Each December, just as families have holiday traditions that everyone eagerly anticipates, East Ridge at Cutler Bay is no different.
There are annual events which residents warmly welcome while looking forward to new experiences.
“Our new residents are thrilled to learn about the many holiday traditions that East Ridge continues and now they are a part,” said Executive Director Ken Cormier. “Many older adults moving to East Ridge have children living out of state and previously were alone during the holiday season. Now they have new friends and a host of things to do to celebrate.”
Also, this is Cormier’s first East Ridge Christmas season at the life plan community and he’s especially looking forward to sharing in these traditions.
Starting on Saturday, Dec. 2, the annual Holiday Bazaar and Pancake Breakfast will be held. This is an event for residents, families, friends and employees. To kick off the event, it’s a tradition to enjoy pancakes before the bazaar opens. East Ridge crafters have worked all year on the merchandise that is sold and proceeds are used to benefit the community.
On Monday, Dec. 18, the “Three Sisters Luncheon” takes place and is a longtime East Ridge tradition that is especially meaningful to resident Barbara Sims. “It’s probably in its 20th year,” she said. Three sisters were living at East Ridge: Dottie Lester, Ruth Hecht and Lou Hassencamp. They started holding a holiday luncheon for residents who did not have family living in South Florida. They would cook the food themselves and serve everyone.
While it’s an East Ridge event, the cost of the luncheon was not covered by the community. The sisters contributed the luncheon to the community. There was music, singing Christmas songs and everyone shared their favorite holiday stories. Every year the menu was the same and was always a favorite event. When Dottie Lester became ill, Sims asked if she wanted her to take over and continue the Three Sister’s Luncheon. The first year, Sims retained the sisters’ menu but now has interjected new recipes.
This year, the menu includes ham, scalloped potatoes (a recipe contributed from Betty Crocker), salad, and Sim’s popular pumpkin cake which is a special recipe she acquired from her niece.
“Usually 25-30 people attend and everyone is welcomed,” said Sims. Village volunteers help cook and serve.
In addition, the community hosts many local school children with musical groups that come and perform. There’s a community holiday sing-a-long on Friday evening, Dec. 22 with residents and guests singing holiday favorites.
This year, since Christmas Eve falls on Sunday, East Ridge celebrates Christmas Eve with an elegant brunch and live music adds to the yuletide spirit. Another Christmas Day brunch will be featured also with live music. The community will close out 2017 with an annual casino night celebrating New Year’s Eve for the last party of the year.