Metro Weekly

Scarlet’s Bake Sale auctions off sweet treats to raise money for SMYAL

SUB: Past beneficiaries have included the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund, the Rainbow History Project, and Brother, Help Thyself

Scarlets Bake Sale at the DC Eagle — Photo: Ward Morrison/file photo

“Scarlet’s Bake Sale has been in existence since 1971,” says “Lady O,” vice director of the Scarlet’s Foundation Board. “It was started by a lady named Scarlet…to raise money for children’s organizations. Over the years, it has morphed, and we have been raising funds for LGBTQI+ organizations.”

Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit SMYAL, the LGBTQ youth advocacy organization, to help support its transitional housing program for youth. Past beneficiaries have included the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund, the Rainbow History Project, and Brother, Help Thyself.

“The event is open to the public,” says Lady O. “There is no fee to get in. Many of the leather clubs and other organizations, as well as individuals not connected to a leather club, will make these fantastic cakes that are then auctioned off to raise the funds. We’ve had cakes that have gone for thousands of dollars.”

People who bring their baked goods are asked to register their entries on-site by 1:30 p.m. on the day of the event. That’s followed by a social hour, with the actual auction from 4-6 p.m.

“People can bring cakes, cupcakes, cookies, but the fancy cakes, for lack of a better word, are the big draws,” says Lady O. “We also accept other donations, if someone wants to donate an item [to be auctioned off], like leather goods. A couple years ago, someone donated vacation packages.”

While the bake sale has adopted themes for auction items in the past, this year is being “left open to the imagination.” Prizes will be given out for the best individual and best club entries, the best commercial bakery entry, and the “director’s cut,” a special award recognizing an item — such as a unique, humorous, or creative take on a particular theme — that appeals to the Scarlet’s Foundation board.

While some take their cakes home, “many of the winning bidders are incredibly generous and put them up on a table for everyone to share. It’s a really fun experience that way. You can have your cake and eat it, too.”

Scarlet’s Bake Sale is Sunday, Feb. 9 from 1 to 7 p.m. at The Crucible, 412 V St. NE. For more information, visit

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

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