In a recent announcement, AIDS Walk LA has decided to move the multi million-dollar fundraiser to DTLA. The move to Grand Park from West Hollywood is a marked departure from the previous 14 years.
“We are very excited about the move to Grand Park,” said, Craig Miller, founder and senior organizer of AIDS Walk Los Angeles. “All of downtown Los Angeles has been so revitalized, it’s so vibrant and exciting, and we are confident it will have a great and refreshing effect. There will be more space and more access to mass transit. There is also the ability to have a more wide range of entertainment, including musical bands. In West Hollywood, there tends to be concern about some celebrities and bands and how large a crowd they might attract.”
For the past 30+ years, AIDS Walk LA has become one of the largest events of its kind in the nation. Last year, approximately 25,000 walkers turned out for the 2.5 hour long walk covering 6.2 miles. Many said they were there in support of loved ones and in memory of those who had died. Millions of dollars have been raised over the years to help AIDS healthcare organizations such as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Whitman-Walker Clinic or the AIDS Project Los Angeles.
When Paramount Pictures went on high alert right after the attacks on 9/11, organizers were forced to scrabble for a new hosting space for the event’s ceremonies. West Hollywood came to the rescue. Today, some West Hollywood City Council Members are disappointed to not be hosting the event this year but the business reasons for the shift to DTLA are understood.
With West Hollywood Park starting a 5 year construction project this year, other events may begin looking to Grand Park as an option. In particular, the resent community unrest surrounding the LA Pride festival has many in West Hollywood questioning the wisdom of continuing to have the festival and parade in WeHo.
Currently, there is no day-of-event information available on the AIDS Walk website but they are encouraging people to check back as the event draws closer.
The $56 million dollar 12 acre Grand Park opened in July 2012. The park boasts lawns, fountains, walking paths, performance stages and gardens with imported plants from all over the world. You can find more information about the park here.
Photo courtesy of Leif Green)