Smiles in the spring will help participants of the Ride For AIDS Chicago this summer.
Rob Campbell and Doug Birkenheuer, both openly gay Chicago residents who will be cycling in the two-day, 200-mile event in July are the co-hosts for SpringSNAP!, a fundraiser benefitting the Test Positive Aware Network ( TPAN ), which produces the 11th annual bicycle ride.
"We wanted to hold an event that is not a typical fundraiser [held at a] bar, and one that brings folks together in a casual, social atmosphere that not only raises money for the Ride, but also gives them something to celebrate. In this case, it's the arrival of spring weather," said Campbell, 40, who lives in Andersonville and will be participating in his fifth Ride. "Attendees are invited to come dressed in spring attire and will have a chance to have a professional photograph taken by Dougeither alone, with a friend/partner, or with a group of up to six people."
Everyone will receive one complimentary photo.
SpringSNAP! will be held April 11, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Cornelia Arts Center ( 1800 W. Cornelia ).
"This [fundraiser is] designed to take the bar element out of the fundraising and begin to explore the different cultural opportunities and spaces in Chicago in a fun, energetic atmosphere," Campbell said. "There is still the social element to meet new folks, socialize with friends and receive a professional photograph by one of Chicago's leading LGBT photographers." ( Photos will be emailed after the event ).
SpringSNAP! ( $50 per person ) will feature hors d'oeurves from Pastoral Artisan Cheese and Wine, and an open bar, plus fine art.
"The event objective is not only to raise money for the Ride, but also help bring about greater awareness to the Ride's mission, which includes fighting the shame and stigma of HIV," Campbell said. "We won't have any formal speakers, but, we want attendees to walk away having a greater sense of what the Ride is all about."
This is Birkenheuer's first time participating in the Ride, and he is donating all of his time and photographic experience for SpringSNAP!
There also will be a silent auction with a variety of items, including personal massages, private yoga lessons, artwork, and two tickets for a tour of a local distillery.
Tickets for SpringSNAP! can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com . Simply search "SpringSNAP!"