This article was published on March 27th, 2015
Rain, sun, and wind couldn’t keep the gays away, as 10,000 gay men flocked to the pools, beaches, and other events at Miami Winter Party Festival. While southern Florida is well known for amazing weather during the winter months, this year’s Miami Winter Party events saw every kind of weather including rain, wind and sun. Clearly the weather had no impact on the turnout or enthusiasm from partygoers.
Miami Winter Party Festival is one of the largest and most popular gay-pride events during the winter months in North America. It’s a fundraising event, with proceeds going to the National Task Force. This year, the festival raised over $1-million for the National Task Force, the first time in the events 22-year history!
“Surpassing the $1 million revenue milestone is truly a significant accomplishment,” said Russell Roybal, deputy executive director for the National LGBTQ Task Force. “Equally as impressive is the growth the event has experienced since the Task Force assumed the production responsibilities in 2005 in terms of bigger events, more major sponsors and an ever-increasing loyal volunteer team.”
Events ranged from art exhibitions and shopping galas, to private VIP get-togethers, but the main reason thousands of hot gay men come to Miami Winter Party Festival is for the Friday night circuit party, the Saturday pool party, and the Sunday beach party. Over 13,000 people attended the five-day festival.
“We promised this year’s Festival would be bigger, better and more exciting than ever, and we delivered on that promise with diverse events that our guests truly embraced,” said Justin Bell, Winter Party Festival Chair. “Winter Party is driven by the desire to unite the global LGBTQ and allied communities in order to celebrate who we are as individuals and who we are as an inclusive community.”
The best way to experience the Miami Winter Party Festival is by staying at the host hotel, the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach. It’s also the host property of the Saturday pool party. The Sunday beach party is a casual 15-minute stroll down the beach pathway from the hotel, passing by spectacular beaches, beautiful ocean-front hotels, and the world-famous Ocean Avenue.
If you’re planning on attending this event, plan on arriving on Thursday afternoon to make it in time for the Thursday night event, Ignite. It’s the first of the big circuit parties and it’s just a few minutes walk from the host hotel. They bring in great DJ’s and it’s always done up with great decorations to se the mood.
Friday can be an easy day on the beach or enjoy shopping, before heading out to the official Friday night circuit party, Pulse, which is a shuttle-bus ride away. If you don’t want to go to the official circuit party, there are plenty of other bars in the area bursting with guys, all in South Beach for Winter Party weekend.
Saturday is the day to spend around the pool, at the Under One Sun Pool Party, with thousands of hot gay men, bumping and grinding to DJ’s turning out hot tracks with deep base that will have every booty shaking to the beat. It’s one of the two signature events of the weekend not to miss. It’s well worth the upgrade to VIP for this event because you can get to bars with no line-ups, and get free drinks all day long. After a quick disco-nap and dinner, the party continues at Score for the Energy party.
While not an official event, the Sunday brunch at the Palace is a staple for most, going for the unlimited mimosa and limited brunch menu, to fuel the day, before heading off to the signature Miami Winter Party Festival event, the Winter Party Beach Party. The Palace bunch is a staple of the South Beach experience, with fantastic drag queen performances every 15 – 30 minutes. It attracts gay men, straight couples, and even parents, all who just want to come for the fun and excitement of the LGBT community.
The beach party has over 5,000 hot men dancing on the beach, overlooking the ocean and Ocean Avenue. The event is hosted under a signature event structure, with club lighting and wrapped in festival colours. There is also a giant two-story burlap-sack slide which should not be missed. And unlike most events, this party has plenty of washrooms and bars all along the outer dance area, so you’re not wasting time waiting in line.
Most event-goers plan to leave on Monday afternoon, which gives them time to enjoy recovery breakfast on Ocean Avenue, before heading home.
This is easily the hottest and best gay circuit party event not to be missed. If it’s not on your annual calendar of events, you need to put it on there. It’s a ton of fun whether you go alone, or with a group of friends.