The thumping beats from DJ Roland Belmares (third photo) as you approached Piedmont Park’s pool. The crowds surrounding the registration booth. The shirtless gays. It couldn’t be anything other than Joining Hearts.
The 23rd rendition of the annual fundraiser unfolded on Saturday, a sold-out crowd thumbing their collective nose at the scorching temperatures that pushed the heat index to triple-digits. Joining Hearts 23: Splash wasn’t going to be deterred.
A final tally wasn’t available Saturday, but if the empty bottles of Grey Goose Vodka, the jam-packed dance floor and the crowded pool deck were any indication, the event is sure to have attracted more than 1,000 people and raised tens of thousands of dollars for its beneficiaries – HIV non-profits AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House.
Before Saturday’s event, Joining Hearts had donated more than $1.03 million since its inception to the two beneficiaries.
“The mission of Joining Hearts is to raise desperately needed funds for people living with HIV/AIDS in Atlanta,” Ben Hadsock, Joining Hearts’ board chair, told Project Q Atlanta earlier this week. “Because of our donations, families have been able to stay together in a safe, supportive environment.”
But Joining Hearts isn’t just an hours-long event that unfolds on a Saturday in late July. It’s a swarm of events, both official and unofficial that attract big crowds. The volunteers behind the signature event also hosted a patron party, foam party, a pool party, a beer bust, dine-outs and a handful of car washes.
The Joining Hearts weekend started on Thursday with DJ Scott Anthony at the weekly Indulge at the W Atlanta Midtown. On Friday, DJ Eddie Baez graced Atlanta with his signature beats at the Joining Hearts Eve Party at the Heretic.
Once Saturday’s event drew to a close, the evening shifted to after-parties with DJ Oren Nizri at Jungle and DJ Martin Fry at the Spring 4th Center.