Annual Flamingo Ball benefits HistoryMiami Museum at Hialeah Park

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HistoryMiami Museum transformed Hialeah Park into a tropical oasis with its second annual tropical nights-themed Flamingo Ball, March 3. The star-studded affair was attended by more than 250 guests, many of whom traditionally donning vibrant-hued dresses, white dinner jackets, and flower-adorned fascinators.

Bongo players and pink flamingo stilt walkers heightened the mood by welcoming guests, who then made their way upstairs to the reception area where champagne and handcrafted cocktails were served upon a backdrop of waterfalls filled with flamingos.

The glamorous affair continued as feathered showgirls decked in head-to-toe pink escorted guests into the main ballroom for the second installment of the evening. Here, Jose Fajardo, Jr., son of the legendary “Flute King” and leader of the Cuban orchestra Fajardo y sus Estrellas, Jose Fajardo, had guests swaying to the beat of his salsa performance.

Once guests were seated at the luxurious dining tables decorated with palm frond centerpieces and bright orchids illuminated in pink, they were treated to a lavish buffet of lobster and stone crabs as Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana” played.

Emmy Award-winning journalist Cynthia Demos emceed a special awards ceremony where HistoryMiami Museum honored HEICO Corporation and the Mendelson family with the prestigious Henry Flagler Award. The award is a tribute to Henry Flagler, a pioneer who had the vision and ambition to bring his railroad to Miami and develop a small South Florida town into the Magic City.

“We’re so happy to receive this honor. It’s really a terrific event and a terrific cause for HistoryMiami,” said Eric Mendelson. “We are so gratified to be part of this city. We couldn’t be happier to be members of this great community.”

HistoryMiami Museum also paid tribute to John Brunetti, the owner of Hialeah Park who passed away just one day before the event, with an eight-foot flamingo statue aptly named “History.” Brunetti, who fell in love with the historic Hialeah Park when he first visited in the 1950s, owned the racetrack for more than four decades. A longtime supporter of the original Flamingo Ball, one of the most glamorous and legendary parties of 1960-70s Miami, Brunetti decided to bring the lavish social confection back in 2017 and named HistoryMiami Museum as the sole beneficiary.

Dignitaries included: Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez; Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen; former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham and his wife Adele Khoury Graham; Chairman of Miami-Dade County’s Board of Commissioners Esteban Bovo and his wife, Vivian Bovo; Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro and his wife Zoraida Barreiro; and Mayor of Hialeah Carlos Hernandez and wife Nancy Hernandez.

About HistoryMiami Museum
HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is the premier cultural institution committed to gathering, organizing, preserving, and celebrating Miami’s history as the unique crossroads of the Americas. It accomplishes this through education, collections, research, exhibitions, publications, and city tours. Located in the heart of downtown Miami, HistoryMiami Museum is a 70,000 square foot facility and home to more than one million historical images and 30,000 three-dimensional artifacts, including a 1920’s trolley car, artifacts from Pan American World Airways, and rafts that brought refugees to Miami.

For information, call 305-375-1492 or visit

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