Coconut Grove gears up for ‘mattress madness’

“Mattress madness” returns with the The Great Coconut Grove Bed Race scheduled Sept. 2.

Labor Day weekend brings another hilarious tongue-in-cheek event to Coconut Grove. It is time for the Grove’s annual Bed Races scheduled for Sept. 2, and time to assemble a team of five, find a mattress, construct, create and costume your entry.

Race event director Daisy Lewis Salazar is grateful especially for those restaurants that have stepped up this year to help support the event: Barracuda Bar & Grill, Jaguar, Mr. Moe’s Restaurant & Bar, Peacock Café, Grove Ink, Bookstore in the Grove, Palm Produce, and Sandbar.

For the past 30 years, the bed races have brought out creative genius, crazy costumes, athletes and fun-loving onlookers to benefit local charities with the Junior Chamber International crew of hundreds of cone-head volunteers. The JCI will direct their funds to a holiday toy drive being held in conjunction with Easter Seals South Florida this year.

Barracuda Bar & Grill on Fuller will be the official after party site following the race as that street will be closed to erect a stage for a live band, make room for beer pong tables and more. Among the celebrity judges will be City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. Entries will be judged on best décor, best engineering and funniest. Attendees also will get to decide on the “Crowd Favorite Bed” by texting their votes. To register or for more information visit


Seen here enjoying and supporting the GFWC Cocoplum Woman’s Club Tea Party are GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club members: past president Barbara Lapsley, Ana Lam, president Mireya Kilmon and treasurer Nancy DesMangles.

Foodies should be on alert for a great new Japanese fusion restaurant, Aijó, tucked inside the landmark Jade in downtown Brickell. Aijó’s owner, Rene Buroz, recently hosted a 10-course dinner party during a soft opening winning praise for specialty rolls that exploded with an incredibly delicious burst of flavors combined with textures that made them unique.

Executive chef Christian Bonilla also wowed the crowd with everything from king crab legs with truffle almond butter to bonein rib eye with each dish being more memorable than the last. While Aijó certainly will attract a trendy international crowd, local foodies will find it irresistible as well.

Award-winning Venezuelan mixologist and bartender Narayana Dervasi also can provide a show juggling bottles and adding fire to the performance for added drama.

Among those recently seen enjoying this new gem in town was syndicated food columnist Linda Gassenheimer. While savoring her dinner selections, Gassenheimer added to the evening’s entertainment by sharing some famous celebrity chef stories. In fact, she explained she had recently unearthed some interviews with Julia Child taken decades ago and had posted them on her blog for all to enjoy.

Finally, the GFWC Coco Plum Woman’s Club raised more than $2,500 at the club’s fifth annual Tea Party on Aug. 8, at their historic clubhouse with 120 there to enjoy tea, sandwiches and sweets. Charleen Connor, an established harpist and the daughter of one of the club’s members, provided entertainment for the afternoon affair. Proceeds from the tea will be directed to Casa Valentina, an organization with a mission to help youth transition successfully from foster care to independent living.

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and the Rotarian of the Year Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education, co chairs the Doral Business Council Forum and is a DBC Ambassador, is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club and is on the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and sings in the choir of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. She can be reached at

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