Local bar holds fundraisers to purchase a float for Pride Parade
By Rod Lotter
– The Capitol Hill Times -
The Crescent is one of those rare combinations of gay bar and dive bar. Its typical crowd consists of a large handful of hipsters and college kids, a few old queens sitting at the bar and then a smattering of others ranging from drag queens to lesbian to plain, old straight people.
A quick scan of the bar’s Yelp page will yield two words that come up in seemingly every review: cheap, stiff drinks and karaoke (which the bar hosts every night of the week). So, while the crowd inside the bar may be diverse, their reasons for coming usually are not. But, it’s this very character that the bar wants to represent in the form of a float at the 2012 Pride Parade in Seattle this summer.
Marc Anderson, who has been a bartender and karaoke host at the bar, is spearheading a fundraising effort to create the Crescent’s first-ever Pride float.
“I remember about four years ago, when I first started working here and people were talking about how the bar should have a float in the parade,” said Anderson, who later left town before returning last year. “Then, when I came back, people were still talking about it, so I just figured I’d help do something about it.”
Anderson attempted to raise funds for a float last year, but it didn’t work out because it wasn’t organized enough and they didn’t have much time, he said. Using the lessons he learned from last year, Anderson has drawn up a budget, set-aside some time for event planning and has dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s this year.
“The real reason I wanted to do this was for all the people at the Crescent,” Anderson said. “With the float, I want to represent the community spirit that I feel the bar has, to the public.”
So far, Anderson and a few other employees at the Crescent have held three fundraisers, in which half the money raised will be put toward funding the float. The other half is donated to a charity. The last fundraiser, in the form of a hamburger cookout, was held April 22 and raised more than $400, after expenses.
“We are getting pretty close now,” Anderson said. “I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting the money.”
Anderson and company have raised about $850 thus far. He estimates that the total cash needed in order to get a float in the parade will be somewhere between $1,500 and $1,600.
The parade takes place on June 24 and had a record turnout last year with more than 100,000 attendees.
The money raised will go toward paying a $650 parade entry fee, a trailer rental, decorations, karaoke equipment rental, a power generator and gas.
“The idea that we’ve been talking about for the float is to have some of our hosts and best singers sing some karaoke off the back of the float, because that is what we are known for in the community,” Anderson said. “Then we’ll have some of our regulars dressed in cheesy leotards and other costumes. It should be a blast.”
Anderson said he expects them to get all the money raised in the following two fundraisers – the next is scheduled to occur on Cinco De Mayo, May 5, at the bar. The fundraiser will feature a raffle, tacos, burritos, salsa and a whole bunch of margaritas. Half of the proceeds raised during the fundraisers will go to a local charity, as well. The bar also plans to host a block party during the summer, as well as some other events.
“Back in the day, the Crescent used to host a lot of events,” Anderson said. “And I feel like it tapered off a bit the last couple years, so I want to bring that back.”
Years ago, Anderson used to come to the Crescent as a patron. He was a shy student at Seattle University, who would sit in the back and observe the people coming and going out the bar, but wouldn’t talk to anyone for months. Eventually, he decided to sing karaoke for the first time ever, and was then trained how to be a karaoke host and bartender. It was his first attempt at any of it, and it was all thanks to the Crescent. Now he will be doing another first: creating a parade float.
“I want the Crescent to be represented at Pride because it is one of those places that is meant for people who don’t feel they fit in anywhere else,” Anderson said. “Everyone is welcome here. There are no cliques. The Crescent has something to offer everyone, whether it is a nice conversation, a strong drink or just a fun time, and that accepting attitude is what we will bring to Pride.”