By Megan Wadding, June 2015 Issue.
Just as the summer tempratures begin to scorch and locals begin to crave a cool poolside respite, Gay Days Arizona blazes into town with its second annual event June 19-21 at The Saguaro hotel in Old Town Scottsdale.
According to Ian Joseph, executive producer of Gay Days, the Gay Days brand has grown to include events in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Las Vegas, in addition to the original party in Orlando, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary June 2-8.
Following the the Phoenix debut of Gay Days last year, Joseph said he’s really upped the ante in all facets of the event. But don’t just take his word for it; we’ve got the top five reasons to attend the second annual Gay Days Arizona right here:
1. Operation Hotel Takeover
“We have a buy out of the entire property, including all the guest rooms and public spaces,” Joseph said. “Our guests will get a much more exclusive Gay Days Arizona experience.”
There are also more ticket options this year, which Joseph expects to draw even more attendees to The Saguaro.
“This year our guest rooms start at only $99 a night and that includes [the] weekend passes. The lower price to attend and stay on property will make this year’s events more affordable,” Joseph said. “Those who don’t want to stay on property will have the option of buying tickets to each event a la carte.”
2. So Many Pool Parties, So Little Time
What’s better than spending a weekend poolside? Spending a weekend poolside with the hottest bodies and hottest DJs, of course. And Gay Days Arizona boasts six pool parties throughout the three-day weekend.
“Each event will have its own DJs from all over the US,” Joseph said, “and each has their own special theme for guests to participate in.”
Not only will DJs will be spinning music according to the theme of the party, but the pools will also feature an underwater sound system. This year’s pool parties include:
The Ignite pool party – 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Friday at the Picante Pool – which will feature Arizona’s own DJ Shpank spinning dance music. The first 50 people in line will get in free.
The Girls Just Wanna Have Fun pool party – 4-8 p.m. Friday at the Calma Pool – is a sunset pool party just for the ladies featuring DJ Sinna-G. According to gaydaysaz.com, ladies are invited to “wear white and get soaked under the Calma pool’s waterfall.”
The Splash Dance pool party – 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday at the Picante Pool – will be hosted by the Gay Days team and will feature an ‘80s dance off (with prizes) as DJ J. Diesel from Las Vegas spins ‘80s remixes.
The Let’s Get Soakin’ Wet pool party pool party – 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Picante Pool – warns that Gay Days staff and dancers will be “armed with water guns and ready to soak you.” This event will feature wet games and entertainment while DJ Joshua Atom mixes the hottest dance music.
The What the F#ck pool party – 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday at the Picante Pool – will feature DJ Citizen Jane and promises some wild sights, including contortionists, stilt walkers, circus acts and crazy costumes.
The Summer Splash Bash – 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at the Picante Pool – will be hosted by ION Arizona and will feature poolside entertainment.
3. Dinner + Drinks = Donations
After the sun goes down, attendees can grab a bite to eat each evening during Gay Days Arizona’s Diversity Dinners.
According to Joseph, a portion of each meal benefits the Phoenix Pride LGBT Center.
Friday’s dinner will take place at RnR, just a few blocks from The Saguaro, and Saturday’s dinner will take place at Distrito, located on The Saguaro property.
“Besides the pool parties, Gay Days Arizona also hosts nightly Diversity Dinners for our guests to dine together,” Joseph said. “We [will] also do daily happy hours with special guests. This year we are featuring our Big Gay Breakfast Buffet.”
The breakfast buffet, 8 -11 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will include the Mexican-inspired favorites that Distrito’s celebrity chef Jose Garces is known for, as well as Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. Reservations are encouraged for parties of six or more.
Happy hours will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Old Town Whiskey, on The Saguaro’s main floor, and will include drink specials and appetizers.
For more information, or menus, visit thesaguaro.com.
4. Community Exposure
Running concurrently with the weekend festivities is the Gay Days Arizona Community Expo, which will features vendors, local organizations and businesses, freebies, exclusive deals for Gay Days attendees and more. The expo will also feature a LGBT wedding expo component, hosted by MRSter.
Both expos will be open noon-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the lower level of the Saguaro lobby and are free to attend.
5. Put Arizona on the Map
Beyond hosting a successful event, enjoyed by all, Joseph said, one of the objectives of Gay Days Arizona to showcase the state, specifically the greater Phoenix area, as a viable and attractive LGBT travel destination.
“When many [LGBT] people think about vacations, it’s easy to consider New York City or Los Angeles,” he said. “But the state of Arizona [has] come a long way and really is a great spot for the LGBT traveler.”
In 2014, the first-ever event drew 1,500 attendees from acrosss the United States and Canada and Joesph expects this years to follow suit.
“This year we anticipate that number to double,” he said, “[Especially] with our new exclusive location and value pricing.”
Gay Days Arizona
The Saguaro Scottsdale
4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale
Tickets: Single pool party admission, $15-$25