On Saturday, May 25th, Palmetto Bay residents and other Miami natives gathered at the Deering Estate to honor and remember our veterans in the inaugural Palmetto Bay @Deering Memorial Day Celebration. The commemoratory event was the result of a collaboration between the Deering Estate, the Deering Foundation, and the Village of Palmetto Bay. When asked why Deering was the perfect location for a Memorial Day celebration, Veterans Park Advisory Committee member Thomas Frank stated, “It’s centrally located. Everyone knows where it is and the grounds are big enough to support all of the activities.” Big enough the park certainly was!
The 450 acre Estate sits adjacent to Biscayne Bay and is known for hosting annual events and programs, such as the Deering Seafood Festival that takes place every March; a Memorial Day celebration, however, is a first. Over 1,200 guests showed up for this past Saturday’s celebration, most of whom were dressed in patriotic attire and eager for the start of summer!
The park opened its gates at 10 a.m. and immediately started the festivities! Activities included a scavenger hunt, children’s games, and Deering Estate’s regular natural and historic tours. Following this, attendees enjoyed performances from the Miami Palmetto Sr. High Rock Ensemble and Glenda & Suzy’s Jazz Dancers. Throughout the day, guests were encouraged to munch on snacks from Sports Grill, Golden Rule, and Chill-N Ice Cream stands or consult any of the various informational booths available. At 1 pm, St. Andrews Pipe & Drums played their bagpipes, signaling the start of the parade. During the parade, members of the Miami-Dade Police Department Honor Guard & Armed Forces Flag team, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Jr. Cadets (MDFR), and local veterans marched to the beat of a drum played by the Miami Palmetto Sr. High Marching Band as they made their way to the front of the stage. Speakers in the ceremony following the parade included Paul Amato, representing the American Legion Post #133, and Mayor Karyn Cunningham, who shared personal stories and spoke about the importance of celebrating Memorial Day. In spirit of following American tradition, Paul Amato led the pledge of allegiance and 7th grader from Palmetto Middle School, Samantha Zaitman, sang the National Anthem as attendees placed their hands over their hearts and looked on at the flags blowing in the seaside breeze. The day finished off with another stellar performance from members of our local community: the Hal Roland Jazz Band!
The Memorial Day Celebration at Deering Estate was one of remembrance, great food, and appreciation for what our city has to offer. The event not only recognized the importance of supporting our veterans, but also honoring, remembering, and celebrating those who gave their lives for our freedom. All in all, Deering’s inaugural Palmetto Bay day celebration was a salute-worthy event!
Grace is a rising sophomore at the College of William & Mary, where she plans on studying Marketing and Psychology. She is currently a Marketing intern at the Deering Estate in Palmetto Bay.