Miami Local Life

Events That Made All South Florida Residents Feel Like Neighbors

As you go about your everyday life, it can be easy to forget about the millions of people who also call the city where you live home. But that can change in the blink of an eye, especially during times of natural disaster or when news events cast a national spotlight on the region where you live. South Florida has had its fair share of events that have struck a chord with residents and made them all feel like neighbors.

Hurricanes, Hurricanes, and More Hurricanes

Neighbors helping prepare for a hurricane / Shutterstock

There is no single greater event that brings South Floridians together more than a hurricane. It brings a collective sense of urgency and, unlike many other times of the year, a sense that you need to embrace and protect your neighbors. The most recent storm of record was Hurricane Irma in 2017, when the sheer size of the storm prevented (or seriously impacted) residents’ ability to evacuate. There was no driving to the West Coast or Orlando to escape its impact; rather, you had to drive all the way to Georgia—a trek that last over 20 hours for many.

Hurricane Wilma in 2005 was one of the strongest storms on record in the region and power outages were abundant throughout the area, some lasting as long as two weeks. Those living in South Florida in 2004 will remember Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne, and Ivan—which all hit within weeks of each other. And, of course, there was the mother of all storms, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which people still speak of today (albeit not fondly).

We’re All Celebrities During Art Basel and the Orange Bowl

Residents leisurely enjoying Art Basel Week / Shutterstock

Living in South Florida, it’s hard not to think of South Beach as the place to go when you want to enjoy local glitz and glamor, and maybe even cross paths with a celebrity. For most residents, it’s a driveable distance away and can feel as if you’re on vacation. But there are certain events during the year when we all feel like “celebrities,” even if we aren’t privy to the limos, haute cuisine, or other luxuries that come with it.

Art Basel, which brings 70,000 visitors yearly to South Beach, features artists from around the world at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The event is, of course, about the art, but it’s also about the after-parties and the chance to rub shoulders with the elite. The Orange Bowl is one of the Super Bowls of college football played around the country during December and January and it brings thousands of people to the area. Even if you’re not lucky enough to attend the game in person, there are events held to celebrate and make all residents feel a part of the hoopla. Among 2018 events are the Orange Bowl Paddle Championship, Orange Bowl International Championship, and the Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series.

Long Live the Home of the “Hanging Chad”

Who can forget the 2000 Presidential Election ... Not Florida / Shutterstock

Many remember the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, when the country went weeks before knowing who the next president would be. This was especially true in Florida, which was at the center of the country’s election controversy. After the U.S. Supreme Court halted a recount, it was ultimately decided that Bush had won the state by 537 votes. That gave Bush a majority of votes in the Electoral College and victory in the presidential election.

It was also the election that gave us the term “hanging chad,” which referred to punched card ballots where incompletely punched holes resulted in partially punched chads. These votes were not counted by the tabulating machines. Ground zero for the “hanging chad” was Palm Beach County, where use of those ballots was prevalent. Fortunately, most of those ballots have been replaced by more modern voting machines.

The Miami Marlins Have Won Two World Series…No, Really

Miami Marlins Stadium / Shutterstock

In recent year, Miami Marlins fans have not had much to cheer about. Although the team has been playing in a new stadium since 2012, it has not played well enough to secure a playoff spot for over a decade. However, there was a time when these scrappy upstarts had success that the whole city could cheer about. The team won the World Series in 1997, when they were known as the Florida Marlins. That was no small feat for a team that had joined the league a mere four years earlier in 1993 and came into the playoffs in the Wild Card spot. Just six years later, the Marlins won another World Series, again coming into the playoffs as a Wild Card.

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