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The Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival, presented by AHF Pharmacy, will be held on Sunday, March 30 at the South Beach Park on Fort Lauderdale Beach, just north of the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach on Seabreeze Boulevard.

Check-in starts at 7:30 in the morning; each participant has to pay $25 which goes directly to the event’s beneficiary organizations. The opening ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. on the Beach Stage at the park and the walk will begin at 10 a.m. The five-kilometer walk should take people between one and two hours to complete. Starting at 11 a.m., the post-walk festivities and music festival lineup will begin. Drinks, food, DJs and live entertainment are all promised by event organizers.

The organizers and sponsors of the Florida AIDS Walk are committed to three major goals, which are spelled out in their mission: one, they wish to raise funds that support HIV/AIDS services for people throughout the state; two, they want to remind the community that the HIV/AIDS crisis is still in full effect both globally and locally, and that they wish to increase the community’s awareness, education, prevention efforts and pursuit of treatment with the goal of reducing the spread of HIV; and three, they would like to treat participants to a fun day of music, food, camaraderie, and fun, and they want to motivate everyone to support and fight for one another year-round in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

The $25 registration fee, plus any other donations walkers may be able to raise, benefits a number of LGBT-related and HIV/AIDS organizations. First and foremost is the global healthcare organization AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The organization directly impacts the lives of 250,000 clients in 34 countries around the world. Also impacted is the national organization, the Positive Young People Foundation, which aims to decrease the incidence of HIV infections across the board nationwide.

Local organizations benefiting from the fundraising efforts of the Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival include Broward House, Broward County’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS service organization; The Pride Center at Equality Park, which has served the LGBT community of South Florida for two decades; SunServe, a group that focuses on the social needs of LGBT people in Broward County; Poverello, which provides food and other essentials for impoverished people in Broward County living with HIV/AIDS; and Latinos Salud, a gay support and enrichment organization for Latinos in South Florida.

The headliners of the Music Festival portion of the day’s events are the beloved girl pop-rock whsf_sun_aidswalkgroup The Go-Go’s. Performing in Fort Lauderdale are four of the original five band members: lead vocalist Belinda Carlisle, lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey, drummer Gina Schock and supporting guitarist and vocalist Jane Wiedlin.

The group, originally founded in 1978, performed on the fringe music scene in Los Angeles and in London before hitting it big with a record contract with IRS Records in 1981. They became the first all-female music group that wrote its own songs and played its own instruments to become a Billboard chart staple. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, was released in July 1981 and went triple platinum, spawning such well-remembered singles as “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat.” The group, in its original incarnation, would release two more albums, 1982’s “Vacation” and 1984’s “Talk Show,” before finally disbanding in the spring of 1985. The band has reunited many times since then for tour dates and special occasions. The Go-Go’s have sold over seven million albums to date.

In addition to presenting sponsor AHF Pharmacy, supporting sponsors of the Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival include the Sun-Sentinel, MDS Builders, Wells Fargo, The Miami Herald, American Airlines, Starbucks, Target, The W Fort Lauderdale, Westin Fort Lauderdale, LabCorp, Cardinal Health and many more. Hotspots Media Group is proud to be a media sponsor of this event.

To register for the Florida AIDS Walk and to pay the registration fee, go to FloridaAIDSWalk.org. For more information, dial (954) 522-3132.

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