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Hill Country Ride for AIDS
With the weather beginning to warm up, it’s the perfect time to bring out the bike, climb aboard and check out the amazing landscape that Central Texas has to offer. Dubbed the “Best Bike Ride” by Austin Chronicle readers for the past two years, the Hill Country Ride for AIDS is a great way to cycle and stay healthy while supporting a great cause.

Don’t worry if you haven’t touched those handlebars for a while, this annual cycling event caters to everyone. Casual, leisurely and serious riders alike can choose from five different distances between 13 and 100 miles. There are also at least 10 training sessions scheduled in Austin and Central Texas throughout March and April to help participants prepare for the big day.

The Hill Country Ride allows groups of friends, families or office mates to pedal together. Volunteers along the routes offer great encouragement and add to the relaxed atmosphere of the day. Described as “serious fun for a serious cause” by organizers, the Hill Country Ride has helped many people affected by HIV and AIDS since it began in 2000. Ten nonprofit organizations from throughout the state benefit from the event, including AIDS Services of Austin, The Care Communities and The Wright House Wellness Center. Through the dedication of past participants, more than $4.5 million has been raised for these groups, making the Hill Country Ride the second most successful AIDS Ride in the country.

This year, the aim is to reach $500,000 for the beneficiaries, which is made possible as a result of the riders’ minimum fundraising goal: $100 for kids, $350 for students and $500 for others. Achieving this goal will have wide-reaching advantages: $500 amounts to a month’s worth of rent for one family in supportive housing, while $1,000 can provide 450 homecooked meals for hospice patients or pay for four months of medication.

First time riders are matched with an experienced buddy who is available to answer any questions on topics like training and fundraising. Anyone sans bike can rent one before March 30 from the Bicycle Sports Shop, opt to be a “virtual rider” or choose to run instead. What’s more, anybody who wants to contribute on the day of the event can volunteer to help in a variety of roles.

Festivities for the event begin on the evening of April 27. From 4 to 8 p.m., participants can check in and attend the opening ceremony at First United Methodist Church Family Life Center. The Hill Country Ride will begin the following day at 7 a.m. at Reunion Ranch, Georgetown and end at 5 p.m.

Xanadu at Zach Scott Theatre
The Austin Insider knows that Zach Scott Theatre’s annual Red Hot and Soul gala is always one of the most fun and most creative parties in town. This year will be no exception and you can expect wonders from co-chairs Bobbi Topfer and Larry Connelly.

“We’re producing an event that will knock Austin’s socks off, and get them into a pair of roller skates,” Topfer says.

Connelly adds, “Red Hot and Soul is raising the bar again with a great theme for the best party in town: Xanadu, where time stops and the magic never ends. There is no end to Zach’s magic in transforming the space with incredible colors, dancers, skaters and costumes in this ’80s roller-disco wonder. Dust off your polyester, sequined glitz and glitter and join us for an incredible evening like nothing else in Austin.”

“We promise guests are going to have an outrageously good time while helping to raise critical funds to support all the great works of this cherished Austin institution,” Topfer says.

For tickets and more info, visit zachtheatre.org.

The Nobelity Project Artists and Filmmakers Dinner
March 25 at 6 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin
A lively, casual gala that honors philanthropists, hosted by 45 of Texas’ most renowned film, literary and music legends, and benefiting The Nobelity Project’s many endeavors. Visit nobelity.org for tickets.

The James Street and Mack Brown Golf Shootout and Live Auction

April 16, TBA
Sports legends Mack Brown and James Street host this event that benefits the Rise School of Austin. An exclusive cocktail party and live auction precede the event. Visit the events page at riseschool.org for more information.

12th Annual Big Idea Day Award Luncheon

April 20 at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Austin
This luncheon celebrates small businesses that have helped keep Austin’s economy thriving. Visit bigidea-day.com for more information.

Wonderball Daddy Daughter Dance

April 28 from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center
This event provides an enchanting evening of entertainment, crafts and dancing that gives fathers or father figures a chance to treat their daughters like the princesses they are. Visit wondersandworries.org/wonderball.html for tickets.

Man and Woman of the Year Awards
May 4 at the Driskill Hotel
A spirited competition that honors the man and woman of the year who have raised the most money for blood cancer research in the form of votes, this event benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Visit the Austin section at mwoy.org for tickets.

Fifth Annual Beyond the Lights Celebrity Golf Classic

May 11 at the Wolfdancer Golf Club
A celebrity golf tournament featuring cast members from Friday Night Lights, this golf event features auctions and plenty of live entertainment, and benefits Gridiron Heroes.

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