Miami Vices: Why Every Weekend Is a Party

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com September 12 2011 4:00 AM ET

Glittering, tropical Miami plays host to some spectacular parties and
events every month of the year, many of them aimed squarely at LGBT
travelers. Here are just a handful of reasons to book tickets soon.

  Celebrate Orgullo, October 1
The first-ever Celebrate Orgullo event will take place in Lummus Park on Miami Beach. Orgullo is Spanish for Pride, and this event celebrates the diverse cultural heritage and contributions of South Florida’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Hispanic community. The event, taking place from noon until 6 pm at Lummus Park, between 10th and 11th Streets Miami Beach, will feature musical performances, folkloric dance, celebrity guests, drag performers, refreshments and vendor booths representing the both the non-profit and business community. And don't forget, Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 through October 15th.

LUMMUS PARK SOUTH BEACH X560 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMThe Smart Ride, November 18-19
This eight-year-old bike ride sees participants from around the globe jetting in to trek 165 miles from Miami to über-gay-friendly Key West to raise money for Florida AIDS service agencies. This year a record number of cyclists are expected to ride (not race) in the annual event. The Smart Ride guarantees that 100% of the pledges raised will go to participating nonprofits Broward House, Metropolitan Charities, the Center for Positive Connections, AIDS Help, Miracle of Love, and the Comprehensive AIDS Program of Palm Beach County. TheSmartRide.orgSMART RIDE X560 | ADVOCATE.COMWhite Party Week, November 23-28
What started in 1985 as a
fund-raiser for the Health Crisis Network, a grassroots AIDS service
group, is now a world-renowned fete attracting thousands of people and
featuring a dozen different events, not just the famous (or infamous)
circuit dance party the name often conjures. This year’s lineup includes
beach, club, and pool bashes; a cocktail-and-shopping soiree; and the
signature White Party. All of it benefits Care Resource, which grew out
of the original beneficiary’s merger with another agency and provides
medical and mental health services, a food bank, and more for clients in
Broward and Dade counties. Don’t forget to wear white. WhiteParty.orgWHITE PARTY X560 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMWomen’s White Party, November 24-28
Not content to let the boys have
all the fun, the Women’s White Party offers up a handful of activities
for women who love women, featuring club nights with go-go dancers,
celesbian-studded parties, and even a daytime a tea dance and
bowl-a-thon. WomensWhiteParty.comWOMEN'S WHITE PARTY MIAMI X560 | ADVOCATE.COMArt Basel Miami Beach, December 1-4
Often called the most important
art show in the United States, Art Basel Miami Beach is a sister event
to Switzerland’s Art Basel, which has been the world’s most prestigious
art show for the past four decades. Over 250 art galleries from North
and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa will showcase works by 2,000
artists. Don’t think it’s all highbrow, though. The event will also
include performance pieces, public art projects, video installations,
some contemporary cutting-edge works, and a ton of hot-ticket parties.
All the exhibition sites are located in Miami Beach’s beautiful Art Deco
District, within walking distance of boutiques, hotels, and beaches.
ArtBaselMiamiBeach.comART BASEL X560 (PUB) | ADVOCATE.COMWinter Party Festival, February 29-March 5
A six-day extravaganza
of receptions and parties featuring top international DJs in
glamtacular South Beach, Winter Party Fest attracts about 10,000
revelers from around the world. The events, which sprang from a single
dance back in 1994, now raise funds for the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force and Florida LGBT organizations. WinterParty.comWINTER PARTY FESTIVAL X560 | ADVOCATE.COMAqua Girl, May
South Beach loves to dance! Another fest that grew
from a solo dance into a series of events has women from all over
descending on Miami to party while raising money for breast cancer
organizations. Now one of the hottest women’s festivals in the country,
Aqua Girl typically includes multiple dance parties, a lesbian comedy
show, live music, a jazz brunch, celebrity meet-and-greets, and even
some dining events at local eateries. The proceeds all go to the
nonprofit Aqua Girl Foundation for Women, which funds grants,
scholarships, and initiatives to promote lesbian, bisexual, and
transgender health and equality in South Florida. Over the past six
years the foundation has given out over $388,000. AquaGirl.orgAQUA GIRL X560 (SOURCED) | ADVOCATE.COMMiami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, May
Although based in
South Beach, the filmfest offers screenings throughout Miami-Dade County
and Fort Lauderdale, and though the big shindig happens in May, the
organization sponsors events throughout the year—like September’s
exclusive screening of the German lesbian vampire hit We Are the Night.
The fest brings in more than 10,000 visitors every year to watch films
that offer historical and contemporary perspectives on the gay, lesbian,
bisexual, and transgender experience. Plus, the parties are even hotter
than the ushers. MGLFF.com