Miami’s Bow Tie Bash raises money for LGBT community

OUT Miami’s Fourth Annual Bow Tie Bash Saturday brought together family, friends, and supporters of the LGBTQ community to raise money for the foundation.

People like Daniella Bayo, the older sister of Executive Director Jaime Bayo, helped the event run smoothly.

“I’ve been at every one,” she said. “The first one was good. Obviously, each time you learn a little bit more and how to make it better. It’s important that everyone has a good time, but also that they know there’s a good cause behind it.”

Anais Herrera, who led the reception area, volunteered for a slightly different reason.

“I work for two of the board members, Carlo Mercuri and Dustin Pesnell, and they’ve been trying to get me to volunteer for the event for a few years,” said Herrera. “I finally decided to do it when I realized how much this event meant to them. Carlo is walking around here smiling like the cat that swallowed the canary.”

She enjoyed the event and the decor.

“This is a really nice event,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this for the LGBT community.”

Volunteer coordinator Maria Cabrera and her girlfriend Natalie Smith also enjoyed the event. They were a part of the committee for Hialeah Pride, which put on its first LGBT festival last October.

“It was the first time I dealt with anything LGBT and my first time volunteering,” said Cabrera of the Hialeah event. “It was really inspiring to see everyone come together and supporting one another.”

The co-founders of Hialeah Pride, Karen Larrea and DJ Citizen Jane, were awarded the 2019 Community Builder Award from OUT Miami for their work.

“It is an honor for us to be the recipients of the 2019 Community Builder Award,” said Larrea in an email. “It is humbling to have an acknowledgement from our peers, seeing that all of the hard work and love that we put into the festival to ensure that the city of Hialeah starts progressing towards equality within our community. The fact that we are the first women to receive this award is also a huge honor.”

Bayo, the executive director, said the selection of the venue had to do with the honorees.

“[T]his year we’ve decided to do it here because this is the first time we’re honoring two women so it speaks to that. Also, the woman’s club is very supportive of the community and already has programs for the youth.”

The foundation raised over $32,000 for its’ social justice fund through a grant from the Out in the South Initiative of Funders for LGBTQ Issues that matched donations two dollars for every one donated.