Sunday, March 17, is a milestone for Julian Cavazos as he celebrates the one-year anniversary of reviving the iconic Marlin Beach hotel, not in bricks and mortar but in spirit and nostalgia.
There’s no hotel, no pool, no ocean across the street, but with a new location and a revived spirit, the new event is now known as “Marlin Beach 2.0."
According to the Broward County LGBT Community History Project: “the Marlin Beach hotel, completed in 1952, was the jewel of Fort Lauderdale Beach hotels. The hotel and dining room window were featured in the 1960 movie ‘Where the Boys Are,’ establishing Fort Lauderdale as the place to lay in the sun in the day and party at night.”
Cavazos’ dream was to bring back the classic Tea Dance like it was at the Marlin Beach in the good old days.
“It’s taking us back to the first gay resort on the beach in the late ’70’s,” said Cavazos, who has created a number of charitable events over the years in FortLauderdale. “This is the first real Tea Dance in years. It’s a dance party with the same music, with the experience of being outside [rather than in a bar] enjoying sunny South Florida weather.”
With the bricks and mortar of the old Marlin Beach now long gone, Cavazos found a suitable outdoor venue for his revived event; the place where he has launched many other events: Sanctuary Church on Middle River.
“The outside venue is beautiful. We will have tented bars and Bill Hillcrest, the former Marlin Beach hotel DJ.” Plus, there will be a “Mr. Marlin Beach” contest, with the winner getting $350 cash. (Runner-up gets $150).
On March 17, the “Marlin Beach 2.0 Anniversary Tea Dance” will be offering free shots, prize giveaways, food and dancers. Lots of dancers.
“We’ve been very successful. There have been some growing pains,” he said. “Last summer was tough with so many events up against each other, but we’re doing well now.”
And, as usual, Cavazos has added his own personal touch, starting a non-profit organization for LGBT youth called “Julian's Fountain of Youth.”
“We’re quenching their thirst of knowledge, empowerment, and betterment for LGBT youth.”
Not a bad way to salute a bygone icon.
IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND:
WHAT: Marlin Beach 2.0 Anniversary Tea Dance
WHEN: Sunday, March 17, 2019, 3-9 p.m.
WHERE: Sanctuary Church, 1400 N. Federal Hwy, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304
Free parking. Event takes place behind the church, facing the Middle River.