A Classic Country Evening and Benefit for Horse Country will be held Saturday, Feb. 23 at the German American Club, located at 11919 SW 56 St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m. The event will feature great food and drinks and entertainers from the National Traditional Country Music Association Hall of Fame.
Event organizer Bernie Mescher Worrell said that trips to festivals in the Midwest inspired her to plan this event. Bernie is a world champion bone player and joins her brother Jerry and sister-in-law Sharon to form The Mescher Bones. The group’s style of bone playing, created by Bernie’s father Albert, is so unique that Mel Mercier, a lecturer in music at the University Limerick in Ireland wrote his Ph.D. thesis about the group, titled “The Mescher Bones Playing Tradition: Syncopation on the American Landscape.”
In addition to the Mescher Bones, the show will feature singer song-writer Terry Smith, who wrote The Farside Banks of Jordon – a hit for Johnny and June Carter Cash. Guests will also enjoy other wonderful performers from the Hall of Fame.
“This will be a fun evening and one to remember. Our last celebration was in 2010 and everyone had a great time – don’t miss this wonderful evening!” said Bernie. “The purpose of the event is to raise community awareness that this wonderful oasis in the heart of Kendall is alive and well. The proceeds will be added to our legal defense fund. The Bird-Kendall Homeowners Association (BKHA) is the group that has kept this area agricultural; but the whole community helps us continue to thrive.”
Those who live in or visit Horse Country know it is a breath of fresh air in the heart of West Kendall – the last of its kind. On any Sunday afternoon, you will see cars stopped by the roadside with family members petting the horses. Riding a horse, jogging, bicycling or walking through Horse Country, you may even see a burrowing owl – an endangered species – perching on a fence right beside your path.
Horse Country is a great area to ride, walk or jog away your stress. Early in the morning, you will hear roosters challenging each other between widely separated farms. Paso Finos “dance” alongside the road; young riders practice their jumping; and if you see a new foal running full speed across a pasture, it will take your breath away. Horse Country makes possible a way of life not found anywhere else in Miami-Dade County.
The first real challenge to preserving Horse Country occurred in 1975. The owner of a lot on 43rd Street and 127th Avenue requested a variance to build a shopping center. His neighbor agreed to also sell his land if the variance was granted. Resident Marian Bonsignore recognized what a serious threat this zoning change would be to Horse Country. She went door-to-door to encourage residents to go downtown to oppose the change. She rallied so many people that the variance was denied. The people who joined in that protest became the charter members of BKHA.
The most recent challenge to Horse Country occurred in September 2012 when a developer proposed to build a 10-acre shopping center at 127th and Miller Drive. BKHA was ready and the show of support against this development was strong. More than 200 people wearing yellow T-shirts and the BKHA lawyer defended Horse Country and spoke passionately about the area. After this strong showing, the developer withdrew his request to change the master plan. Marian would have been proud.
“This was an attempt to change the master plan and establish the first commercial designation in Horse County. It will not be the last,” said Ron Weeks, former BKHA president. “While not a master plan change, the zoning approval of institutional uses such as churches and schools demonstrates how, once established, these non-agricultural uses will be a constant threat to multiply or expand.”
The community is invited to come and enjoy a great evening and help keep Horse Country alive and well. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Guests will be seated at tables of 10. A meal of chicken and ribs with corn, potatoes and dessert is $10. To purchase tickets, call Bernie Worrell at 305-279-7242.