Party with Queef Latina at Wigwood at Sea.
Party with Queef Latina at Wigwood at Sea.
Photo by @dvnchrstphr

Wigwood Sets Sail in February

Winter for our friends up North means months of unflattering layers and freezing temperatures. That's not a narrative anyone born and raised in the 305 can even pretend to comprehend. Winter for South Floridians means donning your skimpiest bathing suits, fiercest heels, and prepping your wig for Wigwood, Miami's annual queer festival organized by Queef Latina and Gramps' Adam Gersten.

But how does a spectacle like Wigwood outdo itself after it's been named the city's best festival? In true Miami fashion, it goes to sea.

The local queer scene has undoubtedly taken over the 305. But if there's one uncharted territory the beautiful and thriving alternative community has yet to explore, it's the ocean. Queef Latina explains how Wigwood's kickoff event evolved into a maritime bash. "Adam... was like, 'Hey, why don't we do a boat?' And at first I was like, 'You're crazy,'" Queef laughs. "But then I started looking into it, and we found one that we really liked." This will be the fest's first time taking the party from land to sea.

The annual queer festival — returning February 1 through 3, 2019 — will present local and national entertainment and talent such as queer performances, drag shows, live music, DJs, artists, and vendors. The party gets started on February 1 aboard the 300-person yacht Musette's four-hour cruise on Biscayne Bay. The next day, February 2, the fun will head to Gramps in Wynwood, followed by a pool party at the Broken Shaker February 3. This edition's theme is "Deep-Sea Creatures."

"[The Musette] is really campy; it's cute," Queef adds. "It's not like luxury; it's not like, you know, corporate party... We fell in love with it."

Get your swimsuits ready for Wigwood at Sea.EXPAND
Get your swimsuits ready for Wigwood at Sea.
Photo by Karli Evans

Because space on the yacht is limited, the Biscayne Bay bash will be "a music party, not so much performance-based," Queef explains. Ideally, she'd like to have at least one or two performances at the kickoff party. "It's going to be kind of like the Met Gala. Come in your looks."

If you've experienced past editions of Wigwood, you know it's a weekend-long party not to be missed. Queef gushes over Wigwood's win for best festival in New Times' Best of Miami 2018. "Oh my God, that was amazing!" she exclaims. Queef and Adam fund the fest from their own pockets and receive minimal financial support from sponsors. "To see after only two years we got best festival, it just made us really happy," she adds. "And it made us realize what we're doing is important and what we're doing is making a difference in the community."

Curation, imagery, and community support are a few of the keys to a successful fest. "[We seek] out people in the community who are making a difference and who are working to make this community better and [include] them," Queef says.

Asked what she considers her most gratifying Wigwood moment, Queef excitedly reminisces, "I think my proudest moment this past one was that Gloria Estefan was there. I think I feel to be recognized by someone that I consider to be so untouchable and from a whole other playing field, to come and be there as a local, not as a celebrity, not as a performer, but just to be there as a local and celebrate."  Estefan's daughter Emily performed in the band To Jasper at that edition of Wigwood.

"Everybody should come out because you're not only supporting your local artists and performers and bands, but because it's a way to build a community," Queef says. "And it's a way to kind of let your walls down and let your guard down and kind of dress up and let you be whoever you want to be without fear of being afraid or being judged."

As the festival continues to evolve, one can only imagine where it will be in the next five years.

If you're interested in performing or volunteering at Wigwood at Sea 2019, visit wigwoodmiami.com.

Wigwood at Sea 2019. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, February 1, aboard the Musette, Sea Isle Marina, 1635 N. Bayshore Dr., Miami.

11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, February 2, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com.

1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, February 3, at the Broken Shaker, 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727; freehandhotels.com. Tickets go on sale January 5 via wigwoodmiami.com.

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