Joining Hearts celebrates 30 years with Atlanta’s biggest, gayest pool party of the summer.

By Matthew Holley

In honor of three decades’ persistent fight against HIV/AIDS in Atlanta, Joining Hearts is turning its annual summer pool bash into a special celebration, memorializing its milestone 30th birthday and all of the hard work and amazing accomplishments its dedicated volunteers, and all of it loyal patrons, have achieved over the years.

Set for July 15 from 4 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. at Piedmont Park Pool, Joining Hearts will once again bring the summer fun to raise awareness and funds to fight HIV/AIDS and to provide assistance to people living with the disease in Atlanta. Drinks will flow, beats will bounce, and speedo-clad booties will dance as far as the eye can see.

Joining Hearts President Jerry Henderson gave David Atlanta all of the deets, plus a few behind-the-scenes secrets on the pool extravaganza, what turning 30 means for the organization, and Joining Hearts’ vision for a continued fight into the future.

All Weekend Long

Joining Hearts Weekend also includes a ton of satellite events. Expect partiers to flock to the official Pre-Party at Heretic on Friday, and the official After Party at Ten Atlanta on Saturday night after the main event. There’s even a pre-event workout on Saturday morning to pump your body to its best at Equilibrium Fitness. 

Party Time

Joining Hearts’ Host Committee works hard in the planning and execution of such a large event, which always sells out to hundreds of attendees. This year, the organization carefully streamlined its event to make it efficient and fun.

You’ll be greeted by smiling faces in the TLC Rents Flirt Lounge, where you can sip and mingle with friends while being served a TLC Rents Specialty Cocktail by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Then its on into the pool area for the dancing, drinking and mingling.

Bigger and Better Every Year.

In years past, Joining Hearts has had only one DJ Headliner, but this year we have two: DJ Joe Gauthreaux and DJ Grind. An opening set by Atlanta’s own DJ Seth Breezy gets things started.

To the music, add a VIP area, vendor booths, a fireworks spectacular after dark, and so much more, and it takes countless hours for the event to run seamlessly. Henderson says he owes everything to the Board of Directors, Host Committee, and Volunteers who give of their time to make a difference. 

First Time Guests

If you’re new to the event, take a moment to reflect on the experience and all the hard work the volunteers and hosts put in year-round to raise money for the Joining Hearts community.

Drinks, Food, Entertainment, Go!

Delicious bites by Bridge Catering will be available in both the General Admission and VIP areas. E&L Cuisine provides the food in the Ultra VIP. Once again, Tito’s Handmade Vodka will be on hand for those thirsty libations with a specialty drink in the first ever TLC Rents FLIRT Lounge made exclusively for this event.

Joining Hearts turns 30

HIV/AIDS is a global problem and is on the rise in particular urban areas including parts of Atlanta, where the rates of infection among gay and bisexual men are as high as they were in the ‘80s when Joining Hearts began a fight that looked very different than it does today. Today, while death rates have dropped, it’s feared that more people will become infected as cuts in funding to care and services loom across the spectrum.

Joining Hearts works directly with community leaders, AIDS Service Organizations, the City, concerned citizens, and medical experts to assess patients’ needs and define the best leverage for all funds raised to best impact the current state of HIV/AIDS in Atlanta. Funding applications for Joining Hearts these days go through its Community Advisory Board (known as CAB).

31st Year and Beyond.

Despite medical advancement, HIV/AIDS is still deeply stigmatized. Discussions are happening but not enough focus is on prevention and education, Henderson says. The HIV infections rates among gay Atlanta men is an indicator that we are not doing enough as a community and change is needed now, he asserts.

“It’s time to not just have a great time, which we guarantee, but to rip the band aid off and have deeper discussions to make a difference,” Henderson says.

Joining Hearts is Saturday, July 15 at Piedmont Park Pool. Pre-party at Heretic Friday, July 14, and Afterparty with Ten Atlanta following Saturday’s main event. Visit joininghearts.org.