Aqua Girl 2013: LBT Women’s Fundraiser Offers Sense of Community

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Celesbians, South Beach nightlife, and (hopefully) sunshine — that’s the formula for Aqua Girl 2013.

This 14th annual fundraising festival for LBT women, the largest in the U.S., takes place on Miami Beach from Wednesday, May 15 to Sunday, May 19, 2013.

The nonprofit Aqua Foundation for Women (AFW) organizes Aqua Girl, and anticipates 10,000 guests from South Florida, as well as from across the U.S. and abroad, to visit fourteen events over five days.

In an email interview with SFGN, Robin Schwartz, executive director of AFW, discussed the reasons for Aqua Girl’s success.

“In large part, it’s due to the excellent leadership of Alison Burgos who created .  Also, there is no place quite like South Beach… More than half of those who attend Aqua Girl come from outside of Florida to enjoy the fun and sun that only Miami and Miami Beach can offer.”

Another incentive is that the event is a way for LBT women to help each other.  All of Aqua Girl’s proceeds go towards supporting the LBT women’s community in South Florida through scholarships to LBT women, grants to LGBT organizations, and other programs.

“Although the women come for a good time, they also like that they are contributing to a good cause,” said Schwartz.

In the tradition of The White Party and The Winter Party Festival, Aqua Girl stylishly blends philanthropy with decadent pleasures.

For those who want to get an early start to Aqua Girl, there will be a VIP cocktail party on Saturday, May 11 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  J. Michael Heider and Thom Carr Singer will host the event at their Fort Lauderdale home.  Hors d’oeuvres from da Campo Osteria will be served, and singer Maryel Epps, known as the “Gospel Diva of South Beach,” is scheduled to perform.

During Aqua Girl’s five days of events, there is ample opportunity to drink, dine and dance.

Cocktails can be savored at two distinctive Happy Hours — one at the Catalina Hotel and Beach Club; the other at The Palace.  Guests can also enjoy the Sip and Savor Wine and Cheese Reception at The Betsy, and the Miami VIP Cocktail Reception at the 1111 Lincoln Road Building.  Looking for an alternative to a night of drinking?  The Dine Out event at the Riviera Hotel will satisfy your taste for Latin-inspired cuisine.

Of course, there’s music for just about every heart’s desire.

Traffic Jam at Dream Nightclub features hip-hop, Latin, and reggaeton; Temptation at Grand Central thrills with a performance by former The Voice finalist Frenchie Davis; Fuego at Nikki Beach turns up the Latin beats along with Top 40 and 80s/90s classics, and Afterglow at Score sways the dance floor with the signature Miami sound of bass, freestyle, and hip-hop.

This year, there’s even a place for alternative LBT women.  Aqua Rock at Churchill’s Pub presents singer/ songwriter Steph Taylor, rock duo KillMama, and indie band Drawing Board.

If you’re in search of Aqua Girl’s pool parties, you’ll find many a bikini-clad woman at The National Hotel Infinity Pool in Miami Beach.

On Friday, there is complimentary admission to the pool and a live taping of The Derek and Romaine Show, an award-winning gay/lesbian radio program on SiriusXM.  Romaine will interview Aqua Girl celebrities like The Real L Word’s Lauren Russell.  On Saturday morning, wake up to Body Toning, a free event with Rachel Robinson, at The National Hotel.  Then find your way poolside for the Aqualicious Pool Party, where Lauren Russell appears again as the host.  Closing out the pool festivities is the Beach House Pool Party and Tea Dance on Sunday with DJs Pride, Tracy Young, and Tatianna.

Aqua Girl may be one of the only places where some LBT women can be completely out.  Whether they are from Deerfield Beach, Colombia, or London, it may be difficult to be open about their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

Safe spaces for transgender women are a particular concern — especially after the recent controversy about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and their exclusion of transgender women.

“Aqua Foundation for Women’s mission includes transgender women,” stated Schwartz.  “All women are welcome at Aqua Girl.  To be certain that we are creating a welcoming environment for all, we are conducting sensitivity training with the hotel staff.  And there are unisex bathrooms, so that however one gender identifies, one will be comfortable.”

Aqua Girl is about having fun.  It’s about providing support for the LBT women’s community in South Florida.  But it is also about building a sense of community and connection with all LBT women.  That’s what makes Aqua Girl unique.

If you go to Aqua Girl 2013:

SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2013

VIP Cocktail Reception hosted in Fort Lauderdale

7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The private home of J. Michael Heider and Thom Carr

2411 NE 32nd Ave

Fort Lauderdale, FL

$60 in advance/$80 at the door

$50 in advance for members

Wednesday, May 15

Aqua Rock

9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Churchill’s Pub

5501 NE 2nd Ave

Miami, FL

$9 in advance/$12 at the door

$8 in advance for members

Thursday, May 16Catalina Hotel and Beach Club Happy Hour4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

1756 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach, Florida

Complimentary entrance

Thursday, May 16Sip and Savor Wine and Cheese Reception7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Betsy

1440 Ocean Dr

Miami Beach, FL

$30 in advance/$35 at the door

$25 in advance for membersThursday, May 16Traffic Jam10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Dream Nightclub

1532 Washington Ave

Miami Beach, FL

$10 in advance/$15 at the door

$8 in advance for members

Friday, May 17

Chill by the Pool and The Derek and Romaine Show Live Taping

All Day and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The National Hotel Infinity Pool

1677 Collins Ave

Miami Beach, FL

Complimentary Entrance

Friday, May 17

The Palace Happy Hour

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

1200 Ocean Drive

Miami Beach, FL

Complimentary entrance

Friday, May 17

Miami VIP Cocktail Reception7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

1111 Lincoln Road

Miami Beach, FL

$85 in advance/$100 at the door

$75 in advance for members

Friday, May 17

Temptation10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Grand Central

697 N Miami Ave

Miami, FL

$20 in advance/$25 at the door

$15 in advance for members

Saturday, May 18

BodyToning with Rachel Robinson10 a.m.

National Hotel

1677 Collins Ave

Miami Beach, FL

Free

Saturday, May 18

Aqualicious Pool Party11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

National Hotel

1677 Collins Ave

Miami Beach, FL

$32 in advance/$38 at the door

$27 in advance for members

Saturday, May 18

Dine Out7 p.m.

Riviera Hotel on South Beach

2000 Liberty Ave

Miami Beach, FL

$60 in advance/$70 at the door

$55 in advance for members

Saturday, May 18

Fuego10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Nikki Beach

1 Ocean Dr

Miami Beach, FL

$30 in advance/$35 at the door

$25 in advance for members

Sunday, May 19

Beach House Pool Party and Tea Dance11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The National Hotel

1677 Collins Ave

Miami Beach, FL

$15 in advance/$25 at the door

$10 in advance for members

Sunday, May 19

Afterglow9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Score

727 Lincoln Rd

Miami Beach, FL

$10 in advance/$15 at the door

$8 in advance for members

Buy at http://www.aquagirl.org, call 1-877-764-2782 Andrea Dulanto


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