DC’s 36th Annual 17th Street High Heel Race lights up Dupont Circle

In D.C., the final Tuesday before Halloween means one thing: the annual 17th Street High Heel Race, celebrating the District’s LGBTQ+ community in the heart of Northwest.

Every year, spectators gather in Dupont Circle to watch costume-clad participants run the race. Tuesday night brought attendees clear skies and a half-moon, as glamorous and glittering drag queens pranced up and down the strip. The sidewalks were crowded with people, while the bars were hopping between P and S streets NW.

Donald Burch, a D.C. resident who was volunteering at the event, said he loves living in D.C. as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“There’s no better place to be gay and proud and out and to really celebrate our existence,” Burch told WTOP. “And at times like this, with so much going on in the world, we really need the High Heel Race.”

It was one big street party — the entire event spans four hours, but the race itself only lasts about a minute, since they’re generally not the most sensible shoes to run in.

One drag queen disagreed, saying of her footwear: “A sexy, nude, six-inch Jessica Simpson. I think they’re comfortable.”

This year’s race also included a special guest: Karamo Brown of the hit Netflix show “Queer Eye,” who told WTOP’s Jason Fraley earlier this week that he has “always wanted to participate, so to be there this year is pretty exciting.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, whose office sponsors the event, said in a Tuesday news release that the race celebrates how the District “has been a leader on LGBTQ+ rights.”

She added, “Whether it is an investment in housing, or jobs, or public safety, with every investment, we want to send the same message: we love you, we see you, and we’re here for you. Tonight is a celebration of that commitment.”

See photos and the entire High Heel Race event below.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up