Learn about plans for 2017
The 6th annual Big Cypress Swamp Heritage Festival was held Saturday, December, 3 2016. This Free family-friendly event shined a spotlight upon the inhabitants of South Florida, whose rugged strength and pioneering spirit contributed to the shaping of today's unique and diverse culture. These unique chapters in American history add to the rich and colorful tableau that comprises our shared past and present.
2016 Big Cypress Swamp Heritage Festival
Learn about plans for 2017
Advanced ticketing for auditorium presentations is closed at this time. Space may be available the day of the event. Tickets are not required for campfire presentations and music venue.
11:00 to 12:30 and 3:00 to 4:30
Audiences all over Florida have raved about Rick Smith's show about his father, Patrick D. Smith, and his beloved books. It isn't a stuffy "lecture" or a "talk." It's a visual storytelling and it's a fun, fast-paced and entertaining "show!"
12:30 to 1:30
1:45 to 2:45
11:30 to 12:15
Giants of the Swamp: The Story of Logging in the Big Cypress.
Presented by historian and Everglades evangelist Cesar Becerra.
What happened to the giant cypress trees of south Florida? Cesar Becerra documents the big logging boom of the mid-20th century in Florida. When most of America had switched to chainsaws, the loggers of south Florida were doing things the old fashioned way;cross cut saws, steam powered mills and locomotives and raw sweat as they took down the last of the giant Cypress and Pine Trees in the Southern United States. In 1958 The Saturday Evening Post called the Big Cypress/Everglades logging operations the most dangerous job in America.
1:30 to 2:15
2:30 to 3:15
Capturing the Magic of My Home.
Presented by Amy Bennett Williams.
Though not originally from Florida Amy Bennett Williams now calls southwest Florida home. Through her heart felt essays Amy helps us discover the beauty and complexity of the places and people, both present and past that make up this special place many of us now call home.
3:30 to 4:15 and 7:00 to 8:30
Starry, Starry Nights.
Presented by Luke Gommerman.
Who knew?! The Big Cypress National Preserve has some of the darkest skies east of the Mississippi River, and it's located just an hour or so from approximately 6 million residents who live in the major urban centers of Florida's east and west coasts. While immersed in the city a person may only notice the glare of artificial light.Out in the Big Cypress you can be immersed in the Milky Way. Seasonal park ranger Luke Gommerman will be joined by partners from local astronomical societies and the International Dark-Sky Association, along with their equipment, to share the story of the importance of protecting the night. Join us for other night sky programs through the winter.
Songs of the Swamp.
10:00 to 4:30
A variety of demonstrator's and exhibitor's will be set up throughout the day. Discover more about the Miccosukee and Seminole;public land agencies and partners;organizations and eco-tour operators –all connected to the Big Cypress Swamp.
This year's festival is dedicated to Joe Browder (April 10, 1938 –September 18, 2016), a staunch advocate for protecting natural areas in Florida and across the country. Joe was instrumental in the creation of both Big Cypress National Preserve and Biscayne National Monument, later designated as a National Park. It was through Joe's persistence that Marjory Stoneman Douglas started the Friends of the Everglades, an organization focused on stopping the development of the proposed Everglades Jetport. The completion of which would have had devastating effects to the Big Cypress.
This festival provides a venue for individuals and groups with a deep connection to the Big Cypress Swamp an opportunity to share stories of the past and hopes for the future related to this special place. The views and opinions of exhibitors and presenters are not necessarily those of the National Park Service.
Last updated: September 1, 2017