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Publisher's Letter

Guilty Of Disturbing Our Peace

It is an interesting phenomenon of South Florida living that those who run the place have always seemed compelled to come up with things for people to do when they come here. The fact is that during the winter most people come here to do nothing—to get away from the cold and all the discomfort associated with it. And yet, going back to the beginning of this area as a tourist draw, our community fathers have tried to figure out ways to entertain people who don’t really need much entertainment.

In those early days it was horse racing at Hialeah Park, or dog tracks or jai-alai. Then somebody figured we needed sports that weren’t so easily fixed, and we got professional football, basketball, baseball and wrestling on ice—also known as hockey. 

That was just the beginning. As the addiction took hold, many of our cities with developing downtowns began hosting street fairs, art shows, boat shows, no shows and anything else to keep people entertained. And in the process they began irritating local residents who prefer calm to entertainment, and found their main roads shut down and barriers blocking access to their homes.

Inevitably, the reaction set in. We saw a recent letter in the Palm Beach Post from a resident objecting to the ever-expanding Palm Beach Boat Show. That’s actually one of the more pleasing downtown events around, but the writer did not think so, complaining that it hurt business on Clematis Street more than it helped because people could not navigate the streets as usual.

That is becoming a common theme in Fort Lauderdale, among those either living on the beach or along the major roads leading to it. When a music concert or similar draw comes to the beach, people living in expensive homes on the Las Olas Isles can’t get out of their neighborhoods because of the traffic jams. And condo residents on the beach can’t escape the noise and sometimes raucous behavior of young concert-goers by heading inland. They are locked in place for a weekend.

We wholly sympathize with the residents, of course, with only one exception. This month the revived Fort Lauderdale Air Show will crowd the beach as few events ever have. This magazine was a media sponsor of the initial show in the 1990s, and is proud to be so again—this time with promoters we respect.

Unlike some beach events, the air show rarely got people angry, despite the fact that it shut down major sections of the public beach. It was just a thrill for anyone who saw the military jets rocking the city at low level as they banked into their formations, and vaulted upward over the crowded beach. The ocean itself was crowded, with hundreds of boats docking just off shore for an unusual view of the action. This is one attraction that residents and visitors alike do not want to miss. Rather than fleeing the commotion, residents often invite guests for the weekend.

Weather permitting (and that’s been a problem in recent years), this uniquely exciting  weekend will return to its former premier stature this month. And, as you might guess from our feature “Up in the Air,” we are proud to be a part of this disturbance of our peace.