MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – With Florida’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout in full effect, some of Miami’s most notable outdoor events, such as the 2021 Miami Open and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, are slowly making their way back into the rotation, and the second one that is “off to the races” is an actual race — the World Polo League Beach Polo tournament.
The World Polo League Beach Polo tournament is returning to the sands of South Beach after taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The three-day polo tournament, which is taking place from Friday, April 23 until Sunday, April 25, will hit the sands of Collin Park between 21st & 22nd Streets in Miami Beach.
The event, known for drawing an international crowd ranging from celebrities to Europe’s elite, is set to feature some of the world’s most renowned polo players, including Nacho Figueras, Nic Roldan, Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini Jr., Juan Martín Nero, and Barto & Jeta Castagnola, Grant Ganzi, Tito Gaudenzi, among others.
However, this year is slated to look very different.
From limited capacity in certain areas and mandatory social distancing, to face masks and a VIP section that will be sold by table only, the polo tournament will be the first event in Miami Beach of its size since 2019. And with that, comes pressure.
“Since the very day we decided to postpone the event last year, we always kept working and preparing for all eventualities of bringing it back,” explains World Polo League Beach Polo founder, Tito Gaudenzi. “With constant communication with our players, the teams, our sponsors, the city, and the state, that’s what has allowed us to be as prepared as we are.”
Although the 2021 Miami Open tennis tournament at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens came and went by April 4 without any major setbacks or controversy, due to the pandemic, all eyes will be on every event to take place in 2021.
“It was not until early February when we discussed with all the authorities, did we say, ‘We can do this,’” says Gaudenzi. “We talked to other bigger events, and, as you can see, the tennis tournament happened. Events may be happening differently than they used to, but they are happening.”
Since the general capacity and means of walking around the event have changed, spectators who have attended in the past will inevitably have a different experience this time around. However, implementing all possible safety features and ordinances is for the greater good, says Gaudenzi.
“Of course there are going to be limitations. The VIP Tent that used to be 750 plus people, we are capped at 400 and we’re doing tables only. Plus, our Polo Lounge will also be at half capacity,” he says. “We’re actually overly cautious — we could be taking in more people. However, our team has been working with all the effort possible to make this a safe event and we’re really excited.”
Spectator viewing of the polo matches and access to the adjacent Retail Village is free and open to the public with concessions available to purchase. The Retail Village, which opens daily at 11 a.m., will be open for spectators to purchase official merchandise, and other items from Fred Eyewear and from Curio at Faena Bazaar, amongst other vendors such as Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Super Coffee, and Therabody.
“We’re excited to not only bring the event back but to bring it back with bigger and better players and more set up,” says Gaudenzi. “We’re really excited. We’re the first really big event back on the beach, and there’s many to follow afterward, so, I think it’s really great for our city and our community that we are where we are today in such little time.”
The event will also include a celebrity charity polo match benefiting Give Back for Special Equestrians, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships for therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted therapy for children and veterans with physical and emotional disabilities.
The VIP Tent & Polo Lounge opens at noon on Friday and Saturday and opens at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday.
For the complete schedule, click here, and for tickets to The Polo Lounge, click here. Access to the exclusive VIP tent will be available by table sales only. For pricing and inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.