Hialeah Park Presented the 2nd Annual Flamingo Ball

Benefiting HistoryMiami Museum

Merrett Stierheim, Mayor Francis Suarez, Jorge Zamanillo

HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, transformed Hialeah Park into a tropical oasis with its second annual tropical nights-themed Flamingo Ball. The star-studded ceremony was attended by over 250 guests, many of whom were dressed in vibrant-hued dresses, white dinner jackets and flower-adorned fascinators.

As a bongo player accentuated the mood with his rhythmic beat, pink flamingo stilt walkers welcomed guests and accompanied them onto the step and repeat. Guests then made their way upstairs to the reception area to enjoy champagne and handcrafted cocktails, and were greeted by waterfalls filled with flamingos.

The glamorous affair continued as feathered showgirls decked in head-to-toe pink escorted guests from the cocktail room into the main ballroom for the second installment of the evening. Here, none other than Jose Fajardo, Jr., son of the legendary “Flute King” and leader of the Cuban orchestra Fajardo y sus Estrellas, Jose Fajardo, had guests swaying to the beat of his salsa performance.

Once guests were seated at the luxurious dining tables decorated with palm frond centerpieces and bright orchids illuminated in pink, they were treated to a lavish buffet of lobster and stone crabs as Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana” played. Emmy Award-winning journalist, Cynthia Demos, emceed a special awards ceremony where HistoryMiami Museum honored HEICO Corporation and the Mendelson family with the prestigious Henry Flagler Award. The award is a tribute to Henry Flagler, a pioneer who had the vision and ambition to bring his railroad to Miami and develop a small town into the Magic City.

Dexter Lehtinen, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Frank Fiori

“We’re so happy to receive this honor. It’s really a terrific event and a terrific cause for HistoryMiami,” said Eric Mendelson. “We’re just very happy to be part of this city. We couldn’t be happier to be members of this great community.”

HistoryMiami Museum also paid tribute to John Brunetti, the owner of Hialeah Park who passed away just one day before the event, with an eight-foot flamingo statue aptly named “History.” Brunetti, who fell in love with the historic Hialeah Park when he first visited in the 1950s, owned the racetrack for more than four decades. A longtime supporter of the original Flamingo Ball, which was one of the most glamorous and legendary parties of 1960-70s Miami, Brunetti decided to bring the lavish social confection back last year and named HistoryMiami Museum as the sole beneficiary.

Dignitaries in attendance included: Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez; Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham and his wife, Adele Khoury Graham; the chairman of Miami-Dade County’s Board of Commissioners Esteban Bovo and his wife, Vivian Bovo; Miami-Dade County District 5 Commissioner Bruno Barreiro and his wife, Zoraida Barreiro; and Mayor of Hialeah Carlos Hernandez with his wife, Nancy Hernandez.

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