Washington DC

My first Washington D.C. High Heel Drag Queen Race

Spectators photographing the first racers at the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

Tuesday is a very busy bar night in Dallas’ gayborhood, but that is not the case in D.C.  — apparently people are more into happy hour here. 

We had a rare Tuesday night out yesterday with our first drag queen High Heel Race. I started hearing about this event almost immediately after arriving in town, and hated that it was on a random school night. However, I felt obligated to go because the race was billed as the equivalent of Dallas’ Halloween Block Party

The good news is that the event did not disappoint.

The crowd gathering at a restaurant waiting for the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

The crowd gathering at a restaurant waiting for the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

Drag queens at the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

Drag queens at the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

A witch-themed contestant in front of Trade Bar after the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

A witch-themed contestant in front of Trade Bar after the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

A Big Bird costume at the 2017 Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

A Big Bird costume at the 2017 Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

A Washington D.C. tradition.

The High Heel Race apparently started as an informal event 30 ago and evolved into a massive block party. The race is brief — only about two blocks long — but it is preceded by a parade of drag queens.

One strange thing about the High Heel Race is that although thousands of people show up for the spectacle, it doesn’t have all of the hallmarks of a typical large event. There police officers and volunteers, but no porta-potties, extra-trash cans, or food trucks. Thankfully there are plenty of CVS stores in the area (with bathrooms.)

A drag queen being interviewed after the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

A drag queen being interviewed after the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

The crowd for the 2017 Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

The crowd for the 2017 Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

A Washington High Heel Race contestant at Number Nine nightclub after the race (with light-up shirt).

A Washington High Heel Race contestant at Number Nine nightclub after the race (with light-up shirt).

Spectators photographing the first racers at the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

Spectators photographing the first racers at the Washington D.C. High Heel Race.

A surprise after the race

The bars along the race route were packed, so we walked several blocks to get a drink after the event. We were not the only people to have that idea — the Logan Circle gay bars were so busy that it felt like a Tuesday back in Texas — just with more inventive costumes than usual. 

On the way back to the car we saw another D.C. institution — rats!

There was a big old rat convention going on in some dumpsters near the sidewalk.

Rodents were literally flying everywhere, and I felt like I was about to reenact that night’s race. 

D.C. apparently is one of the most rat-infested cities in the U.S., but I hadn’t noticed any rodents until now. Hopefully I’ll never encounter one up close, because I’ll definitely take off quicker than a drag queen down 17th Street. πŸ‘ 

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