It’s that time of year again. Pizza Klatch’s annual gayla is coming up on February 1. This is the sixth year that the non-profit organization will offer a night of song, dance, comedy, and more to the community in order to raise funds for the support that they provide to the LGBTQ+ youth in the Thurston County community. This year’s event theme is The Coast is Queer, with the dress code open to costumes and clothes that fit the beach vibe. All proceeds from this event will go to ensuring the continued growth of the program that aims to offer a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth and allies to gather.

Sure to make the ocean themed event fun, Seattle performer Pizza Mermaid will host the fundraiser. Photo credit: Innovative Images

Pizza Klatch uses pizza, community and openness to foster safe places within schools for LGBTQ+ youth and their allies. The aim of the organization is to continue growing and offering space to youth in Thurston County and beyond by allowing the young adults that attend to experience support and empowerment in ways that help them cope with depression, anxiety, bulling, harassment, and other issues that LGBTQ+ youth face. Every week, two trained facilitators enter schools across Thurston County with pizza and resources. They set up in a safe and confidential area of the school where students can gather and speak openly about the issues or triumphs in their lives.

At this year’s Gayla, host Pizza Mermaid, and performances from comedian Solomon Georgio, and Broadway star Peppermint will wow the attendees with their talents. “I’m supporting it because I believe in fostering good communication, healthy relationship building, creative self-expression, strengthening community, and lifting up queer identities,” says Peppermint, who was a “Rupaul’s Drag Race” runner up. “Pizza Klatch is at the intersection of all that.”

Broadway Star Peppermint is best known for her runner up spot on Rupaul’s Drag Race, and you can see her perform at this year’s gayla event. Photo courtesy: RuPaul’s Drag Race

Pizza Klatch youth are also going to tell stories and give performances during the event to bring awareness to the program and the people that it supports. Dillinger’s is going to cater their VIP reception, which will include meet and greets with the performers and an exclusive performance from Champagne Honeybee a Seattle-based singer and songwriter.

The gayla is Pizza Klatch’s only big fundraiser for the year. Last year, the organization raised more than $100,000. With those funds, in the past year alone, Pizza Klatch has responded to the need of the community by branching out to 15 more schools and serving between 300-400 new students who benefit greatly from the services that Pizza Klatch provides. Due to the support that the program offers, there has been a drop in areas that are greatly affecting the well-being of the youth in Thurston County.

Comedian Solomon Georgio known as the 2015 featured comedian on Conan will grace the stage with his comedic performances. Photo credit: Kim NewMoney

This support is imperative to the growth of LGBTQ+ young adults. Solomon Georgio states this type of community is a part of the reason he is performing at the fundraiser. “The queer community in the Pacific Northwest has been the greatest source of support, education and love for me ever since I came out,” he says. “The least I can do is give back.”

“I am really proud of the event we are putting on this year and I just hope the community comes out to support it and has a good time,” says El Sanchez, event coordinator for Pizza Klatch and past performer in its Gayla.

If you haven’t already grabbed tickets for this amazing fundraiser, then you can do so through the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. The event takes place February 1 at 6:00 p.m.

A Slice of the Good Life: The 6th Annual Pizza Klatch Gayla
The Coast is Queer
Saturday, February 1, 2020 6:00 p.m.
Washington Center for the Performing Arts
512 Washington Street SE, Olympia

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