Since 1994, thousands of people have come out to party hard on South Beach and help raise money for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

For Winter Party Festival Chairman Victor Diaz-Herman, it was a mesmerizing scene on the dance floor at the Cameo nightclub 10 years ago that got him involved with the hugely successful annual event — even before he was out.

“I saw this sea of people just dancing in unison. It was like a wave that kept going through the dance floor, and everybody there was living for the moment and free of prejudice, free of any kind of restrictions they have or injustices they have in their own states or whatever country they came from, and just simply enjoying the moment,” Diaz-Herman remembers. “I was so impressed by our ability to create that atmosphere that it motivated me to get more involved with the Winter Party.”

Now the executive director of Pridelines Youth Services, Diaz-Herman says that this year’s party — his last — will be better than ever.

Over the years, more programs for women have been incorporated and bigger and better DJs have been booked for raucous, all nighters. The National Hotel has come on as a new sponsor hotel this year. Headlining acts like DJs Brett Henrichsen, Grind and Joe Gauthreaux are expected to fill up the clubs quickly.

Also, the shopping event at Lincoln Road has expanded this year, now dubbed “The Social,” with the entire South Florida community invited to ‘shop ’til they drop’ at participating stores. Plus, for $9.99, shoppers can download an app that’ll give them opportunities for even more sales and goodies.

“Ten years ago, we were a great party. Now we’re an amazing party,” Diaz-Herman said.

Since 2005, $1.65 million has been raised. Last year, more than 10,000 people from around the world hit the strip to dance their worries away. Money goes to the Task Force, as well as the Miami Foundation for local nonprofits to win through grants. Staff can expect to raise even more money toward the betterment of the LGBT community, as of press time they’re already more than $100,000 ahead of where they were last year in fundraising. All of the passes have been sold out, too.

“I’m really excited to be a part of it and to welcome our guests from around the world to sunny Miami Beach while the rest of the country and parts of the world are freezing,” Diaz-Herman said with a laugh

For more information on Winter Party Festival, including a full schedule, DJ bios and tickets, visit WinterParty.org.

Winter Party Festival 2014 Schedule:

Wednesday, March 5

7 to 9:30 p.m. Spark!
Welcome to Winter Party! Join the festivities at the Regent Hotel rooftop for a red carpet cocktail party. Suggested donation: $10 to The Gay & Lesbian Task Force.
Gale South Beach and Regent Hotel, 1690 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach

Thursday, March 6

7 to 11 p.m. ArtScape
Calling all ladies! Indulge in a silent art auction, Bacardi cocktails, wine and delicious bites.
Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Drive, in Miami Beach

10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Ignite
Hit the dance floor at this South Beach club with DJs Eddie Martinez and Joe Gauthreaux.
Cameo, 1445 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach

Friday, March 7

1 to 8 p.m.HEAT Tea Dance
It’s the hottest pool party around -- throw on your sexiest swimsuit and rock out to tunes from DJs Cindel and Brett Henrichsen.
Clevelander South Beach, 1020 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach

7:30 to 10 p.m. VIP Cocktail Reception, Presented by Celebrity Cruises
Dave Cook, a longtime LGBT advocate and a former Task Force employee, is the star of the night at the annual VIP cocktail reception.
The James Royal Palm, 1545 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach

10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Pa'Ella
HER Winter Party gets even hotter with a Latin night -- Spam Allstars, one of the best of the best, will get your hips moving.
TSL Lounge, 167 NW 23rd St. in Wynwood

10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Mercury Rising
This massive club is all yours for a night of music, lights and entertainment you’ll never forget. Music from DJs Rosabel and Wayne G. will fill the air, and Power Infiniti and Kitty Meow will perform.
Space, 34 NE 11th St. in Miami

Saturday, March 8

Noon to 6 p.m. Under One Sun Pool Party
Two DJs totally new to Winter Party, Seth Cooper and Gustavo Scorpio, heat up the pool party to new levels of sexy.
National Hotel South Beach, 1677 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach

6 to 11 p.m. THE SOCIAL: Lincoln Road Gala
Time to shop! Hit up South Beach’s best shopping strip for exclusive sales, cocktails, a fashion show, and live entertainment. Buy THE SOCIAL app to navigate through all the fun!
Lincoln Road Mall, South Beach

10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Sweat
DJ Ted Eiel runs the music for a night of hot men wearing only their hottest leather accessories.
Hunters, 2234 Wilton Manors Drive in Wilton Manors

10 p.m. to 3 p.m. Industry
A swarm of chicks will be dancing to the beats with DJ Maximus 3000 into the wee hours of the morning. Don’t miss it!
City Hall, 2004 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami

10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Flare
The famed nightclub, in its bigger and even better space on the Beach, hosts DJs Ivan Gomez and Paulo
Score, 1437 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach

Sunday, March 9

Noon to 4 p.m. Brunchic - Winter Party Edition
South beach drag queens, bottomless mimosas and awesome food, what else do you need for your Sunday afternoon?
Palace Bar, 1200 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach

1 to 8 p.m.Winter Party Beach Party
The party you’ve been waiting for all weekend, dance with 6,000 people from all over the planet to Italy’s Danny Verde.
Lummus Park, 12th Street and Ocean Drive in Miami Beach

5 to 11 p.m. Burn
A block party like no other, hit the sand or the streets with DJs RaffeLo and Twisted Dee.
Palace Bar, 1200 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach

10 p.m. to 5 a.m.WE Party Airlines:Boiling Point
Get your boarding pass to the hottest airport you’ve ever seen, with DJs Sr. Edu and Isaac Escalante leading you to join the Mile High Club.
Mansion Nightclub, 1235 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach

Monday, March 10

5 p.m. to Midnight ACTION! Afterglow
Give it your all at the final dance party for Winter Party 2014 with DJ Alain Jackinsky -- until next year!
Mekka Nightclub, 950 NE Second Ave. in Miami

2 to 7 p.m. Winter Party Sunset
Close out the party with a relaxing day in paradise at this all-male, clothing optional resort.
Island House Resort, 1129 Fleming Street in Key West

10 p.m. to 1 a.m.Shelly Novak Awards
The queen of drag recognizes the ladies that strut their stuff night after night at this community awards show.
Score, 1437 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach

11 p.m. to 5 a.m.Glitter Box
The hottest Monday night gay night in South Beach numbs the sorrow of Winter Party’s end. You’ll be in good company with DJs Zehno and Fr8-O and performances by Chyna Girl, Boom Boom and Amy Rivers.
Kill Your Idol, 222 Espanola Way in Miami Beach


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