The Love Burn -- South Florida's own Burning Man-style festival -- is returning for a second year after last year's successful inaugural weekend. Not only is the festival expanding exponentially but organizers are hosting a fundraiser -- or in burner-speak, FUNdraiser -- this Friday to both raise money and begin kicking up excitement for the main event in February.
The event this Friday is going to be held at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden at from 6 to 11 p.m. The lineup includes a silent art auction, live music, and a screening of a rare 2003 Burning Man documentary, Beyond Black Rock City. A suggested minimum donation of $20 can get you through the door.
"One of the main reasons for the fundraiser is that there are a lot of people in South Florida who have been to Burning Man, or are interested in Burning Man, that don't know each other," explains Prosperity, one of the Love Burn organizers. "This is a way we can publicly promote our event and say, 'Hey, there are other burners that live nearby' and build the community that way. Then if people like the vibe and the energy, they can go to the Love Burn."
"We have gone out to all the local Burner-style businesses -- from Makers Square to Rhythm and Flow to Funky Sexy Couture -- and asked them to actively participate," adds Quantum Glen, another organizer. "Everybody is bringing out their stuff to represent what's going on."
One of the centerpieces of the Friday event will be the unveiling of the Love Burn's main effigy this year, a 24-foot-tall balance scale created by Chad Booher.
The structure plays an integral part in the main Love Burn's theme this year -- Superheros (and Villains). Burners who partake in the February 13 to 16 event at Virginia Key can show up to either affiliated as a hero or villain. For the undecided, organizers will have a brain analysis EMS machine set up to read your brainwaves to to determine what camp you're in (seriously).
From there, the weekend is basically a round-up of badass war games. The 10 Principals of Burning Man, ten briefcases, will be scattered around the area, guarded by superheroes. The villains will look to snag the briefcases, and when they do, each contains a challenge to be waged between a hero and villain -- stuff like reverse-dominant hand thumb wars, dance-offs, and kayak races to rescue a damsel in distress. Whoever comes out on top will be awarded a piece of wood, which goes into the balance scale -- so the effigy basically acts as a scoreboard showing who's winning. Whoever tips the scale by the end of the weekend wins.
Right now, there are a limited number of invites available for the Love Burn itself. Check out the website to see how you can attend. Last year, the event drew 210 burners, but organizers expect double that number for 2015. The event now has about 30 volunteers organizers from across the state.
Anyone who's interested, however, is encouraged to check out Friday's festivities.
"I really feel, moving forward, the Love Burn has the potential to really impact the culture here by issuing in a new vibe, a new sense of style, a sense of interactivity that's more than what Art Basel has," says Glen.
Follow Kyle Swenson on Twitter: