October 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm EDT | by Juliette Ebner
High Heel Race turns 25

A Barbie homage at last year's High Heel Race. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

On the Tuesday before Halloween, Dupont Circle is overrun with drag queens and Oct. 25 will be no different as the 25th annual Drag Queen High Heel Race takes place.

The first race happened in 1986.

“The first race was guys running from JR.’s to Annie’s, doing a shot, and running back to JR.’s,” says Paul Williams, executive director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Street. “It’s grown from a few dozen watchers to an expected 100,000 people this year.”

Now contestants race in elaborate costumes and high heels down 17th Street from Church Street to Q Street. There were about 60 to 70 runners last year and the same is expected this time around.

Registration for the race begins at 6 p.m. in front of Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) and runners must wear a minimum two-inch heel to qualify for this year’s special trophy, a hand-blown glass slipper full of brandy and a bar tab at JR.’s.

Some of last year’s costumes included Bridal Barbie, the cast of “The Facts of Life” and more.

The actual race doesn’t start until 9 p.m., but everyone starts gathering early and participants parade around, showing off their costumes. This year, the Washington Blade Food Truck Rally will be there from 6 to 10 p.m. on a parking lot at 17th and O streets so attendees can get something to eat too.

“We introduced the … rally … to have the trucks assemble in one place so Race goers could see all their options for dining, as the restaurants … along the race route are often so packed they have to turn away diners,” Williams says.

Eight food trucks have confirmed including D.C. Slices, Stix, Dangerously Delicious, Porc, Sinplicity, Rolling Ficelle and Mojo Truck.

All the trucks can be followed on Twitter.

There’s also a $20 commemorative T-shirt available for sale online at highheelracedc.com.

Also available on the race’s website are VIP tickets for $40, which grant access to the VIP tent by the finish line and include a bar fast pass to skip the lines at JR.’s, Cobalt and 30 Degrees.

All funds raised will go toward costs for the event and to the event organizer, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets.

“It’s fun to think that a race that lasts about 30 seconds can attract 100,000 straight and gay people all in one place,” Williams says.


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