Purple reign

Purple Party comes back with its ‘next chapter’

RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer

With a hefty lineup of DJs and events over the course of four days, it’s official that the Purple Party has returned. After its COVID hiatus, the Purple Foundation has brought back its signature event that’s also a fundraiser for area nonprofits. But getting to opening night on Thursday, May 5, has been a bumpy road.

The party had big plans for 2020 — until they didn’t.

“That was supposed to be our 20th anniversary,” PF president Blake Baker said by phone.

“COVID just flipped everything inside out and in 2021, we didn’t even try.”

But it was also a time that the PF was undergoing some changes — or perhaps a reflective time that resulted in changes. Baker had led the organization from 2005 to 2017 but left to focus on his career in interior design and lived part-time in New York. At the time, Sara Fangmeyer was the president of the organization, but she began to have ideas of her own.

“She was at a point where she had done Purple for so long and was ready to see a different future,” Baker said. “By that time, I was back in Dallas full-time, and I was at the point I wanted to be involved again.”

And just like that, Baker was back at the helm as of last September — which meant he had to hit the ground running to plan this Purple Party. Fangmeyer returned as VP, along with “two other [returning] members and several totally new amazing members.”

Baker was familiar with creating the event as he’d done it so many times before, but post-COVID, things weren’t like they used to be.

“I’ve had, since then, to start putting all the pieces together and plan the Purple Party. I had a familiarity, but it was different too. First, things are way more expensive than they used to be because of the pandemic and the supply chain and other factors,” he said. “Plus it’s been hard finding people to work and volunteer.”

But the challenges didn’t hold the foundation back. They were determined to ignite their purple reign once again. So Baker and his team gave the Purple Party some fresh touches. After all, this year the Foundation is presenting the event as Purple 2K22: The Next Chapter – both an exciting and poignant theme.

“It’s the biggest Purple by far, and it will show what we’re trying to do to keep it growing,” he said.

This year will not only feature a schedule of DJ-forward parties at various venues but some new features such as an outdoor daytime festival and a drag brunch.

“I think over the 20 years, Purple Party has truly become a phenomenon, and we want to raise that bar as we move into the future,” Blake said.

Not only that, the Purple Foundation also works to make an impact on the local community.

Proceeds from the event go toward area nonprofits. Its beneficiaries include Resource Center as its primary along with the agencies AIDS Services of Dallas and Legacy Cares.

By making Resource Center its primary, that was the foundation’s way of reaching out to all of the local LGBTQIA+ community.

“They offer so many programs to different parts of our community like youth and trans programs, so that’s a big effort on our part to have a bigger reach into the community,” Baker said.

Inclusivity has certainly entered the Foundation’s conversation in recent years. Baker reminds us that the Purple Party is for everyone in the community and even out of it.

“I think that inclusivity is represented in how we present ourselves. We have a diverse DJ line up, we have trans gogo dancers. We want this to be a safe and fun experience for everyone whether they are dancing or socializing or both,” Baker said.

Purple Party opens Thursday with Roar Kickoff Party featuring Deanne and Jamey Boozer at Sue Ellen’s. For tickets and full schedule, visit PurpleFoundation.org/events.