[Ed. Note — This event’s original date, March 5, has been changed to April 2. More…]

On April 2, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza will again welcome the crazily-dressed and super-enthused crowds of RAIN (Regional Aids Interfaith Network) supporters as the starting line of the annual “Amazing Race Bar Crawl” event. The ritual began as a “one time thing” in 2005 when Dana Maki, owner of Bighouse Marketing, created the event to raise money in honor of several friends who had passed away from cancer the year before. But after supporters continued to question her as to when the next Amazing Race would be, Maki committed to a second year. RAIN entered the scene as the new local recipient of the profits the following year and by the fourth year was managing the event. RAIN increased team participation numbers, changed the locations and, as the years have progressed, added some unique flares of their own.

We asked Nathan B. Smith, director of development and marketing with RAIN, to give us the scoop on this year’s event. Here’s what he told us:

Teams don’t know the bar locations – the only way they get a clue is to do fun and silly challenges such as grapefruit pass – where they have to pass the grapefruit under their chin to their teammate all the way down the line and then back and then down again – to Sudoku puzzles to tricycle relay race. We try and change up the challenges every year to keep it fresh.

Then you have the teams and the costumes – this is something we started about two years ago. The first year we decided to push and give an award for the best costume one team, called the Mystery Machine, came dressed up as the cast of Scooby-Doo and had made the Mystery Machine out of cardboard – it was so amazing, it had tap lights as headlights and all 5 members were in the van walking down 6th Street to Brixx – it was truly the hit of the whole day [and] many people got their pictures made.

This year RAIN is anticipating their best turnout yet, pumped up to welcome 80 teams – that’s 400 total bar crawlers. Interested in joining? Round up your team of five, brainstorm a wacky costume and register at www.barsagainstaids.org. Or register as a volunteer by contacting RAIN’s development and marketing assistant, Maggie Thomas, by email at m.thomas@carolinarain.orgor phone at 704-372-RAIN (7246), ext. 162.

If you’re not interested in participating directly, you can still support RAIN by coming out to Brixx and celebrating with the community gathered for the event. Smith reassures there is fun to be had by all:

We get to close down the Uptown Brixx so it’s like we are having our own private party and all are invited. Even if you aren’t on a team we have people that come to support their friends and cheer them on as well as we have people that have just passed by and just want to watch the crazy fun.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with friends and help support our local RAIN and AIDS Walk Charlotte organizations!

Leah Cagle

Leah Cagle is QNotes' former associate editor for arts and entertainment. You can reach editor Matt Comer via arts@goqnotes.com or editor@goqnotes.com.