Looking for an LGBTQ+ evening of dazzling style, philanthropic impact, and unforgettable entertainment? The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce's annual October event, Boas & Bowties, is your ticket to find it all.

Boas & Bowties is more than just a gala; it's a Sacramento tradition. The annual black-tie event has existed as long as the Rainbow Chamber itself, and regularly features spectacles like stilt walkers, jugglers, drag queens, and other dazzling displays.

Over the years, the event has embraced its unique name, encouraging attendees to add a touch of whimsy to their formal wear with boas, bowties, or both. But don't worry if those accessories aren't already in your closet—the Chamber sells them at the event for those who want to add a spontaneous splash of color.

Fred Palmer, Executive Director of the Rainbow Chamber, explains that each year, Boas & Bowties boasts a vibrant sub-theme that reflects a different color of the rainbow. But it’s not always so straightforward. When the sub-theme was red, board member Sara Hanson (who is also a producer of Broadway At Music Circus), took it up a notch by theming the event after Rocky Horror Picture Show. That year, guests were encouraged to show up dressed as their favorite, red-clad characters.

Of course, Boas & Bowties is about more than just glitz and glamour. At its heart, it's a fundraiser for the Rainbow Chamber's scholarship fund.

Boas & Bowties Awards

"We give away all our scholarship awards to students at the event," says Palmer. “Last year, we did about 14 scholarships. Some are for undergrads, some are for graduate students, and we also support vocational and trade scholarships.”

Palmer explains that there are also scholarships for anything and everything healthcare related—veterinary, dentistry, nursing—and another for culinary scholarships.

“Our final fund provides debt relief for students who have graduated with a doctorate decree and are in their residency at a hospital. We also pick a super scholar who gets to speak at the event,” he says.

In addition to raising funds through tickets, the Chamber raises even more money for students through an auction and a silent auction with items that are donated for the cause. These contributions make a huge impact on educational access and opportunities for students. As one scholarship recipient said:

“I used my scholarship money for books and school supplies. Being the first in my family to get a master’s in something I love…the scholarship made a huge impact for me in completing my studies and getting my degree.”

Boas & Bowties Tablescape

Want to enjoy an evening filled with laughter, excitement, and entertainment while supporting the future of LGBTQ+ students? Find dates, tickets, and this year’s theme on the Rainbow Chamber’s website!

If you’re traveling from out of town, be sure to check out our LGBTQ+ Welcome Guide for activities and resources to make your trip unapologetic and unforgettable!