The South Beach Wine & Food Festival wrapped up last night with a beach party hosted by Guy Fieri at the Gansevoort's Beach Club, appropriately themed "Moon Over Miami," since the full, orange moon began to dip just as the party began.
At 6 p.m. a line had already started to form outside the entrance, though the event, which was co-sponsored by Gnarly Head wines and Miami New Times, was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Staffers, however, checked tickets and handed out wristbands while people waited for the doors to open, speeding up entry.
Inside, guests were hit with appropriately loud, yet really good music.
Foosball and ping-pong tables and a cigar lounge dotted the scene,
along with sampling stations from Jelly Belly, Café Bustelo, and
others. Two bars served up cocktails, one dedicated to sharing the
flavors of sponsor Sagatiba, but the set-up led to huge lines for food
provided by, among others, David's Café and 2 Girls and a Cupcake.
Setting up a Havaianas display towards the entrance didn't help. The
booth, mirroring a produce stand where guests could pick up free
flip-flops in any chosen "flavor" (color) kept people concentrated
towards the entrance. But the flip-flops were a good idea for the many
women who came in heels.
The Havaiana stand
Some who waited in line said they had gone back to their hotel rooms to
change clothes when they learned the party was on the sand. Apparently
it wasn't obvious on the festival's website.
But one guy showed up looking positively confident and dressed
appropriately for the event -- Guy Fieri, the headlining celebrity.
(Guests also reporting spotting Mark Summers, but let's face it -- without
Fieri's bleached spikes, sunglasses at night, and rhinestone
button-down, Summers wasn't going to gain nearly as much attention as
the "Triple D" chef.)
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As throngs of fans aggressively aimed their digital cameras and phones at
Fieri, he wandered from the stage (his safe place) to walk
along the sand, posing for pictures and being generally good natured.