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Every fall, thousands of people flock from all over the globe flock to Miami to take party in what has become one of the biggest white parties in the world.  A week-long string of fundraisers disguised as raging parties bring an ecstatic vibe to Thanksgiving week in Miami. As today marks the end of this year’s White Party Week, we look back at the fun-filled event’s fascinating history.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

The ultimate goal of White Party Week is to raise as much money for HIV/AIDS organizations as possible. It’s a time for the gay community to come together once a year as a symbol of solidarity for all of those who have been affected by this disease. At the same time, the event is a week-long party that’s one of the city’s most fun annual events.

HOW IT GOT STARTED

It all began in 1985 when the gay population was being severely cut down by HIV/AIDS as it spread through the community. Non-profit organizations were few and far in between because the disease was so new.  And because the disease carried a great stigma, all efforts to help tackle the problem were not getting the proper attention or funding. That’s when a local HIV/AIDS care organization, Care Resource (then known as the Health Crisis Network), reached out to a successful gay businessman, Frank Wagner, to help found this fundraising event.   

GETTING MOMENTUM

The first year there were 1600 guests, each paying $10 to get in for a one-night party. Miami was very different thirty years ago than it is today, and the event didn’t get much publicity.  All of the drinks and snacks (apples and cookies) were donated, but, despite the low budget, people came to party and dressed in lavish, sexy white outfits.  Over the years, it’s evolved into a week of parties and has been hosted at some of Miami’s most exquisite venues such as Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.  Today, White Party Week is the largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser in the world!

OK, SO WHERE’S THE PARTY AT?

The fundraiser’s Muscle Beach Party has been voted one of the sexiest beach parties in South Florida. The biggest event, however, is The White Party.  For this event, partygoers hop on a mega yacht for an evening of music and entertainment, not to mention an open bar!  And this week isn’t just for gay men; it’s something that the whole Miami community can be proud of. There are even a host of events, including a Women’s White Party, that’s specifically geared towards ladies.

Check out the White Party Week website to see find out which parties were craziest this year, and keep updated for future festivities.

image @photoboothmiami