After more than two decades, the White Party, the largest event of the year, is getting a makeover.
Held over Thanksgiving weekend, the iconic event, a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS service organization Care Resource, is moving to Miami Seaquarium and promises to be bigger than ever.
According to Wade Patterson, Care Resource’s director of marketing and communications, the move will open the party up to new possibilities:
“We decided to change it up a bit, that’s why we chose the theme, ‘Evolution.’ We had been doing the party for 25 years and it allows us the opportunity to expand the hours and offerings,” he explains.
Because the longtime venue for the party, Vizcaya mansion, was a county-owned property and located in a residential neighborhood, the hours of the party were short and expenses high.
The 2011 main event, held this year on Friday, Nov. 25, will stay open until 4 a.m. and feature new attractions, like a fireworks display.
Patterson also mentions, for the first time, the organization will offer a discounted, non-drinking youth ticket for 18-21 year olds.
“It’s important to get the younger generation involved,” Patterson stresses. “A lot of people have witnessed the (AIDS epidemic) over the past 30 years, but the disease hasn’t gone away and infection rates haven’t gone done. It’s important for them to learn about prevention and the services that are available.”
With a little over a week until the party, many last minute details are still being finalized. Internationally renowned event producer Mark Baker has lined up A-list entertainers including JES and DJs Joe Gauthraux and Pagano.
The event will also include a silent auction and Viva Las Divas casino, with prizes worth over $10,000.
Patterson also promises “a special unannounced entertainment that is going to floor everybody, but unfortunately, we can’t announce it.”
In addition to the main party that will draw 2,500 – 3,000, the weekend also features a number of other events at local clubs, including the popular Muscle Beach outdoor dance on Miami Beach. The weekend-long event has drawn the support of Macy’s, as well as the Miami Beach Tourist Development Council and Convention and Visitors Bureau, acknowledging the big boost the White Party gives to the local economy.
“It’s a lot of work,” emphasizes Patterson. “There are always lots of challenges—it’s our biggest fundraiser—and we couldn’t put it on without the effort of the agency personnel…every single one of them has assignments.”
Nearly all of Care Resources’ 120 full and part-time employees will be working the events. Patterson says it won’t be unusual to meet doctors working the doors at clubs in the early hours of the morning, and the event would be simply impossible without the assistance of nearly 350 volunteers.
Individual tickets and packages are still available for all White Party weekend events, including the signature events at Miami Seaquarium and Muscle Beach. For a complete schedule or to buy tickets, go to WhiteParty.org.