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The South Florida Roundup

South Florida Roundup: The best of 2022

The Fire Brigade band at practice on Aug. 10, 2022 in Kendall.
Verónica Zaragovia
The Fire Brigade band at practice on Aug. 10, 2022 in Kendall.

On this week’s episode of the South Florida Roundup, we took a look back at some of the conversations we’ve had as well as highlights from WLRN’s reporting around South Florida.

Fantasy Fest returns in full

This year saw Fantasy Fest return to the Keys. After two years of cancellations and restrictions due to COVID, Fantasy Fest was back in full swing — tutus, glitter, body paint and all.

The festival was first canceled in 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time it was canceled in its 41-year history.

But the hype wasn’t just about the parade floats and crazy costumes — the economic impact of Fantasy Fest is huge. It’s also a fundraising event for local non profits, helping residents with housing and access to healthcare.

In October, South Florida Roundup co-host Danny Rivero spoke to WLRN’s Florida Keys reporter Gwen Filosa and festival director Nadene Grossman Orr about Fantasy Fest and its impact.

Response to Haiti's humanitarian crisis

South Florida’s Haitian community has now officially been here for 50 years.

On Dec. 12, 1972, what is widely believed to be the first boatful of Haitian refugees to come to Florida by water landed in Pompano Beach. To mark the occasion the community held an event at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami.

Earlier this year, Haiti's de facto prime minister Ariel Henry announced a cut to subsidies for fuel. After weeks of violent protests, a powerful confederation of gangs, known as G9, took control of large swathes of the island, taking access to a key fuel terminal and causing widespread chaos.

In October, South Florida Roundup co-host Wilkine Brutus spoke with Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick about why many in the Haitian diaspora were urging President Biden to withdraw support for the prime minister and impose sanctions on those financing gangs in Haiti.

Cherfilus-McCormick serves parts of Palm Beach County and Broward. She was the first Haitian-American Democrat to be elected to Congress.

Fire Brigade band's tight bond includes music and tough work for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue

To play in the rock & roll band Fire Brigade, you don’t need a background in rock music. The one requirement is to work for Miami Dade Fire Rescue.

Their experiences include working through the rubble in Surfside after the Champlain Towers South collapsed last year. All six of them are bonded by the stress of their job and their love for music.

WLRN’s Veronica Zaragovia spoke to the band’s six members in September about their love of music and how it helps them with the stress of their job.

You can catch them live at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Guitar Hotel on January 15, 2023.

Listen to the full episode above.

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