Winter Party Festival 2018 - The Beach Party

beach party

Beach Party

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By: Bobby Killgore

What started out over two decades past as a simple yet decadent dance party on the beach for Miami’s gay community has evolved into one of the world’s premier LGBTQ+ philanthropic benefits. And if it’s winter in Miami we could only be talking about the weeklong celebration known as the rather apropos, Winter Party Festival. The 2018 edition marked the event’s 25th edition and didn’t disappoint, particularly at the festival’s largest and most popular event — considered the crown jewel — Winter Party Beach Party.

As its name implies, the Winter Party Beach Party is a celebration of love and freedom literally on the sands of South Beach — specifically at 12th Street and Ocean Drive. Think men, men and more men — a sea of nearly 6,000 (and their friends and admirers) who danced to the internationally acclaimed beats of big shot DJs Grind and Rosabel from noon to 8 p.m. on March 4, 2018.

“I have attended 21 of the past 25 Winter Parties, and have watched the event grow and mature from an afternoon beach party to a week-long event with guests from around the world,” said local realtor Paul Sasseville, who came with his husband. “This year I met new friends from Australia, England and Ireland, and saw long-time friends from New York, LA, and Atlanta. Even the Fort Lauderdale crowd made the trip. The organizers put a lot of thought into the layout this year, and I was thrilled to be part of such an amazing beach party.”

Here overlooking the glittering azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, with the white powdery sand underfoot and glorious warm winter sun shining down, guests partied into the evening catching up with new and old friends alike. The VIP section to the east was packed with partiers who enjoyed an open bar courtesy of Bacardi and the ideal vantage point to take in the fun on the dance floor area below.

Opposite on the west side of the dance area was another special VIP section consisting of private open air cabanas where guests lounged, imbibed and socialized throughout the day in posh comfort. It was all to raise much needed funds for the South Florida LGBTQ+ community through the National LGBTQ+ Task Force. In fact, over $2.7 million has been raised for this important cause since 2005. This was certainly a beach bash unlike any other, and one worthy of its decadent reputation for fun and sun—Miami Beach style.

“There are many things that I love about South Beach, but my absolute favorite is the Winter Party,” said Juan J. Duarte. “It is a joyous celebration where the gay community comes together to celebrate life. It always reminds me that life is precious and must be savored every day.”

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