Upcoming Outdoor Events & Activities in South Florida

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There is plenty to do in South Florida as we step out of summer. Below you will find a list of some of the top, most talked about outdoor event and activities happening now and coming soon.

Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival

One of the most exciting festivals of the year in South Florida, the Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival takes place at the intersection of Atlantic Ave and SE 4th Ave. With a location as strategic as that, this festival showcases the best of the diverse-yet-complimentary cultures of the two sides of Atlantic Avenue.

The festival is almost-entirely the product of the efforts of the local community – consisting of some of the most prolific store owners, artists, and restauranteurs. It is therefore not a surprise that it is so well-organized and highly managed. Make no mistake, though, while the organizers may be local, people from all over the country (and sometimes even beyond!) come over to the heart of downtown Florida to see the show in action!

Takes place: Sept. 11-12
Address: 330 E Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33483
Phone: (561) 746-6615
Price: Free
Website: http://www.artfestival.com/

Upper Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival

Organized by the REEF Environmental Education Foundation, the 12th Annual Upper Keys Lionfish Derby & festival is a two-day-long fishing adventure at the gorgeous Postcard Inn Resort and Marina. As the name itself suggests, the theme of this festival is lionfish, and just about every activity here revolves around them.

Open to the public (provided they have bought the tickets), this festival has a plethora of events and activities, which includes (but is not limited to) lionfish tasting sessions, lionfish dissection, fillet and cooking demos, fish-themed arts and crafts, raffle games and prizes, and tons of products on display and available to purchase from over 30 eco-friendly vendors. Last but not the least, South Florida’s famous Soulgrass Band – The Copper Tones will be headlining the live music scene at the venue.

Takes place: Sept. 9-12
Address: 98300 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
Phone: 305-852-0030
Price: $100 per team (Minimum 2 people and maximum 4 people per team)
Website: http://www.reef.org/events/florida-keys-lionfish-derby-and-festival

Annual Underwater Music Festival

If you love underwater activities and music, this is the destination for you. Organized and hosted by the combined efforts of local Floridian radio station US1 104.1 FM and the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, the festival is a nod to people enjoying diving while also being mindful of the environment and specifically the rapidly dwindling coral reefs. The festival will be held at Looe Key Reef, located around 6 miles south of the Big Pine Key in the larger Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Suitable for both snorkelers and divers, the festival is dedicated to environmentally mindful diving and reef protection. But that doesn’t make it fall short on its entertainment quotient. The Annual Underwater Music Festival has a good number of elements that give its visitors the ultimate bucket-list underwater experience. From the one-of-a-kind conservation concert to the “mermaids” and other characters popping up between waves, this is a place where the level of visual excitement is high and unique.

Takes place: Sept. 18
Address: 27340 Overseas Hwy, Ramrod Key, FL 33042
Phone: 305-872-2215
Price: Free
Website: http://www.fla-keys.com/calendar/all/florida-keys/202109/

Yesteryear Village 30th Celebration

The Yesteryear Village is one of the biggest historical attractions of South Florida, and this festival serves to highlight its legacy. Now in its 30th year of celebration, this is a fun-filled extravaganza that you can enjoy with your family, while also getting a healthy dose of tradition, education, and of course, history.

The highlight of the event will be the Loxahatchee Schoolhouse, which was the first major structure to be constructed in the village. Most activities will be in and around this area, and will include an extensive food-and-drinks menu, live entertainment, interactive shows, a vintage-themed market, live cooking demos, a car rally, farm animal showcase, along with a pledge and a flag-raising ceremony.

Takes place: Saturday, September 18, 2021
Address: 9067 Southern Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33411
Phone: 561-793-0333
Price: $6.00 – $9.00 per person
Website: https://www.southfloridafair.com/events/2021/yesteryear-village-30th-celebration

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Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival

One of South Florida’s most prolific events, the Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival is dedicated to finding and showcasing local and indigenous talents in arts and crafts. This takes place in an outdoor exhibition form, where the various items on display literally adorn the streets of Punta Gorda.

The exhibits include a plethora of items, which include (but is definitely not limited to) paintings, jewelry, sculptures, visual models, fiber, ceramic, wood and glass. That’s not all though – they are also supporting digital arts and mixed media, and some of their sections are exclusively devoted to them.

Takes place: Sept. 18-19
Address: 331 Sullivan St, Punta Gorda, FL 33950
Phone: (561) 746-6615
Price: Free
Website: http://www.artfestival.com/

Miami Beach Pride

This worldwide popular festival was delayed due to COVID-19, but it is back and how! One of the most anticipated events of the year, the Miami Beach Pride has the support of some of the most powerful private and public entities, such as the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, the Miami-Dade County Mayor, the Cultural Affairs Council, and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, among others.

The 10-day-long festival brings all members of the LGBTQ+ community, along with their supporters, allies and friends – all under one roof to celebrate equality and diversity. The festival includes Pride-related events such as expos and community booths, a wide range of food and beverage vendors, play areas, live entertainment, cultural, educational showcases, and of course the annual parade.

