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South Florida has its fair share of hip parties. Winter Music Conference, Langerado, Calle Ocho, Best of the Best, Poplife, Crush, Heat_r, Flaunt: the list goes on. Where we live is essentially the party capital of the entire South. So you'd think it would be impossible for a new party to pop up here unlike anything you've ever heard of before. But this weekend, a new get-together is hitting Revolution in Fort Lauderdale that will hopefully make a lasting impression and change the way families party as a whole.
I'm talking about Baby Loves Disco. A unique, monthly social gathering designed for parents and their kids (between the ages of six months and 7 years) to party and enjoy music together in a safe environment.
The idea is to take over a nightclub, baby-proof it, triple clean it, and turn the venue into a daytime fiesta where like-minded hip parents can come and dance and get to know one another while exposing their toddlers or young children to good tunes.
There's always a DJ on hand spinning disco, mainly '70s and '80s jams that are easy to dance to, plus lots of healthful snacks (no complex sugars allowed), a chill-out room with books, toys, face painting, and everything else that's needed to make it a fun event.
It's a great idea, and although I'm not a parent myself, I had to dig into this and find out more about the party that should become a once-a-month staple here in Fort Lauderdale.
The party began in Philadelphia back in 2004 when founder Heather Murphy Monteith needed to find a more creative way of spending time with her toddler son, Max, while still having fun.
"When I first started it, it was just going to be my little thing in my community," she says via phone from Philly. "I never dreamed of turning it into a company at all. It was just a way to merge music with parenting once a month."
After a couple of successful parties, Monteith met Andy Hurwitz, founder of Ropeadope Records, on-hand with his family and having a good time. The two decided to try the party out in Manhattan. It was a big hit. After that, the party slowly and organically grew into an important part of parents' lives all across the country.
In the past four years, Baby Loves Disco has launched in 26 U.S. cities, plus outlets in Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.K. With the exception of Los Angeles, all of these parties are hosted by local moms.
Still, Monteith stresses that Baby Loves Disco — which books the venues, publicizes the events, pays the host moms, and provides an instruction manual for the parties — still operates from a "laundry-room-style office" in her house.
"I think people perceive our brand to be slick because our logo is tight and we're all across the country," she says, "but we really are a mom-and-pop type of business."
In Fort Lauderdale, the inaugural party is being hosted by Marsha Belinson, 35, of Deerfield Beach and her friend, Robyn Bofshever, 35, of Davie. Both have young children, a deep love of music, and, they say, being part of Baby Loves Disco is a perfect fit.
"My son Sander is 2 years and 9 months old, and he's already a big music fan," Belinson says. "He gets in the car and demands to listen to Bob Marley. We try to expose him to all sorts of music. Even in my womb, when I was pregnant, I was always playing records, and I'd put headphones on my belly."
Belinson clearly wants to make sure music is a big part of her child's life, and she's not ready to cash in all of her cool points just because she's a mom. Her longtime friend Bofshever agrees.
"The biggest thing for me is that I really want to be able to enjoy this event with my daughter and have a good time," Bofshever says. "And us parents can all get together every month and have a fun party with our kids." Admission is $12 "per walking human." Babies get in free.
The club will be triple-cleaned between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and a local organization, Lock Lock, is baby-proofing the inside of Revolution so that no exposed nooks, corners, or outlets could potentially harm a child. "It's going to be like a club transformed," Belinson says.
Monteith will be on hand in Fort Lauderdale this weekend for the kick off event. So far, Baby Loves Disco is booked for July 26, August 23, and September 27.
"We really want this to be successful," Bofshever says. "South Florida people can be tough. But we're doing everything we can to get the word out and make this more of a community event, not just some one-off things."
Baby Loves Disco takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is $12 per walking human. Call 954-727-0950, or visit www.jointherevolution.net.