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City of Opa-locka 12th annual ‘Holiday in the Village’

12/25/2013, 9 a.m.

Over 265 toys were presented to pre-registered children ages 3-13, by host Commissioner Dorothy “Lady Justice” Johnson, and an additional 97 bicycles were raffled-off to youths, 3-17, by Commissioner Timothy Holmes at the City of Opa-locka 12th Annual “Holiday in the Village” Toy and Bicycle Give-Away sponsored by the Mayor, Commission and Employees in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department on Saturday, December 21 from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Sherbondy Village.

To receive a gift for their children at the “Holiday in the Village” Toy and Bicycle Give-Away, participants were required to present, in person, proof of Opa-locka residency through a current photo I.D./Utility bill. However, the children of Opa-locka weren’t the only gift recipients; everyone in the community was invited to this all-inclusive holiday event for the FREE food, fun and festivities, which included games, kiddy train-rides, face-painting, rock climbing, souvenir photos and raffled gifts (for parents), comprised of a 32” high definition television, a seven inch touch screen tablet, gift cards and other “goodies,” to help make a happy holiday for many of the attending adults.

In the 80+ degree temperature, there was also snow on the lawn, imported to Sherbondy Village Park because Commissioner Johnson thought the wintery addition 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 watched from a short distance as they observed their young, frolicking in the snow. The snowballs were a big “hit” among the crowd!

The family-friendly environment provided for an afternoon of fulfilled dreams and celebratory activities, with additional Give-Aways for parents, in the form of raffled grocery bags donated by “War on Poverty;” a wealth of information and resource materials distributed by various Health and Wellness organizations; finger printing and DNA identification materials given to parents by the City of Opa-locka and the City of North Miami Police Departments, for the safety of their children; and for Music lovers to indulged, entertainment was provided by Dr. Richard Strachan.

The remaining members of the leadership team, Mayor Myra L. Taylor, Vice-Mayor Joseph L. Kelley and Commissioner Luis B. Santiago, were all on-hand to play a part in the annual “Holiday in the Village.” Overall, the officials, management and staff were pleased to see everyone with a gift, a satisfied appetite, important information and resource material or just an enormous smile from the 12th Annual “Holiday in the Village” in “The Great” City of Opa-locka, which was preceded by a tree lighting ceremony and the 2013 Holiday Showcase where special performances were made by students from schools, After-school program and community organizations. According to the Opa-locka leadership team and community partners, “Giving back to the Community is our way of celebrating the real ‘Reason for the Season.’”