Takes place: Sept. 10-19
Address: 1130 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: Tickets range from $35 to $10,000 – depending on the events and programs
Price: (305) 496-7635
Website: http://www.miamibeachpride.com/

Surf N’ Sounds

Surf N’ Sounds is just as its name would suggest – a combination of laid-back activities dedicated to have you appreciate the ambience of the sand and the sea. Unlike many events, this one does not go much beyond maintaining a good quality of food, drinks and activities, designed to keep people have a good time, unencumbered.

The festival showcases local Floridian cuisine at its best, with a variety of vendors that serve food across various food choices and cuisines. It also has a great beverage scene – one that includes both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The alcoholic drinks are served in the VIP area and include various craft and premium preparations. Last but not the least, the venue will have live music featuring DJ Rokwell and Tasty Vibrations.

Takes place: September 25th
Address: 400 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Phone: 954-828-7275
Price: Free – $45
Website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/surf-n-sounds-tickets-163180672785

Harvest Festival, Flamingo Gardens

The growth of flora is a common-yet-incredible phenomenon, and one that is surely worth celebrating. The Flamingo Gardens of Florida does exactly that with its Harvest Festival, a one-of-a-kind event showcasing the best of Florida’s plant life.

This four-weekend festival, which typically takes place in the fall offers a wide range of activities surrounding the outdoors. These include meet and greets, live entertainment, arts and crafts, contests and games, a pumpkin patch, and of course their famous free hayrides that run from 10am to 4pm (local time). This year, they will also have a new Gallery exhibit on the Conquistadors.

Takes place:  October 9-31
Address: 3750 S Flamingo Rd, Davie, FL 33330
Phone: 954-473-2955
Price: Free – $21.95 (Discount available under selective conditions)
Website: https://www.flamingogardens.org/

Night Market at Dania Pointe

As the name suggests, this is a festival that begins after sun-down. An extensive street market that is held one the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, it is an almost-exact replica of the famous Temple Street of Hong Kong (and its local market).

Produced by the UniteUs Group, the bazaar features a large range of curated, community-oriented items produced by local farms, craftsmen, artists and musicians. It is a common sight for people to browse through handmade goods in the vendors’ stalls, with a queue of local musicians’ outputs in the background.

Takes place: Sep 10
Address: 139 S Compass Way, Dania Beach, FL 33004
Phone: 833-800-4343
Price: Free (entry)
Website: http://www.nightmarketatdaniapointe.com/

34th Annual Las Olas Art Fair

Located in the jewel of Fort Lauderdale on Las Olas Boulevard, 34th Annual Las Olas Art Fair basically boils down the best artists in the city to showcase them on a single platform. The venue boasts an eclectic collection of boutiques, art galleries and dining spaces that reflect the multicultural system – from fusion food to Cuban American cuisine and more.

The festival holds its position as one of America’s 100 top art festivals, and there is a valid reason why. For one, it does not just display the art – it also has a meet and greet with the artists who created the work, and learn more about their experience and perspectives, bringing in an extraordinary level of authenticity and involvement. Add to that the ability to window shop as you walk the streets and dine at sidewalk cafes, and you are all set for an amazing trip you will always remember.

Takes place: Oct 16-17, 10am-5pm
Address: 620 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone: (561) 746-6615
Price: Free
Website: http://www.artfestival.com/festivals/las-olas-art-fair-fort-lauderdale-florida

Google Outage Leaves Internet Users Stumped

Did your Google services stop working, and refused to work even after you cleaned up you cache, rebooted your PC, checked your wiring, and even called your Internet Service Provider to find out if everything was alright with them? Well, it wasn’t you – this one time, it really was Google.

On Monday, the 14th of December,2020, most of Google’s services – including Google Classroom, Google Docs, Gmail, YouTube, and even Google assistant had rendered unresponsive to users, sending them a ‘503’ or a ‘502’ error instead. Both these numbers related to server failures – while 502 is a bad gateway error that indicated discrepancies between the origin and edge servers, 503 means that the server was unable to handle the request. Such messages were displayed on both of Google’s personal and business versions of its services.

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The sudden “disappearance” of Google’s services, which is said to power of 97% of internet users daily activities caused mass panic among people. Popular social media platforms, especially Twitter ran amok with frantic users discussing on why they couldn’t access even the most basic of Google services. Many of these users also reported problems with other services that relied on Google. This included smart gadgets such as Nest Hub, and third-party apps such as Pokemon Go.

Notably, despite the outage, Google core search engine continued to run without a glitch, as did the third-party advertisements. Furthermore, many users reported to having their Google services work if they used them on a desktop browser in incognito mode. If anything, this only added to the confusion.
It didn’t take long for Google to jump into the action, though. The tech giant did not hesitate to acknowledge the issues with its services, and within an hour of this had all of its issues resolved. Once the services were back to normal, Google added special notices on each of its services that had stopped working – in order to assure users that everything was indeed back to normal.

According to Google Cloud Services, the outage happened because of an error in their identity management process. Apparently, a glitch in their automated quota management system had considerably reduced Google servers’ ability to verify users’ identities, thus causing them to display the 503 error. The problem indeed intensified to a state where all of Google’s services had gone down.

