Garden tour, festivals and performing arts events raise funds

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South Florida’s nonprofits give residents and visitors an amazing variety of garden events
to enjoy as we experience great weather with a variety of outdoor family friendly events from history and garden tours to the St. Patrick’s Festival and Music under the Stars at Miami Lighthouse.

The Villagers “Tropical Oasis” Garden Tour featured gardens in High Pines and Coral Gables, one more beautiful than the next with some of the most beautiful house gardens this writer has ever seen. As always, this is an educational tour as the Villagers have knowledgeable people at each location to help answer questions and share information on the plants and the property.

Aside from the tour of gardens, The Villagers’ Boutique at St. Thomas was especially fun where guests shopped for unique artisans and vintage jewelry; garden-related gift items; plants and more. Of course, Rita Tennyson’s pop-up café on-site again this year was a hit with lots of delicious food for purchase. Most everyone also left with lots of plants, this writer included, and some great baked goods like Susan Medina’s amazing poppy seed loaf.

Kudos to event chair Carmen Diaz-Padron, Co-Chair Molly Gail Kiely, along with so many other members playing an instrumental part in making the affair a success including Sheila Revell, Lillian Walby, Kelley Schild, Sweet Pea Eliman, Karen Buchsbaum, Bonnie Hutton and Renee Betancourt. Proceeds from this event support the organization’s Historic Preservation projects and university scholarships for students studying historic preservation.

Speaking of tours, members of the Coral Gables Woman’s Club and other district sister clubs gathered a group for a tour of the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens on March 9. Club member Sonia M. coordinated the outing that even included members from other clubs: GFWC FL District 11 Director, Virginia Yermoli; CGWC President Ruth Martinez, who will take over as the 2024-26 District 11 Director; Arely Ruiz, Meredeth McKissick, Theresa Gilmore, Kim Davison, Linda Hartwell, Karen Cunningham, and Kristina Jackson.

That same day, St. Patrick’s Festival folks gathered at the German American Club for wonderful family friendly celebration to kick off St. Patrick’s Day week. Charlie Davis, who was a recent guest on my Gloria’s Gab podcast, and his volunteers always put together this free event that delights the crowds who come with the children to enjoy the many outdoor activities as well as others who came for the entertainment, music, great shopping and the food inside the air-conditioned space. There was so much going on outside that a few guests were surprised to find there was even more to do indoors where another band, as well as the St. Andrews Pipe & Drum Corps and Irish dancers, entertained an appreciative crowd.

On the cultural front, Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre opens this week with the musical Caroline or Change that is sure to be a hit. For more info, visit More on opening night, March 29, next time.

Save May 8, for two big events. During the day, the Greater Miami Festivals & Events Association will hold its annual conference at Jungle Island attracting festival organizers, planners, vendors and more to enjoy and day of networking, great programs and a luncheon with top entertainment, all part of the registration fee for the event.

That May 8, from 6 – 9 p.m., mark your calendars for Music Under the Stars: Bon Appétit Miami at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. This is a fundraiser for its Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program celebrating 32 years of providing free comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses to more than 205,000 financially disadvantaged schoolchildren who had no other source for vision care.

Finally, save Saturday, May 11, for Coral Gables Woman’s Club’s Annual Mother’s Day Tea. Look for more on that coming soon. For sponsorship opportunities or tickets, visit

Until next time, share your time and talents, count your blessings, and make a difference.




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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.