Dancing in the Streets has for 28 years been the hottest summer event in Martin County. On Saturday the streets surrounding downtown Stuart shut down for a full day of live music, food, drinks, and vendors serving festival goers of all ages. Six stages hosting 23 local bands provided inspiration, and some people even dance. This popular annual celebration is Stuart's biggest fundraiser, with profits going to support free community events throughout the year by Stuart Main Street and Downtown Stuart including Rockn Riverwalk and Christmas on Main Street.
While Monterey's snowbirds have temporarily vacated in favor of the great north, our growing number of year-round residents are enjoying the sunny Florida weather. Activities at Monterey continue, but on a less hectic summer pace. The grill was a busy spot on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July providing for sold-out crowds at picnics where every table was filled. This year, a Fridays-at-Five byob cocktail hour has been added at which a group of twelve to forty assemble weekly under the canopy with appetizers to share.
The summer bocce league is in its third year and keeps adding players. Last year's eight teams have now grown to eleven, with 46 players competing on Monday nights. With notable resourcefulness, the players retire to the Yacht Club and play Corn-hole in case it rains. That way they can keep chalking up scores toward the championship, which ends the season a week after Labor Day with ribbons for the two top teams and a festive pot luck supper.
All the while, the golf course is getting a healthy dose of maintenance, the resurfacing of the parking/roadways is complete, and the new mall on Monterey Road, which is turning out to be quite beautiful, is viewed over the wall with anticipation of providing a home to some exciting high end retail shops.
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Live music and a truly scrumptious dinner go a long way toward cementing a reputation for first-time organizers on Monterey's social scene. Add to that, Saint Patrick's Day is the one occasion that will never lose its stunning appeal for our citizenry. It was celebrated in high style on its own special day on the calendar - March 17.
Green, of course, was the color of choice, and shamrocks, the shape of the moment, as the crowd filtered into the Yacht Club at the beginning of the evening. And what a crowd it was! With lists of rentals and new owners in our community swelling, it was indeed a pleasant mixture of the new and the old Monterey residents who jammed around those round tables. A pre-dinner clutter of bottles and glasses along with some pre-recorded Irish music to set a tone for the evening's fare along with plenty of conversation and merriment.
TooJays' corned beef and cabbage, along with all the expected extras, cannot be beat. It was served up buffet-style by our own committee, and nobody went away hungry.
The live music of drums and three guitars provided by the Surfin Rascals found a most receptive audience on the dance floor, and the singer for the band truly livened up those songs from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Remember?
The sunset that evening was not one of the most spectacular, but what matter? Party goers aplenty took advantage of our fine dock to mingle in the fresh air down by the water.
John spent his youth in Ardsley, New York, the eldest of four children born to Joe and Filomena Gagliardi. He has been heard to remark that over the years he was the only one in the family whom his mother permitted in the kitchen while she was cooking, a stroke of good fortune which perhaps lent itself to John's own capabilities as a cook.
As a young man, John played baseball for five or six years in the Hudson Valley League, switching around infield positions, but mostly as a pitcher. During this time he allowed himself to be persuaded to go along on a blind date one evening. There he met a lively young woman named Veronica Baum, and in 1941 the two were married - a marriage that lasted seventy-three years.
Later, in New York City, John's career took a serious turn and he spent the bulk of his working years with Chase Manhattan Bank, from where he retired in 1980.
John and Vera made a short visit to see friends in Florida in 1971, and on impulse, since their friends had invested, they bought a condominium in a building not yet under construction in a complex called Monterey Yacht and Country Club.
When he first occupied 33H a year later, John found the golf course a sorry sight, with weeds and vines complicating the fairways, but having never played before, he took up the game with help and instruction from friends. He chuckles to recall that soon he was playing better than his teachers and continued for years playing every day.
John is pleased to remember some of his hardier pursuits here: Building over fifty concrete ramps for the handicapped... Pouring concrete pads in front of the mailboxes. ..Cleaning up the mess from the tornado of 1977 ... Retrieving golf balls out of the ponds ... Serving on the Board for seven years and as golf course ranger for twenty-five!
Now, with a well-attended party and two huge cakes as memories of his hundredth birthday, John likes to reminisce on his life in this most unusual and marvelous spot , where the Florida sun continues to shine and friends continue to stop by.
You couldn't stop it or slow it down if you tried.
The bocce craze in this golfers' community began unobtrusively in 2007 with a few of the men taking it up on Wednesday mornings to fill the time while the Women's League tied up the golf course.
The women passing by the bocce court couldn't help but notice how much fun the men were having, so the next year they gave it a try on Thursdays while the men took over the golf course. Now the women have twenty teams of four playing on Tuesdays and Thursdays with extra teams on Mondays, whereas the men have ten teams of five playing on Wednesdays and have added teams on Fridays. The season lasts nine weeks, from mid-January to mid-March. One might safely say involvement has grown from pastime to passion.
All season long, as newer players become more and more dedicated and skilled, enthusiasm rises until its crescendo in March, with none other than March Madness, an annual tournament that began with participation by sixteen couples, which soon stretched to 32 couples, and now enrolls 64 couples in elimination matches that stretch over six days ending with four couples playing for the championship. As the list narrows down, the heat of the competition and the size of the crowd balloons. Hooting, hollering, and a bit of mischief are not out of place in this atmosphere.
Finally, one couple is left standing, and the appreciative crowd of onlookers has had as much fun as the players.