A popular seasonal fundraising event with the catchy title Santa Speedo Run was once again held at Sidetrack in Chicago on Saturday, December 3, 2022.
Sidetrack was the perfect place to house a massive turnout such as this after opening in 1982 and expanding to more rooms over the years including an open rooftop and Deck Bar. Sidetrack has continued to be a valuable resource to support much-needed local services by hosting charity drives such as this one.
This year’s beneficiary was the Center on Halsted’s youth housing project. For those that don’t know, Center on Halsted is Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community center containing a diverse range of public programs and social services.
For the eleventh time, the event created by Jeff Colgan and Karl Sponholtz has raised more than 500,000 since 2011. While the creators have stepped down, Mike Miller and his “ho-ho-ho host committee” have taken over to facilitate this important annual fun run and have made well-executed improvements in 2022.
Over 250 participants, many without pants, bounced into Sidetrack to run for a mile in the cold weather around the block. The fundraising folks donned their gay apparel including jocks and speedos to stand out from the crowd.
Sign-in and registration began at noon and party people fueled up on beverages to prepare to rock around the block.
Dressed as the character Sally Shock from The Nightmare Before Christmas movie, drag queen Debbie Fox hosted the festivities and even took home a special recognition award by the end of the ceremony for her hospitality services over the years.
Other award winners presented in the Glass Bar included David Roberts for his strong fundraising efforts and Richard Dayhoff for his sexy underwear line donations.
Before taking off on the one-mile jaunt through East Lakeview, patrons sang to the tune of the classic song “Jingle Bells” with lyrics changed to a humorous “Jingle Balls.”
They were instructed that this was not a typical race where the fastest runner would win a trophy, but instead, a healthy jog around the neighborhood would be more appropriate.
Guests of the event were allowed to buy the underwear from select runners if desired and prizes were awarded to those who raised the highest amount of money for the worthy cause, such as Roberts who raised over $15,000 in 2022 surpassing his previous record.
The Chicago Spirit Brigade and a large crowd cheered the jolly contributors on as they pranced out of the building and down the Halsted Street block. After completing the route, the contestants returned to partake in further festivities indoors.
An after-party began at 3 p.m. and continued until 8 p.m. with games hosted by Zamora and Sasha Love. Door prizes and swag were distributed by companies at tables scattered throughout the rooms by French carbonated mineral water Perrier, Titos Handmade Vodka and American lager beer Miller Lite. Other sponsors included Men’s Room Chicago, Third Wing Business Strategies, Wellness Home at Northstar Healthcare and American Airlines.
A record amount of more than $103,00 was raised on that special Saturday in 2022 thanks to the generous people who donated to the worthy cause.
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