID Atlanta in saving and transforming lives.”

The ball is a black-tie gala with a twist: the debs and most male guests don glamour drag, and their dates wear tuxes. Female guests in evening dresses and tuxes are also welcome. A limited number of non-drag tickets to the ball are available, and doing drag gets you a discount. Buy ball tickets online. But buy quickly — organizers expect some 400 people at Saturday’s event.

“Seats, as always, are going fast. If you want to see your favorite débutante take the stage, you need to secure your seat today,” says Brown, who calls the ball “a night of excitement.”

“From shopping for wigs and accessories, dresses or tuxedos, to getting ready the night of ball and to entering down the red carpet with cameras flashing, it really is a night to experience,” he says. “Each year takes on it’s own personality with a fresh face of débutantes, a new theme of event decor, and of course, a new Queen!”

The Cotillion Ball crowns its Queen based on who raises the most donations. More than $620,000 has been donated since the event’s inception. This year, they’ve already collected $44,000 from pre-event fundraising and $20,000 worth of sponsorships toward a $100,000 goal once the debs totals are tallied.

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