Effects of the outage were felt worldwide. Top software status monitoring platform DownDetector showed that the issue hit users in most (if not all) countries in the world. Reports were seen everywhere – including (but not limited to) Australia, Japan, India, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Argentina, and of course, the United States, which was by far the worst hit of them all.

 

Update on COVID-19 Contact Tracing App from Google and Apple

A few months ago, we discussed about the revolutionary partnership between Google and Apple. Both of the rival tech giants signed up to make an app to make COVID-19 contact tracing a more effective and efficient process.

Contact tracing apps are not new as a concept, but they tend to have very low download rates. Take, for example, the state of Virginia, whose contact tracing app launched earlier this year was downloaded by a grand total of 11% of the state’s population. Google and Apple’s partnership solves this problem as both are heavily used in the US (and worldwide), and the app will be downloaded with a simple system update.

After a period of over 8 months (the original announcement was made in April 2020), the app’s much-hyped launch in California is finally happening. Officially called ‘CA Notify’ the app uses the contact tracing API added to both Android and iOS platforms in May. In can run on Android 6.0 phones and above, and iOS 14.2 and above, along with Bluetooth Low Energy.

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Basically, the app takes Bluetooth signals and uses them to send and receiving anonymous “keys” between mobile phones that are within Bluetooth range of each other. That way, when someone has been Covid-19, all the need to do is enter their test result into the app. Those phones that exchanged “keys” within 6 feet (or 2 meters) of the patient’s phone will automatically be alerted.

Those fretting over privacy concerns can rest easy too. Not only is the app fully secure, it is also entirely opt-in. Plus, it does not personally identify the phone’s owners, or even use any of the location data. All the communication is done through the unique “keys” that are shared over Bluetooth.

Launching the contact app statewide makes California the largest state to adopt the built-in technology – in terms of population. The reception here appears to be warmer than most too, perhaps in part because the state is home to the HQs of both Google and Apple, in general is known to be tech-savvier than most.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has high hopes with the app and has even made a statement in public on how he expects the state to have much better adoption rates – given the level of familiarity. They were also specially promoted by Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai.

The US states that are currently using this technology include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, and District of Columbia.

Instead of having a single contact tracing app for the entire country, there is a basic app that is customized for each of the states that have decided to opt-in. The process starts with the state’s premier public health authority to sign up for the Exposure Notification API. The health authority will then create an Android app, and an iOS app tailor-made for their region that will support said notifications.

 

Fleets: Twitter’s New Feature Creating a Storm in the Social Media World

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Among the many changes that characterize 2020, one of the biggest is the ones in social media features. With social media usage having skyrocketed, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, platforms are scrambling to get to the #1 position. Think Facebook’s redesign, TikTok taking the world by storm (even as lawsuits pile up), Instagram introducing ‘reels’ for short-form video, and LinkedIn introducing widespread live feature and stories. The latest wave is being created by Twitter with its ‘fleets’ rollout. Having rolled out in Japan in mid-November, the feature is now available all over the world on desktop, Android and iOS.

Much in line with the ‘stories’ feature available on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, fleets allow Twitter users to create “temporary” posts in the form of images, videos, and/or text. Fleets can be of 3 types. The first is text fleets, which is basically text on a plain or colored background. The second is photo/video fleets, where users can post both recorded and third-party media. The third type is share tweets. As the name suggests, this allows users to share their own tweets or those of others that catch their eye.

In a way, it is much like stories. Fleets appear on the top of the Twitter news feed (in both the app and desktop versions). Additionally, fleets can be live for only as long as 24-hours, after which they will automatically be deleted. Last but not the least, those with open messaging that have their story viewers send their reactions, and then continue the conversation in the private messaging area. What is not the same, however, is the purpose for which these fleets are designed. According to Joshua Harris and Sam Haveson, Twitter’s Design Director and Product Manager respectively, unlike stories, the point of fleets is to take the steam off of general news feeds.

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The inspiration for the feature itself comes from the mounting Twitter post drafts, which they believe are due to the pressure of making statements that will stick, and having to deal with public replies. With features, these Tweet drafts, which have been “left in the dark” will get exposure through fleets, where the amount of self-consciousness will be significantly lower.

Another important element that is wildly different from stories is that Twitter allows users to work on collaborative fleets, which allow two posters to have a single tweet. These appear in the form on twin bubbles, instead of the standard single-bubble display. This particular element, however, is only available in specific regions thus far.

So far, Fleets have appeared to serve their purpose. The feature has been especially popular among general users, with many having increased activity on the social media platform. Many “lurkers” and passive users are also being seen posting their own fleets, or at least sharing others’ tweets through them. Yet others have been seen reducing their regular posting and focusing on Fleets. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. New features often end up attracting a lot of attention at the cost of regular ones, especially in the beginning of the rollout phase.

As a feature, Fleets do seem to have a very promising future. While the number of functionalities are low at the moment, that is soon to change. Many new features, such as AR integration, stickers, colors and customization, will soon be available for users to unleash their creativity through.

 

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