The rain came down in buckets on Friday night, October 30th. But the cars came—in droves. And the rain came down even harder on Halloween evening, Saturday, October 31st. And the cars still came—in droves. Over two nights, there were over 1,500 cars (with a wait list of 2,200 cars!) filled to capacity with excited children dressed in costumes patiently waiting their turn to enter the “Zombie-Infested” Halloween Drive-Thru’ inside the Aventura Government Center garage.
Chief Pegues said, “Surpassing all expectations, this success was due to the tremendous efforts of our volunteers, Aventura Police employees and donors. The Aventura Police Department was proud to be able to partner with the community and provide this amazing event safely during these trying times. This event was a tremendous display of resilience, community leadership and creativity. We are grateful to all of the individuals who worked day and night to make this a joyful and thrilling Halloween.“
Michael Stern, Stern Bloom Media, said, “ The idea for the Halloween drive-thru came from a casual conversation I had with Aventura Police Sgt. Hans Maestre who was instrumental in helping me organize the high school senior graduation car parade. Due to COVID, we knew all Halloween festivities would be limited. I approached Chief Bryan Pegues and City Manager Ron Wasson with the concept and they thought it was a great idea, as did the new Aventura Police Dept. Community Advisory Panel. The entire community came together and the final result was truly extraordinary!” Rita Noa, Executive Assistant to Police Chief Bryan Pegues, said, “Michael was there from start to finish…not only did he volunteer his time for three weeks, but was instrumental in coming up with great ideas and overall guidance for the entire project.” Noa added, “It was amazing to watch this team come together from different units of the department…some sworn officers, some civilians…in such a short period of time and want to do this for the community. We had exactly three weeks to pull off this enormous project, and it took every minute of those three weeks!”
Noa took on the role of coordinator…and that meant donors, resources, volunteers, food and water for volunteers and so much more. Ofc. Ruben Brizuela worked closely with Sgt.
Maestre to oversee police officers and Josh Maestre served as Production Manager. APD team members including Lori Fletcher, Sonia Harrison, Frank Galletti and Glenn Fisch and community volunteers, such as Dimitry Shaposhnikov ( he donated money,was instrumental in build-out, created the program book and posters AND volunteered to work both evenings!), Janet Harrison and Tamatri Gale were giving their all to ensure a spectacular Zombie-Infested Halloween Drive-Thru being built from scratch would be ready in just three weeks. Four professional actors donated their time to train the “Zombies”: Christina Chavez @abvioleta1978; Anissa Alcantara @anissaalcantara; Cleavandor Wright @mr._cleavandor18; Austin Salavarrieta @actorthesal.
Aventura Police Foundation volunteers, led by Gary Pyott, Association 1st, sold “I Survived the Aventura Police Zombie Invasion 2020” t-shirts, with proceeds benefiting the foundation, created to help fund technology, training and community outreach programs of the APD. These limited-edition t-shirts are still on sale for $10 each by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsors came through with flying colors and at the top of the list was Hubell Racing. Other sponsors who turned this dream into reality were: CITY OF AVENTURA; AVENTURA POLICE DEPT; Alma Rosa Bodyworks; Aventura City of Excellence School; Aventura Comm. Dr. Linda Marks; Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce; Aventura Police Foundation; ACES Moms led by Joanne Sevilla; Bagel Cove; Barrio Latino Aventura; Big Ocean Commercial; CandyTopia; Chick-Fill-A; DJ Arly; CooLAM Productions; DS Xpress.com; FPL; FrandMe.com; go2events; Hilton Aventura Miami; Ike’s Love & Sandwiches; Hon. Billy and Sandra Joel; Just Salad Aventura; Kutz and Play; Learning Express Toys & Gifts; Levy & Partners; Macy’s; Mo’s Bagels & Deli; Orvieto’s Trophies; Rotary Club of Hallandale Beach/Aventura; Sherwin Williams Aventura; Signarama Hallandale; Tropical Chevrolet Miami Shores; Warren Henry Auto Group; Williams Island Club