Bicycles, dolls and games were only a few of the surprises in store for the City of Opa-locka children, ages 3-13, on the grounds of Historic City Hall, 777 Sharazad Boulevard, Opa-locka, Florida 33054, Saturday, December 17, 2011 from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m., at the 10th Annual “Holiday in the Park” Toy Give-Away hosted by Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson, The Mayor, City Commission and City Employees.
In co-operation with local schools and the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, residents of Opa-locka pre-registered their children for the toy give-away, which was accompanied by an afternoon of FREE food, rides, arts & craft, the Game Xcite Mobile Unit, rock climbing, souvenir photos with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, music by Dr. Richard Strachan and The Psi-Phi Band, along with TEN TONS of SNOW, which presented the gift of authenticity to this year’s “Winter Wonderland,” theme. Piled into a mount at the start of the event by Florida Ice Manufacturing Corporation, surprisingly, the snow continued to sustain on the West lawn of Historic City Hall, even through 80 degree temperatures on Monday. When considering the snow for this event, Vice Mayor Johnson thought the wintery import would be a unique ‘seasonal contrast’ for many of the local children who have never experienced a “White Christmas” outside of South Florida. Many parents, targeted by their offspring during snowball battles, could either be seen running, laughing and dodging the cold white shaved ice as they converted back to their childhood, or simply sitting back enjoying the entertainment as they observed their young, frolicking in the snow. Either way, the snowballs were a “hit” among everyone!
The City provided approximately five hundred Christmas gifts to the children during the give-away and bicycle raffle. Christina Paz was thrilled to have her Christmas off to a Merry start after three of her four children, Franklin, 8; Xavier, 6; and Yaniella, 3, won bicycles during the drawing. But, the children of Opa-locka weren’t the only gift recipients; parents could also be found indulging in the wealth of information distributed on City services, such as hardship for billing, public safety, recreation schedules, recycling timetables and other handouts on assistance that is available to residents, at one of twelve City of Opa-locka Department booths.
In addition to the gifts provided by the City, walk-in toy donations were dropped-off at the Parks Department by generous humanitarians who just wanted to contribute to the event and to the children of Opa-locka. Among other contributors were The Udonis Haslem Foundation, Lawrence Wright & Partners, Citrin Financial & Insurance, Waste Management, Greenspoon Marder, P.A., Auto Depot International and Michelle Village. Members of the Black Global Bikers Association, Inc.‘s (BGBA) and the Miami Select Basketball Club were more than eager to volunteer their time to distribute toys to the kids.
In the spirit of Christmas, for the youth who were not pre-registered, but continued to assemble in record numbers, the Vice Mayor held an on-sight registration and joined forces with the City of Opa-locka Police Department to distribute stuffed teddy bears and hand-out the additional toys to those who did not complete the registration process to receive a toy during the give-away. Overall, officials, management and staff were pleased to see everyone leaving the 10th Annual “Holiday in the Park” with a little something special for Christmas, from “The Great” City of Opa-locka.
Opa-locka Police Department to distribute stuffed teddy bears and hand-out the additional toys to those who did not complete the registration process to receive a toy during the give-away. Overall, officials, management and staff were pleased to see everyone leaving the 10th Annual “Holiday in the Park” with a little something special for Christmas, from “The Great” City of Opa-locka.