An Extravagant affair
Conversation with Joe Sabatini, Founder of Festivals of Speeds, Miami
By Daedrian McNaughton
Festivals of Speed Miami to Benefit the Injured Officers Assistance Fund will roar up on the lawns of Bayfront Park on Sunday, November 15th, 2009 with an exclusive line up of the world’s finest exotic cars, motorcycles, aircraft, yachts and luxury lifestyle products. As a prelude to the main event, there will be an exclusive reception, Yacht Hop where guests will enjoy fine cuisine, champagne, fine wines, and other premium cocktails while perusing the magnificent displays assembled by Festivals of Speed.
Premier Guide Miami was able to track down the man that is solely responsible for this extravagance. Joe Sabatini is the founder of Festivals of Speed, a combination of an exotic-car show and luxury lifestyle products display. We found Joe on the docks at the Epic Marina making last minute preparations for his big Miami event, the first of many to come. As expected, he was multi-tasking, giving directions, and talking to me at the same time, keeping the flow of things.
PGM: How did you manage to come up with such a fitting name for this event?
JS: Festivals of Speed was started about 6 years ago and it just seemed like a perfect name to have at an event like this. It really is a festival and everything here goes fast, so its kind of natural. There is actually an event oversees in England, the Goodwood Festivals of Speed, it seems, like minds think alike.
PGM: Why have you chosen the Injured Officers Assistance Fund to be the charity to support?
JS: This particular charity, for 2 reasons. First and foremost it is a great cause and its locally based. Although it’s a statewide charity for Injured Officers Assistance Fund. They were founded and started here in miami. Secondly, one of the main car collectors that I’ve dealt with over the last years is the gentleman that founded it, Mr Michael Fux, and he is a local businessman, very, very generous, donated to a lot of charities. Founded this after coming across an officer that was wounded, and realized that there were additional funds needed to help these guys and gals out. So I just thought it was a natural, it was one of the people that we knew and it was a great cause. I think it was a natural, although there are a lot of great charities here and I felt we would start with this one.
PGM: What were some of the challenges you faced in putting together Festivals of Speed Miami?
JS: Nothing major. Just like everything else its just a lot of coordination, and its really a good group of people, a lot of good comrodity. The different car clubs bring out their owners and their members, and the dealers come out and show the latest and the greatest. It just take some logistics and plannings, no major challenges, gotta take your time that’s about it.
PGM: Miami is famous for many things including flashy cars, and a high end lifestyle. Why did you think this was an appropriate venue?
JS: We added Miami after doing Orlando, St. Petersburg, New York and California, because Miami and south Florida is the epicenter of exotic cars in the country. Pretty much Florida and California are the main car centers, and this is long overdue. We have had a lot of people down here asking us to come down here. So it is the perfect venue, perfect weather, and almost an unlimited amount of exotic cars to invite.
PGM: We recently hosted the Miami Auto Show and of course they featured antique as well as other exotic brands. Do you think that you can top such an event? What makes Festivals of Speed different or unique?
JS: We go way beyond that actually because we don’t just show a standard brand new Rolls Royce, Phantom, Bentley or Ferrari. We actually have access to manufacturers at my last event, Festivals of Speed Orlando. They air freighted 4 cars from France and Germany to be on sale at that event. At this event it is a prestine high line event attended by predominantly just high network individuals that are true gear heads. We tend to get some of the very, very special and unique cars, including what you will never see or you rarely would see at an auto show like that. We get real serious vintage cars, We get $5-$10 million worth of Ferrari, Lamborghinis, those kinds of cars, so its not a challenge to top typical auto show.
PGM: How has the response been so far?
JS: Phenomenal. People love it. I am here at the epic hotel right now watching all the yachts park, and you can’t keep people away between the yachts and the exotic cars. They are just totally enjoying the whole scenario.
PGM: What do you hope to accomplish from this event?
JS: Really the main goal is to raise a lot of money, a lot of funds. 100% of the proceeds goes to the charity. Frankly that everybody comes together, whether they are high network individuals or they are just young girl or young boy who just have that sparkle in their eyes for looking at an exotic car. Everyone has a great, beautiful day in Bay Front Park. November weather in miami, you can’t beat it. I just really want everyone to have a good time.
PGM: So tell me, how many of these luxury vehicles do you actually own?
JS: I don’t own any of these exotic vehicles like this. I own them for just the events, but that’s just it. Unfortunately I do not have a garage for those Rolls Royce, Phantoms, Lamborghinis, Ferraris as much as I would like to have them, maybe one day, but not now.
PGM: What do you own?
JS: The car that I drive as far as a sports car would be one of the new corvettes. An affordable daily driver that I can easily maintain, my tire changes don’t cost me $40, 000, so I am very happy about that. I’ve got 2 sons in college and another one on the way, so I am pretty happy.
***Tickets for the Festivals of Speed Miami receptions can be purchased in advance online and for the Sunday event, on site at Bayfront Park. As for the Sunday event, tickets are $20.00 U.S. per person with children under 12 years of age entering free. VIP Packages are also available.
For more information on Festivals of Speed Miami, please visit www.festivalsofspeed.com.