Best time of year for festivals, events and outdoor activities

Best time of year for festivals, events and outdoor activities

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The Coconut Grove Arts Festival is right around the corner, Feb. 18-20.

This is undeniably the best arts festival in the nation and has a tremendous economic impact. Hundreds of artist, vendors of all sorts and a spectacular setting in the Grove make this a must attend event every year.

Admission for adults is $15 or $5 for Grove area residents. There are lots of VIP options that include everything from a breakfast at the Ritz Carlton with parking to VIP areas at Peacock Park. For more information, visit

The very next weekend we have some more fun activities that will benefit charity.

A Safe Haven for Newborns Walk will take place at Amelia Earhart Park the morning of Feb. 24. Proceeds from the walk and fun family day will help Safe Haven save babies from abandonment. To kick off the Safe Haven Walk, on Jan. 26, board member Henry Delgado had his amazing restaurant, Smith & Wollensky on Miami Beach, host a beautiful reception where guests enjoy an open bar and scrumptious hors d’oeuvres while hearing from ASHFN’s founder Nick Silverio. Guests viewed a touching new video that told the story of how this organization has saved the lives of more than 250 babies and counting.

Walk chair Norris Perez was on hand as the ultimate volunteer working with Marti Bueso and an amazing committee of dedicated people to make this event a success. Among the crowd of volunteers and supporters enjoying the affair with this writer were Marie Pappas, Scott Cabrera, Jeff Sullivan, Odalys Quesada, Joe Perez, Marcia and Luiz Diaz de Villegas, CBS Radio’s Max Ramirez, Julijana Rose, Dr. William Bruno, Ximena and Joseph Terneus, Yesenia Moreno, Pete de la Torre, Sally Villaba, Alina Barrios, The Murphy family from Coastal Construction, Peggy Calhoun, Efrain Sora, and dozens more.

For more information or to register for the walk, visit

Next up look for the Coral Gables Rotary’s second annual Chili Cook Off., another family friendly on Sunday, Feb. 26, 1-5 p.m., at Fred B Hartnett Ponce Circle Park just south of Miracle Mile on Ponce de Leon Blvd. Sponsored in large part by Coral Gables Hospital and several other local businesses, the event is chaired by Rotary past president Debbie Swain, and a great committee including past presidents Greg Martini, Bruce Kerestes, and Yoli Woodbridge.

There is a small donation for bracelets if you want to sample the chilis but admission is free to attend and enjoy live entertainment, other foods for sale, and various fun activities for kids. Vote of the best chili and support your favorite entries. Proceeds will benefit the many charitable programs supported by the Rotary Foundation of Coral Gables.

Visit, if you want to enter your chili. Cash prizes will be awarded.

On the performing arts scene, V-Day Miami comes to the Olympia Theater on Feb. 23, with the production of The Vagina Monologues, one of the most popular and often produced plays in recent history, written by Eve Ensler. The play, to benefit Casa Valentina, covers the feminine experience and touches on subjects such as sex, love, rape, menstruation, masturbation, birth and orgasms.

Community Newspapers is proud to have in the cast of this show one of our staff, the beautiful and multi-talented Fara Sax. Fara is not only a great actress who has been nominated for a Carbonell Award but she is also a designer who creates stunning pieces of jewelry. To see Fara on stage, enjoy this production and to support Casa Valentina, you may purchase tickets online at

By the way, for those not in the know, V-Day is a global activist movement that seeks to end violence against women and girls by raising awareness through benefit productions (and other related events) of this award winning play. This event’s charity, Casa Valentina, is a unique program in its 12th year that provides safe homes and life skills support to former foster and homeless youth in Miami-Dade County.

Finally, in other news, Kay Murff, chair of the Coral Gables Landscape Beautification Advisory Board (LBAB) invites homeowners to a garden workshop at the Coral Gables Farmers Market on Saturday, Feb.25, from 9 to 10 a.m. The patio at City Hall offers a great location for Victor Lazzari, landscape designer, who will discuss “shade” landscaping and design. Victor will be joined by Jorge Rivera, Coral Gables landscape supervisor, discussing the Tree Succession Plan, pruning techniques and proper care of new plantings.

This program coincides with the ongoing progress of the Tree Succession Plan installing many new trees on the swales of homeowners in Coral Gables. LBAB felt residents would be interested in the maintenance and proper care for trees as well as gathering information on what to plant in shade — yet another consideration for many.

For more information, please call 305-665-3377.

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.