It’s hard to explain the overwhelming feelings of love and respect, friendship and admiration that permeated the air as the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce (AMC) held an” Enormously Entertaining Evening” at the LEVEL THREE venue at the Aventura Mall to honor termed-out Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman and retiring Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman. You had to be there to see the smiles on everyone’s faces, to hear the laughter, to feel the love in the air. And everyone knew that 100% of the ticket income was being donated to the favorite charities of the honorees.
When Mayor Weisman and Comm. Heyman entered the room, crowds of fans and friends surrounded them to wish them well and share hugs. Top-level VIPs were there, including Fl. Senators Jason Pizzo and Lauren Book, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Dana Goldman and Miami-Dade Vice Mayor Oliver Gilbert . Come to think of it, the entire evening could have been spent enjoying the superb networking and delicious food from seven restaurants (bartaco Aventura; Bonefish Grill, Icebox Café, La Boulangerie Boul’ Mich, Mo’s Bagels & Deli, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Serena Hotel Aventura Miami) ….but, there was more planned for this “Enormously Entertaining Evening”….SO much more!
Comm. Heyman said, “ It was a great night, great event, great food, great people and shared with a great public servant friend Enid Weisman whom I have known for 30+ years. I was humbled and honored and had a terrific time and it seems everyone else had a terrific time also. And, I loved that funds were being raised for area charities.”
Mayor Weisman added, “ What a magical evening!! I always say “it takes a village “. The problem is, often the village doesn’t show up. That’s not the case with the City of Aventura or with the Aventura Marketing Council. Not only do they show up, they perform, they sing, they dance, they play the guitar and they compose songs. Kudos to all of our elected officials past, present and future, our Police Chief and to our two Senators and numerous business partners for their generosity and passion. The best part of the evening, for me, was sharing it with my longtime friend, County Commissioner Sally Heyman, and the ability to help to support four of our favorite charities: I Have a Dream Foundation, Mystic Force Foundation, The Victory School for Autism and the Humane Society.
At a time when politicians are under fire, no matter their beliefs; in Northeast Dade we set a new bar for community engagement, collegiality and love. Literally everyone showed up! We are the change that we want to see in the world. “
This was not your ordinary program with proclamations, plaques and boring speeches—oh no—not this one! Anyone who wanted to honor these two incredible women had to sing ( off-key was expected and encouraged!). First up were THE VIVA GIRLS from The Vi at Aventura (all in their 80s and 90s) with Peter Fuchs at the piano. They brought the house down with their cheerleading and as they accompanied Peter as he sang, “Thanks For the Memories”. Next up were THE RAZZLE DAZZLES, with a song from “Chicago” for each honoree (words re-written by Alla Shaposhnikov) and sung by Dimitry Shaposhnikov with back-up singers Gary Pyott, Michael Stern and Amit Bloom. SALLY’S SONGBIRDS, all staff members from Comm. Heyman’s office, coached by Lauren Schulman, sung their version of “I Had the Time of My Life”. Then it was time for Joe Ferst to pull out his guitar and sing a few verses of “Imagine” with Senator Book and Senator Pizzo standing by to join him in “Piano Man”. The Senators brought up Mayor Weisman and Comm. Heyman to join them in this iconic song that had the audience singing along. FOUR GUYS AND A LADY, featuring Aventura Mayor-Elect Howard Weinberg, Comm. Billy Joel, Police Chief Michael Bentolila and Evan Ross sang their interpretation of “ So Long, Farewell” from the Sound of Music. Two surprise performances jumped in: ACES Principal Dr. Anthony Tyrkala and Don Soffer Aventura High School Principal Dr. Geoff McKee created a rap song for Mayor Weisman and Miami-Dade County Vice Mayor Oliver Gilbert did a great a cappella “ Ain’t No Sunshine”. The grand finale was THE SASSY SIX—and ‘sassy’ they were! The Hon. Luz Weinberg sang “All That Sass” , her version of “All That Jazz” wearing a sparkly shimmy dress, and had her back-up dancers in full costume as well: Vice Mayor Denise Landman (with a black wig), Commissioner Rachel Friedland (donning a red wig) and Commissioners-Elect Michael Stern and Paul Kruss with top hats and canes—and a surprise appearance by Howard Weinberg—literally had the audience jumping up and down and yelling for more! As Gary Pyott said, “How about THAT for a show!”
But that wasn’t the end of this fabulous evening…now it was time for the charity presentations. Gary said, “Each of our honorees chose two charities to receive the ticket proceeds. We received $5,575 in ticket admissions, so each of the four charities would receive $1,393. But wait…my puppy, Buddy, is running up to me…I think he wants to tell me something!” Upon opening a message tucked into Buddy’s collar, Gary said, “Buddy thinks our Aventura Marketing Council Education Foundation should add $407 to each charity, so all four will receive $1,800…a lucky number!” Mayor Weisman announced her two charities: I Have A Dream Foundation Miami and the Mystic Force Foundation. Comm. Heyman announced her charities: Humane Society of Greater Miami and The Victory Center for Autism. Cameras were everywhere! But WAIT—that’s not all!!
Senator Pizzo and Senator Book came forward and said that all four charities were very close to their hearts as well, and they wanted to match the donation to each charity by donating $8,000. A perfect ending to a perfect evening…..each charity received $3,800 to help them continue the outstanding work each one does.
Was this a magical evening? You bet!
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