Charlotte’s LGBT Country Western dancing and social group is celebrating 20 years this year and their annual Queen City Stomp — slated for April 15-17 — is set once again to raise much-needed funds for area non-profits.

The event features cocktail parties, dance lessons and evening dances, along with a silent auction and other activities. It’s Southern Country Charlotte’s preeminent annual event, attracting hundreds of locals, as well as other Country Western dance enthusiasts from across the country.

Founded in 1991, Southern Country Charlotte’s original group of organizers sought to promote Country Western music. But, their mission grew as the years went by. Southern Country registered themselves as a non-profit and began to raise funds for local community groups. Proceeds from events ranging from car washes and yard sales to auctions and their annual Queen City Stomp have totaled nearly $100,000 in cash, goods and services benefitting groups like the American Cancer Society, the Battered Women’s Shelter, House of Mercy, the Lesbian & Gay Community Center and Time Out Youth, among others.

The group’s president, Chris Gray, says he’s glad Southern Country Charlotte has forged its own path as a funder of local LGBT initiatives.

“We are able to raise money for organizations and charities while at the same time getting out and doing stuff in the community as much as we can,” he says. “Even with the economy last year, we were able to raise around $10,000. That was a great thing and we hope to keep it going.”

The event kicks off on April 15 with a welcome cocktail party hosted by Southern Country Charlotte board members. Beginner line dancing lessons follow at 8 p.m. with Stomp’s Welcome Dance slated for 9 p.m. Dance lessons will be offered the following day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Queen City Stomp’s annual Cattle Call Ball opens at 9 p.m. All events will be held at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel, 3315 Scott Futrell Dr.

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Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.