South Florida’s Winter Party Festival is Back!

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It all started 20 years ago.

With almost no money and not the faintest clue of what their combined ingenuity would ultimately produce, Stewart Stein, Clark Reynolds, Ignacio Martinez-Ybor and Dennis Leyva orchestrated an entertainment festival so grandiose, so engaging, and so inviting that it would ultimately become a staple of gay culture and come to embody the combined unity of the national and international LGBT communities.

Such is the story of the Winter Party Festival, and this year from March 6 through March 11, it packs perhaps more of a punch than ever as the white sands of South Beach come alive with what is one of the most anticipated annual LGBT gatherings and celebrations in the world.

With a plethora of live music, dance parties and the convergence of a cocktail reception and events galore, the festival, now in its Twentieth anniversary as the hottest LGBT party around is, as Founder Stewart Stein says: “A magical celebration that does a lot of good the for gay and lesbian community.”

But despite its now eternal stamp on the LGBT community (the festival draws a multi-national crowd and expects more than 10,000 visitors this year) it hardly has its roots in one’s simple desire to party.

Rewind to 1992: the fallout caused by the Dade Action PAC’s successful campaign to pass Miami Beach’s first gay civil rights ordinance is in full swing and chairman and festival co-founder Clark Reynolds, is deeply involved in the controversy.

In 1993, when the American Family Association called for a referendum on the newly passed ordinance, LGBT activists, including Reynolds and Martinez-Ybor came together to defeat the referendum that would overturn the new protections for the LGBT community.  But it wasn’t until founders Reynolds, Stein and Levya came together by chance that the idea for a South Florida fundraising celebration was conceived. 

The venue was in New York on Fire Island at the Morning Party – a gay men’s health fundraiser – in which three of the four founders were in attendance, which Stern cites as the “impetus for [what is now] the festival.”

And so began the four men’s fight to raise money to combat the AFA’s ballot proposal through song, dance and camaraderie.

Going door to door in the gay business community and, as Stein says without hesitation, “begging,” for donations to put on the festival, the then first Winter Party Festival – which carried a ticket price of $30 – not only drew an estimated 1,600 attendees by his account, but raised nearly $50,000 in net proceeds for what became the Dade Human Rights Foundation – a non profit group aimed at benefitting the welfare of the LGBT community.

But when financial issues caused the closure of the Dade Human Rights Foundation, the festival was taken over by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) in 2004 and essentially “saved from oblivion,” according to Stein.  The NGLTF’s first officially sponsored Winter Party Festival was in 2005 and, from here it continued to grow into the behemoth of joint entertainment and LGBT targeted fundraising that it is today.

Michael Bath has been the Event Director of the NGLTF since 2005 and says that the festival – which has in its past featured local, national and international acts (the likes of Bette Midler included) – has only continued to grow, its focus on the creation of an even broader appeal both inside and outside of the LGBT community.

“In the past, the audience was predominantly men, but we have a growing women’s event agenda,” he says, citing some of the major changes in the festival over the years.  “This year we’ve added a woman’s program with a series of events including two dance events, an art exhibit and a Sunday brunch.”

In addition, Bath cites the international recognition of the festival as yet another of its fundraising conduits.  With active partnerships in place with Brazil, Spain and Italy to help bring both tourism and diverse entertainment to the festival, he and the Task Force project net revenues of approximately $325,000 when the last song plays and the last celebratory glass is raised this year.

Still, don’t think your hard partying over the six day festival is for naught:  the Miami Foundation receives more than 50 percent of the proceeds and allocates these funds via grants to local and national organizations that help the LGBT population in all facets of life.

Indeed, the Miami Foundation, as a result of the massively successful annual festival, has already donated just shy of $1.4 million since 2005.

As for this year?

“As of right now, we’ve raised over $170,000 so far in ticket sales,” Bath says.

And don’t expect that figure to let up even as the event draws closer.

Winter Party Festival Chair Derek Yee says that this year, festival organizers are pulling out all the stops to attract even more partygoers.

“The dance party is our major event,” he says.  “But this year we’re going to have two main DJ’s as opposed to one for the first time.”

As for other entertainment he adds, “…We may have other tricks up our sleeves …we may have some special performers and you may just have to wait until closer to the date to find out who [they might be],” he adds.

This year, expect the festival to explode with the Shelborne South Beach Hotel acting as its home base.  One of the newest and most anticipated events will be the Spanish WE Party – one of the international “flavorings” of the festival, and one which Yee speaks of with utter excitement.

Hosted by Mansion, it follows the dance party on Sunday night, March 10, and promises to top off the festival with a bang.

Here, according to the official press release for the event, “WE resident DJ Manuel Diego…from Madrid…will be joined by Italy’s Giangi Cappai,” in an international show of unity from the LGBT community.

