It is time once again to celebrate the Junior Orange Bowl Festival. The Junior Orange Bowl recently celebrated the kickoff of the annual festival, a 66-year South Florida tradition of athletic, academic, and cultural events that offer competitive and fun opportunities for the youth of the world.
The newly crowned Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court — along with Junior Orange Bowl members, guests, community partners and honorees — gathered to honor the past successes in Coral Gables and to look forward to what promises to be an exciting and memorable season.
The festival is highlighted by the parade, which will march through downtown Coral Gables on Nov. 30, celebrating this year’s theme, “Route 66.”
Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason, Coral Gables City Commissioner Pat Keon, other Gables officials, Miami-Dade County officials, and Junior Orange Bowl partners Miami Children’s Hospital and the Orange Bowl attended to show support for the long-standing youth festival.
Peter Tolmach, 2014-15 president of the Junior Orange Bowl, spoke about the 66th festival season and honored the Junior Orange Bowl members, board of directors, event chairs, volunteers and partners who make the annual festival a consistent success.
“I believe in the good work that the Junior Orange Bowl does on a daily basis,” Tolmach said. “I believe in the mission of this organization and I believe our community is a better place because of the Junior Orange Bowl. I am deeply grateful to lead this organization in the festival season and I look forward to the hard work of today and the joys of tomorrow.”
The Junior Orange Bowl began as a community parade in Coral Gables in 1948 and has grown to include 15 athletic, academic, and cultural events for kids. The festival includes some of the most prestigious amateur competitions in the world, which have played host to notable professionals such as Tiger Woods, Andy Murray, Stefi Graff, Bubba Watson, and Lexi Thompson, among many others. Some 7,500 youths from 76 countries worldwide, come to South Florida each year to participate in the annual festival.
The 2014-15 festival season will include cross country, Sports Ability Games, the parade, international tennis, international golf, national basketball, creative writing, international chess, national ice hockey, photography, and bowling. All of the Junior Orange Bowl Festival events are completely volunteer driven.