Some 150 people wearing purple dresses, bonnets, heels and even running shoes stormed the streets of Midtown on Saturday — OK, maybe strutted and crawled from bar to bar — for the Purple Dress Run.
The annual charity event, organized by the Atlanta Bucks Rugby Football Club, raised funds for YouthPride and the sports group, which is preparing for the Bingham Cup next month. The tournament honors 9/11 hero and gay rugby player Mark Bingham.
The turnout was the best ever for the event, packing Mixx as the starting point and topping last year’s turnout of 125 people. The 2009 rendition of the run helped raise more than $3,000 for YouthPride and the Bucks.
The race — OK, bar crawl in drag — left the parking lot of Mixx shortly after 2 p.m. with participants heading south on Piedmont Avenue to Blake’s on the Park. After that pitstop, the crowd moved to Frog’s Cantina for another layover before ending at the Eagle to enjoy a cookout.
An ironic moment came as the dress-clad participants turned from Charles Allen Drive onto Ponce de Leon Avenue for the last stretch to the Eagle. Across the street from the bar sits Krispy Kreme, which was hosting a collection of officers from the Atlanta Police Department for a days-long fundraiser for the Special Olympics.
The police department has come under intense scrutiny since it raided the Eagle last September.
The Purple Dress Run is “of vital importance” to the gay rugby club, Gary Durden, the Bucks president, told Project Q Atlanta recently. “We have been fortunate in our first six years of existence with some large sponsorships, but with the economy these past few years, those have dropped. The onus is on us to make up the difference, and these fundraisers help offset the loss of dollars.”