Orange Bowl events, festivals and funsraiser ring in new year

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The Orange Bowl Committee finished off 2019 with numerous events. From the Orange Bowl Classic, the AvMed Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast to the big bowl game with lots of University of Florida in town.

There were so many Gators at the Coaches Luncheon at Jungle Island on Dec. 27 that valet had to park cars across the street. Guests enjoyed a great opportunity to hear from the coaches, Gators’ Head Football Coach Dan Mullen, and Virginia’s Coach Bronco Mendenhall as well as several student athletes including Florida’s Josh Hammond, David Reese and Freddie Swain, and Virginia’s Bryce Hall, Benn Hogg and Bryce Perkins.

The 2019 Orange Bowl Hall of Fame presented by Auto Nation were announced as Derrick Mayes, Notre Dame wide receiver; Travis Taylor, University of Florida wide receiver, and Vernon Carey Sr., University of Miami offensive tackle. Travis Taylor was on hand to share some words with an appreciative crowd of Gator fans who remember him well. Among the many involved in sharing and participating in a most entertaining program were OB president and chair Jose Romano; AvMed president and CEO Jim Repp; OB CEO, Eric Poms; Steve Levy, ESPN Play-by-Play Announcer; as well as Brian Griese and Todd McShay, ESPN analysts.

On a sad note — at the luncheon the Orange Bowl Committee announced the passing of a dear member, Carlos Garcia. Carlos will be greatly missed. He was a past chair of the Coral Gables Community Foundation and an amazing person who was recognized a few year’s back as one of Miami’s Community Newspapers’ Gables Greats.

Kicking off the new year, the Joshua’s Heart Foundation will be the beneficiary of the next Coral Gables Woman’s Club Gringo Bingo hosted by Clutch Burger on Giralda Avenue in the Gables, on Jan. 7, 7-9 p.m. Joshua’s Heart Foundation collects food and monetary donations to feed the poor in the community. The foundation also focuses on increasing awareness about global hunger issues and mobilizing support for other hunger relief programs and activities.

The Foundation is a partner of the “back pack program,” an effort created to address the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. Tickets are only $35 for a yummy slider with fries, six bingo game cards, one specialty drink, wine or beer and unlimited sodas. Steven Bradley, Clutch owner, always gets great prizes and celebrity DJ German donates his talents with music to make every event a party. For tickets, email

This is one of many events that this busy woman’s club is planning. If you are looking for a fun educational family outing with your youngsters, their Children’s Festival on Jan. 25 is just the ticket. Join the fun at the Coral Gables Woman’s Club Clubhouse, 1001-9 E. Ponce de Leon Blvd.. Admission is free for all. There will be lots of food, popocorn station, interactive activities, career corners, butterfly experience and more.

The Coral Gables Police Canine Unit will do a demonstration, while the firefighters will set up a fun obstacle course for the kids. For more information on any of these club events, visit

The club’s next major fundraiser, the annual Gala, is Feb. 29, Leap Day, and will benefit its free children’s dental clinic.

Finally, wishing all our readers a very happy and prosperous 2020.

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.