The Renaissance, according to Wikipedia, lasted from roughly the 14th century to the 17th century, beginning in Italy and spreading to the rest of Europe in “a flowering of literature, science, art, religion, and politics, and a resurgence of learning…” Not surprisingly, this period in history when Europe made the transition from the dark ages into the modern era is a topic of great fascination for many people, especially the revelry and excess in costume and cuisine that marked the period.
Each year the Florida Renaissance Festival brings a taste of the Renaissance to Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, and this year the celebration marks its 24th anniversary. Visiting kings and queens will all claim land for their respective countries, and the festival’s makeshift village will be packed with artisans and crafts people selling and demonstrating their wares, including blown glass, hammered pewter, wooden toys, pottery, and clothing. There will also be rides, knights jousting, hearty food and drink, and nearly a dozen stages featuring continuous entertainment.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to sunset for seven weekends, from Saturday, February 13 through Sunday, March 27, plus President’s Day, Monday, February 15. Admission is $21 for ages 12 and up, $9 for ages 6 to 11, and free for ages 5 and under. Group rates, season passes, and VIP parking are also available. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50 per person (children 5 and under free) will also be in effect.
For the sixth year, Broward County Parks, in conjunction with the Urban League of Broward County
, will present the Senior Red and White Ball
, an evening including dinner and entertainment. The event, for ages 50 and up, starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 5, at the Urban League’s headquarters, 560 N.W. 27th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Attendees are asked to wear red and/or white. Admission is free, although participants must obtain a ticket by calling 954-357-6867 or by visiting Boulevard Gardens Community Center
Parks Celebrate Black History Year Round
February 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month, an annual commemoration that was established in 1976 to highlight the contributions of African-Americans to the cultures of the United States and Canada. The designation was an expansion of Negro History Week, which dates back to 1926 and encompassed the birthdays of both the abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.
To learn more about local black history, there’s no better place to start than at two neighborhood parks that represent Broward County’s distinctive pan-African cultural heritage. Across the parking lot from the county’s acclaimed African-American Research Library and Cultural Center – one of only three of its kind in the nation – you’ll find Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park. The park’s namesake was one of Fort Lauderdale’s first black police officers, as well as a community activist, politician, businessman, civil rights leader, and street minister. In 1979, two years after Reverend Delevoe was fatally shot, the park was rededicated in honor of his outstanding contributions. In homage to him and many other notable community figures, an art installation in the park, called Pillars of the Community, displays 84 names of leaders past and present. The project is part of the county’s Public Art and Design program.
Just north of Delevoe Park is Franklin Park, with its brightly colored playground and a thousand-foot-long walkway that runs through the park. The walkway and the benches that line it make up an installation known as The Word Garden, created by Broward artists Angela Curreri and Rick Yasko, that celebrates the seven principles of Kwanzaa in both Swahili and English. This is also a Public Art and Design project.
Along with these major public art projects, Delevoe Park’s 36 acres feature areas for fishing, a picnic shelter, a playground, a canoe launch, and sports facilities. Franklin Park, at 3.1 acres, offers basketball courts, a playground, picnic shelters, a walking trail, a weight room, and a community center. Both parks offer the free After-School Program, for ages 6 to 17, as do Boulevard Gardens Community Center, Lafayette Hart Park, Roosevelt Gardens Park, and Sunview Park. There is still time to sign up your children for supervised activities
The folks at Boxer Friends must be doing something right – this year’s Dog Bowl at T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park in Hollywood marks the event’s 10th anniversary. It’s billed as “A Day of Fun for Dogs and Their People,” and all breeds are welcome. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 14, and among the activities are games, contests (including one for Best Dressed), vendors, a raffle, refreshments, and rescue organizations. Admission is free, although the park’s regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect for humans. For more information, call 954-646-3786 or email Info@BoxerFriends.org.
There are several opportunities to learn about science at a park this month. Preregistration may be required, so call the park to confirm.
- Polliwogs: Hideouts & Hangouts – Wed., Feb. 3, 9:30-11 a.m. – Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area (954-357-5100) – For ages 3-5 – $5/child.
