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Sundial

Canceled Fantasy Fest, The 537 Votes That Decided The 2000 Presidential Election, Walking The 'Land Of Good Living'

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MATIAS J. OCNER
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MIAMI HERALD
Participants partake in the 2017 Fantasy Fest parade as they make their way down Duval Street in Key West on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017.

Fantasy Fest is canceled, but people are still showing up. A look at the 2000 election and the role South Florida played. And what you would see if you walked the distance of Florida?

On this Tuesday, Oct. 20, episode of Sundial:

People Arrive For Canceled Fantasy Fest

Normally at this time in October, tens of thousands of people would be making their way to Key West for Fantasy Fest. But the event and all of the parties and events that come with it have been canceled because of COVID-19.

That hasn’t stopped people from making their way to Key West.

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Officials are worried that, with a growing coronavirus rate, this could lead to a new surge.

“You know that feeling when you throw a party and then you’re like ‘nobody’s going to come’ this is sort of the opposite of that,” said WLRN’s Florida Keys reporter Nancy Klingener. “We've been really busy on weekends for the last couple of months [already].”

We spoke with Klingener and heard from Bob Eadie, the administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County.

People Arrive For Canceled Fantasy Fest
A big crowd walks down a Key West street during the Fantasy Fest masquerade march in 2018.

The 537 Votes That Decided The 2000 Presidential Election

Twenty years ago this November, the national spotlight beamed heavily on Miami-Dade County and the Sunshine State — and not for good reasons.

It was one of the closest presidential elections in modern history. The 537 votes separating George W. Bush and Al Gore were the focus of a Florida recount that led to the outcome of the election.

We spoke with filmmaker Billy Corben about his new documentary “537 Votes,” which airs tomorrow night on HBO at 9 p.m. and will be available for streaming on HBO Max.

The 537 Votes That Decided The 2000 Presidential Election
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Walking The Land of Good Living

Imagine traveling the state of Florida, from the panhandle to Miami. Now imagine doing that on foot.

That is exactly what Kent Russell and his friends did back in the summer of 2016.

From hurricane parties to meeting with spiritual mediums — and let’s not forget the presidential election — all while lugging around a shopping cart of camera equipment to document the trip.

Their trip was 50 years after the journey of the former Florida governor and U.S. Senator “Walkin Lawton Chiles,” who walked the entirety of the state during his Senate campaign.

“Florida itself has this kind of pull on people in which you come and you hope to find your treasure or your golden years or the happy end of your life or the happy beginning of a new kind of life or something,” said Russell. “Florida is a place in which you start over again. That's it's big attraction for most. And once we finished our journey, you better believe that that didn't go away. You know, like we were still ready to start over.”

We spoke with Russell about his book detailing their journey. The book is titled “In the Land of Good Living” and it’s this month’s selection for the Sundial Book Club.

You can join the Book Club here.

Walking The Land of Good Living
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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.