AUGUST 1 — Historic Virginia Key Beach Park
Virginia Key Beach Park celebrates 70 years with a free festival featuring a classic car show, performances by Tito Puente Jr, Bernadette Stanis, Rayzor, a 60’s Motown review featuring “Maryel Epps”, disco dancers, Junkanoo band, and more.
Opened on August 1, 1945, Virginia Key Beach was designated “for the exclusive use of Negroes.” It remained segregated throughout the 1950s and attracted many Caribbean, and South American immigrants who came to enjoy amenities like the picnic areas with barbecue pits, cottages, boat ramp and Mini-Train and Carousel rides.
This property became an official “colored only” recreation site as a direct response to a bold protest, led by the late Judge Thomas. Under Thomas’ leadership, black men defiantly entered the water with the intention of being arrested at exclusively white Baker’s Haulover Beach in North Dade County. County authorities however, to avoid costly embarrassment, took no legal action against the protesters.
Closed in 1982, Virginia Key Beach Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 and re-opened to the public in February 2008 with much of its old charm and renewed luster.
ADDITIONAL INFO: Event takes place from 11AM to 7PM. There’s an $8 vehicle entry fee (cash only)
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