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Ocean Drive Takes Over South Beach Stretch

The magazine orchestrated three days of Super Bowl celebrations, including sports under the sun and an oceanside Saturday-night gala.

Greenery at the Sprint Style villa lent an oasis-like feel to the space.

Producing one event for Super Bowl weekend was just not enough for Ocean Drive magazine. Instead, planners pulled together three, all situated on a three-block strip of prime beach property (from 7th to 9th Streets along Ocean Drive), which they dubbed the “Ocean Drive village in the sand.”

It was the mag’s 14 year-long presence in the community, as well as its status as the official magazine of the South Florida host committee, that enabled it to mount the three-day production on the prized beachfront property. (Securing event and film permits is relatively easy; getting the blessing of the host committee is not.)

Ocean Drive’s 14th annual Volleypalooza, a volleyball tournament with teams of models from more than a dozen agencies, was an official committee event this year, held on Friday, and “everything spun off from there,” says Lana Bernstein, Ocean Drive’s vice president of public relations.

Key to the staging of every event was the mandate that all signage and branding be done tastefully. “You won’t see any banners or blown-up bottles. … Everything is very pretty and visually succinct,” Bernstein said the day the festivities began. “[The committee] wants to make sure South Beach is seen in the best light.”

Kicking things off was the DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl on Thursday afternoon, in which about 30 NFL players faced off on a gridiron in the sand. Open to the public, the game included a performance by rock group New Found Glory.

Friday marked the opening of the Sprint Style Villa, a gift and hospitality suite for celebrities and athletes inside a 10,000-square-foot, two-story glass building. Thirteen brands including Penguin, Sharpie, the Flamingo South Beach Condos, and DirecTV gave out products as well as provided a place to escape the heat. Absolut, which was promoting a new pear-flavored vodka at the villa, transplanted pear trees into the sand to underscore the point.

The crown jewel of Ocean Drive’s trilogy of events was the Saturday-night Market America Super XLI Gala, an exclusive event held on 24,000 square feet of beachfront, with performances on the Pontiac Garage-sponsored stage by Swizz Beatz, Fergie, and headliners Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez.

The 2,500 attendees were advised to keep their stilettos at home, given that the party was taking place on a stretch of sand. “We communicated very well that the attire was ‘beach chic,’” Bernstein said. “We told people, ‘It’s on the sand. Dress comfortably.’”

Mimi O’Connor, with reporting by Albert del Toral

Photos: Getty Images (Sprint Style Villa), Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images (Steve Young), Thomas Robinson/Getty Images (Sharpie), Frank Micelotta/Getty Images (Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez)

Posted 02.05.07

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