With SO many things to pick from this week, use THIS list to plan your holiday revelry

The holiday season in South Florida feels SO different (for this northerner who spent too many cold winters in Maine). There is nothing like seeing the lights and holiday spirit, on the beach, on the water, on the stage, wearing shorts and flip flops 🌴

Here are some of the highlights just this week alone!

  • Elf on the beach and by Moonlight, silent disco dancing, and holiday markets - all at The Loop
  • The biggest show on H2O serves up holiday lights to over a million people
  • Willy Wonka, Polar Express, and Ukulele jams for the holiday season!

Stuff You Won't Want To Miss This Week:

  1. TONIGHT - it's Elf on The Beach for the Movies by Moonlight. Film begins at 6:30pm. ring your lawn chairs, blankets, and favorite movie dates to Movies by Moonlight: Holiday Edition on the Main Lawn at Las Olas Oceanside Park. Enjoy complimentary popcorn courtesy of movie night sponsor, JOLLY TIME Pop Corn, and holiday shopping in our vendor marketplace under the stars. (Free)
  2. On Friday the 9th, you can dance your heart out at the Silent Disco down at the Beach. With three different DJ's spinning tunes from Disco, the Eighties, and EDM, everyone gets to boogie and belt out their favorites with their headphones on. Can't wait to see what this looks like with hundreds dancing in silence.
  3. Saturday the 10th, it's time for the 51st Annual Winterfest Boat Parade to serve up holiday lights for over a million people watching along the New River and Intercoastal waterway (and on TV!). There will be nearly 100 watercraft of all shapes and sizes representing many organizations here in Fort Lauderdale. This is a CAN'T MISS, unique to FTL experience. (Free)
  4. Friday and Saturday, it's Willy Wonka at the Broward Center. The delicious adventures experienced by Charlie Bucket on his visit to Willy Wonka's mysterious chocolate factory light up the stage in this captivating adaptation of Roald Dahl's fantastical tale. Featuring the enchanting songs from the 1971 film, Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka TYA is a scrumdidilyumptious musical guaranteed to delight everyone's sweet tooth. (Tickets)
  5. The next two weekends (Dec 10th and 17th) will be a chance to put your pajamas on and celebrate The Polar Express at MODS with the North Pole Pajama Party. Enjoy all Museum exhibits with a holiday science show, test your aim at our tropical “snowball” throwing station, make-and-take your own snow globe and build your own snowman. Limited spots on this one so make sure you register ahead of time. (Paid)
  6. Soak in the history at the Stranahan House with a Victorian Christmas Tour. Take a trip back in time to the Victorian era in the beautifully dcorated Historic Stranahan House Museum. Learn how many holiday traditions started and how the pioneers celebrated Christas in the early days of Fort Lauderdale. (Paid)
  7. Why let the children have all the fun? The NSU Art Museum is hosting its adult art class on Saturday December 10th. This one is called Creativity Exploration: Set Sail. Reflect upon the waves of change, as well as high and low tides of life that you have experienced. Craft a vessel using mixed media supplies, inspired by the paintings of Malcolm Morley, and celebrate the journey you have made to be here now. Advance reservations are required, space is limited. (Paid)
  8. And a personal favorite (I am learning to play too!), Monday is all about FUN - the Florida Ukulele Network at the Broward Library. Join Laura and members of FUN! as they project the chords and lyrics to favorite holiday songs while they play and sing together. (Free)
  9. SAVE THIS DATE - on Thursday, December 22nd - come visit AAFTL's first Student Film Festival at Savor Cinema. The first 30 minutes will be short films created by the learners, followed by a brief intermission. The main event will be a feature film (starring Mira Sorvino and Sean Astin) with an Acton-twist. Hope we will see you there!
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This Saturday is the 51st Annual Winterfest Boat Parade. There will be over a million people watching nearly 100 boats of all sizes in this from the banks of the New River to the Intercoastal Waterway. For the FFFTL podcast we caught up with Brewster Knott of YSI who shared the secrets behind this "biggest show on H2O" including a sneak peek at what YSI's decoration scheme for this year's event.

So... You Think You Know Fort Lauderdale?

You probably know... this newsletter is a 'weekly basket of goodies' prepared by your friends at Acton Academy Fort Lauderdale. We are relatively new to FTL and when we moved here, there was SO much going on that we constantly felt like we missed out on some of the coolest events, after they happened. So we started making a list and sharing it around.

But do you know that... this newsletter (and podcast) is ALSO a budding media apprenticeship. At Acton, the learners start apprenticing in real businesses as early as 12-13 years of age. Not "go make the coffee" internships, but real get paid for your time apprenticeships that deliver measurable value with real world skills.

But before you get THERE you have to build those skillsets. So last week our learners published their first podcasts as a precursor to becoming regular contributors to the FFFTL media project. Here's a quick interview with our learners who each shared what they liked and learned about podcasting on their favorite topics.


  • 5th Annual Holiday Art Exhibit & Charity Event. Join us for wine and hors d'oeuvres while viewing the art of six local artist who will donate 20% of their sales and 100% of money raised from a donated piece for silent auction.
  • Did you know that Hula Kai - the two-story tiki restaurant is coming Fort Lauderdale? Read the story here.
  • Follow the WaterTaxi on IG and win! Enter our December giveaway on Instagram and you could win two Water Taxi Holiday Lights tickets for December 17. Don't miss your chance to take in the sights of the season with tons of holiday lights, enjoy live music and specialty cocktails. To enter, head over to the instagram @fortlauderdalewatertaxi
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Flotsam & Jetsam

"The value of an Acton education just grew 3x"

That headline was written by artificial intelligence (AI).

There has been a lot of discussion in the Network of Acton owners this week about the release of new tech platforms like GPTChat (https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt/).

If you are not familiar with it, OpenAI is a consortium of some of the biggest tech companies who have been training AI with a huge data set of natural language. The result is that you can request a task of AI and it will now write blocks of text that are potentially as good or better than an "A student" (and sometimes worse because the information might be wildly inaccurate).

The implications for education are huge, in the same way spellcheck and calculators have altered the way we think about the "three R's".

While the statement above is bold - the consensus in the Acton Network (including those with High Schools) is that the Acton approach to learning has never become more valuable. Students will easily be able to play the game of traditional education (grades, tests, etc). And the "soft skills" of getting along with other people, thinking deeply about values, and what it means to live a good life (the Hero's Journey) will become THE differentiator in a future where the work half our little tribe will be doing in 10-15 years, hasn't even been invented or named yet.

If you are curious about this new tech, you might enjoy seeing this short video I made for my fellow Acton owners, showing them how I've been testing an AI Assistant (including asking it to write a warm-hearted/tough-minded letter to Acton parents). https://www.loom.com/share/08007d292c2646c9acf50e3274ef39b3

Tell Us How We Are Doing

We are working to improve #FFFTL every week, both for your reading experience and to provide a cutting-edge media apprenticeship opportunity for our learners. We want to hear from you. What do you love? How could we do better?

And most importantly, what FTL businesses and experiences should we be highlighting?