Whats that? You say Miami has no history? Prepare to be educated, whippersnapper. Did you know, for example, that an assassins bullet missed FDR in 1933 but wound up killing the mayor of Chicago at Bayfront Park? Remember Watergate? Never wouldve happened if we didnt export the inept Cuban burglars who bungled the crime at the Watergate complex. Youre welcome, Tricky Dick! Whats more, the Rat Pack spent an inordinate amount of time in Sunny Isles Beach, as did the Beatles, plus there were German U-boats a horseshoes throw off the coast of South Beach. And thats just a smattering of what we had going on in the past century and beyond. Ordinarily, random knowledge of South Floridas past only alienates you from the Facebook crowd. But there is one exception: the annual South Florida History Challenge, sponsored by who else? HistoryMiami. The venerable Dr. Paul George plays the role of Alex Trebek in a Jeopardy!-style format where contestants test their Miami knowledge in several categories, including the old days of South Florida, its environmental history, personalities, and true crime. George provides the correct answers and witty banter if youre wrong or boring. But hes often impressed with how much South Floridians know. The curiosity with area history and the knowledge of residents is surprising. And this is a chance for John Q. Public to exhibit that knowledge, George says. Winners receive a variety of prizes, including tour passes, history books, and memberships to HistoryMiami. Mostly, though, its a good way to learn about where you live, and its free with museum admission.
Sun., April 3, 2 p.m., 2011