The fifth annual Children’s Festival is set for Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Coral Gables Woman’s Club, 1009 E. Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This annual festival is free for kids of all ages and hosted by the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club. Chairing this year’s festival once again will be Kate Swain with lots of help from members. Children will be entertained at various stations offering activities from yoga, arts and crafts, and book readings to a career corner with numerous presenters such as a water safety station and more. Coral Gables firefighters will bring lots of fun that day with their obstacle course and other simulated activities. Refreshments will be served and popcorn for all.

On Jan. 10, Coral Gables Rotarians will be having a blood drive at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, from 10 a.m. ro 3:30 p.m. The van will be parked in the back of the hotel. All donors will be given a free movie ticket and receive a wellness checkup. The public is invited to participate. The event, coordinated by Hatsi Hatsunaro, with the Blood Bank will fill the demand for urgently needed blood supplies so critical during the holiday season.

Mask your eyes and show your smile at Coral Gables Woman’s Club Gala on Saturday, Feb. 9. Enjoy an evening wearing your finest and masking your eyes for a Mardi Gras themed night of incredible food, entertainment, dancing and a silent auction to help the club raise funds for the Coral Gables Children’s Dental Clinic. This free clinic, attached to their historic clubhouse at 1009 E. Ponce de Leon Blvd., annually provides more than $220,000 in free dental care to disadvantage children.

Event chair Iris Segui and her silent auction chair, Mayra Dominguez, encourage retailers and businesses to help by donating items, buying a program ad or becoming sponsors. Individual tickets are only $100, which has to be the best deal in town for a gala such as this. For more information on how you can help, contact Iris at 305-972-5405.

Also coming up in February is the South Miami Rotary’s Art Festival, the weekend of Feb. 23, on Sunset Drive which is always a fun event with great art, entertainment and food.

To round out the weekend, on Sunday, Feb. 24, the Rotary Club of Coral Gables will hold its annual Chili Cook Off at Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park, from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be cash prizes for best chilis, crowd favorite and best decorations. Chairing this event once again is RCCG past president Greg Martini ably assisted by a great committee including Bruce Kerestes who handles the chef entries. Celebrity chef Chris Valdes, of Food Network fame, will be among the panel judges this year.

While admission is free, you will have to purchase a wrist band to taste the assorted chili being served. Beverages, burgers and dogs also will be available for purchase. Save the date!

Before year end of 2018 there were some notable events in the Gables.

The winners of the Merrick Festival Caroling Competition were announced along with lots of prize money. One of the winners was St. Thomas the Apostle’s School Choir, winners of the Rotary Music Award and runnerup in the middle school category, winning a total of $1,200.

Kudos to Coral Gables Rotarian and past president Sally Baumgartner for running the amazing event year after year. As is tradition, the winner of the Rotary Music Award performed at the last meeting of December for the Coral Gables Rotary Club.

Roy Gonas of South Miami Rotary attended representing the Carlton and Lady Susanna P. Tweed Foundation that also supports the competition.

A magnificent Holiday Gala at the Coral Gables Museum spearheaded by CGM chair Lynn Bauer and executive director John Allen, along with lots a volunteers, raised tons of money for the museum and was a sellout. The day after the event, on Dec. 15, Lynn Bauer was surprised by an early birthday celebration dinner at Burger Bob’s. That place has never looked so beautiful and Lynn’s fiance, Dr. Hal Wanless, who orchestrated the party, could not believe that everyone managed to keep the secret. As always, Rita Tennyson’s catering was out of sight great as well.

Happy New Year — wishing everyone a prosperous 2019.

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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