Interfaith Prayers, Ice Skating, and Leather Fetish?

Winter Party Festival gets unpredictable

Back in ’94, Winter Party Festival started as a one-off charity blowout for the gay and lesbian community. Now, a decade-and-a-half later, the yearly bash has become a massive week long frenzy of 10,000 international guests, flash mobbing 25 events split between Miami, South Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.

The 2009 edition starts Wednesday with an official welcome party sponsored by Showtime Networks at the Doubletree Surfcomber on South Beach (1717 Collins Ave.). Daniela Sea, star of The L Word will be there along with plenty of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and contests. The Festival, running through March 2, also features stuff like sunrise yoga and spa days, before peaking with 6,000 dancers storming the sands of South Beach for the 16th Annual Winter Party Beach Party. There's also an event simply titled WHIP: A Leather Fantasy, just a couple days after an interfaith gathering at Trinity Church — hey, it's a diverse crowd. But, best thing: Two-thirds of all festival proceeds go to Miami-Dade charities, with the rest providing much-needed cash to national initiatives. So pay your way — from $10 to $500 — into fun times for a good cause. Visit winterparty.com for individual tickets, festival passes, and a full rundown of events.
Feb. 25-March 2, 2009

 
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