Like it HOT? Head to the Winter Party in Miami
By Jon Fairbanks
editor in chief, gaytravel.com
Tired of the cold and snow? Head south to “the magic city” for the Winter Party, March 2-7th. It’s all about sun, fun, great parties and an amazing cause. The event helps support the work of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Chad Richter, Chair of the Winter Party gave me a sneak peek at this year’s festivities.
JF: Each year the Winter Party is a must-attend event. What can partygoers expect this year?
CR: Bigger, Better, Hotter! We continue to raise the bar with our Winter Party Beach Party and Under One Sun Pool Party and all of our dance events. This year we are reminding guests that here in Miami Beach they can expect to have the HOTTEST WINTER IN THE WORLD and we mean that not only in temperature but with body heat and music beats too!
JF: The event is a great time, but also sponsors an important cause. How has the event helped improve the LGBT community?
CR: Many of our guests live abroad and don’t realize how much work we still have to do here to achieve equal rights. For any of you reading this who has a gay friend or loved one who is American or lives in this country, supporting WPF helps support the Task Force’s fight to achieve equality.
The Task Force has worked with the Obama administration and has made great progress with gains that can come by executive order. They also work on issues like workplace discrimination and marriage equality. The Task Force’s greatest strength is in building power on the grassroots level, training and mobilizing activists and volunteers around the country to fight antigay legislation and push for pro-equality bills.
Here in Miami they also donate two-thirds of the money raised from WPF back to the Miami-Dade community through a grant-making process that helps fund LGBT organizations. More than 20 organizations have benefited, including Miami Beach Gay Pride, Pridelines Youth Services, SAVE Dade and the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus.
JF: People come from all over the world to celebrate. Are you surprised the event is such a global success?
CR: Miami Beach is a beautiful island that has grown into a real metropolitan city. Ten years ago people complained that this was just a beach town with no culture. They can no longer make that statement. Everything you would want to get out of a vacation you can get if you attend Winter Party. Great weather, fun shopping events, art exhibits and functions, endless food options, nice hotels, dancing in the sands of south beach and the chance of meeting the hottie of your dreams! So to answer your question, NO, I’m not surprised!
JF: The Winter Party is a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work. What’s involved in pulling it off every year?
CR: Volunteers. This event would collapse without the hard work of caring individuals who want this Festival to continue for decades to come. We have a core group of 30-40 volunteers who work year-round to make the Festival fabulous and profitable. We have another 450 plus people who help us the week of the Festival. It’s no secret that the circuit in the U.S. has practically disappeared. The Winter Party Festival has held strong because it’s a party with a purpose and because of the support of LGBT people from all over the world.
If you want to go to the Winter Party (and why wouldn’t you?), make sure you plan your trip early and take advantage of early ticket prices and hotel specials. Go to www.winterparty.com for more info.