Travel Thursdays: 8th Annual International Gay Polo Weekend - Horses, Hunks, And Happy Times.
Just 30 miles north of Fort Lauderdale in Wellington Florida, in greater Palm Beach Florida, there's an annual event that just made the PRIDE Source Top 5 Frivolist Vacations and after attending last year, I may agree. Before I left for my little gaycation in Southern Florida, I asked friends and people around town about the International Gay Polo League Event, but many whom have lived here for decades did not know about it.
Examining gaypolo.com I found:
We’re a community that shares a love for adventure, fun, and the beautiful, challenging sport of polo. The Gay Polo League is committed to providing our members around the world with an enjoyable, supportive and competitive experience.
We represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds and skill levels – in fact, some of us had never been on a horse before joining. We actively train and compete in mainstream matches and events to test our skills, share our enthusiasm for the sport, and change perceptions about our community.
Our goal is to provide a safe place for active people to enjoy the excitement of competition and the camaraderie that comes with team sports, knowing that many of us didn’t have as many opportunities to play a team sport growing up. We welcome everyone from the LBGT community and beyond to participate and compete, or just cheer us on from the sidelines.
Polo is a sport rich with history, tradition, speed and skill – we encourage you to join us and experience it firsthand! – gaypolo.com
(Click on images for larger views)
One of the main reasons I moved to Florida was to experience new things and mainly new gay things. I couldn’t turn down this opportunity.
Friday night found us attending the Polotini Party. A dressy yet casual event that blessed us all with an open bar followed by an outside buffet and a chance to meet some of the fellow attendees; the stallions that would be riding the horses, LGBT political players of the West Palm Beach area as well as at the state level. The bar, the hors d’oeuvres, the bar, the setting, the bar, the food, and the elbow rubbing were well worth the price of admission. Did I mention the bar?
2017 GPL Polotini Party – Friday, April 7 – 7:00 pm
General Admission: $150
Cocktail Party, hors d’oeuvres & hosted bar. Poolside at The Wanderers Club in Wellington!
It was a great kick-off for the weekend, but I still did not know what to expect on Saturday.
We were being hosted by Discover the Palm Beaches and upon our arrival Saturday morning, we were informed they had the main tent on the western side of the field. To get there we had to pass beautiful horses and quarter of the tailgating tents. I was told there had been some wild costumes in the past and I should expect a great day bouncing from tent to tent, and that is what I started doing. It was a hot day in the Florida sun so a few of us took our time walking around, eventually making it to the middle of the sidelines, after being offered massages, food, and drinks from complete strangers.
There were 2 matches going on that day, but I told myself I would pay attention to the actual polo once I had seen everything. Well that never happened. Half way through the second match we noticed the Beerstream Lounge pull onto the field. I think it was supposed to be time to stomp divots, but walking around horse land mines and drinking champagne occurred instead.
We had called it a day just before the match ended since the early April Florida sun was beating down on us and warming up our drinks faster than we could consume them.
Would I do this event again? Most definitely. It is less than an hours drive from Fort Lauderdale so it would be a simple drive for me. For others from out of town, I will be blogging other ‘Discover the Palm Beaches’ blogs soon mentioning some of the great places, businesses, restaurants, and lodging in the area. So if you are planning a getaway for early April (still snowing in many parts of the country), keep the Gay Polo event in mind.
As for my attendance next year, I’m thinking tailgate with at least 5, maybe 10 of my friends and even do the dinner (and drinks) the night before since it is well worth the price of admission.
To help you plan ahead for this year, here are the options for attendance.
8th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament – Saturday, April 8
First game at 1:00 pm, finals at 3:00 pm
VIP Table: $1500 (table for 6)
Includes seating for 6 center field, beverages, gourmet food, table side service throughout the matches and 1 VIP parking pass.
Includes 6 General Admission tickets, one 10 x 10 tent and one designated parking spot.
VIP Individual: $250
Includes beverages, gourmet food, table side service throughout the matches and 1 VIP parking pass.
General Admission: $30
Sunday Brunch – Sunday, April 9
Sunday Brunch Ticket: $150
The Mallet Grille at International Polo Club Palm Beach
Enjoy lavish brunch, open bar & while watching the 113th U.S. Open Polo Championship®
Brunch starts at 1 pm – Polo match begins at 3 pm
As a gaycation / staycation, this one was tops. So if you're in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or anywhere in Southern Florida, start booking for the weekend of April 8th.
We could have driven up and back that weekend, but desired to check out what West Palm Beach had to offer. Our accommodations were at the newest Kimpton Hotel in the nation, The Tideline Resort and Spa.
Located right on the ocean, The Tideline Resort was the perfect escape from the polo fields of Wellington. Standing and drinking all day in the sun, it was time to enjoy the pool and the spa in our oasis. Knowing that we were sharing a barrier island with tЯump (not the president at the time) was kind of a hoot, but don't hold that against the Tideline. Just tip nicely and book a double treatment of anything in the spa. I had a massage that was to die for. And thanks for the compliment about my killer glutes! And go ahead and splurge on the breakfast buffet. It's well worth it.
Thanks Tideline for being a great home away from home. Don't forget to touch the hallway walls. We'll be back again, most definitely.