In preparation for Urban Beach Week, WLRN-Miami Herald News asked members of the Public Insight Network to weigh in on the festival.
While it's nearly impossible most Sundays to find parking in the lots around Lincoln Road, there were more empty spots than I've ever seen before. At 3 in the afternoon, the Café @ Books & Books had maybe three tables filled when there's almost always a wait.
In years past, at least Lincoln Road was still busy with regular customers combined with the Urban Beach Week crowd, and there was good people watching. Last year was just eerie. The closer I got to Washington Avenue, the busier it got, but still nothing like regular Sundays. The craziness makes it to the news mostly happens at night surrounding the club scene. Since my tours a sightseeing food tours during the day, I decided that I would continue to operate them as normal.
South Florida is a beautiful part of the country and South Beach is a beautiful city--the weather, the beach, the architecture, the food, and probably most importantly for Urban Beach Week is the nightlife. Urban Beach Week is not the only event that takes place in South Beach that causes traffic and floods in visitors of a different "type."
Miami Beach has always been full of parties and drama and Urban Beach Week is another weekend of intense parties. Granted, it does bring a few more big issues, like guns, Urban Beach Week isn't saying anything different about the times we live in than Ultra Music Festival, for example.
Kelly Woodward is founder of Miami Food Tours LLC, which looks to turn visitors into locals by combining history, architecture and, most importantly, food.