An estimated 8,000 people will participate in this year’s AIDS Walk Colorado, each marching in the footsteps of a rich history of loss, love, and life. The annual 5k turns 27 this year, and organizers are looking to the event’s past for an inspired future. (Fun fact: The original walk was a 10k. It was changed to 5k in 2004.)
“I try to add a new component each year,” says Jeff Trujillo, manager of marketing and events for the Colorado AIDS Project. But in trying to come up with new ideas, Jeff realized the importance in bringing back some key activities and themes that were once at the heart of this historic event.
Taken out of the schedule in 2006, the VIP Breakfast will be making a glamorous comeback. The breakfast will be hosted in the community room of a ritzy skyscraper near Cheesman Park, the location of the walk. And, whereas in the past the event was held for sponsors and Colorado state officials, the breakfast is now open to anyone generous enough to donate $100 or more to the cause. (That ticket price includes a delicious breakfast catered by Larimer Catering, a swag bag, and refreshing mimosas to kick off the walk.)
“In celebrating our history, we are bringing back the breakfast,” says Jeff. “And it’s a great event for those who don’t want to walk. You can really contribute with the breakfast.”
The breakfast isn’t the only event making its return to AIDS Walk Colorado this year. The popular annual volleyball tournament will once again be held after the walk by the Colorado Gay Volleyball Association, and the Diva Dash, a high heeled .5k race, will be sashaying back to the park.
“Women, men, boys, and girls can strap on the heels and join the fun,” Jeff laughs. The mini-race is always a spectacle, and participants can win awards for “Highest Heels” and
AIDS Walk will also host their ever-popular beer garden, which will also serve wine for those with a palette for the more delicate, and an abundance of entertainment will liven up festivities for participants of all ages.
But the most important aspect returning to AIDS Walk Colorado this year is its theme:
“From All Walks of Life.”
This year’s theme was the original name of the event, an attempt made 27 years ago to engage the larger community in an effort to fight a disease so destructive and devastating.
“The original ‘All Walks of Life’ was a downer event, it was a death march,” Jeff says. “We still want to give people an outlet to mourn and grieve their loss, but now we also want to celebrate those people who are still here with us — and still fighting.”