- Super Science Sunday – Sun., Feb. 7, noon-1 p.m. – Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884) – For ages 7-12 – $5/child.
- Lunch and Learn Nature Series: Biological Conservation Strategies in an Ever-Changing World – Fri., Feb. 12, noon-2 p.m. – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161) – For adults – $7/person.
- Plants of Anne Kolb Nature Center Hike – Sat., Feb. 13, 10-11 a.m. – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161) – For all ages – $3/person.
- Science Eye Nature Program – Sat., Feb. 20, 8:30-11 a.m. – Everglades Holiday Park (954-357-8101) – For all ages – Free.
- Owl Prowls – Fri., Feb. 26 & Sat., Feb. 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m. – Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797) – For all ages - $10/person.
- Leap (Frog) Day – Mon., Feb. 29, 10-11 a.m. – Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797) – For ages 2-5 – $5/child.
Our fine feathered friends are never far from our naturalists’ minds, and you’ll have two opportunities to look for avian species on back-to-back Intro to Birding Walks
the first weekend of the month. From 10 to 11 a.m. on Friday, February 5 and again on Saturday, February 6, Fern Forest Nature Center
in Coconut Creek will offer the walks, which cost $5 per person, with preregistration required. Call the park at 954-357-5198.
Then, near the end of the month, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center
in Davie will offer a pair of Owl Prowls
. The first is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, February 26, followed by a second one at the same time on Saturday, February 27. The fee is $10 per person, and preregistration is required by calling the park at 954-357-8797.
And if you’d just like to stroll among birds (and butterflies) on your own, there’s the new Harbin Butterfly & Bird Sanctuary
at Quiet Waters Park
in Deerfield Beach. Named for a former director of Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, the sanctuary is home to a variety of shrubs, trees, and other plants that play a role in the life cycles of both butterflies and birds. Interpretive signage guides you through the small site.
Make Your Own Kind of Music
Every second Sunday of the month from October through May, from 2 to 4 p.m., Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek hosts Jammin’, an unplugged jam session for people interested in folk, mountain, and bluegrass music. Participants are welcome to bring instruments if they like (no amplifiers, please), or just to sit and listen. The popular audience-participation event has been led by the same group of volunteer musicians since its inception in the mid-1980s. This month’s free session will be on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14. There will also be a special Twilight Jammin’ session from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, February 21.
If you’re more centrally located in the County, something similar takes place on the fourth Sunday of the month at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, which offers Jamming in the Park. The free program, for ages 16 and up, runs from 1 to 4 p.m. This month the program falls on February 28.
And if you prefer more classically oriented music, there are two Music at the Mangrove Concerts from 2 to 4 p.m., on Sunday, February 14 and Sunday, February 21, at the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood. This first program features artists from the Miami International Piano Festival; the second date is for “The Nightclub – A Drama Concert.”
For more information, call the nature centers at 954-357-5161 (Anne Kolb), 954-357-5198 (Fern Forest), and 954-357-8884 (Secret Woods). Anne Kolb
is accessible via Broward County Transit
Routes #4 and #12, Fern Forest
via Routes #31 and #42, and Secret Woods
via Route #6.
Broward County Parks and Recreation Division’s Special Populations Section will host a free Friday Night Social
, for adults 18 and up living with mental illness, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on February 12. The event, co-sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Broward County, is at Tree Tops Park
Two weeks later, there will be a Teen Social
, for ages 13 to 22 with developmental disabilities, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, February 26. The free event will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center
in Hollywood, and the theme will be “Celebration of the ‘60s,” in recognition and celebration of the Parks and Recreation Division’s 60th anniversary.
Activities for both events include deejay music, dancing, refreshments, and socializing. Preregistration is required. For reservations, or for more information on either event, call Special Populations
at 954-357-8170 or email SpecialPopulations@Broward.org
About the Parks Foundation
The Parks Foundation of Broward County is a 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2014 in support of the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division. The foundation welcomes individual memberships and corporate partnerships at all levels to help promote our parks and programs, preserve our natural areas, and provide more green space for our community.
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"Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile." - Sir Wilfred Grenfell (1865-1940), English medical missionary to Canada