Palmetto Bay marked 13th birthday with annual celebratory picnic

Palmetto Bay marked 13th birthday with annual celebratory picnic

Pictured (l-r) are Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn, councilman Tim Schaffer, councilwoman Karen Cunningham, vice mayor John DuBois and councilwoman Larissa Siegel Lara.

Palmetto Bay held its annual Celebration Picnic on March 7 in recognition of the Village’s incorporation in 2002.

The setting was the same as always, Coral Reef Park. And what’s old seemed new again. Eugene Flinn, the original mayor, was back in his old post and he rekindled one of his picnic traditions — taking a turn in the “dunk tank”.

“The dunk tank keeps me humble and it raises money for the Ronald McDonald House,” he said. “In addition, I’d like to thank vice mayor John DuBois for donating to Camillus House each time I get dunked.”

Compared to the prior administration, there was a palpable difference with how council members interacted with each other. Palmetto Bay resident and Miami- Dade County Commissioner Danielle Levine-Cava set a fun tone for the day. “I love this town,” she said.

“I love this park and I love this place. And I recommend the roasted corn!”

Palmetto Bay marked 13th birthday with annual celebratory picnic

Almost 4,000 people enjoyed the festivities at Coral Reef Park.

The three-hour picnic was threatened by rain a few times, but ultimately escaped unscathed as nearly 4,000 attendees enjoyed the festivities on a sun-shaded day.

As usual, it was the parks department that really put the work into creating such a success.

“The staff did a great job,” said parks director Fanny Carmona. “We love doing this for our Village and seeing so many smiling faces.”

The day began with a bike ride with Mayor Flinn. As a follow-up, Palmetto Bay resident and Green Mobility Network bike and pedestrian advocate Eric Tullberg provided a bike valet service for anyone who rode to the picnic.

Throughout the day, there were strong performances under the gazebo from local schools and organizations, including Coral Reef and Howard Drive elementary schools. As every year, there were tons of bounce-house activities for the kids to run around and enjoy themselves, including two high-action obstacle avoidance arenas.

Palmetto Bay marked 13th birthday with annual celebratory picnic

Mayor Flinn was dunked for charity.

The fire-rescue folks educated people about their equipment. There was a helicopter fly-over that wowed the crowd, the Palmetto Bay Police department fingerprinted kids for safety and Miami Children’s Hospital fitted people for bike helmets.

Resident Jamie Wasser complimented the entire event. “I’ve lived in Miami my whole life and, for people who don’t think there is great community here, you should be in Palmetto Bay right now. There are kids dancing, singing, playing and people enjoying each other’s company.

I’ve never been more proud to live here than I am today!”

By the end of the picnic, Palmetto Bay had downed 3,500 hot dogs, 2,000 ears of roasted corn, 2,500 slices of pizza, 6,000 servings of drinks, popcorn, chips, snow cones and lots of cotton candy. There also were tons of smiles and good conversation. Not a bad way to spend the day in the idyllic bedroom community.

Palmetto Bay marked 13th birthday with annual celebratory picnic

A crowd favorite was roasted corn perfectly cooked by parks department employees.

“If you miss, your taxes go up,” Mayor Eugene Flinn quipped as he sat atop the dunk tank.

“There had to be at least 25 successful dunks,” said Palmetto Bay spokesman Bill Kress.

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Hal Feldman is a Realtor with RE/MAX Advance Realty and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. Contact him with your story ideas or real estate questions at , or

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