Chic & Beachy ... Yet Still Gloriously Cheeky.
A funny thing's happening to Greater Fort Lauderdale as it distances itself from Spring Break revelry of old, preferring to glam it up with stylish resorts and tony restaurants to accompany burgeoning cultural appeal. An A&E District worthy of world-class exhibits and sizzling hot shows on tour has helped propel new-found status. (Think Princess Di's wedding dress and the glittering sarcophagus of Tutankhamun, the Boy King.)
Then just as Spring Break seemed relegated to the dumper, along comes global economic calamity and up pops the Great American Beach Party on famed Fort Lauderdale Beach ... capped by a plaque proclaiming Las Olas and A1A as Connie Francis Corner. In other words, formally acknowledging and memorializing "Where The Boys Are," the very flick that put this Gold Coast town on the getaway destination map in the first place. What's more, Fort Lauderdale's Great American Beach Party has been declared an annual Memorial Day Weekend event.
Could it be that despite social-climber ambitions, Fort Lauderdale (neither as ritzy as Palm Beach or as glitzy as Miami) has at long last come to happily dance with those that brung'em? A new rainbow-tinged welcome mat translates to beckoning the young, old or in-between, gay, straight or undecided, families or singles, well-heeled biz travelers or leisure penny-pinchers. Add in outdoors lovers and gaming devotees, golfers, swimmers, anglers, boaters, beach bunnies, pale faces and bronze-bunners.
Ft Lauderdale Fun+Sun by Lynne Helm gives props when and where due, all the while keeping alert to what's new, hot and happening on the beachfront, on western fringes, uptown, downtown, and all around for helping deliver sun-drenched good times in a town with boatloads of watery pizazz.
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· As Fort Lauderdale rocks past age 100, elected honchos to waves of spring breakers are celebrating the city's centennial year, with events running through December, 2011. Ft Lauderdale Fun+Sun's updated version links to a complete official rundown of city-sanctioned centennial doings, including Memorial Day Weekend’s Great American Beach Party. Additional fresh fodder includes info on the new Fort Lauderdale Strikers soccer team, where to go for vegan feasting, for rickshaw romance, for ghost touring, for smoke shop stogies, for lining up a marine taxidermist in case you reel in a big one, for French chef cooking lessons or to track down food truck fare. You’ll find expanded leads on gay lodging, bars, art, theater and GLBT historical offerings. There's more family stuff, too, including guidance on where to find Fort Lauderdale’s oldest bridge, among few swing bridges left in the U.S. New eateries range from Gloria Estefan's Bongos at Hollywood’s Hard Rock to Michele’s Dining Lounge on FTL’s OPB.