Metro Weekly

Cherry’s Blossom Is Back

The Cherry Fund's annual spring dance party returns for more growth in 2014

”After such a brutal winter, D.C. deserves a special weekend,” says the Cherry Fund’s James Decker. Of course, the weekend he has in mind will require just a little more patience.

But Kurt Graves promises Cherry 2014, starting Friday, April 4, will be worth the wait a full two weeks into the new season. After joining the Cherry Fund board last year, this year Graves steps up to replace Decker as the weekend co-chair with Allen Sexton.

”I think this year we have a lot of momentum,” Graves says. ”We have a lot of people assisting and helping out to make this year very successful.”

Cherry at Town

Cherry at Town Danceboutique / File photo

(Photo by Ward Morrison)

From better communication among the fund’s board, to having a stronger presence on social media, this year’s Cherry, with a theme of ”Metamorphosis,” aims to build on last year’s, which raised $7,500 for Metro Teen AIDS, Capital Pride and The DC Center. ”The whole ‘Metamorphosis’ theme is just based on steady growth and renewal,” says Decker, who adds: ”Our ticket sales are up dramatically from last year.”

Among the most notable changes this year is a $30 reduction in the cost of a weekend pass, and the fact that Cherry isn’t throwing an official Cherry closing party Sunday night. ”Well, you’d think by that time we’ll be exhausted, right?” Decker teases. ”We decided to focus our efforts on the rest of the weekend.”

Instead, organizers worked with the promoters of The House That U Built, a seasonal Sunday night party that draws a mixed gay/straight crowd, to wait and launch its second season on the roof of Dirty Martini, the restaurant/lounge at 1223 Connecticut Ave. NW that was home to Lizard Lounge for years.

Cherry 2014 launches with a cocktail party Friday at 5 p.m. in the bar at Cherry’s host Hotel Rouge, the only place Cherry-goers can pick up complimentary Cherry sunglasses as well as drink special Cherry mojitos. The four main dance parties all involve the return of some of Cherry’s favorite DJs to several of D.C.’s best clubs. DJ Eddie Elias kicks the dancing off Friday night at Cobalt. DJ Joe Gauthreaux returns to spin for Moody Mustafa’s birthday party Saturday afternoon at Town Danceboutique. Later that night DJ Paulo moves the party upstairs, and then DJ Alain Jackinsky takes everybody down under, for the late-Saturday/early-Sunday after-hours party at Tropicalia. Scheduling Paulo and his now-established protégé Jackinsky back-to-back is a notable one-two punch for fans of their particular vocal-driven tribal house sound. It’s not a one-or-the-other proposition.

”We have a fantastic DJ lineup,” Graves says. ”We’re trying to get Cherry’s name back out there to the younger generation, who may not be aware of what Cherry is. We want to make sure to carry that legacy and make it even bigger for the future. And make sure we continue to maintain our visibility and just to throw great parties.”

Cherry VIP Host Passes, allowing entrance and no line at all main events, are $70 each. More information, including purchase of individual tickets, is available at

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.