It's hard to roll out of bed early on a day when you don't have to go to work, but if you don't get yourself up and out to the Fourth of July Bed Races and Fireworks today, you might find yourself rolling down the street in your bed.
The bed races, which debuted in 1978 and fizzled out in 1996, were resurrected by the Coconut Grove Jaycees in 2003. Teams from Hooters, Hooligans, Café Tu Tu Tango, and Sandbar Grill showed up in costumes with wildly decorated beds on wheels, and the revival was a sleeper hit with the locals.
If you're not familiar with bed races, you should know that the racing bed need not look like one of those little-boy racecar beds, but it must resemble a real bed -- no shopping carts allowed -- and have four functional wheels. Teams consist of four pushers and one rider who must be dressed in bed clothing.
Coconut Grove Jaycees presidential advisor and event coordinator Patrick Knight says the bed races are always a madcap spectacle, with bed pushers dressed as doctors, hula girls, farmers, and some wearing nothing more than a towel. "The Tavern bed routinely finishes in dead last due to the fact that they have a keg on their bed and give out free beer to those in the crowd," recalls Knight. The Coconut Grove Sailing Club's sailboat bed is a sight with its ten-foot sail. And in 2003, a Hooters girl wound up sleeping with the enemy during a close race: "She was running and the two beds collided ... and somehow she flipped and ended up in the opponent's bed and finished the race with them," laughs Knight.
The prerace party begins at noon at Peacock Park (2820 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove) with food, drinks, music, and plenty of juvenile diversions -- including everyone's favorite: a bounce house -- in the children's village. The parade of beds and races begin at 3:00, followed by more music and barbecue at 6:00, and the fireworks display will go off with a bang around 9:30. Admission is free. Call 305-221-9395, or visit www.coconutgrovejaycees.com. --Lyssa Oberkreser
Paint on a mustache and fetch your straw hat -- it's time for Festa Junina. Brazilians have put their own festive flair on this summer holiday, originally a European celebration for the harvest. So what if it's winter in Brazil? That's no reason not to party.
The festival began in recognition of saints John, Peter, and Anthony, but today it's a mix of cultures and traditions. Children dress up like country folk and play games. They eat popular Festa Junina foods such as canjica (sweet grits with coconut) and pé-de-moleque (peanut brittle). A dance called a quadrilha, or square dance, typically depicts a country wedding (Saint Anthony is the patron saint of weddings after all).
Children of all ages are welcome today at the Miami Children's Museum (980 MacArthur Cswy., Miami) for a local Festa Junina. They can compete in egg races or fish for surprises in the pescaria game. There will even be a quadrilha to complete the authentic Festa experience.
Join the fun from 1:00 to 5:00. Admission to the museum is ten dollars, and all Festa Junina activities are included. Call 305-373-5437, or visit www.miamichildrensmuseum.org. -- Karen R. Figueiredo
Drop It Like It's Wet
Dance till you're dripping
Jamaica celebrates Independence Day on the sixth of August, and Trinidad celebrates on August 31. But the Fourth of July provides a perfect opportunity for all Caribbean settlers and American merrymakers to party together, international style. There's no better place to celebrate than at Wet Fête Florida, a bash that combines island culture with the most fun, fireworks-filled day in America. Party people can stay dry in the venue's interior or venture outside for water-soaked refreshment. Eager revelers will be sprayed with hoses from water trucks, and water guns and balloon fights will cool the crowd down when things get too hot. Enjoy music from Mixx 96 soca diva Giselle D Wassi One, and Jamaican sound systems Black Chiney and Renaissance. A live performance by Trinidadian sensation Iwer George will definitely get the crowd jumping. Bring your swimsuit and come to the Bayside Hut, 3501 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 786-319-1477, or visit www.trinisouthboyz.com. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yurik
Ladies Come First
Independence Day is a great occasion to host an all-day celebration. But between shopping, preparing, and cleaning up the barbecue stains after your Fourth of July bash, when do you actually get to enjoy the holiday? Girl, you need a little "you" time. Check your inhibitions at the door and come to Tucker's Lounge (11401 NW 27th Ave., Miami) for a day of pampering. Indulge with a manicure and pedicure, get rubbed down by an amazing masseuse, and enjoy a special serenade from a male crooner while feasting on delicious food. In the mood for games or other adult fun? Play spades, dominoes, and name that tune for prizes, or enter a raffle to win an overflowing basket of bath goodies. Check out the vendors offering jewelry, handbags, and, um, sex toys. When night falls, there will be a special surprise for the ladies, nudge nudge, wink wink. The fun begins at 3:00 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 305-218-8352. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik