Sure, SoBeWFF is expensive -- if you can even scrounge tickets for the mostly sold-out festival. But there are ways to have some SoBeFun without the SoBEWFF sticker shock.
Each year there are events and freebies all around the festival -- some "official" and some not.
Frankly, it doesn't matter to us whether that free sandwich or cocktail has the SoBeWFF logo attached to it. When the wallet and the stomach are both empty, we'll turn to these fun and free events:
Big Gay Ice Cream Social
Tony Bourdain's favorite place for frozen treats, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, is heading south from New York City to the sandy beaches of Florida to do two things:
Give away ice cream and fight for marriage equality.
and Florida Cookery's Kris Wessel. And because SoBeWFF is all about the booze, partake in an alcoholic ice cream float or two. All free, and all for a good cause. Gay or straight, we all scream for ice cream!
Free Cuban Sandwiches
Whether you're coming from the Q, the Deuce, or you're just broke and hungry, Smithfield Ham and Versailles restaurant want to feed you a freshly pressed and delish Cuban sandwich. For free. Why? Who cares? (OK, it's a great publicity and marketing tool that probably has been researched for months.)
truck will serve toasty, cheesy goodness at the James Royal Palm Hotel on Friday, February 22, from midnight until 2
a.m. and at the Dream South Beach Hotel on Saturday, February 23, from midnight until 2
Let's Get Spiked! Celebrity Chef Volleyball Tournament
Q. What could be better than slightly inebriated celebrity chefs hanging together for one weekend?
A. Those slightly inebriated chefs playing volleyball on the sand -- topless.
Leave it to Top Chef alum/party boy Spike Mendelsohn to come up with the first annual Let's Get Spiked! tournament, held on the beach near the James Royal Palm
Hotel on Friday, February 22, at 1 p.m. The event is free. The lineup includes host Spike
Mendelsohn and his friends Chuck Hughes, Alex Guarnaschelli, Andrew
Zimmern, Tim Love, Pat LaFrieda, Marcel Vigneron, Jeff Mauro, Adrianne
Calvo, Johnny Iuzzini, Stephanie Izard, Todd Erickson, Justin Warner,
Josh Capon, and Alberto Cabrera. Bring a camera, because there will be a million golden Instagram opportunities at this one.
Tequila and Take-Out
This free event is literally for the dogs. On Saturday, February 23, from 7 to 10 p.m., the stars of season eight's Food Network Star will serve American- and Asian-inspired cuisine, paired with Don Julio tequila cocktails on the Catalina Hotel rooftop.
Meet and mingle with chefs Malcolm Mitchell (NO P.O.V.), Emily Ellen (Retro Rad Cuisine), and Josh Lyons (Rock N Roll Sushi Chef) and chow down on their fare. The evening benefits the Underdog Foundation, a nonprofit animal advocacy resource providing education and awareness regarding animal abuse, abandonment, adoption, and backyard breeding.
Gretel Home Pop-Up Kitchen Shop
Did all of those cooking demos inspire you to make a fancy-schmancy five-course dinner at home, but you have only plastic forks and paper plates? Stop by the Gretel Home Pop-Up Kitchen Shop at the Standard Hotel and Spa during SoBeWFF from Friday, February 22, through Sunday, February 24, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the meditation garden.
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You'll find everything you need to host a successful dinner party -- from dinnerware to cooking tools to Hello Kitty serving trays imported from Sweden (and here we thought Kitty was from Japan). Free to look, but how can you resist Hello Kitty?