Numerous events, parties help kick off new year

The new year began with numerous exciting outdoor events. Many started the year with home parties, including Richard and Luba DeWitt who hosted Gables Rotary Club’s Annual Moose Milk Party on Jan 1.

For those unfamiliar with Moose Milk, suffice to know that this concoction of vanilla ice cream and gin is not for everyone including this writer. Of course, with guests bringing their favorite dishes, food was yummy and plentiful.

On Jan. 2, thousands gathered on the streets of Coral Gables to watch the 61st annual Junior Orange Bowl Parade.

Festivities that night began with a preparade show, once again sponsored by Miami Children’s Hospital, featuring the Our Lady of Lourdes Dancers.

Among the many enjoying the preparade in the bleacher seating in front of City Hall were JOBC past presidents, politicians and sponsors, as well as the guests of the JOBC’s biggest ticket buyer, Lynn Bauer. Bauer, who used to throw big holiday parties for children, has opted the past few years to buy a section or two of the bleacher seating to support the JOBC and to entertain her guests.

Employing the services of Burger Bob’s Rita, guests enjoyed crescent sandwiches and goodies while watching the parade. Among Lynn’s guests was Hank Langston, who chaired the very first JOBC nighttime parade many years ago, and her new fiancé, UM professor Hal Wanless.

The parade this year was dedicated to the memory of JOBC past president Bob Self, who worked for decades ensuring a quality parade for our young people. He certainly is missed. In keeping with what Self strived for as a dedicated JOBC member, this year’s parade had something for everyone, showcasing much local talent as well as the participation of visiting bands, including one huge marching band that came all the way from Minnesota.

On another nostalgic note, this year’s event included two cars from Carroll’s Jewelers, a parade staple for 61 years. Sadly, Carroll’s is going out of business and will be closing its doors this month. On a positive note, a new Gables restaurant, Smoke’t, has opened featuring a Southern kitchen menu. It kicked off the new year with a launch party on Jan. 4.

Restaurant owners Chef Michael Altman, Brandon Lurie and John Janette received rave reviews from guests at the soft opening as the crowd enjoyed exciting menu selections that included everything from great Kansas City baby back spare ribs, Texas style beef brisket, country fried steak, pulled pork, to creative appetizers such as Smoke’t-Red-Neck Rolls and desserts that are sure to delight any pallet.

With big screen televisions all over the place, a beautiful bar, and lots of open spaces, this promises to be another “happening place” to enjoy good food, watch sports or congregate with friends. It is located on S. Dixie Highway (US1) across from the University of Miami, just south of Gables Waterway.

Finally, weather hampered an otherwise great Beaux Art Festival at the University of Miami campus on Jan. 9 and 10. Rain, wind and cold weather forced almost all the artists to close up shop early on Saturday but, despite the cold, Sunday turned into a beautiful day. Gables Rotarians were there for the fist time selling Bruce Kerestes’ amazing chicken wings while braving weather both days to raise money for their charitable fund. Until next time, keep making each day count.

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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.