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Date: Friday, February 12, 2010, 5:46 am

By: Tonya Pendleton, BlackAmericaWeb.com

It’s no secret: Miami is poppin’. The city recently hosted the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl extravaganzas – and all the parties attached to each; it has an annual film AND food festival, and it’s a great place to go anytime for sun, spas and fun.

But there’s one special annual event that takes place in a historic area of Miami that is simply not to be missed: Jazz in the Gardens.

This year, the Jazz in the Gardens event takes place Saturday and Sunday, March 20 and 21st, at Dolphins Stadium in Miami. The 5th annual event is a weekend of concert performances that will entertain any discerning music lover, and the TJMS’ own Tom Joyner is the host. Mary J. Blige, John Legend, newcomer Melanie Fiona, Robin Thicke, Teena Marie, K’Jon, David Sanborn and more will perform over the two-day festival.

The concerts take place in the historic Miami Gardens neighborhood, the largest predominantly black municipality in the state of Florida.

“This is truly an exciting milestone for the city and for the Miami Gardens community,” says Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson. “I remember when no one knew anything about the event, and those who knew doubted it could be successful. Jazz in the Gardens has become so much more than just a music festival. It’s become a reunion point for friends and family, a business opportunity for small and large businesses and a vacation destination for adults seeking a break from the winter cold. Overall, the hard work and investment is paying off!”

The numbers and performers who have played the festival are confirmation of those words. Artists who’ve played in its brief history include Common, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Erykah Badu, Angelique Kidjo, Kenny “Babyface” Edwards, Roy Ayers and more. Attendance has climbed each year to a total of almost 40,000 last year.

This year, the Celebrity Golf Tournament that has also been a highlight of the Jazz in the Gardens weekend has moved to Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort and Club. The 392-room resort boasts an 18-hole golf course recently redesigned by Hall of Fame golfer Raymond Floyd. Pro and amateur golfers the likes of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan are members, and you can expect to see the caliber of celeb golfers like Julius Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway and the O’Jays at the tournament.

“The golf tournament has grown into one of the hot tickets associated with the festival,” says Jazz in the Gardens event producer Leon Saunders. “Our corporate sponsors and guests come out and spend a wonderful day of golf with athletes and celebrities they admire. The move to the Soffer Course at Turnberry will only serve to enhance the event. The course is one of the best in South Florida!”

For tickets and information on this year’s event, visit http://www.jazzinthegardens.com.

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