CHICAGO (Nov. 1, 2022) The Santa Speedo Run Northalsted is back with a full afternoon of events that begin at noon on Saturday, Dec 3. Proceeds from the annual event benefit Center on Halsted, Chicago's LGBTQ community center. This year's funds will support the Center's youth housing initiative which provides a place to call home and crucial services to LGBTQ youth.
The run was created more than a decade ago by husbands Karl Sponholtz and Jeffrey Colgan, starting with a small group of friends. It has grown into one of the largest fun-runs in Chicago while also raising more than $500,000 to support services and programs benefiting the LGBTQ community of Chicagoland.
"The Santa Speedo Run Northalsted has been dear to our hearts since we created it. It has been so rewarding to watch it grow each year, raising vital funds to support the health and well-being of LGBTQ people across Chicagoland," said Colgan and Sponholtz.
More than three hundred participants are expected to gather at noon starting from Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted, with the charity run stepping off at 2 p.m. Overall, more than 1,000 people take part in a day spent cheering on and celebrating participants who brave frigid temperatures in typically nothing more than a swimsuit.
Registration to be a part of the event as an individual or as part of a team is now open with information and signup here.
Fundraising by participants runs through event day with all details on the day provided at the event's website. Spectators are encouraged to give donations in advance at the same website. Donations also will be accepted at Sidetrack on event day. Last year alone, through participant and donor support, the run raised almost $100,000 for the Center.
"Our youth housing program has grown over the years, and we have big plans to add even more capacity for the Center to serve even more Chicago youth. This year's event will be a major help in our funding toward future growth," said Center on Halsted CEO Modesto Tico Valle, noting that the youth housing initiative is more important now than ever given the continuing impact of COVID and rising housing costs.
The event, hosted by renowned drag entertainer Debbie Fox, doesn't end at the finish line. It continues with an afterparty at Sidetrack with Zamora Love & Sasha. The party will also feature prizes and games, including an awards ceremony for top individual and team fundraising. The party extends into the evening for runners, supporters, and spectators as Sidetrack remains open until 3 a.m.
Santa Speedo Run Northlasted counts among its current sponsors: Tito's, Miller Lite, Perrier, Men's Room Chicago, Sidetrack, Third Wing Business Strategies, Wellness Home at Northstar Healthcare, and American Airlines.
Sidetrack, Chicago's Original Video Bar, has been welcoming Chicago's LGBTQIA+ community and the world for more than 40 years. Sidetrack has grown from one room to a collection of spaces spanning more than eight storefronts and multiple levels that can host more than 1000 people at a time. www.sidetrackchicago.com .
Center on Halsted is the Midwest's most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of LGBTQ people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day in the heart of Chicago's Lakeview Neighborhood. www.centeronhalsted.org .