The Dinah’s Mariah Hanson To Receive First-Ever Legacy Award
The Dinah’s Mariah Hanson scoops up the honors as the all-girl festival turns 25
The Palm Springs community is recognizing Mariah for her invaluable contribution to the Coachella Valley LGBT community with the first-ever Legacy Award, an honor to pay tribute to remarkable individuals for their achievement and leadership advancing the LGBT community, presented by The Center.
Mariah will accept the honor at the fifth annual Center Stage Gala presented by Eisenhower Medical Center on Friday, November 7that The Riviera Resort & Spa (1600 North Indian Canyon Drive; 760-327-8311; PSRiviera.com) in Palm Springs, California.
Earlier this month, Mariah also received the Spirit of Stonewall Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Palm Springs Pride Organization on October 10. The honor was presented as a part of the Palm Springs Pride celebration.
The Center selected Mariah for creating the largest lesbian event in the world in Palm Springs.
For 25 years The Dinah grew from attracting 1,500 during its initial years to more than 15,000 women to the Southern California desert for what has became known as the lesbian spring break to an all out women’s music and entertainment festival.
The Dinah 25 will celebrate April 1 – 5, 2015.
“Her vision for an all-women’s event has become the largest lesbian event of its kind in the world,” says Mike Thompson, executive director at the LGBT Community Center of The Desert, pointing out that Mariah’s name quickly rose to the top of the list of potential honorees. “This is Mariah’s legacy to our community and our reason for recognizing and celebrating her outstanding accomplishment.”
Over the course of a quarter of a century, The Dinah has not only been changing lives, but also a trendsetting event spearheading music careers featuring the latest emerging artists right before they are about to pop onto the national and international airwaves and consciousness.
Headliners such as Colbie Caillat, India Arie, Iggy Azalea, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, The Pussycat Dolls, and more have graced The Dinah’s stages before they made it to superstardom.
“I think it’s seen an incredible growth trajectory,” Mariah tells the Huffington Post. She points out that the festival started out as a DJ-driven “pretty wild three-day party focused around drinking.” A quarter of a century later, “it is an international lesbian music festival with film, comedy, live music, and charity.”
Mariah cites listening to the Pussy Cat Dolls sing “Don’t Cha,” being blown away by Katy Perry, and being moved by Mary Lambert as her top three favorite memories of the Dinah during the past 25 years.
Her dream lineup is P!nk, Katie Perry, Earth Wind & Fire, Chrissie Hines, Justin Timberlake, and Dolly Parton.
“It just has become this amazing event,” continues Mariah, who returned to producing the event on her own after her split with the Girl Bar Productions girls, Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs, in 2006. “As the event grows there is room to do different stuff during the Dinah.”
“Challenge is that you have to stay relevant,” adds Mariah.
Robin and Sandy have since moved their Dinah Shore Weekend from the California desert to Las Vegas.
In charge, of the historic event that started with house parties along with the Colgate Dinah Shore Golf Championship (now called the Kraft Nabisco Championship) launched in 1972 by the late TV personality and women’s professional golf fan, Dinah Shore, in the 1970s.
Dinah, who wasn’t known for being pro-gay, was an avid golfer and used her Hollywood connections to boost the then-underfunded Ladies Professional Golf Association and professional women golfers. Today, it is one of the four major golf tournaments on the LPGA tour.
Dinah never stated publicly her feelings about her name and the tournament weekend being hijacked by lesbians, particularly by Mariah, Robin and Sandy. Two promoters – corporate event producer Kathy Miller in the ‘70s and the ‘80s and Los Angeles-based lesbian club promoter Caroline Clone in the late ‘80s – threw parties for women during the Dinah golf tournament, but the event finally outgrew private house parties and dingy bars in the 1990s when the three women came onto the golf and party scene.
After joining forces and building the Dinah Shore Weekend and then splitting up, Mariah was unleashed.
“I could make sure everyone was invited to the party and embrace the diversity of our community,” says Mariah. “It’s like walking through the door to Narnia and they just embrace the diversity. It is the most positive vibe over the weekend. It is amazing and thrills me.”
Her philosophy to keep the women coming back for more is to “treat every customer like gold” and “just to throw the most amazing event for lesbians in the world.”
Mariah’s avant-garde approach to business and philanthropy has made her an event promoter extraordinaire and exemplary community leader. In a little more than two decades, she has created an unsurpassed cultural and social phenomenon and built an impressive empire taking a single day event into a five day festival.
The Dinah offers an unparalleled one-of-a-kind experience for myriads of women who come from all over the world to enjoy the freedom to be who they truly are without fearing the judgment of others, and gain, as well, a tremendous amount of self-worth.
The Center will also honor Judge Vaughn R. Walker (Ret) with the “Vanguard” Award.
Comedian Kate Clinton will host the fifth Annual Center Stage Gala, which will open with a reception and silent auction at 5:30 p.m. Dinner and entertainment (singing string quartet Well-Strung) will follow at 7 p.m. on November 7. Tickets are $175. For more information, call 760-416-7790 or visit, TheCenterPS.org/Events/Center-Stage.
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