More than a century ago, Palm City (a.k.a. Palm Beach) and Lemon City (a.k.a. Miami) became large enough to warrant post offices. Alas, the land between the two towns was a mass of steaming jungle, chomping alligators, and malaria-ridden mosquitoes. The only possible route was along the beach and occasionally, when necessary, by boat. So, between 1885 and 1892, 11 "barefoot mailmen" walked the weeklong round-trip route. They dealt with the searing sun, the torrential tropical rain, and all manner of hostile flora and fauna.
To celebrate the Herculean tasks of these postmen, the International Swimming Hall of Fame presents a series of athletic events, many of which mimic the mailmen's route in a fun way, during its Barefoot Mailman Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday at the ISHOF (Hall of Fame Drive and A1A, Fort Lauderdale) and other locations. For info, call 954-462-6536. -- Dan Sweeney
Good old-fashioned Hollywood brings us a good old-fashioned clambake
No, not that kind of clambake, you pervert! Get your mind out of the gutter and move those synapses over to seafood. Mmmm... seafood. Get a good fire going, toss some shellfish on there, maybe throw a crustacean on top of the whole mess -- now that's good eatin', South Florida style. Hollywood Beach's version of this seafood feast begins Friday at 4 p.m. and continues to 10 p.m. that night, then Saturday noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 9 p.m. Along with all the tasty vittles, catch sand-castle displays and contests and a treasure hunt along the Broadwalk (from Johnson Street to Michigan Street along Hollywood Beach, Hollywood). The City of Hollywood bills this as an "All American Celebration," and as one would expect, it's fun for the whole family. Except families of clams, of course. Admission is free. Call 954-924-2980. -- Dan Sweeney
Anyone who has been keeping an eye on Mars this month knows that it isn't exactly red but more of a bright yellow. But who cares? It's the closest Mars has been to Earth in almost 60,000 years! This is history, folks. The South Florida Science Museum (4801 Dreher Trl. N., West Palm Beach) is using this once-in-a-lifetime event to throw a party, and why not? The Mars Madness Party features a "My Favorite Martian" costume contest, a Destination Mars planetarium show, Mars-themed crafts, free screenings of Invaders from Mars and the original War of the Worlds, and free telescope observation all night. The close encounter starts at 6 p.m., and the cost is $7 for adults, $5 for children. Call 561-832-1988. -- Audra Schroeder