Cutler Bay-Whispering Pines parade, picnic slated July 4

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Homebuilt floats are a popular element of the town’s July 4 parade.

The 44th annual Cutler Bay-Whispering Pines Fourth of July Celebration will take place on Monday, July 4, at Whispering Pines Park.

Sponsored by the Town of Cutler Bay, the Whispering Pines Civic Association and the Whispering Pines Woman’s Club, the yearly event celebrating America’s birthday returns with its parade of local groups, homebuilt floats, decorated bikes and colorful patriotic costumes.

There also will be hamburgers, hotdogs, drinks, popcorn, snow cones and other treats available following the parade, and there will be live music, a water slide and a bounce house.  Whispering Pines Park is located at Ridgeland Drive, one block west of SW 87th Avenue.

Parade registration begins at 8:15 a.m. in the school parking lot, with parade staging and judging at 8:45 a.m. The parade starts at 9 a.m. and follows its usual route around Whispering Pines Lake, concluding back at the park about 10 a.m., at which time the parade awards will be presented.

The live music begins under the gazebo at 10 a.m. and by 10:30 a.m. food and drinks will be available and the water slide and bounce house will be open. There will be a karate demonstration at 10:45 a.m. and, weather permitting, a United States Air Force Flyover at 11 a.m. At noon, there will be watermelon and prizes.

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall says that this is one of his favorite yearly events and a great community get-together.

“God bless America is still alive and well in Small Town USA,” MacDougall said. “We look forward to a long tradition of the neighborhood of Cutler Bay being shared by local residents who can come out and enjoy the celebration of this great country. Everyone is welcome to our celebration; it’s not just for Cutler Bay residents.”

Jennifer Kelley, secretary of the Whispering Pines Civic Association, is one of those who now are organizing the event, and her first year has given her a new appreciation for the task and the job done by Louise Lockwood, an area pioneer who founded the parade and has kept it going every year.

“I have to give Louise a lot of credit because it is a lot of work, and she’s done so much for our community,” Kelley said. “Our group’s president, Mark Zipay; vice president Andy Moss; our treasurer Fidelma Farinas, and I are sharing the responsibilities, and it’s coming along. We’re doing our best.”

Kelley also confirmed that Lockwood will be riding the parade route this year as the grand marshal. Lockwood was reluctant to accept the honor, but agreed and wishes the best for the new organizers.

“I started it 43 years ago,” Lockwood said. “Jean Welch and I decided it was time to find a young group of people that love the Fourth of July event and would promise to continue it. We found those people.

“And our parks director, Alan Ricke, has done wonders for our Fourth of July. We never had from the county tables and chairs for people to sit on and eat. It’s just a real hometown function. It’s wonderful,” Lockwood said.

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