The Absolut Empires Ball was created to give a platform for all drag entertainers to express themselves and highlight their art. Creating a more inclusive, accepting and safe environment, where all types of drag artists are welcome. It’s now set to return to Toronto this May for its third and greatest season yet!

Created in 2018 by drag superstar and Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 finalist, Scarlett BoBo, the Absolut Empires Ball offers a platform for drag entertainers to express themselves and highlight their art and creativity in the style of traditional drag ball culture. This spring, the Ball returns with a new format, new talent, and new surprises, and will be hosted in the heart of Toronto’s Gay Village at Buddies in Bad Times and the Phoenix Theatre. Proceeds from the event, including $1 from every Absolut Vodka sold, will go to Rainbow Railroad and The 519.

This year, the Ball will feature the phenomenal talent of 35 Drag Entertainers from seven houses, House Bontemps, Haus Devereaux, House of Diamonds, Doll Haus, House of Harlequin, Haus of Injustice, and P.H.A.G. House. It will be co-hosted by Toronto Drag icons Ivory Towers and Helena Poison, who have competed in previous seasons of the competition.

“The Absolut Empires Ball is about bringing drag back to what it’s meant to be: a family of entertainers being inclusive, equitable and very fun,” says Scarlett Bobo. “I am very excited for the incredible talent that will be performing, and that we get to fundraise for Rainbow Railroad and the 519 again. I know that this is one drag event you shouldn’t miss!”

Since partnering with title sponsor Absolut Vodka in 2019, the Ball has become a drag sensation that has featured dozens of performers from across Canada, both in person and online. A film about the event, Underneath the Empire, was the number one documentary OutTV in 2021. Over the last three years, the Empires Ball and Absolut Vodka have donated over $40,000 to LGBTQ2+ charities in Toronto.

“Each year, Absolut Vodka is proud to champion amazing talent from all backgrounds and give entertainers a platform to express themselves with their chosen families and houses by their side,” says Bethan Hamilton, Senior Brand Manager, Absolut Vodka. “We believe that life is best lived when we’re open to differences, and we encourage Torontonians to join us at the Empires Ball this year and raise a glass in support of the LGBTQ2+ community, Rainbow Railroad and the 519.”

The preliminary and semi-final competitions will take place at Buddies in Bad Times on May 4th, 11th and 18th from 7:30p.m. -10:00p.m., with the grand finale happening at the Phoenix Theatre on June 18th. More information can be found here.

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About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.