Metro Weekly

Cherry Returns With An Intimate Affair

Gay D.C.'s popular annual dance benefit returns in an alternate form with a renewed charitable focus.

Cherry 2023 – File Photo: Ward Morrison/Metro Weekly

“We’re really kind of returning to our roots, and that’s why we are calling it Cherry Rewind,” says Sean Morris, president of the board of the Cherry Fund, the nonprofit that produces D.C.’s popular annual weekend dance benefit.

“Cherry is known for being a circuit party,” he continues, “and I want to bring back the community sense of the event and the fact that it’s also a charitable foundation.”

This year’s Cherry will be held in smaller, more intimate venues around town. Saturday’s main event will take place at Dupont Circle’s Mayflower Club, whose space years ago served as home to the gay party Lizard Lounge.

Dubbed “Wonderland,” the evening will feature acclaimed international superstar DJ and Cherry veteran Tom Stephan plus an opening set by DJ Orel Sabag, for what is guaranteed to be an exclusive, can’t-miss affair.

“We’re trying to be more involved with the community, more face to face,” Morris says, as a way to emphasize what he calls “our primary goal: to make money for the community.” To be more specific, the goal is “to raise more money for the DC Center.”

“This is the first year that we’ve actually named a major beneficiary for the funds,” he notes. “We still have some smaller commitments that we’ve made to other organizations, but the major portion of any money that we’re able to donate will go to the DC Center” to support its ongoing work in addressing community needs around HIV/AIDS and mental health, Cherry’s two long-standing charitable concerns.

“We’re bringing in some big names,” Morris says. The main lineup includes two veterans of the circuit: DJs Morabito and Calagna are both scheduled to spin a set at “Kaleidoscope,” the after-hours starting pre-dawn on Sunday, April 7, at Flash. The party also features an opening set by DJ TWiN, Morris’s partner in Flashy, the popular gay holiday Sunday party at the Shaw venue.

DJ Tezrah, another leading local DJ, will kick off the weekend with the “Cherry Delight” party Thursday, April 4, at Kiki, followed the next evening, Friday, April 5, by two newer stars of the international circuit, DJs Mohammad of Atlanta and Paulo Pacheco of Brazil, spinning a “Return to Oz” at downtown’s Ultrabar.

Cherry 2024 will conclude Sunday, April 7, with a “Cherry Jubilee” featuring DJs Ed Wood of Puerto Rico and Nina Flowers of RuPaul’s Drag Race at Zebbie’s Garden, the Mayflower’s lush rooftop space.

Noticeably absent from the lineup this year is the annual birthday bash thrown by Cherry co-founder Moody Mustafa. “He decided not to do it this year,” Morris says simply.

Although it’s not a part of the party lineup, Cherry is teaming up with Shaw’s El Techo for a special edition of its new Queer Sunday drag brunch led by Tara Hoot on Cherry Sunday, April 7. El Techo will be “donating a portion of the proceeds to us as well as contributing to cover [hosting expenses],” Morris says.

The event is also the first in a planned series that Cherry is expected to hold periodically throughout the year, all of them “smaller and more grassroots, community-based events with other organizations, but the circuit party is still going to be our flagship event, and we’re still going to have this party every year.”

Morris’s new mantra is, “‘It’s not just about the party, it’s about actually giving back.’ And that’s one of the things that Cherry has struggled with since Covid: being able to give back in a significant way. We’ve always given back a little bit every year, but we want to make a bigger impact going forward.”

Cherry 2024 is Thursday, April 4, through Sunday, April 7, at various venues around town. A VIP Weekend Pass, granting access to all events, is $220. Tickets to individual parties vary in price. Visit

For more information on El Techo’s Bottomless Brunch on Sunday, April 7, benefiting the Cherry Fund, visit

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