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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Coconut Hunt brings a lot of excitement on the 4th

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Our annual 4th of July Coconut Hunt, put on the Coconut Grove Merchants Group, took place yesterday afternoon and a couple of hundred people ran around the village looking for painted coconuts. As usual, it's a crazy "nutty" scene and lots of laughs. It started promptly at 4 pm in front of The Bookstore and ended at the fountain in front of CocoWalk, 45 minutes later.

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The winner of the grand prize, the green bicycle, donated by Regions Bank, was Homestead resident Deborah Bradford, who came to spend the day in the Grove with family and friends. Above from left are Tom Falco, of the Grove Merchants Group; Felice Dubin of the Merchants Group; Deborah, proud owner of the new bicycle; Sandy Fernandez-Masciatti, branch manager of the Regions Bank in Coconut Grove; and Steven Licata of the Merchants Group.

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Deborah and her group actually started the hunt a bit late, they came by after the crowd disbursed into the town to find the coconuts, but she took the list of clues anyway and set off. But it only took one coconut to win, the golden coconut, and Deborah actually only came back with one coconut, which happened to be the winning golden coconut.

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No one was told ahead of time which coconut was the winning coconut, so everyone found out after they returned with all their finds hoping that they had the lucky one in their possession. The golden coconut was hidden at Silverado, the Southwestern belt and accessory store on Fuller Street.

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As Laura looks on, Mike, right, hands Aaron, center a lovely bunch of coconuts. They came in second place by bringing in the most coconuts -- 22! They had to carry a bunch to win. The next group to come in with lots of coconuts had 13, so Aaron only had to carry 14 or 15 of the 22 to win his prize, which was a day at the spa at the Mayfair Hotel and Spa.

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From left are Sandy Fernandez-Masciatti, from Regions Bank, Esther Lozano, part of Michelle Niemeyer's campaign staff; Michelle, who is running for District 2 Commission seat, Steven Licata, Louis Del Borrello and Felice Dubin. Michelle helped by reading the rules at the beginning of the contest and then helping with prizes afterwards. Louis was a great help by going around with me at one point, putting out the coconuts all around town, earlier in the day.

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There were a bunch of prizes given out for different coconuts that were brought in and everyone won something by receiving a Grove Buck, worth $3, for each coconut they brought in, so the more coconuts they had, the more Grove Bucks they received. The BID donated a lot of movie tickets, and people won those, too. It is one of the really fun events we have in the Grove, it's a lot of work, but well worth it in the end.

Merchants told me later how thrilled they get when people come rushing in looking for coconuts. And for many of us standing on the street waiting at the finish line is a lot of fun to watch because you see so many people running back and forth with arms full of coconuts out searching for more.

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