Weekend Storytelling Event Celebrates Water In South Florida

Mar 22, 2018

An event at Biscayne National Park this weekend celebrates water -- and storytellers who want to make a splash.

As part of its 50th anniversary, the park is hosting a storytelling contest. Before a live audience and a panel of judges, participants will tell short, real-life stories that include water -- sparkling or still, salty or fresh.

The event is open to the public and will take place 7 p.m. Saturday outside the park's Dante Fascell Visitors Center, 9700 SW 328th St. in Homestead.

The contest's organizer, park ranger Gary Bremen, says Biscayne National Park itself is a source of real-life, water-themed tales. Among his favorites? "The fish that saved Biscayne."

In the 1970s, conservationists were pushing for federal legislation to protect a portion of Biscayne Bay that's home to rare coral reefs, sea turtles and wood storks. As part of their campaign, they took Pennsylvania Congressman John Saylor out on a fishing trip.

"He caught a sailfish... and after he went back to Washington, they took his sailfish and they smoked the fish," Bremen said. "The story is that he served the smoked fish in committee while they discussed the bill creating Biscayne National Monument."

Read more: In Biscayne National Park, South Florida Communities Mix with Pristine Wildlife

Since Saturday's event is taking place in a park that's 95 percent water, Bremen added, he anticipates an abundance of colorful aquatic tales.

The judges will be professional storytellers and journalists, including WLRN environment reporter Kate Stein.

The contest had been planned for January, but was rescheduled after a federal funding shortage forced a shutdown of America's national parks.

Bremen said s'mores will be served.

Read more: Explore South Florida's National Parks 'In The Land Of Water'