Every spring, ladies seeking a little spring break-y debauchery, scantily-clad community, or just a respite from work, school or their small town routine, were forced to make a lesbian Sophie’s Choice: Club Skirts’ The Dinah, or Girl Bar’s Dinah Shore Weekend. These two competing event promoters have been vying for your Dinah dollar for decades, but no more. Girl Bar, with co-producers Truck Stop, have made Las Vegas their new Dinah home, and if this past weekend was any indication, Sin City will never be the same.
The three-day weekend spanned six events across five venues, and featured the megawatt Vegas Strip as its backdrop, thanks to a new affiliation with Caesars Entertainment, “the only casino company with a 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index,” according to Richard Brower, director of LGBT marketing. Brilliant. Lesbians have lots of disposable income, a love of poker and free drinks, and appreciate an all-you-can-eat buffet. Finally, someone gets us.
The weekend kicked off in earnest on Friday night with “BLING,” a dance party on the roof of the Rio Hotel and Casino featuring those fun-loving Truck Stop Girlz, pumping dance music and a gorgeous, panoramic view of the city. I only saw one brief fight, and watched it alongside Fernanda Rocha (The Real Housewives of Orange County) and her friend, who seemed amused by the whole thing.
The next day, the weather was perfect for Saturday’s pool party at The Flamingo, where it was Girl Bar ladies only, the one exception being the requisite inflatable doll worn as a hat.
The mood around the pool was more upbeat than I had seen at a lesbian event in a long time. Every direction I turned, women were laughing, animated and dare I say it, frolicking. Weird.
The only damper that afternoon was the canceled Truck Stop Girlz Bikini Fashion Show because the music was already too damn loud. (The pool was next to the chapel area and apparently, people still go to Vegas to get married.) I have no doubt these little glitches will be remedied by next year.
While girls were checking out each other’s bikini tops poolside, over at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, some women were fondling a different kind of pair – Girl Bar took advantage of its new location and incorporated the “High Heels Poker Tour” into the mix. At three tables, 25 players of all skill levels were playing some serious No Limit Hold ‘Em in the Poker Room. This lucky lady walked away with almost $1500, a trophy and bragging rights.
“Liquor in the front, poker in the back.”
After wandering off to play some blackjack of my own and take a disco nap, it was time for the Saturday night dance party, “Gurlesque,” at Paris Hotel’s outdoor bar, Chateau. Since the bar is elevated and directly across street from the Bellagio, you could watch those famed water cannons go off every 15 minutes, in case several hundred pulsating women didn’t hold your attention.
Hey, look. Balloons.
The beauty of having Dinah Shore Weekend in Vegas is the ease of slipping in and out of events to hit the Strip, grab food just about anywhere, shop, gamble, see a show, and gamble some more. Although promotion and tickets sales for this year’s event didn’t begin until January, the Girl Bar Vegas turnout appeared to be at least 10,000 or more.
What happens at the Vegas Dinah, stays at the Vegas Dinah
Palm Springs will always be the original home of the monster we call Dinah Shore. But hold onto your ladypants: Las Vegas is here to stay. Given its instant success, Girl Bar producers Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs, and Truck Stop’s Linda Fusco and Michelle Agnew have already announced Dinah Shore Weekend will return to the Strip on April 25-29, 2013. What do you think? Las Vegas is one of those “love it!” or “hate it!” kinda towns. Will you go next year?