Step right up. Come one, come all - gay, straight and transgender - to Savannah's one and only queer monthly ball: Candyland.
It's not a drag show. It's not a social networking night. Strap on your kinky boots for an evening of individual expression through dance and fashion on the last Friday of every month.
With about seven months under its belt, Candyland has cemented its place as Savannah's all-inclusive club party. Catering to a wide spectrum of sexualities and gender identities, founder Miranda Stern said of Candyland: "... People who don't fit the gender norm have come up to me and said that they feel safe and comfortable to be themselves at our events."
Stern founded Candyland in the hopes to bolster Savannah's queer scene presence as well as foster inclusivity among the LGBT and greater Savannah communities.
"Savannah is very accepting of people from all kinds of backgrounds," Stern said.
This acceptance strikes her as being even more prominent than before she moved to Portland, Ore., a few years back to attend college. As society's ideas of social norms shift, the more people feel at ease identifying as queer.
"But there still really wasn't a place for such people to go out and be social, at least not in Savannah."
That was until Candyland came to fruition. And what about the name? Perchance it has something to do with the coveted childhood board game?
"Well," Stern said with a guffaw, "Funny story. Local rapper Lady Kane has a song called Kanedland about being bisexual. So, yeah, that's where the name came from."
IF YOU GO
What: Candyland presents Goths in Hot Weather
Where: Hang Fire, 37 Whitaker St.
When: 10 p.m. July 26
Candyland's modus operandi is to encourage people to dress up based on a theme. The theme is selected in a rather unorthodox manner. Miranda's fellow Candylandian, Ethan Russ (who may be better known to some as hostess Lavender Mist) chooses an outfit he wants to wear for the next month's event, which then inspires the theme.
Thus far, revelers have attended the MasQueerade, Summer Gaycation, Glitter Party and Gender Bender. One of the most electrifying evenings, by Stern's and Russ's assertions, was Paris is Burning. The highlight of the night consisted of a Madonna-esque Vogue-off contest for a trophy and a $50 prize.
The July 26 theme conjures up the macabre with Goths in Hot Weather. Wear your leather, wear your black. If you happen to have a trench coat and dark lipstick, then you have no excuse to miss it.
Or if you just want to come check it out, Stern assures, "Everyone is welcome! Queers and their allies. It is important for visibility and the community to be able to create a space where everyone can have fun together."
Music will be provided by J. Juke Wilson and DJ Cheedo Dust, who seem to have a different MC name at each party. Be prepared to sweat in your ghoulish outfits.
For inspiration, Stern suggests gothsinhotweather.blogspot.com, a major influence on this month's theme.
With no plan of slowing down, Candyland will be tossing around ideas for August while gearing up for a special edition on Sept. 9 at Hang Fire.
"Pride Savannah actually approached us," said Stern. "It's cool. People are catching on and spreading the word."