Per the press release, other disc jockeys headlining the massive beach party include Brett Henrichsen and Joe Gauthreaux.

Still, with evolution of the festival an inevitability as its appeal grows, one thing is for certain: the party remains firmly intact.  Only this time it’s larger, sweatier, more jam-packed and yes, even a bit longer.

“Last year the party ran a bit over,” Yee says.  “We want it to run further into the evening again…”

Perhaps bringing a portable air mattress with your dancing shoes isn’t such a bad idea…you may want to consider it.

More information on the entertainers and events of the Winter Music Festival can be found at www.winterparty.com.  Tickets range from per event variable prices to all-inclusive VIP packages.

Pre-Events:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Palace Bar Kick-Off

12:00 PM to 08:00 PM

Palace Bar

1200 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

The Palace Bar will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the end of February, but first it will host two fabulous kick-off events for the 20th Edition of Winter Party Festival.  Join us for the famous Brunchic and Palace tea dance, featuring Miami Beach's famous drag queens, and enter a raffle to win 2 Beach Party tickets.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

TAGG store Pool/Beach Party Swim Wear Event

08:00 PM to 10:00 PM

TAGG

720 Ninth Ave. @ 49th st

8-10pm featuring open bar and huge savings on attire for the WPF '13 ?www.taggnyc.com

Sunday, March 3, 2013

GRIFFIN SUNDAYS by Rafferty/Mazur

07:00 PM to 08:00 PM

Griffin Nightclub

50 Gaansevort St

7pm-1am featuring an open bar 7-8pm

http://www.facebook.com/griffin.sundays?ref=ts&fref=ts

Main Events:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spark!

07:00 PM to 09:30 PM

Shelborne South Beach

1801 Collins Avenue

FREE

You don’t want to miss a minute of WPF’13, and it all begins when The Task Force and our fabulous new host hotel, the Shelborne South Beach, welcome you to our opening reception, Spark!  Join us for a special night as the South Florida community rolls out the red carpet for our guests from around the world, with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, raffle prizes and more in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

ArtScape

07:00 PM to 11:00 PM

FIFTY at Viceroy Miami

485 Brickell Ave, Miami

Passes: Women's

GA $25

Join celebrity Jessica Clark for the opening event of Her Winter Party at the fabulous FIFTY, a private lounge atop Viceroy Miami. Take in the spectacular view, enjoy the sexy sounds of resident DJ Joseph Anthony, and take part in our silent art auction, featuring the work of a variety of local artists. Admission includes an open bar for selected cocktails courtesy of Bacardi, wine and delectable hors d’oeuvres.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lincoln Road Shopping Event: American Apparel

07:00 PM to 09:00 PM

American Apparel

720 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

FREE

American Apparel joins our annual night of shopping on Lincoln Road for the first time. Sip complimentary cocktails provided by Grey Goose Vodka, enjoy special sales and take part in a raffle featuring must-have items.  You'll walk away with some terrific merchandise, and American Apparel will donate 5% of its sales for the entire day to Winter Party Festival.

Lincoln Road Shopping Event: Macy’s

07:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Macy's

1675 Meridian Avenue, Miami Beach

FREE

Shop and make a difference at one of South Beach's most popular stores. Macy's rolls out the red carpet for Winter Party guests with free cocktails, informal modeling, raffle prizes, giveaways and music. This exciting event benefits Winter Party Festival.

Lincoln Road Shopping Event: Kiehl’s Since 1851

08:30 PM to 10:30 PM

Kiehl’s Since 1851

832 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

FREE

Don’t miss the grand finale to our incredible shopping event at the store that started it all, Kiehl's Since 1851. This longtime Task Force supporter is proud to offer Festival guests 20% off all purchases and to donate 20% of the proceeds from all sales to Winter Party Festival. Join the party and pick up all the necessary Healthy Skin Essentials for the weekend! Meet up with friends, enjoy the Grey Goose open bar and start your weekend with your friends at Kiehl's!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

VIP Cocktail Reception

07:30 PM to 10:00 PM

Gale South Beach and Regent Hotel

1690 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

Passes: Titanium

GA $85 Advance/$100 Day of

This special event for our very special guests will be even more extra-special this year as we celebrate 20 years of WPF by honoring the men who founded Winter Party – Dennis Leyva, Ignacio Martinez-Ybor, Clark Reynolds and Stewart Stein.  Join us at the newly renovated Gale South Beach and Regent Hotel as we toast two decades of a party with a purpose. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for information on being part of our event host committee.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Women's Brunch

11:00 AM to 02:00 PM

Terrazza at Shore Club

1901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

Passes: Women's

GA $45

Terrazza at one of South Beach’s most chic hotels, Shore Club, serves up the final event of Her Winter Party, the Women’s Brunch. The menu includes a beautiful setting, amazing food, hot women and soulful sounds – a not-to-be-missed event. Brunch includes a bloody mary or mimosa, exactly what you need to get geared up for the 20th Edition Beach Party.

