Each year like clockwork, the June skies light up South Miami, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables with the rich colors of deep scarlet, fire engine red, red, pumpkin, orange, golden yellow, canary yellow and gradations in between. (The different colors represent the tropical lands where our Royal Poincianas were originally sourced including Madagascar, India, Ethiopia, and St. Maarten.) And, like clockwork, the Royal Poinciana Fiesta, Miami-Dade’s oldest festival, comes alive when the colorful blooms are at their peak. Now in its 82nd year, the 2019 Royal Poinciana Fiesta will be from Saturday, June 8 through Monday June 10, 2019. The Fiesta is presented by the Tropical Flowering Tree Society and an all-volunteer planning committee chaired by Sallye Jude and assisted by Dolly MacIntyre. The Coral Gables Garden Club is also helping with this year’s Fiesta. Some events are free with no rsvp necessary, some require tickets that can be purchased on-line at TFTS.org, and all celebrate the highest concentration of Royal Poincianas anywhere in the world. Linda Apriletti has been chosen as the 2019 artist with collector posters available for sale throughout the Fiesta.
On Saturday, June 8, at 1:00pm, there is a free lecture in the Community Room of the Coral Gables Public Library (3443 Segovia) on the history and placement of Royal Poincianas. Stephen Pearson, former Executive Director of the University of Miami’s Gifford Arboretum, will present the lecture. The Community Room was selected because of the ceramic “Coral Gables Map” created by the late ceramicist Kay Pancoast which pays tribute to Coral Gables’ many historical sites with colorful Royal Poincianas as accents. At 2:30 pm, there is a $20 narrated trolley tour of the boldest and prettiest poincianas of the season. The 2 hour tour will leave from the Coral Gables Library and be led by Tropical Flowering Tree Society President Jessica Cabrera and Vice-President Adam Pollak. (A second, similar $20 tour will be held Sunday from 2:30pm to 4:30 pm from Coral Gables Merrick House.)
On Saturday evening at Art Thyme (8841 SW 132 Street) there is a “cocktail party with a paintbrush” where you can learn how to paint your own Royal Poinciana as you sip on wine and enjoy light refreshments. Tickets are $40 per person with more details on the TFTS.org website.
This year, there is a Royal Poinciana Garden Tea at the Coral Gables Merrick House (907 Coral Way) on Sunday, June 9 from 1:30pm to 4:00 pm. Tickets are $20 per person (see the TFTS.org website for details). The tea, underwritten by the Palace Coral Gables (Miami-Dade’s address for luxury living for seniors) will include handcrafted tea sandwiches, scones, sweets and savories served with iced tea, lemonade, iced coffee and more. Brief tours of the historic home will be available. There is a $20 Sunday afternoon Royal Poinciana trolley tour to and from the Merrick House from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. (A “tea and tour” package is available for $35 on the TFTS.org website.)
A free Monday night finale will be at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Road) including tram tours, music performed by Joe Donato and Brian Murphy, the famous “Royal Poinciana Punch” and presentations of scholarship grants to promising young women pursuing studies in horticulture, geosciences and related studies.
The Royal Poinciana Fiesta is grateful for the generous support of the Palace Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Community Foundation which is the lead sponsor in the 2019 scholarship program. For more information, log onto the Tropical Flowering Tree Society’s website at TFTS.org.