Metro Weekly

D.C.’s High Heel Race takes place October 24

The 17th Street High Heel Race is one of D.C.'s most iconic LGBTQ Halloween events

High Heel Race — Photo: Ward Morrison

Even though he helps organize the 17th Street High Heel Race, Dave Perruzza has sworn off donning a costume and high heels since his first race in 1998.

“I did the first year I started at JR.’s, and I almost broke my leg,” says the longtime manager of JR.’s Bar & Grill. “Somebody fell in front of me, and I literally had to jump over them with 6-inch heels on. I leaped and landed on my right foot. I can’t believe I didn’t die.”

While Perruzza has retired his stilettos for good, the High Heel Race, now entering year 31, continues to be the city’s most popular event of the Halloween season. On Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m., contestants will parade up and down 17th Street in front of thousands of cheering onlookers.

knife or a gun, don’t be cute,” Perruzza says. “This is not the time. There’s going to be more heightened security, especially with everything going on since Vegas.”

Still, he doesn’t expect the recent tragedy in Las Vegas to prevent anyone from attending.

“It’s gone from a primarily gay event to a family event because it’s so much fun,” he says. “It’s the one event that brings the whole community together. And you never know what the queens are going to dress up like.”

The 31st Annual High Heel Race is Tuesday, Oct. 24 on 17th Street, between R and P Streets NW. The parade of costumes is from 7-9 p.m., with the race kicking off from Cobalt, 1639 R St. NW, at 9 p.m. sharp. For more information, or to volunteer, visit

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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