Every Halloween Weekend in Portland, Oregon one event is so iconic that it is now a citywide institution and part of what ‘Keeps Portland Weird’! That event is Portland Erotic Ball. On Saturday, October 29, Portland Erotic Ball celebrates its 20th Anniversary as the biggest adult Halloween Party and sex positive event in Portland. Taking place at the historic Crystal Ballroom (1332 W Burnside St, Portland, OR) where it has been ensconced since its inception in 1999, Portland Erotic Ball offers 3 floors of non-stop entertainment including live band (Soul Vaccination headlines this year), aerial acts, burlesque performances and circus and contortion acts. The event is highlighted by a $5,000 Costume Contest and a floor completely dedicated to fetish demonstrations. Sasha Scarlett, an Emmy-nominee, well-known drag performer and former Miss Portland Gay Pride produces and hosts the event each year.
‘The Portland Erotic Ball was destined to be special,’ said Sasha Scarlett. ‘I came onboard in 2005 after being part of the team that created the Las Vegas Fetish & Fantasy Ball,’ she explained. ‘Our Vegas event was huge, and I wanted to recreate that in Portland.’ Scarlett teamed with Pepe Raphael, the founder of Portland Erotic Ball, doubling ticket sales the first year of her involvement with the event and then acquired the event a few years later.
‘The original Portland Erotic Ball was too arty and not sexy enough,’ Scarlett explained. ‘We needed to sexy-it-up but still make women feel honored, safe and respected. In those days we couldn’t even say Portland Erotic Ball on the radio. Sponsors were leery about being involved with the event. Today, it’s become iconic and more than 1,800 guests attend each year.’ Scarlett stated. ‘Last year we sold out 11 days in advance and we will sell out this year as well – over 500 tickets have already sold and it’s [the beginning of October],’ she concluded.
The Portland Erotic Ball is inclusive, and all lifestyles are welcome although the event is primarily geared toward straight, but not narrow, couples. ‘We love the idea there is wide range of ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations and body positive guests,’ said Sasha Scarlett eyes twinkling. ‘We live in a crazy, divisive world, but there is nothing but love at Portland Erotic Ball.’
Food & Wine Magazine recently named Portland Erotic Ball ‘One of the Top 13 Things-To-Do for Halloween in America’ – and was the only adult event they included in the poll.
‘That means a lot,’ Scarlett said smiling. ‘Imagine a couple thousand people dressed in costumes of every variation, getting along and having a blast! That’s our legacy and one we’re pretty darn proud to celebrate!’
For more information visit www.PortlandEroticBall.com.