East Ridge at Cutler Bay has many traditions but few are as patriotic as the life plan community’s annual July 4th golf cart parade!
Dating back to 1968, it is an East Ridge tradition that continues while each year taking on a new twist.
Held on the morning of July 4th, this year residents and staff will gather at the new Three Palms and at 10 a.m. head off in a parade route which snakes its way along the meandering roads of the community. The festive red, white and blue decorated golf carts and bicycles compete for prizes. While it’s less about the prizes as it is about community spirit, judges choose winners based on creativity, holiday spirit and the best attired driver and passengers.
The excitement starts several days prior to the 4th as plans get underway to creatively adorn the carts. Department managers and employees join in too and people especially enjoy the comradery. Employees bring their families and residents’ children and grandchildren attend.
To kick off the festivities there will be musical entertainment, jugglers, unicycles, cotton candy, popcorn and frozen fruit drinks.
Despite the Florida heat and humidity, people come decked out in costumes and there are a variety of Uncle Sams and Lady Liberties making appearances.
Those not riding in the parade line the route throughout East Ridge and wave as their neighbors go by. This year the parade will circle the village twice.
July 4th traditions date back to 1776 when members of the Second Continental Congress adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Following its adoption the Declaration was read in various American cities and patriots erupted in cheers and celebrations whenever they heard it. In 1777 on July 4th, bells were rung, guns fired, candles lighted and firecrackers were set off.
At East Ridge, the July 4th celebrations continue after the golf cart parade. A traditional barbecue of hamburgers and hotdogs and all the trimmings are served in the Three Palms dining room with jazz music provided by Frank Hubbell and his jazz band.