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Long-running High Heel Race returns to Dupont Circle tomorrow

The beloved drag race will close 17th Street NW to cars for several hours

A person running with arms outstretched on a city street. The person is wearing a drag outfit: a red skirt and red top with a red veil. They wear white makeup.
A person runs in drag in the 2018 High Heel Race
AFP/Getty Images

One of Dupont Circle’s oldest neighborhood traditions, the High Heel Race on 17th Street NW, kicks off Tuesday at 7 p.m. Right before Halloween each year, the campy event draws hundreds of spectators eager to watch people dressed in drag outfits run down the road for local glory. The race originated in the historic “gayborhood” in 1986 and is in its 33rd year.

While the race itself starts at 9 p.m., there is a small parade beginning at 7 p.m. and many folks show up to check out the outfits and grab a spot around 6 p.m. The following streets will be closed to traffic from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., notes the Metropolitan Police Department:

  • 17th Street NW from S to P streets NW
  • Riggs Place NW from 16th to 17th streets NW
  • R Street NW from 16th to 18th streets NW
  • Corcoran Street NW from 16th to 18th streets NW
  • Q Street NW from 16th to 18th streets NW
  • Church Street NW from 16th to 18th streets NW
  • P Street NW from 16th to 18th streets NW

This will be the second year that the District government is organizing the race. Previously, the race was overseen by community activists, but it has grown to require logistical support.