Founders Day 2010 brings residents out for day of fun

Cutler Bay’s fourth annual Founders Day Celebration on Feb. 20 had picture-perfect weather and a crowd of about 1,800 people who turned out to enjoy the old-fashioned neighborhood event.

Founders Day is the celebration honoring the first official meeting of the town council on Feb. 6, 2006. To celebrate the occasion the town threw a huge party at Cutler Ridge Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring picnic food, local entertainment and displays of animals, police and fire equipment.

Diane Kessell sang the National Anthem to start activities, followed by Caribbean music by Panman Steel Drums and jazz by the Robert Morgan Educational Center Orchestra. Then at noon Mayor Paul Vrooman welcomed everyone to the event and introduced the other members of the town council — Vice Mayor Edward MacDougall and Councilmembers Timothy Meerbott, Peggy Bell and Ernie Sochin, as well as town manager Steven Alexander.

Mayor Vrooman said that the Founders Day Celebration was an important opportunity for residents to have fun, especially in light of recent national and international problems.

“An event like this brings us back to our roots,” Vrooman said. “It brings us back to our fundamentals about people getting together in a community and having a good time. We’ve got the Women’s Club that spent all week baking for this event. We’ve got kids from their high school bands here. We’ve got families just out having a good time.

“With everything that this country has been through in the last year and a half to two years, or decade, nobody can take this away from us. So we’re going to celebrate that.

President Clinton once said that there’s nothing wrong with this country that can’t be cured by what’s right with this country. What you see here is what’s right with this country.” MacDougall agreed with that view and was pleased with the turnout and the level of fun residents were having.

“I think it’s a wonderful event,” MacDougall said. “It brings people together. It’s one of the things the whole town needs to make sure its residents are in touch with each other and understand that it’s, as it’s always been, a good neighborhood.”

Under the big tent attendees enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken paella, potato salad, baked beans, potato chips and watermelon, with sodas, punch, lemonade and water to drink. For dessert literally thousands of cookies, cupcakes, brownies and other sweet treats were provided by the Whispering Pines Woman’s Club and the Cutler Ridge Women’s Club.

Ongoing entertainment included the rock band “Medallust,” a Karoake contest, the Mocko Jumbie Stilt Walkers, a rock climbing wall, bounce house, super slide, video game arcade and face painting. Hot air balloon rides were planned for the first time, but windy weather conditions made that impossible.

Public Works director Ralph Casals and staff members handed out “Green Bags” to everyone to commemorate Cutler Bay’s Silver certification in the LEED program by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Parks and Recreation director Alan Ricke commented on the new arrangement of the food, entertainment and display booths this year.

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Louise Lockwood (left) and Jean Welsh of the Whispering Pines and Cutler Ridge Women’s Clubs display a sampling of the desserts their groups provided.

“We decided to switch things around this time because we wanted people to get acquainted with the new soccer field,” Ricke said. “Also, we wanted to use the new pavilion building for the food. It all worked out pretty well.”

As usual the big event concluded with the infamous Town Council Pie Auction, in which anyone could place a bid to hit the official of his or her choice with a pie in the face. But in a new twist, an alternate form of public humiliation was offered in which the official could choose to sing the auction winner’s favorite song in lieu of taking a pie hit.

MacDougall, Meerbott and Sochin went for the Karoake option, but Vrooman and Bell good-naturedly accepted pies in the face.

“I love our residents too much to inflict my singing on them,” Vrooman explained.

The annual Food Fight wrapped things up as those residents who dared participated with messy but gleeful enthusiasm.


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