Brunchic - Winter Party Edition

01:00 PM

The Palace

1200 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Hosted by Tiffany Fantasia and Palace Divas

Beach boys, muscle boys, divas and everything in between are invited for a very special Winter Party Festival edition of the legendary BRUNCHIC on Sunday, March 10, 2013. The one and only Tiffany Fantasia will commandeer a large stage on the 12th Street block, as she and her special guests entertain revelers with over the top performances and plenty of fierceness. Space is limited, as the PALACE will host only one seating from 1 to 3 p.m., so reserve your table today! As always, the bottomless mimosas will be flowing all along Ocean Drive as guests toasts under the sun for just $34.99 per person, of which $5 will be donated to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Winter Sunset

12:00 PM to 07:00 PM

Island House Resort

1129 Fleming Street, Key West

FREE

For those who don’t want the party to end, Key West’s Island House Resort offers you the chance to rest your mind, body and soul after WPF. This all-male, clothing-optional resort invites you to a free pool party with DJ Robbie Leslie celebrating the 20th Edition of WPF. Enjoy sunshine, music, cocktails and new friends in a frisky environment as you close WPF island-style. All WPF pass- and ticket-holders enjoy free resort privileges March 6-14 with ID, but consider making a reservation and spending the week with Island House.

Women's Events:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

ArtScape

07:00 PM to 11:00 PM

FIFTY at Viceroy Miami

485 Brickell Ave, Miami

Passes: Women's

GA $25

Join celebrity Jessica Clark for the opening event of Her Winter Party at the fabulous FIFTY, a private lounge atop Viceroy Miami. Take in the spectacular view, enjoy the sexy sounds of resident DJ Joseph Anthony, and take part in our silent art auction, featuring the work of a variety of local artists. Admission includes an open bar for selected cocktails courtesy of Bacardi, wine and delectable hors d’oeuvres.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pa'Ella

10:00 PM to 03:00 AM

TSL Lounge

167 NW 23rd St, Wynwood, Miami

Passes: Women's

GA $12

Feel the heat and the energy at Pa’Ella, our signature Latin event co-produced by Icandee Events. The rhythm is sure to keep you on the dance floor all night enjoying plenty of caliente eye candy at a sexy new outdoor/indoor lounge in the artsy Wynwood District. Special performance by the critically acclaimed Afro-Cuban Funk band PALO!, winner of best band 2012 by the Miami Newtimes.

This event is sponsored in part by Tampico.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Industry - The Official Signature Women’s Event of Winter Party

10:00 PM to 03:00 AM

Safi Club and Lounge

20 Biscayne Blvd, Miami

Passes: Women's

GA $15

Check your inhibitions at the door and come play with hundreds of women. Feel the energy as the music pumps and go-go dancers keep you moving all night at the sexy new indoor/outdoor club lounge Safi.

Special guest DJ

Pre-event dinner reservation available- 305 495 6969

Drink specials all night

Produced by Pandora Events.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Women's Brunch

11:00 AM to 02:00 PM

Terrazza at Shore Club

1901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

Passes: Women's

GA $45

Terrazza at one of South Beach’s most chic hotels, Shore Club, serves up the final event of Her Winter Party, the Women’s Brunch. The menu includes a beautiful setting, amazing food, hot women and soulful sounds – a not-to-be-missed event. Brunch includes a bloody mary or mimosa, exactly what you need to get geared up for the 20th Edition Beach Party.

Dance Events:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ignite

10:00 PM to 05:00 AM

Score Nightclub

727 Lincoln Road Miami Beach, FL 33139

Passes: Titanium, Platinum

GA $20 Advance/$25 Day of -

Get your fire started at the first dance party of the week. Circuit legends Chris Cox and Tony Moran ignite Winter Party Festival's flame at Miami Beach's longest running gay nightclub, Score. Be there when the music starts playing at the 20th Edition of Winter Party.

