Festivals, toy drives, holiday happenings close out 2023

From the Junior Orange Bowl and Orange Bowl’s events and multiple toy drives to the Villagers Holiday House Tour, if you find yourself exhausted, it is no wonder.

Let’s start with The Villagers Holiday House Tour on Dec. 9. The annual fundraiser featured several Coral Gables historic homes including such notable as The Merrick House and the 1923 home of Ana and Rafael Penalver that was designed by George Merrick’s cousin H. George Fink. Guests also enjoyed a great boutique at the Coral Gables Woman’s Club with Rita’s Cafe where everyone enjoyed taking a break from shopping and visiting the beautiful homes.

Merlin Ebert, The Villagers Holiday House Tour chair and Villagers president Alana Perez and volunteers did a spectacular job coordinating the event. That had something for everyone to enjoy.

The next day, on Sunday night Dec. 10, the annual Junior Orange Bowl Parade entertained crowds from a pre-parade performance by a great youth band and VIP reception for ticket holders attended by such notables Orange Bowl executive director Eric Poms, marching bands, floats and more paraded down Miracle Mile to the delight of children young and old.
Lots of festival and charity events are ongoing this month. The Junior Orange Bowl was followed by the Jr. OB International Tennis Tournament, Dec. 12-21, drawing players from all over the world competing for the championships.

Meantime, coming up soon, the Jr. Orange Bowl’s Basketball Tournament has boys and girls teams coming to play for Jr. OB Basketball Tournament titles. Chuck Little Jr. OB Basketball Committee chair, was a recent guest on my Gloria’s Gab LIVE show to talk about the event to take place at Westminster Christian School, Dec. 28-30. Chuck has seven South Florida girls and boys teams participating with six competitive out of state girls and boys basketball teams and another from Tampa.

On Dec. 28, one girls team and one boys team coming from out-of-state will take the morning to visit the WOW Center for a clinic and chance to play with the adults there. Always a rewarding and fun morning, this annual visit is a great community service component that adds value to the teams’ trip to South Florida.

By the way, the Junior Orange Festival is far from over. In fact, coming up in January and beyond are several more events including the renowned Jr. OB Golf Invitational running from Jan. 2 to 6, at the Biltmore Golf Course. To find out about all the events and programs, visit www.jrorangebowl.org.

On Dec. 7, Profit Inc., one of the oldest business groups in South Florida, had a busy day with a holiday lunch at 94th Aero Squadron followed by a festive party that night at Keyes Realty’s newly renovated building on LeJeune Road hosted by Profit member Carmen Siman and Carlos Villanueva. Among the many attending both events were Carlos Ribero, Janier Fernandez, LaWanda Loftus, Will Blanco, Cesar Hoed De Beche DC, Mike Sutta, Don and Maria Van Orsdel, Dr. Joe Briggle, Felipe Isaza, Vicente Cruz and Thomas Avila.

Until next time, share your time and talents, count your blessings, and have a Happy New Year!

 

 

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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel , non profit consulting and management. Before joining Miami's Community Newspapers as a columnist and marketing specialist, Gloria was the Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee (6 yrs.) and first Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation (14 yrs.) and the Pinecrest Community Foundation (1 ½ yrs) . Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist for Community Newspapers writing Gloria’s Gab, that focuses on the non-profit activity, and a host of an online show, Gloria's Gab LIVE. Gloria serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables as Civic and Charity Chair, and is involved in the club's International Committee. She is an active Life Member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee and is Secretary of the Merrick Festival. She serves on the board of directors of the Coral Gables Woman' Club as Publicity Chair and also coordinates the club's monthly fundraiser for various charities with Gringo Bingo at Clutch Burger. In addition, Gloria participates in numerous other charitable events and is a member of the Business Forum Group, Profit Inc., the Greater Miami Festival & Events Association and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. In other volunteer activity, Gloria helps Miami Christian School with fund-raising and PR; is an Ambassador and volunteers for events for A Safe Haven for Newborns. She is an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where she enjoys singing in the choir every weekend.