Mark your calendar for the Labor Day weekend – September 2-4 – for the second annual WeHo Sports Festival (WSF) that brings together sports leagues and individual athletes that play in and around the West Hollywood/Los Angeles area.
Taking place on the campus of UCLA, the award-winning multi-sport tournament includes several new elements for this year’s celebration, including a Health & Wellness Expo and new opening and closing party venues – the Mondrian Hotel’s famous Skybar for the opening and the La Boheme restaurant for the closing party.
Sports being featured for 2016 are basketball, dodgeball, swimming, soccer, tennis, volleyball and water polo. And new campaign posters have also been created by creative director Luis Rivera and award-winning photographer Reyes Melendez.
In 2015 the team at the Los Angeles Volleyball Organization (LAVO) created what it dreamed of in 2010 – an organized sports league that would foster competition and build friendships. Now, due to WSF’s success last year, this year’s event is expected to be bigger and better.
The WeHo team, led by LAVO’s executive vice president Eric Gonzales, is passionate about sports, the community and inspiring others. Now serving a dual role as WSF’s executive director, he says that “My job is to make sure that we organize the best WeHo Sports Festival each year and that our participants enjoy themselves.”
It’s clear that the WSF is a labor of love. “I absolutely love it. I love the fact that several different organizations can come together and put on an event that our community can be proud of,” said Gonzales. “I love to see that participating numbers of the different sports are growing.”
The reason for the strong growth of gay sports organizations and festivals like the WSF that are also open and welcoming to straight or ally athletes is probably best described by Gonzales: “It’s a space where you can be yourself, show your athletic abilities and make friends outside of the traditional bar scenes. The people you are playing with share your passion for that sport and those friendships tend to last a very long time.”
For more information or to register, please visit www.wehosportsfestival.com.
By Miriam Latto