‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through Mangowood the children were far from nestled in their beds. That’s because each year, Santa makes a special trip to parade through their neighborhood streets courtesy of the 56-year old voluntary civic association.
Known for its 1960s good feel, safe and beautiful streets and incredibly strong network of homeowners, the Mangowood section of Palmetto Bay could make just about anyone smile with all the community activities they do throughout the year, including Easter, the Fourth of July, a neighborhood garage sale and of course Christmas.
Mangowood’s Rose Van Patten (known in these parts as Mrs. Mangowood) reflected, “Ever since 1972 when my husband bought this car, it’s been tradition to do this for the kids. Before that, it was a gift exchange at the flagpole.”
On December 20th, the fire and police departments, along with Palmetto Bay Village council members (Mayor Eugene Flinn, Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham and Vice Mayor John DuBois) and a caravan of golf carts toured Santa past the homes of delighted kids handing out candy canes and good cheer to the residents of this idyllic area.
Mayor Eugene Flinn reflected, “It’s another great year here and we’d like to think a little bit of Mangowood goes all the way through Palmetto Bay this time of year.”
After an hour parade, expertly chauffeured by community activist Stanley Kowlessar in a cherry red Model A rumble back sleigh, Santa joined the neighbors out on the street for a holiday block party. It was quite the clatter.
More than 100 people lined the streets and enjoyed each others company as the kids ate, drank and played in everything Christmas.
Seven-year old Victoria Johnson exclaimed, “We even made a hot chocolate bar with special toppings for everyone and Santa is right next door to our house!” Her sister, Madison, and mom and dad helped pour for anyone who wanted a cup.
This is the kind of place where homemade cakes, cookies and meals magically appear, all in the spirit of sharing and togetherness.
It's where Santa comes for a special annual trip and takes the time so everyone can sit on his lap and reflect on another great year.
The spirit of this event is so strong that even our best and finest find themselves racing for a snapshot with Saint Nick.
And as quickly as it started, Santa sprang back into his sleigh saying, “Cheers and good wishes on this happiest of day. Ho. Ho. Ho! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"