Drinks, dancing, DJs — Winter Party Festival is back, and there’s a new face at the helm.
Justin Bell, the new chairman of the festival, served as vice chairman under Victor Diaz-Herman last year. Bell is the founder and CEO of Arc+Arrow Creative Group in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.
The festival, thrown by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is from March 4 to 9 and will be hosted in various venues in Miami, Miami Beach, and Wilton Manors. Bell has also volunteered his marketing chops for the Miami Recognition Dinner, another event hosted by the Task Force.
“It’s a party with a purpose and I believe in the purpose that the Task Force is striving to achieve,” Bell said of his new role.
The Winter Party Festival, in its 21st year, is a fun-filled long weekend of nonstop parties and social gatherings, all raising money for local LGBT organizations and the Task Force. This year, the party returns to the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach after it underwent a massive renovation. One of the festival's most highly anticipated events, the Under One Sun pool party, will be hosted there. The most popular is the beach party, which draws more than 6,000 revelers.
There’s also lots of new items on the schedule. New activities include a partnership with the Miami International Film Festival, which runs the same weekend. The two organizations are teaming up for the world premiere of the Chilean gay film, “In the Grayscale.” It will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles.
“We’re bringing together these synergies to provide additional programming for people that might not be interested in going out to a club or going out to a music-oriented event,” Bell said.
Also, Winter Party is celebrating Bacardi, the Task Force’s national partner. In its 15th year, the company’s “Bacardi By Night” ads from 1998 will be on display at Cameo nightclub. The ads showcase young, sexy people being their real selves at night. Also, Joe Plana, Bacardi’s special events manager, is being honored at a VIP cocktail reception at a local Miami Beach mansion. While the event is by invitation, those who would like to attend can with a $100 donation.
“We’re expecting sold out crowds once again this year, which is going to make for a great event,” Bell said. “I’m excited to see the smiles of our festival goers and our volunteers.”
For more information on the Winter Party Festival, visit WinterParty.com.
Winter Party Festival 2015 Schedule
Wednesday, March 4
7 to 9:30 p.m. Spark!
The official start to the festivities, the hotel hosts a welcome reception and press launch with free bites and cocktails. Suggested donation $10 to The Gay & Lesbian Task Force.
Gale South Beach and Regent Hotel, 1690 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach
Thursday, March 5
7 to 11 p.m. ArtScape
Lovers of art will be treated to works by local artists, using the theme “Just Be...” for their inspiration, with a beautiful backdrop of the gardens. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and a silent auction. Tickets $30 in advance and $40 at the door.
Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Drive in Miami Beach
10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Ignite
It’s not Winter Party without a raucous night of dancing! DJ Dan Slater of Australia and DJ Dani Toro from Spain will be working the turntables until the wee hours of the morning. Tickets $35.
Cameo Nightclub, 1445 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach
Friday, March 6
2 to 8 p.m. Elevate
A newly added event to the Winter Party line up, head to the rooftop of the hotel for music by DJs Carlos Rojas and Jailil Z with the ocean as your early party backdrop. Tickets $20.
Hotel Victor, 1144 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach
7:30 to 10 p.m. VIP Cocktail Reception
Joe Plana of Bacardi is being honored by the Taskforce at this special reception, with music, hors d’oeuvres, and Grey Goose open bar. Minimum donation $100.
Bercu residence, 4475 N. Meridian Ave. in Miami Beach
9 p.m. to 3 a.m. PA’ELLA
It’s all about the ladies at this party to kick off the weekend. Latin Grammy nominee, Leslie Cartaya, will be performing and DJ Inai Jimenez will work the turntables with addictive beats that’ll have you moving your hips all night long.
Hush, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. in Miami Beach
10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Pulse
Take over the club with DJs Abel and Ralphi Rosario, aka Rosabel, working the Space Terrace while DJs Power Infiniti and Nina Flowers, aka Flower Power, taking control of the Basement. Tickets $80.
Club Space, 34 NE 11th St. in Miami
Saturday, March 7
Noon to 6 p.m. Under One Sun
It’s not a Miami party until you’ve spent hours soaking in the sun. Lounge by the pool or splash around in the water while DJ Brett Henrichsen sets the tone for the afternoon. Tickets $75 to $2,000.
Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, 1801 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. “In the Grayscale” Film Screening
Winter Party coincides with the Miami International Film Festival -- catch a screening of this Chilean film about Bruno, who is separated from his wife, when he falls in love with his gay co worker. Film is in Spanish with English subtitles. Tickets $13.
Regal Cinemas South Beach, 1120 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.
8 to 10 p.m. Kiehls 20/20
The skincare company is hosting a special shopping event with products 20 percent off and 20 percent of proceeds going to the Winter Party. Plus, Grey Goose cocktails, free healthy skin checks, art by VANDER, and other surprises.
Kiehls, 540 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach
10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Sweat
Head up to Broward for a night of raunchy, leather fun with DJ John LePage. Free.
Hunters, 2232 Wilton Drive in Fort Lauderdale
10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Industry
The festival’s signature ladies event, DJ Crush will take care of the music -- it’s up to you to chat up that sexy single. Tickets $15.
Cafeina, 297 NW 23rd St. in Miami
10 p.m. to 8 a.m.Energy
Voted the best nightclub in Miami-Dade by SFGN’s readers, Score hosts a night of fun with DJs Alain Jackinsky and Isaac Escalante in the main room and DJ Erez Ben Ishay in the downstairs dance floor. Tickets $85.
Score, 1437 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach
Sunday, March 8
Noon to 7 p.m. Beach Party
The most highly anticipated event of the entire festival, more than 6,000 people hit the beach for sun, dancing, and music by DJs Seth Cooper and Phil Romano. Tickets $110 to $5,000.
Sands of South Beach at Lummus Park, 12th Street and Ocean Avenue in Miami Beach
10 p.m. to 5 a.m. WE PARTY: Attacks
It’s intergalactic fun at the club with DJs Alyson Calagna and Micky Friedman -- think shirtless guys gyrating to the bass in this event that sells out every year. Tickets $90 to $1,000.
Monday, March 9
5 a.m. to Noon After Glow
Not enough partying for you? Say goodbye to Winter Party and head to the after party at Mekka for seven more hours of dancing and music before you call it quits. Tickets $50.
Mekka Nightclub, 950 NE Second Ave. in Miami.