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Rafael Alvarez wore a red T-shirt and blue shorts Thursday morning in the blazing sun as he stood on Crandon Boulevard to watch the Key Biscayne’s 65 Annual Parade with his children and wife.

The Key Biscayne resident joined thousands of people watching the vibrant parade that included multiple marching bands, decorated golf carts, and pickup trucks.

An immigrant from Uruguay, Alvarez said he feels honored to be in the United States when he attends the parade. Here, he feels free and protected, he said. He emphasized that the country — especially Miami — is moving in the right path as people celebrate Independence Day. 

“Miami is full of employment — a lot of people are coming. I come from Latin America. We look up to the U.S.,” said Alvarez, a commercial lawyer. “You can be whatever you want. From my point of view, it’s an amazing country.” 

An F-16 from Homestead Air Reserve base roared over Crandon Boulevard   to kick off 90 minutes of colorful floats and energetic performances.

PHOTO GALLERY




Brand-promoting tents from businesses were positioned throughout the Village Green. Key Biscayne Fitness’s owner, Vince Smith, said he spent three months getting ready. “The favorite part is the people.” 

Of particular fun was the annual competition for the best parade entries. 

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  • The American Legion won Best Golf Cart
  • KB Yacht Club won Most Patriotic
  • The ASK Club won Most Beautiful.
  • “Tree on the Key” an entry from the Gamwell family that won Most Original, marking an iconic pine on the corner of Glen Ridge and McIntyre, that succumbed to Nature. 
  • Best Homemade went to the Flamingos from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Nature Center. 
  • The Key Biscayne Yacht Club took Most Patriotic. 

Another parade tradition is the practicing of retail politics in an election year. A number of local officeholders — and aspiring officeholders — marched in the sweltering heat.  The heat index was 105 degrees when the parade began at 11 a.m. , according to a sensor log at the Rosenstiel School on Virginia Key.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and congressional candidate Mike Davey promoted their campaigns, greeting people in the crowd and posing for selfies. Absent was Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, the incumbent Republican representing Key Biscayne in Congress. 

Also marching were two rivals for State House District 113 —  GOP Rep. Vicki Lopez and her Democratic challenger, Key Biscayne resident Jackie Kellogg. 

But Alvarez says he won’t  be greatly affected nationally by the election of Donald Trump or Joe Biden as president. Instead of worrying about American immigration restrictions, he supports equal access to employment and education for all. 

“I like freedom,” he said. “Anyone who supports freedom for me, it’s fine.” 

BIILY JEAN LOUIS is the senior editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. A native of Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis  has worked for Bloomberg and the Baltimore Sun. He is a corps member of Report for America

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BIILY JEAN LOUIS is the senior editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. A native of Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis  has worked for Bloomberg and the Baltimore Sun. He is a corps member of Report for...