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Gloria & Emilio Estefan

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Page 72 of 179

Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy…. Alright, I shall not sing, I promise. But will you not join me, friends of friends, as we celebrate Winter Party Festival's 16th edition on February 25 – March 2 in and around South Beach? The weeklong annual fund-raiser, one of the most renowned events benefiting the GLBT community, is produced by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. As always, it will attract more than 10,000 guests from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and Australia to the Magic City for fun under the sun. Since 1994, the festival and its sister event, autumn's Miami Recognition Dinner, have raised more than $2 million for organizations serving the South Florida GLBT community. Two-thirds of the net proceeds from the 2009 festival will be distributed back to Miami-Dade's GLBT community through a granting program administered by the Dade Community Foundation, while the balance will benefit the Task Force. In 2008, $180,000 was raised, and the goal is to surpass that this year. And then some, natch. "Over the past 16 years," said Winter Party Festival Chair Chad Richter, "we have grown from a one-day dance party on the beach into a full-scale festival spanning more than a week all over Miami. We really encourage those who haven't been to one of our events before to get their feet wet this year by coming to one of the many events on schedule." In addition to the nightly dance parties, Richter explains that organizers will strive to offer guests a balance of a culture of fun with a variety of programming for women, GLBT youth, families, friends, and people of faith. For the event's 2009 edition—its Sweet 16!—the plan is to go all out. As of press time, events on schedule included a formal cocktail party at a private residence co- hosted with the South Beach AIDS Project, as well as a welcome reception presented by Showtime Networks at the official host hotel, the DoubleTree Surfcomber, and an outdoor fashion show on Lincoln Road. Dance events will feature a roster of the world's best and hottest DJs, including Brett Henrichsen and South Beach's own Pride at the Blast Off! party on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Score; Roland Belmares at the Under One Sun Pool Party on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the DoubleTree Surfcomber; and Tracy Young spinning at the signature event, the Winter Party Beach Party, on Sunday, March 1, at Muscle Beach on 12th Street. "It's an honor to be selected once again [to spin] at the Winter Party Beach Party, which always has an amazing energy," Young told Miami Living. "It's a pleasure to work with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and donate my services to such a good cause." A cocktail reception for women is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 27, and not wanting to be left out, Fort Lauderdale also will get in on the action when Steel hosts the Leather Dance Party, on Feb. 28. DJ Tony Moran will oversee the turntables at the Orbit party on March 1, at Cameo. The Closing Party is slated for Monday, March 2, at Halo. Admission to Winter Party Festival ranges from $10 for select single events to $500 for a Titanium VIP Pass allowing guests entry to 10 events. For more information, tickets, and a complete list of events, visit And now join me in saying, "Happy Birthday, Winter Party Festival!" C'mon, you know you want to! ML Sweet 16! Winter Party Fest comes of age…. Words by Martin Haro EVENTS MIAMI LIVING 71

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