A colourful junkanoo street parade kick-started celebrations at the official opening of the Downtown Miami Race Village on Monday ahead of what’s tipped to be one of the toughest fought finishes of the race so far.
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado together with race CEO Knut Frostad cut the ribbon at the entrance of the race village before the vibrant Bahamas Junkanoo Revue had hundreds of visiting school children dancing to their beat.
After two years in the making Mr Regalado said he couldn’t believe his eyes as he toured the Bicentennial Park site with all its attractions including the 3D-cinema, race simulator ride, water sports and food stalls.
“We’re very excited, not only are we the only port in the United States where Volvo is stopping, but this is great for the waterfront of Miami,’’ he said.
“Having a free, 14-day show for the people of Miami is what it’s all about. The mission of government is to help create things like this, that’s why we are so engaged with the race.
“Two years ago we started work on this, and finally it’s here. I’m hoping that many thousands of people come by and see the beauty of Miami and the Volvo Ocean Race.”
Danet Linares, DDA Board Member, Alvin West, DDA Board Member, Alyce Robertson, DDA Executive Director, Don Poole, President of Volvo Ocean Race Miami, Mayor of Miami, Tomas P. Regalado, Wendy Kamilar, Vice President of Volvo Ocean Race Miami, Ron Nelson, Chief of Staff to Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, Commissioner Willy Gort, Knut Frostad, CEO Volvo Ocean Race, at the opening of the Downtown Miami Race Village, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
Regalado said he believed that hosting the world’s longest and toughest sailing race would leave a lasting legacy.
“Miami is about boats, yachts, sailing, so hopefully this will jump start a second tier for people to sail,’’ he said. “This race will have a lasting effect on the city of Miami, and for that we thank Volvo.”
The Downtown Miami Race Village is free to enter and open until May 20, from 1000 to 1900 Sunday to Thursday, and 1000 to 2200 on Friday and Saturday.
The latest ETA for the boats’ arrival in Miami is May 9.