Wow. It was a blast!
Let's start off with Friday night. Fred Suco of Woodys West End Tavern setup his own stage, the Woodys West End Tavern Stage on Canal Street behind the old Circle Theater. But that's not all. He brought in great music Friday night in the forms of Tito Puente, Jr. and Grammy Award winning salsa legends, Hansel y Raul.
The music and energy was incredible. The crowd was packed and loving it. The latin music and dancing continued till midnight. Canal Street was packed. The vendors were selling lots of food and drinks and everyone was happy.
We launched by the old boat ramp under the cat walk across from the dog park and headed eastward at noon last Saturday. The headwind cooled us down and gave us a nice paddle workout. We paused along the way as this was a nice casual stroll and not a race. That didn't stop an olympic caliber paddler from joining us with his Canadian style boat cutting through the water like a rocket. (The man's got skills.)
The paddlers came from all ages and we even had a happy dog join us for the ride. The fun family style event was great. It's incredible to think of the joys and peacefulness of paddling with the tranquilness of Miami Springs on one side and one of the busiest roadways (Okeechobee Road) on the other.
It was also nice to dip your hands and feet in the water to cool off under the hot South Florida sun. Some of us considered going for a swim in the canal, but nobody dared jump in.
The City of Miami Springs Police joined us with an escort by one of their officers in the city's police boat. You couldn't feel safer on the water. I can report that not once did anyone fall in the canal. I can also report that we didn't see a single alligator, even though we wish we had.
The journey took us all the way to the East Drive bridge (aka East 4th Ave.) There we did a u-turn and headed back to our starting point, but not before getting some pictures taken by the Gazette's Wally Clark.
All in all, it was a fun hour and a half paddle in a precious waterway we too often just overlook.
Of course, the festival doesn't stop as we moved to Saturday night...the MEGA Reunion night.
This year, the Miami Springs Golden Hawk mascot, Hank, joined us for pictures all night long. And boy did people line up to take pictures with the mascot. He's clearly the most popular guy in town.
As usual, the MEGA Reunion brought out friends and alumni from all the different decades, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. But there was also the first ever Freestyle Concert in Miami Springs. With great music from artists like Ray Guell, Secret Society's Rudy Gil, Company B. and Erotic Exotic.
Company B kicked it off singing their hits "Full Circle" and "Fascinated." The crowd was dancing and singing to the popular hit songs.
Ray Guell followed with "You Took My Heart" and a fun rendition of "Love is in the Air."
Secret Society's Rudy Gil was a blast. The master showman got the crowd moving and the ladies swooning. Rudy sang a variety of songs including "Why Did You Run Away."
Erotic Exotic closed the show off the evening singing some their favorite hits including "Take Me As I Am", "L.O.V.E.", and even an old-school song called "Sucia".
If you missed us this year, we sure do hope you'll join us in 2015.
- Tags: River Cities Festival weekend Fred Suco of Woodys West End Tavern Tito Puente Jr. Grammy Award winning salsa legends_Hansel y Raul Miami Springs Okeechobee Road South Florida sun The City of Miami Springs Police East Drive bridge Gazette's Wally Clark MEGA Reunion night the Miami Springs Golden Hawk mascot_Hank Ray Guell Secret Society's Rudy Gil Company B. Erotic Exotic