The long awaited Funky Buddha Microbrewery opened this Saturday with thousands in attendance. Despite the stormy weather (which later cleared up), beer taster found plenty of reasons to raise their glasses and toast the City of Oakland Park and Broward County’s first EVER microbrewery. Funky Buddha’s opening had a crowd as diverse as it’s craft beers which have clever names like Arrogant Bastard Ale and Mama’s Little Yella Pils. The 18,000 square foot brewery is expected to bring entertainment and life to what city planners are developing as Oakland Park’s Culinary Art’s District which will run along Dixie Highway from 38th Street south to Oakland Park Blvd. There is something to be said for thoughtful city planning and Wilton Manors could certainly learn a lesson from neighboring Oakland Park’s main street development leaders. In addition to the Funky Buddha, Stork’s Bakery and Coffee will be opening next door and there are rumors of a culinary arts school on the south end of Main Street.
The official brochure has plans for a structured parking garage and future passenger rail service along the F.E.C. tracks. There are also plans for urban housing development and an Urban Farm Park next to Jaco Pastorius Park. Oakland Park is actively planning for a diverse, multicultural community and it’s no secret that they’ve long courted some of the gay businesses and events that are held in Wilton Manors. Anyone familiar with Chicago’s Boystown could clearly visualize this area as the next Andersonville of South Florida. Last night’s event gave an exciting glimpse of how urban planning, commerce and city government can work together to build a community without anyone getting killed while trying to cross the street. Look out Wilton Manors and Kudos to Oakland Park and my new best friend the Funky Buddha Brewery.