Friday, May 22, 2009

South Beach banking on crowds at annual Urban Beach Weekend

From the Desk of King in Miami
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Miami Beach is once again gearing up for a throng of hip-hop aficionados this Memorial Day weekend -- despite a weak economy and waning popularity -- for the largest urban festival in the country.

In years past, upward of 250,000 hip-hop lovers have flocked to South Beach for Memorial Day -- dubbed Urban Beach Weekend -- renting out hotels, packing nightclubs and taking the party out into the street.

But in a sluggish economy, clubs, restaurants and hotels are banking more than ever on the booty-shaking crowds to bring in dollars.

''South Beach relies on tourism, and everything is pretty much down,'' said Micha Porat, marketing director for Washington Avenue nightclub SoBe Live, which is hosting parties featuring hip-hop artists like Rick Ross and DJ Kahled, as well as Heat star Udonis Haslem. ``But when it comes to Memorial weekend, it's such a specific weekend for that crowd, that everybody is going to come regardless.''

So far, the signs are promising.

''Urban Beach Week hits Miami once again and every single celebrity will be there,'' boasted the website, one of the driving forces behind the unofficial Memorial Day weekend festivities in Miami Beach. ``The pool parties, the clubs, the beaches, the entire strip will be lit up like a Christmas tree on steroids.''

For the complete story, check out the Miami-Herald.

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