When you think of Miami, you think of crystalline waters, pristine beaches and world-class nightlife with a circuit scene that is second to none. This US Thanksgiving weekend, the White Party Week kicks off for its 30th annual celebration of pride, themed as the Diamond Jubilee.
The event is a fundraiser organized by Care Resource, a community health centre that provides a range of services to the LGBT and greater South Florida communities.
White Party Week will take place over six days, from Nov 26 to Dec 1. More than 10,000 visitors from across the United States, Canada, South America and Europe are expected to attend its roster of parties, events and special performances. “We really do attract a global audience,” says Jonathan Welsh, marketing and development manager for Care Resource.
The White Party and Muscle Beach are the two flagship events that define this fundraising endeavour. To celebrate three decades of success, Care Resource has organized the core White Party — Diamond Jubilee at the Perez Art Museum Miami.
“It’s going to be a chic night of fashion, global cuisines, unlimited cocktails, casinos and music,” Welsh says. “In fact, we’re bringing in a 30-piece orchestra to play with the DJ [David Knapp]. It’s a whole new level of sophistication and excitement.”
Muscle Beach, headlined by DJs Tristan Jaxx and Micky Friedmann, is slated for Sunday afternoon and evening.
Miami is a hotbed of world-class nightclubs, and event organizers will take full advantage of this. In addition to the two flagship parties, there are 11 other events, including the White Splash Pool Party, Noche Blanca at Mansion, White Dreams at Club Space and Cirque Blanc, a ladies’ event organized by Pandora Events.
Closing the event is WhiteHaus, a men-only event headlined by DJ Cris AM that’s dubbed the “southernmost event of White Party Week.” Located in Key West — about three hours south by car — WhiteHaus runs from 2pm to 4am at the five-star Island House Resort, which will be open only to White Party ticket holders and 3,600 friends from a gay cruise that will park at the Key West harbourside earlier that day.
As large as it is today, White Party had humble beginnings. In the mid-1980s, the HIV/AIDS epidemic rocked the gay community, particularly in South Florida. “People were dying left and right, especially here in Miami,” Welsh says. It was only a matter of time before a group of socially conscious people came together and organized a small fundraiser, led by prominent gay businessman Frank Wager.
“Some people brought oranges, other brought food, others brought booze, and they all dressed in white,” Welsh says. “And every year, it just got bigger and bigger.”
One of the largest and oldest HIV/AIDS fundraisers in Florida, the White Party has drawn some notable attendees over the years, including Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan and countless other musicians, DJs and performers.
Today, Care Resource has evolved into something much bigger and each year raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit its healthcare programs. For every dollar donated through ticket sales, 86 cents goes back into the organization’s services and health programs.
Just as the HIV/AIDS epidemic has transformed over the years, so has the focus and greater scope of Care Resource. “The last six years has ushered a lot of changes for us,” Welsh says. “We don’t only serve HIV-positive [people], but also LGBT and those who are less privileged. We are a medical-care centre for those in need.”
Care Resource offers a range of healthcare services, including primary, dental and pediatric care and the latest drug therapies.
For ticket information and a full listing of the events, visit the website at whiteparty.org.