City of Vero Beach 90th Anniversary Celebration

Nostalgia was the word of the day with a crowd, most likely larger than the entire population of Indian River County back in 1919, enjoying the festivities of the City of Vero Beach’s 90th Anniversary Celebration.  Multiple generations of Vero’s pioneer families were on hand, reminiscing and giving newcomers a history of Vero’s early days.  For many of Vero’s founding families it was like one big family reunion.

Vero Beach Mayor Sabe Abell started the afternoon off with welcoming remarks and introductions of City Council members, a host of city officials and representatives of many of Vero’s founding families. The party kicked into full gear after the opening ceremonies, with continuous entertainment on the stage in the park and throughout the entire festival area. (Click ‘read more’ and scroll down for photos) Historic Downtown Vero Beach lived up to its name, with historical exhibits and videos showing Vero’s growth on display at the Heritage Center.  Members of the Antique Automobile Association displayed early 20th century cars, including a beautifully restored 1927 Rolls Royce.  Owner Bob Musante said that he bought the car from a junk yard in Massachusetts for $395 almost 50 years ago.  “I’d told my brother that I’d like to own a Rolls Royce one day, said Mustante, “and he said that he knew where I could find one!”

Vero’s original county courthouse, now the Courthouse Executive Center, housed additional entertainment and historic memorabilia in the lobby.  Down the street at the Train Depot, home to the Indian River County Historical Society, people were fascinated by the model railroad exhibit and memorabilia, and historic storytellers.

“Looking around at all the people in their lawn chairs and blankets, with children running around enjoying themselves I thought, this is what a small town is all about.  It’s why we cherish it,” said Elizabeth Graves Bass.

Her family started in the area with two brothers – Elizabeth’s grandfather Ed and her great uncle Walter Graves.  They purchased land in the 1920’s, at one time owning approximately two townships, and began Graves Brothers Citrus which is still run by the family. There are several generations still living in Indian River County, and more than a dozen descendents of those first Graves brothers were at the event.

“Seeing so many people who weren’t aware of our heritage showing an interest in the town’s beginnings was wonderful.  To me, the history of a place is what gives it credibility.  I just thought the whole thing was exciting, added Graves-Bass.  “The turnout was wonderful and people truly had a good time.  Families are who come to these events, and that’s the root of your community.” {igallery 54}

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