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Sundial: How northern transplants created a Christmas icon in the Keys

Mark Hedden
A team of locals decorates the Australian pine on a section of the old Seven-Mile bridge in the Florida Keys every year.

This holiday season, you can keep the snow. Give us the sun, the 60 degree weather and give us a Holiday tradition that suits our off-beat style. Give us Fred.

Fred the Tree, that is.

For more than 10 years, Keys residents have secretly been decorating a shaggy Australian pine tree that grows on a section of the old Seven Mile Bridge to Key West. Yes, they named the tree Fred. (And, yes, he is now going to be in a Hollywood movie with Jake Gyllenhaal.)

Meet the folks — they call themselves elves — who covertly bring us this burst of quirky holiday cheer.

On the Dec. 22 show, we’ll also revisit our conversation about South Florida’s famous coffee windows — the ventanita. And the iconic Miami restaurant owner who invented them.

Plus, you’ll meet the new artistic director of the New World Symphony.

On Sundial's previous episode, we heard from award-winning journalist Jacqueline Charles. She’s been the Caribbean correspondent at the Miami Herald for over a decade and has used her multicultural background to become one of the foremost authorities on Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

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Carlos Frías is the host of WLRN's Sundial. He is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is an associate producer for Sundial.