Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bower is a longtime fan of the 17th Street High Heel Race, a popular annual footrace involving drag queens in fabulous outfits and impractical shoes, and now she's become its official presenter.
This year's event is being promoted as "Mayor Muriel Bowser Presents the 32nd Annual 17th Street High Heel Race," the Washington Blade reports, citing a headline on the race's newly unveiled Facebook page.
"The mayor was really excited about this when we talked about it a year ago because this shows her support of the LGBTQ community and its diversity," Sheila Alexander-Reid, director of the Mayor's Office of LGBTQ Affairs, told the Blade. "And I think this is going to go a long way towards making sure this event lasts and continues. ... I know Mayor Bowser loves this event and I know she's proud to present it."
Since the race is free to participants and spectators, organizers had no way to cover the cost of street closures and police presence, so the city has covered these expenses for years, the Blade reports. Now it's stepped up its involvement even more, with the mayor's office becoming an official sponsor of the event last year and Bowser attaching her name to it this year. But even with the mayor as presenter, the race remains a grassroots-organized even, Alexander-Reid said.
This is the 32nd year for the race, which typically draws more than 100 runners and thousands of spectators. Bowser has attended the race the past two years, both times serving as one of two honorary grand marshals. "It's fantastic every year," she told the Blade after the 2016 race. "You see people come from all over our region to celebrate the diversity of our city."
This year's race will be held October 30 on 17th Street between R and P streets. There will be a pre-race happy hour at 5 p.m. at Level One/Cobalt Patio. Then spectators, many wearing Halloween costumes, and runners will join in an impromptu parade beginning at 7 p.m., with the race to follow at 9 p.m.