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What do you get when you combine a lost bet, a reason to dress up, and a group of friends who want to make a difference? The answer: Z’Sparkle Party Drag Race to End Alzheimer’s disease!

Photos by Chris Bucher

Photo by Chris Bucher

It started in 2010 when a group of friends (Leigh Ann Akard, Todd Scales, Barry Hicks, Amy Lacy, Steve and Vicki Snider) began talking about hosting a party to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. “Z’Sparkle” was decided upon for the theme of the party because, in the amount of time it takes an average fireworks sparkler to burn – less than 70 seconds – another person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; another life’s light begins to dim.

Additionally, to honor the “sparkle” that victims of Alzheimer’s once had – the sparkle in their eyes; the sparkle of their love, talents and spirit; the sparkle that their lives brought to all the lives they touched – it was decided that guests would wear sparkly dresses. The idea of a party for Alzheimer’s had special meaning for Amy Lacy who had lost her mother, Jackie Lacy, to Alzheimer’s. Which then prompted someone to ask, “Sparkly dresses? For the guys too?” Sure, why not!

Meanwhile, in early 2010 a friendly Super Bowl wager was made between two friends: one an avid Saints fan who lives in New Orleans, and Zionsville resident Steve Snider, a dedicated Colts fan. The stakes for the good-natured bet was of the “dress-like-a-fan” nature and including a walk down the brick street of Zionsville. If the Saints fan lost, bib overalls and a Colts jersey would be the attire. If Steve Snider lost, a dazzling dress and Saints attire would be in order. As we know, the Colts lost, but a great event to raise money for Alzheimer’s won.

“So,” questioned Barry Hicks, “if another guy walked with you, it would be sort of a ‘drag race’, right?” Thus, Z’Sparkle Party Drag Race to End Alzheimer’s was born – a light-hearted, fun event designed to bring the Zionsville community together to raise awareness about this devastating disease, and to raise money to support the Alzheimer’s Association.

With the partnership of Zionsville Meadows the idea quickly became a reality. In short order, it grew into an event involving brave gentlemen in our community and beyond – business owners, town leaders, even a race car driver – who agreed to don a dress, collect donations and run down Main Street in the name of a very good cause.

The first year’s event drew large crowds and raised about $13,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Indiana Chapter. In 2011, it drew even bigger crowds, nearly 50 “dragstars”, and raised more than $27,000. Last year’s donation of $30,000 brought

the total over the years to more than $70,000. Event planners hope to take that grand total over the

Photo by Chris Bucher

$100,000 mark in 2013.

New to this year’s event will be the addition of “dudettes” – ladies “duded up” and dressed as men. Live music will be provide by Henle and the Loops, a fantastic 11-piece band playing everything from James Brown to Jimmy Buffet.

Anne Ryder and Ray Cortapassi return for the second year in a row to MC the evening’s festivities.

This “race” is much like a real drag race, with a field of racers jockeying for position. In this case, instead of speed it’s money collected by each racer and their “pit crew” that determines the real winners. Instead of helmets and driving suits, the “dragstars” wear dresses and sparkles.

The racing festivities will begin with a “Parade Lap” during which Ryder and Cortopassi will introduce each “lady” and her crew as “she” saunters down the bricks in a sparkly parade of splendor, collecting donations and strutting “her” stuff.

Then the real race begins featuring three heats: First the Dudettes will show off their speed in the “Wingtips” class. Next, the gentlemen who are ladies competing in “Flats” (for those dragstars who choose to don running shoes and run “flat out”.) Finally, the “real men” who are brave enough to don “Stilettos” wobbling their way to the finish line in high heels!

Photo by Chris Bucher

Past dragstars and new dragstars, now is the time to sign up and begin collecting donations and sponsors prior to the August 9th event. Also, it’s time for employees to bet their bosses; wives to bet their husbands; and children to bet their fathers that they don’t have the courage to participate. Cash and checks made payable to Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter are welcome.

As a token of this magazine’s commitment to the event and the Alzheimer’s Association, our fearless leader and publisher, Tom Britt, has graciously agreed to participate as a new dragstar this year. It should be quite a sight that you won’t want to miss!

To sign up to be a Dragster or a Dudette send  an email to Amy Lacy before August 1st to Zsparkle.dragrace@gmail.com

Throughout July and August, we’ll be tweeting photos of past dragstars, with a “guess who this is?” tagline. So, follow us on Twitter (@atZionsville) for some fun and interesting photos, all for a great cause.

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