At Christmastime, there’s no place like the idyllic 300+ home community of Mangowood in Palmetto Bay. For 50-plus years now, Mangowood residents have stepped out on their front yards and awaited Santa in their annual Santa’s Reception Party.
The volunteer association makes sure to parade St. Nick down each of their streets with celebrating golf carts, cars, police cars and a siren-blaring fire truck in tow.
This year was no different, except the fire truck was busy on a call, so the neighbors had to be doubly loud with their honking as they drove through the streets waving and handing out candy canes. Santa smiled and did his signature ho-ho-ho.
Palmetto Bay Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham summed it up saying, “Mangowood is one beautiful community.” 25-year resident Ted Pizzagalli added, “Everyone knows each other and we know how to take care of each other. It’s a great place to live!”
After an hour of winding through streets, the parade ended on 83rd Place where over 100 neighbors gathered to share Christmas cookies, candy and cocoa. And on the same front porch that has been used for generations, Santa sat for photos and to hear what the children wanted under the tree.
“If you’re looking for small town USA in the middle of Miami-Dade County, here it is,” exclaimed Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn. And homeowner Carlos Plata gushed, “We love this neighborhood. It’s family-oriented and the community is great!” When it comes to neighborhoods, nothing beats Mangowood.