A drag show this Saturday at Buffalo Wild Wings has successfully raised $1,000 for the annual Athens PRIDE Fest by selling VIP tickets and is aiming to raise more.
Wings and Queens, which is sponsored by the Southeastern Ohio LGBT Coalition, will feature more than 15 drag performers lip-syncing and dancing. It will also offer drinks named after the performers, along with a silent auction.
Chris Nevil, finance director for the Southeastern Ohio LGBT Coalition and one of the performers, was surprised the tickets sold so fast, as he considers drag shows to still be fairly new in Ohio.
“It only came in the area within the past year,” Nevil, whose stage name is Kazma Knights, said.
Nevil believes Athens is an accepting place where there is a “need for LGBT entertainment.” He considers it important that people who identify as LGBT have pride. He hopes that Wings and Queens fulfills that pride.
“We want to promote a safe area for people to be able to express themselves the way they should be,” Nevil said.
Alec Charron, an undecided freshman, considers drag shows to be “super cool,” and he thinks the performers need to be confident and love what they are doing.
“Drag shows give people who want to be a part of it and want to experience it a way to express themselves,” Charron said. “It gives them a way to be themselves.”
Charron, however, does not think that Ohio University organizes a lot of shows for the people who identify as LGBT when compared to the shows that are organized for those who do not, so he is glad to see this event being hosted in the area.
“I think Ohio University offers a lot of help for people who are LGBTQ,” Charron said. “I think they do a lot in supporting us, but mostly the events I have seen have not been administered by Ohio University. They are administered by different clubs that aren’t a part of the university or different organizations that aren’t a part of the university.”
Adam Edwards, assistant manager of Buffalo Wild Wings, has been passionately planning with Nevil for three months for what he referred to as the “first of its kind” benefit drag show.
Edwards believes the goal for the show is to give back to Athens.
“Buffalo Wild Wings isn’t asking for a lot,” Edwards said. “It’s not really costing us anything to hold one, and it will make sales go up a little bit.”
Edwards initially decided to develop the show because he was bored in Athens and wanted to show the public that Buffalo Wild Wings is more than just a corporate company.
“Buffalo Wild Wings’ whole motto is to be a part of the community, but they haven’t really done anything to be part of the community,” Edwards said.
Edward’s main goal for 2018 is for Buffalo Wild Wings to give back to OU and Athens. He also wants to make Wings and Queens an annual show and would like to fundraise $1,500 next year.
“We’re not just this corporate store that people can come look and be like, ‘Oh they are only in it for this,’” he said. “Because we’re not. We care about this community of Athens. Ohio University is only a fraction of what Athens has to offer.”
Nevil realizes that the pride that is celebrated in Athens is not celebrated in nearby communities, and that is why he wants people to come to the show.
“If you’re wanting a good show, there is nothing better,” he said. “We’ll just put it that way. They will lip-sync for their life, they will dance the house down and we have drink specials.”