Redland Riot Road Rallye

 

The Redland Riot Road Rallye takes place Saturday.

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By Christine Viega

It started with the Burr family kids packed into the back of a station wagon, and grew out of a love for sharing the sweet treasures hidden in deep south Miami-Dade County.

The Redland Riot Road Rallye — a wacky scavenger hunt through local historic sites and popular attractions — takes place starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

“A lot of people, for some reason or another, never get off the couch and into the country side. But what we show people is that there are some charming, delightful little places,” said host Robert “Rob” Burr.

For Burr, whose family was among the pioneers of South Florida, rambling through the country side was a part of growing up.

“As a kid, if my parents said, ‘Get in the station wagon, we’re going to the Redlands,’ we knew we were going to get some treats,” Burr said.

They’d work rows of green beans at a “U-pick” farm, slurp strawberry milkshakes at his uncle’s fruit stand and munch on fresh sticky buns.

“It was like an adventure for treasure, and we all got some goodies,” Burr said.

As he got older, Burr kept going to those same spots. And he’d bring friends along — only they’d always get lost, he said.

So Burr drew a map, and added descriptions and suggestions of what to buy at each stop. That’s how the Redland Riot was born.

Though Burr has been organizing the tour for 15 years, it only became a “road rallye” after Kathleen and Peter Zorn joined five years ago.

“I had always wanted to go on that tour,” said Kathleen Zorn. “And about five years ago, I woke up one morning and the day was just gorgeous. I was supposed to be preparing our taxes that day.”

But Zorn had a better idea.

“I came out and said to my husband and said, ‘You know something? I think we’re going to do this fabulous tour of the Redlands.’ ”

They did. When the tour was over, the Zorns enjoyed a glass of wine with Burr. As members of a vintage car club, the Zorns suggested turning the tour into a rallye, complete with clues at each stop.

“You have to check in at each place. At each place you check in, you have to figure something out, and it becomes sort of a puzzle,” Burr said.

Organizers bill the rallye as a “fruity, tropical history tour through Miami’s bountiful countryside," and now it attracts hundreds of people from Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties.

This year, Judy Vetrick plans on joining the tour, along with other members of the Keys-based Wild Women on the Water, a water sports group.

“I want to get some more information about the history of the Redlands, because there’s so much history there,” said Vetrick. “As we stop, we’ll be getting fresh produce and strawberry milkshakes.”

Vetrick is just the type of person Burr hopes will join the rallye. Burr said he’d like to expose people to the historic places south Dade has to offer before development gobbles them up.

“My goal is to get people to fall in love with these places and then protect them,” Burr said. “Because we can’t turn them all into parking lots and we can’t turn them all into houses. And we have to support these family farmers.”

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