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The Coconut Grove Bed Race Returns

September 09, 2010 By Carlos Miller in Miami: Sports NewsMiami: Things to Do  | 2 Comments


Back before South Beach became tourist Mecca and before there was even a Design District and before Wynwood went through its renaissance and before there was anything to do at night in downtown Miami, Coral Gables or South Miami, the only place to find any decent nightlife was in Coconut Grove.

But the partying was not restricted to nights.

The Grove was also known for its daytime drunkfests masqueraded as art festivals, parades and bed races.

That’s right, bed races, where teams of individuals would push makeshift beds down the street in the name of charity. And revelry.


Launched in 1979, the Coconut Grove Bed Race became an annual must-go event, hyped up by the local radio stations and attended by local celebrities.

This was back when Miami was more lawless than it is now, so my friends and I would pack a giant cooler with beer and walk around Peacock Park selling cans of beer for a dollar each, which would enable us to maintain a steady buzz while making a few dollars for munchies.

But the Grove began losing popularity as South Beach and other areas began to emerge as hotspots, so the bed races were discontinued about seven years ago.

However, as the Grove continued to lost revenue, local merchants realized they needed to do something, so they brought back the bed races last year.


Last Sunday was the second year of what is now called The Great Grove Bed Race.

Instead of holding the races near Peacock Park liked they used to do, which required the racers to don a turn from McFarlane Road and travel downhill (which in Miami means a slight slope) on South Bayshore Drive, the races are now held in the heart of the Grove’s commerce district on Grand Avenue.

“They decided to move it up this year so people would use the businesses,” said Tom Falco, who writes the Coconut Grove Grapevine blog and who also serves on the committee of The Great Grove Bed Race.

Several thousand people attended this year’s event but it seemed to lack the raucousness and lawlessness of yesteryear. Or maybe we’ve just all gotten older.

And about 40 organizations participated in the races, including several local merchants as well as a couple of groups of Miami firefighters and police officers.

Falco said the money raised will go towards the University of Miami Sleep Program as well as some of Alonzo Mourning’s charities.

All photos are from last Sunday’ event and were taken by Carlos Miller









Related Categories: Miami: Sports News, Miami: Things to Do,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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2 Comments on

"The Coconut Grove Bed Race Returns"

Jess says:

Carlos, this story was so much fun! Thanks for sharing. I especially loved the photos where everyone is racing. The firefighters look awesome too wink

Posted on 09/22/2010 at 8:34 AM



Posted on 09/25/2010 at 1:00 PM

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