People came from all over South Florida to Harris Field on Saturday, February 2nd to celebrate the 100th birthday of the City of Homestead. The successful event attracted over 5,000 people; throughout the day crowds could be seen all over Harris Field enjoying the free concert, children’s rides, vendors exhibits, food trucks, and the historical show “The Homestead Story.” The City of Homestead City Council and Centennial Steering Committee invited everyone to enjoy free birthday cake after a grand firework display lit up the Homestead sky when people finished singing Happy Birthday to Homestead!
The free outdoor festival and concert opened up at 2pm with a show for children by “The Dean of Green” that promotes Homestead’s agricultural, cultural and natural history. The group performed again at the Kids Zone at 4:30 pm. The concert kicked-off at 3:00 pm with Miami’s favorite R&B band Ike and Val, followed by South Florida’s hottest classic and contemporary rock bands Mr. Nice Guy and Deck 52.
Throughout the day, thousands of children could be seen in the Kids Zone enjoying free bounce houses, rides, rock climbing, face painting, carnival games, and free books donated by Kiwanis Club of Homestead. Dozens of community groups, nonprofit organization, and vendors offered festival goers products, information, giveaways, and free services. With over a dozen food trucks to choose in one location everyone in the family got to visit their favorite food truck and eat their favorite meal.
At 4:30pm the Harris Field Pavilion was packed with hundreds of people who were entertained by a Historical play called “The Homestead Story” a comedic and musical representation of the last 100 years of the history of Homestead. When 7pm rolled around the Centennial Steering Committee along with the Mayor Steven C. Bateman, Vice-Mayor Jon Burgess, Councilwoman Judy Waldman, Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough-McCormick, Councilman Elvis Maldonado, Councilman Stephen Shelley and Councilman Jimmie L. Williams recalled the history of the City and spoke about their own experiences living in Homestead. Commissioner Lynda Bell, also on stage, read to the audience a letter by Governor Rick Scott congratulating the residents of Homestead on their Centennial Anniversary. Afterwards everyone sang “Happy Birthday to Homestead” followed by a grand fireworks display that decorated the sky with a light show that could be seen all over the beautiful City. At 9pm Tejano sensation and international recording artist Eddie Gonzalez gave an impressive performance to wrap up an amazing celebration and 100 years for the City of Homestead.
As the second oldest city in Miami-Dade County Homestead was originally opened to homesteaders in 1898, and the only way in and out of the area was through a path called the “Homesteaders Trail.” In 1904, Henry Flagler decided to extend the railroad from Miami to Key West, and farmers were able to transport their fruits and vegetables to Miami and other parts of the state. Many of the workers who helped build the railroad stayed in the area and founded the City of Homestead in 1913. Today, Homestead has gone from its original population of 121 to over 60,000 residents and the little railroad town has blossomed into a thriving city of diverse cultures and heritage. Celebrate Homestead’s historic Centennial at this free festival!
The Homestead Centennial Celebration was made possible with the help of the following sponsors: The City of Homestead, Homestead Hospital, Florida Power Light, Turkey Point, Value Place Lodging, Preferred Medical, Community Bank, Mr. Bill Losner, Redland Tropical Gardens, Sinatra Productions, The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, DJ106.7 fm, El Zol 95.7 fm, Cima 106.3 fm, Zeta 92.3 fm, and Max Axe Guitars, Publix Supermarkets. The Homestead Centennial fireworks display is sponsored by Sylvia and Carlos Bautista from Value Place Lodging, Firepower, Homestead Miami Speedway, City of Homestead Tourism Committee, Community Bank, and the Centennial Steering Committee.