The biggest costume party in town is happening August 12 for the eighth consecutive year. You can buy your tickets right now — and still have plenty of time to brainstorm your get-up.
Maybe you’ve heard of Identity Crisis and maybe you haven’t or like some, aren’t quite sure what it is. No need to be bamboozled. It’s a fundraiser with the operative first three letters being fun. This soirée has a dang good underlying reason: the proceeds benefit a local breast cancer organization.
Each year, Identity Crisis has a theme and attendees are encouraged to express themselves through a related costume. The theme for 2017 is “Enchanted Masquerade: Fantasy Comes to Life.” Need ideas? Search masquerade online and see what ideas spring forth.
Want to see photos from previous events for a better idea of how people dress? Galleries from 2015’s Sci-Fi theme, 2014’s Music theme and 2013’s A Trip In Time theme are online at identitycrisiswv.com, where you can also buy your ticket.
So what does fun look like Identity Crisis-style? Tickets include attending a VIP pre-party followed by a motorcade ride into Shepherdstown. You’ll parade down the main drag before arriving at the famous red carpet for the full VIP experience. From there, you can visit one of the many participating establishments for more fun or check out the art show and photo booth at the Shepherdstown Community Center (many of the venues are kid friendly this year).
Throughout the evening, watch for “paparazzi,” local photographers there to catch all the action (remember, you’re a very important person!). I plan to be on the paparazzi end of the event this year so I’ll be on the lookout for all town celebrities (for this one night, that’s you...are you getting the picture?).
Created by Shepherdstown native Tara Sanders Lowe eight years ago, Identity Crisis initially began as a premier social event but then morphed into a socially conscious community fundraiser. It brings together hundreds of folks for one night of creative expression and a rollicking good time.
The benefactor is Breast Cancer Awareness–Cumberland Valley (for the fifth consecutive year), which services a regional area and focuses on early detection, increased awareness, advocating for local breast cancer causes, supporting and assisting those affected, celebrating survivors and raising funds to provide programs and services.
Because the event brings joy to so many people, I queried a handful of locals to find out what they enjoy most. Responses included seeing the creative costumes, including the interpretation of the theme. Many enjoy the paparazzi aspect and the VIP party. Several felt impacted by the giving facet. Mostly, people spoke of how it mobilized the community.
Kate Turner, who’s been involved in the event many times, summed it up perfectly. “For me, it’s not the VIP party, the red carpet, the dance club, or even the way a whole town magically transforms as if the Breast Cancer Awareness Fairy waved her wand over Shepherdstown. For me, I love how the community comes together to support BCA-CV. I love that they’re local and the money we raise goes to support our community, not some CEO’s summer house. I love how it’s taken on a life of its own and inspired other projects like The Bodice Project. I love that this is what small town is all about.”
Kathleen Hajduk said her favorite aspect of the event “is the spirit of community that envelops the town and the participants,” adding, “We all dearly love where we live and it is truly remarkable to have an event that brings us all together and raises money and awareness for a good local cause. This event deepens my adoration of the town and the people that call it home. I look forward to seeing people I have not seen in a long time plus the chance to meet new and interesting people. Not to mention the costumes are outrageous and so fun!”
Bradley Sanders wrapped it up by saying the event “focuses the energy of the whole community in a practical and nurturing endeavor towards people who are suffering, and does so in a positive light. What could be better?”
What indeed? Get your tickets to this year’s bash, figure out a costume or just come as you are, go ahead and enjoy the VIP treatment, mingle with community members and feel good about donating to a charity that helps people in your own backyard. Even better, use the special VIP code “IC17 JOURNAL” to get $20 off your ticket right now.
This column appeared in The Journal on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Photo by the extraordinary Molly Humphreys of Piccadilly Posh from 2015's Sci-Fi Identity Crisis.