Friday, March 8, 2013

URGE: Mercury Rising

10:00 PM to 07:00 AM

Cameo Nightclub

1445 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

Passes: Titanium, Platinum, Gold

GA $65 Advance/$85 Day of

Winter Party Festival will soar to new heights on March 8 when Miami Beach's landmark Cameo Nightclub welcomes our Friday night dance party for the very first time. It will be night of exciting firsts, as we introduce Miami’s HOTTEST party, URGE, to the Festival lineup, and the dynamite DJ duo ROSABEL (Abel and Ralphi Rosario) spin from 10 PM – 7 AM. That’s right – the City of Miami Beach is giving us two extra hours to burn up the dance floor.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Under One Sun Pool Party - CARNIVAL

12:00 PM to 06:00 PM

Shelborne

Passes: Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Florida Resident, New Generation

VIP $90 Advance/$100 Day of

GA $50 Advance/$60 Day of

The sun is at its hottest when more than 2,000 people are dancing together underneath it at Winter Party Festival’s host hotel, the Shelborne. Heat up poolside and celebrate the 20th edition of WPF with Brazilian DJ Rafael Calvente, spinning the Under One Sun Pool Party at the incredible Shelborne Miami Beach. Carnival fabulousness/costumes/props  strongly encouraged!  Get your discounted room here!

Sweat – A Leather Event

10:00 PM to 03:00 AM

Bill's Filling Station

2209 Wilton Drive Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Passes: Titanium

GA $10 Advance/$15 Day of

Get your gear ready and prepare to Sweat with DJ Herbie James. Winter Party Festival’s leather-themed event promises a night of hot and sweaty fun!

Flare

10:00 PM to 06:00 AM

Grand Central

697 N Miami Avenue, Miami, FL

Passes: Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Florida Resident, New Generation

GA $65 Advance/$85 Day of

What do you do to warm up for the 20th Edition of the event that started it all, the Beach Party? You show up at Flare, the nighttime dance party celebrating two decades of Winter Party Festival. WPF mainstay Alyson Calagna returns to light up the dance floor with DJ Phil Romano at our Saturday night party featuring the latest in sound, lighting and entertainment. This event is included on most passes! Shuttle tickets will be available soon.

Sponsored by GRINDR XTRA.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winter Party Beach Party

12:00 PM to 07:00 PM

Lummus Park, Miami Beach

Passes: Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Climax, Florida Resident, New Generation

VIP $130 Advance/$160 Day of

GA $80 Advance/$100 Day of

We’re celebrating the 20th Edition of WPF by bringing back two of the HOTTEST Beach Party DJs in Winter Party history! Brett Henrichsen and Joe Gauthreaux hit the sand on March 10 to command the turntables at the event that began it all, the legendary Beach Party. Join Brett, Joe and more than 5,000 sizzling men and women for an incredible musical journey in one of the world’s most spectacular settings.

Refresh

06:00 PM

12th Street and Ocean Dr. (Next to the Palace)

FREE

After the Beach Party, walk on over to 12 St and Ocean Dr for the annual REFRESH Block Party, produced in association with Stereo Entertainment. This annual tea dance after the Beach Party will feature DJ Theresa (New York) and is FREE for all guests who are 21+.

WE Party:Formula – Boiling Point

10:00 PM to 05:00 AM

Mansion Nightclub

1235 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139

Passes: Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Climax

VIP $100 Advance/$125 Day of

GA $75 Advance/$85 Day of

Winter Party Festival and Masterbeat join forces to bring the sexiest party of Spain, WE Party, to Miami Beach's legendary Mansion Nightclub for a truly spectacular night of dancing until dawn. On Sunday, March 10, WE Party’s world-famous production presents Formula with WE resident DJ Manual de Diego, direct from Madrid. Joining Manuel and returning to Winter Party Festival's Sunday night is Italian DJ Giangi Cappai. Together, their music will bring the weekend to a Boiling Point for what will be an historic 20th Edition of WPF.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Afterglow

05:00 AM to 02:00 PM

Mekka

950 Northeast 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33132

Passes: Titanium, Platinum, Climax

GA $50 Advance/$70 Day of

What do you do after the Winter Party climaxes with WE Party:Formula – Boiling Point? Bask in Afterglow, of course! WPF'13 and Hilton Wolman Presents keep the party going on Monday from 5 AM – 2 PM at Mekka nightclub. DJ Paulo is your guide through the last musical journey of the historic 20th edition of Winter Party Festival. Don’t miss the final chance to shine at Afterglow.


Below is a list of the organizations that benefited from the proceeds from last year’s Winter Party Festival. Since 2005 the WPF has donated more than $1 million to the Miami Foundation, an organization that distributes grants to various LGBT organizations including:

  • ACLU Foundation of Florida
  • Blue Stripe Films
  • Equality Florida Institute
  • Family Counseling Services of Greater Miami
  • Florida International University (Multicultural Programs)
  • Fundarte
  • Miami Beach Gay Pride
  • Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services
  • Miami Dade College Foundation for Miami International Film Festival
  • Miami Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Next @ 19th Street
  • Performing Arts Center Trust – Adrienne Arsht Center
  • Pioneer Winter Collective
  • Pridelines Youth Services
  • Safe Schools South Florida
  • SAVE Foundation
  • Shining Families
  • Switchboard of Miami
  • Tigertail Productions
  • YES Institute

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