Led by drag queen Nina West, costumed characters reflecting the campy spirit ofthe Short North'smassive Highballmasquerade partypranced alonga runway to the beat of a Lady Gaga recording at the Greater Columbus Convention Center today. The scene was a highlight of Experience Columbus's annual meeting--essentially an hour-plus pep rally touting all that's cool and good about the city. Normally a staid affair, the tourist and convention folks spiced up the luncheon of civic honchos,business types and various politicos with a nod to the edgy costume party that takes over a stretch of High Street and attracts, according to one estimate, about 20,000 people on Halloween weekend.

--Ray Paprocki