Miami Herald

Section: Neighbors
Edition: Final
Page: 6MB


Jazz sounds wafted across the beach in Surfside Oct. 22 as beachgoers sprawled on the sand or danced along to performances by acts including Rose Max and Ramatis, Sammy Figueroa, Dmitriy Klevenskiy, Mel Dancy and Pee-wee Ellis, a lineup assembled by Kimberly Chmura of KCC Productions.Three-year-old Zoey Arnold, for one, had a good time, said her father Ken.

“She was dancing before and having fun at the end of the day,” Arnold said.

Organizers said some 300 people showed up for the event, which also included a food court with Surfside restaurants including Café Vert, Bianca’s Gourmet Shop and Moncheese Pizza serving treats such as kosher kabobs, penne pasta, pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers.

Kristen Gonzalez of Café Ragazzi was impressed with the event. “I’m happy to see the town do things like this,” she said.

The restaurants charged for the food, but the music was free at the festival, which organizers said offered opportunities to promote Surfside and its businesses.

Town Manager W.D. Higginbotham said the festival and other Tourist Bureau events are funded by resort taxes.

It was the Tourist Bureau’s second event on the beach. In August, the bureau offered a “Shakespeare on the Beach” theatrical presentation.

“With the success of both events we create a name for us here in Surfside and the purpose is to bring people here to support the local businesses as well as give back to the people who live here,” said bureau executive director Barbara McLaughlin.

Future plans include a 5K run and an art and film festival, McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin has overseen the Tourist Bureau since July. She was hired on an interim basis following the resignation of previous director Ruth Gardner.

The town is now searching for a permanent replacement, to be paid $40,000. McLaughlin is among the applicants.

Higginbotham said the town received nearly 35 applications, and he is reviewing them now.

“I’m going to make a decision in the coming weeks,” he said.