Cocoa Beach to Celebrate 86th birthday with block party, astronaut parade

 
Written by JENNIFER SANGALANG
FLORIDA TODAY

Happy early birthday, Cocoa Beach.

The city will toast 86 years as a community, as well as celebrate 50 years of manned spaceflight, Saturday with an astronaut parade and a community fest filled with water slides for the children, food, beer and music.

Last year, Cocoa Beach celebrated its 85th birthday in April, citing comfortable, mild spring weather. The actual anniversary is June 5, when typically temperatures are in the 90s.

“With the astronaut parade coming up, we just figured we’d piggyback off that,” said Ben Malik, president of Cocoa Beach Kiwanis, which is hosting the anniversary celebration along with the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Cocoa Beach Elks, Rotary and Lions Club.

The festivities begin at 9:34 a.m., which is when NASA’s original space man, Alan Shepard, was launched into space on May 5, 1961. To further acknowledge the 50th anniversary of that event, the city presents an astronaut parade.

“We’ve got about 20 confirmed astronauts coming,” Malik said. “One is Scott Carpenter. Local elected officials will also be on hand.”

The astronauts will ride in style, thanks to the Cape Kennedy Corvette Club. Retired astronauts Jon McBride and Bruce Melnick belong to the local car club.

“We have a connection with the astronauts,” said Pete Johnson of Port St. John, president of the car club, which was established in 1967. Johnson said Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, Alan Bean, Gordon Cooper, Neil Armstrong and Shepard all are honorary members of the Cape Kennedy Corvette Club.  To read the full article

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