MIAMI BY MARTIN April 2009

A monthly column from Martin Crossland

Welcome to my newsletter!
Current Miami Temperature: 88°F 31°C Summer is here!
Current Miami Beach Surf Temperature: 78°F 26°C

Busch Gardens to end 50-year flow of free beer

Like a sobering slap to the face, the new Belgian owners of Anheuser-Busch Cos. announced Monday that Busch Gardens in Tampa will end a 50-year tradition and stop handing out free beer samples. Nevertheless the new owners have vowed to keep the company's trademark Clydesdales.

"It's not right," said one guest. "We drive all the way over here, spending money on gas and admission fees. They need to give us an incentive to want to come here."

Others, like Melissa Miller, were more disgusted with the $11 parking fee than the plan to discontinue free brewski. "I personally don't really want someone who's been drinking a lot of beer on a roller coaster sitting by me," said Miller.

Ditched in the same fell swoop with free samples: a longtime monthly perk to full-time park employees of two free cases of Anheuser-Busch beers.

Jennifer Lopez Video
The video of the week is a music video shot in Miami. Jennifer Lopez’s “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” video gives you some beautiful glances at Miami. She starts off the video of the week in her villa.

Follow J-Lo in her “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” video as she drives on some of Miami’s main highways and into Key Biscayne Island. She then takes you to Crandon Park Beach where you can see the beautiful, calm waters of this popular Miami beach.
This already-engaging video of "Love Don’t Cost a Thing" sneaks in some scenic shots of Miami. That doubles the interest!

GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES RANKED No. 2 FOR OCCUPANCY AND ROOM RATE FOR FEBRUARY 2009 AMONG THE TOP 25 U.S. MARKETS
Despite a decline in occupancy and room rate in the month of February 2009, Greater Miami and the Beaches ranked No. 2 in Hotel Room Occupancy at 73.3% and moved up from January’s No. 3 ranking to be ranked No. 2 in Average Daily Room Rate (ADR), at $179.85 among the Top 25 Markets in the U.S. Smith Travel Research compares and ranks the top markets in the United States based on Hotel Room Occupancy and Average Daily Room Rates (ADR).

Fattest City

Men's Fitness Magazine's annual survey reveals the cities that embrace a healthy lifestyle and exposes the ones that, well, need more salad bars.

Now you wouldn't think it when you wander up South Beach or Ocean Drive with all its healthy looking and beautiful people, but Miami ranks as 7th. fattest city in the USA.

It doesn't take much imagination to find that the fattest city is Las Vegas, land of the unlimited cheap smorgasbords. The fittest city was Colorado Springs. I guess all the mountain hiking must do them good. Regrettably Miami doesn't have mountains, except, obviously, mountains of flesh.

Miami-Dade hotel taxes could fund tourism police
Miami-Dade commissioners want to create a new police force to patrol popular tourism destinations, using hotel taxes to fund the special squadron.

''Those dollars can't be used for affordable housing, education or other government services,'' Mayor Alvarez wrote in a January public letter. ``We've got the money . . Let's not shove it under a mattress. Let's help our tourist industry and our valued visitors.''

The resolution sponsored by Commissioner Javier Souto described a force patrolling Miami International Airport, the county's port, zoo and beaches, as well as malls, tourist attractions and major events like fairs and sporting events.

MIAMI BEACH POLO WORLD CUP CELEBRATES ITS 5TH SEASON, MAY 1-3, 2008

Don’t miss out on the 5th Season of the Miami Beach Polo World Cup! This three-day international polo tournament will bring eight teams from around the world to compete for La Martina Trophy at its spectacular oceanfront location between 20th and 22nd Streets on Miami Beach.

Events include a player presentation/press conference, polo games Friday through Sunday, and social gatherings. This year, a new Three-Day Pass option is available for only $350. Tickets are now available at: www.MiamiPolo.com.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES
APRIL

To April 5th.. 09
Sony Ericsson Open
www.SonyEricssonOpen.com

To April 12th. 09
Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition
www.FairExpo.com

To April 30th. 09
Dade Heritage Days
www.DadeHeritageTrust.org

April 1st. to 5th. 09
Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy
www.AAArena.com

April 1st. to 9th. 09
Miami Dance Festival
www.MomentumDance.com

April 2nd. to April 4th. 09
Miami Wine & Food Festival
www.MiamiWineFestival.org

April 2nd. to 5th. 09
Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament
www.MiamiBillfish.com

April 2nd. to 25th. 09
7th Annual Heineken TransAtlantic Festival
www.RhythmFoundation.com

April 3rd. and 4th. 09
The Cleveland Orchestra: Brahms Violin Concerto
www.arshtcenter.org

April 3rd to 5th. 09
Miami City Ballet - Program IV
www.arshtcenter.org

April 4th. 09
13th Annual Miami Riverday Festival
www.MiamiRiverCommission.org

April 4th. 09
An Evening With Branford Marsalis and Musicians
www.gusmancenter.org

April 5th. 09
Nautica South Beach Triathlon
www.SouthBeachTri.com

April 6th. 09
Florida Grand Opera presents Bryn Terfel
www.arshtcenter.org

April 8th. 09
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs Live in Concert
www.AAArena.com

April 10th. 09
National Philharmonic of Russia
www.arshtcenter.org

April 10th. 09
Downtown Miami Concert Series:
Conjunto Progreso with special guest Arturo Sandoval
www.MiamiDDA.com

Aporil 10th. to 12th. 09
The Great Metrozoo Egg Safari and Miami Seaquarium Easter Egg Hunt
www.MiamiMetrozoo.com and www.MiamiSeaquarium.com

April 10th. to 12th. 09
LNH Coupe de la Ligue Handball Championship 2009
www.AAArena.com

April 11th. 09
Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars
www.arshtcenter.org

April 16th. to 19th. 09
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
www.arshtcenter.org

April 17th. 09
Willie Colon, Tributo a El Cantante
www.jlkc.com/

April 18th. 09
Alfredo Triff Trio in Dada-Son
www.Tigertail.org

April 18th. 09
Rosario & Antonio Carmona
www.jlkc.com/

April 18th. 09
Miami Beach Gay Pride
www.MiamiBeachGayPride.com

April 18th. 09
Jazz Roots Series: Straight Ahead - Sonny Rollins
www.arshtcenter.org

April 19th. 09
Free Gospel Sundays
www.arshtcenter.org

April 24th. and 25th. 09
Ros Warby MONUMENTAL solo dance work
www.arshtcenter.org

April 24th. 09
Yolanda Adams
www.jlkc.com/

April 25th. to May 9th. 09
Florida Grand Opera presents - Madama Butterfly
www.arshtcenter.org

April 27th. 09
Jazz at MOCA
www.MocaNoMi.org

April 30th. to May 2nd. 09
Grove SLAM! The FUNNEST fishing tournament in the world
www.GroveSlam.com

May 3rd. 09
Raphael
www.jlkc.com/

FOR MORE GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES EVENTS, visit: www.MiamiandBeaches.com/Visitors/Calendar_of_Events.asp

January issue of Visit Florida http://getaways.visitflorida.com/ezine/index.php