Art Deco Weekend Contributes $13m to Miami Beach Economy

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Art Deco Weekend Contributes $13m to Miami Beach Economy:

after successful 2018 event, MDPL looks to 2019

When Daniel Ciraldo was appointed Executive Director of the Miami Design Preservation League last year, one of the first things he did was seek a quantitative analysis of the economic impact of Art Deco Weekend, the organization’s signature event. MDPL had conducted qualitative surveys, asking attendees what they liked, what needed improvement, what hotels they stayed in, but Ciraldo wanted to show what Art Deco Weekend contributed to the local economy.
 
Through suveys of visitors during the 2017 Art Deco Weekend, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) Research Division calculated Art Deco Weekend’s impact in direct business of over $13m. More than half of that was from lodging during the three-day festival. Sales of food and beverage were $2.6m with $1.4m in local tax revenue generated according to the report.
 
Each year, 150,000 people are estimated to attend the festival. According to GMCVB, just over half of them (53%) live in Miami-Dade County. 26% live outside of Florida and 10% outside the U.S.
 
The Miami Design Preservation League wrapped up another successful Art Deco Weekend on Sunday. While this was Ciraldo’s first Art Deco Weekend as Executive Director, he has been involved with MDPL for the past five years, starting out as a volunteer. 
 
“I think we really reengineered the festival this year from the ground up … This time we took the input of our staff, our tour guides, board members, volunteers, and the community to figure out ways to tweak different parts of the festival that we loved and make it even better quality and more fulfilling of the mission of MDPL which is the purpose of the festival.”
 
“It was a real great team effort,” he said.
 
When Ciraldo first met with Commissioner Ricky Arriola in an effort to get the City more involved with the festival, he said Arriola told him two things: “You need better food and the Ocean Drive businesses want to be more involved.”
 
Ciraldo said, “That’s something I’ve heard over the years, the west side of the street vs. the east side of the street.” He found that ironic since “Art Deco Weekend is meant to promote the Art Deco on the west side so why aren’t we collaborating more with the landmark Ocean Drive businesses.” And that's what he set out to do.
 
This year, MDPL brought on Swarm, the food and beverage company that has worked the Coconut Grove festival and numerous other festivals around the region. Ciraldo said the change improved the food vendor offerings, noting there was a vegan option for the first time.
 
MDPL also worked more closely with the Ocean Drive businesses asking them to “come up with unique experiences that are inspired by the festival," Ciraldo said.
 
“We were thrilled Mango’s had this amazing conga line parade down Ocean Drive from their facility to the Art Deco Welcome Center, trumpet players and conga dancers, and it was so beautiful.”
 
“The Clevelander had pin-up girls dancing on the iconic awning, also a Copa Cabana show. The Betsy had some really great jazz performers inside and a cool exhibit on the orb which connects their hotel on Ocean with the Carlton Hotel on Collins,” that featured old images of Miami Beach. And A Fish Called Avalon restaurant made paella on the street.
 
Ciraldo said, “This is the first year we’ve really found the sweet spot of how we can work together with the local businesses and highlighting everything that happened on Ocean Drive not just on the east” side of the street.
 
This year also included more collaboration with the City according to Ciraldo. He said the City sent out marketing material to residents and invited its employees to the jazz age area.
 
“We want to celebrate this weekend as all of us working together to promote Miami Beach,” he said.
 
Already, he’s thinking ahead to next year. “My hope is we’re going to ramp up our partnership with Swarm for vendor management and the Ocean Drive Association for programming within the historic buildings.”
 
And, he wants to expand the footprint beyond Ocean Drive. This year, there were a few “satellite events” with a movie showing at O Cinema, a showing of the 1934 movie It Happened One Night in Soundscape Park, and family roller skating at Faena. “We hope to expand even further,” Ciraldo said. “If we could have something in each one of our 14 historic districts that would be amazing so it’s not just about Ocean Drive. It’s about all of Miami Beach.”
 
He also has an ambitious idea. “We’re looking at the possibility of doing a televised parade that could be picked up by one of the major networks and that would highlight not only the beautiful imagery of Miami Beach but also arts and culture organizations throughout Miami Beach such as the Miami City Ballet, New World Symphony, and local musicians."
 
“We think that would really amplify the impact of Art Deco Weekend and attract more tourists to Art Deco Weekend … something really fun to highlight the brand and further attract visitors to our wonderful community.”
 
Below: Scenes from this year's Art Deco Weekend
Fashion show images courtesy of Commissioner John Alemán who had a front row seat as a judge.

 

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