A mega dance event, with a particular theme, to the location where the individual party is being held.
Organized parties, in various locations comprise the 'circuit'. Each stage is usually a themed party, which can have special events leading up to a grand dance party.
In some instances, it can be stretched over several days of events, all culminating in the finale, which is a giant dance party.
During the 1970's and 1980's highly organized parties began appearing, and they became known as the 'circuit' for which Gay Men would travel to, to engage in wild dance parties, that filled large venues, with just men.
Originally these parties were started in cities hosting a large gay male population, and were originally known as 'disco parties' that evolved into 'marathon parties' which was where the party would last beyond the traditional time frame of parties.
Some attribute the origins to the NY nightclub, 'Saint' which hosted one mega party each month, that was state of the art at the time. Many claim it still has yet to be equaled in its technological scope.
The club was a renovated theater, with a suspended dome over the dance floor, where a sort of planetarium type show was shown, while below people danced. Many planned their weekends around this event, that was mimicked in other locations.
Another 'father' of the circuit party was called the 'red party' in Ohio, where its founder held an annual event, in which its founder went to extreme lengths to decorate the hall with red colors.
Corbett Reynolds was an artist and night club owner who made the party sets all in red, which were also elaborate works of art. The party was conceived to be the 'end all party' and grew to such volumes, that even when the bar closed, the parties annual event continued, until his death on the 25th anniversary of it.
History (Legend): As attendance grew, so did the scope of the event, to where it became more than just a single extra long party that stretched from one day into the next.
Entire events, beginning days in advance evolved, such as Southern Decadence in New Orleans, the leather fair in San Francisco (Folsom Street Fair) which culminated in a huge dance party to end the event.
Practice (Associated Acts): The advent of more open minded attitude to Gays, evolved to where entire cruises were organized just for Gays, which competed with the Circuit Parties, to where many of the parties ceased to exist.
Noteworthy: Palm Springs - White Party location
Montreal - Black and Blue Ball location
Miami - Winter Party location
Southern Decadence - New Orleans
Folsom Street Fair - San Francisco
Some in the GLBT community objected to the various Circuit Parties due to their lack of safe sex awareness. Additionally there are some who consider such events as putting gays into a bad light, public relations wise.
They claim such events tend to bolster the straight view of Gays as being only sexual animals, incapable of long lasting relationships, due to the wanton display of sex during most of these events, as well as to the casual sexual encounters that occur.
Additionally, there is the perception that these events are merely excuses for gay's to congregate to abuse various drugs and engage in unprotected sex.
While originally conceived as an extravagant party, the event evolved to also become a fund raising event, with the advent of AIDS/HIV during the 1980's.
While some events for profit, and included elaborate sets, venues, and performers, others donated proceeds for AIDS/HIV and other related Charities.