Deering Estate to host culture and nature-oriented community events


The sun is about to rise over Biscayne Bay as seen from the lawn of the Deering Estate.

Nestled behind Old Cutler Road is a historic house and waterfront area with deep roots in Miami history and a varied lineup of events coming in the near future.

The Deering Estate was the winter home of industrialist Charles Deering, who purchased the first facility in 1916. The estate was purchased by the State of Florida in 1986 and added to the National Registry of Historic Places. Today, it attracts visitors from Miami and beyond, supports conservation efforts, showcases history and culture, and serves as the site of many community events.

Although the official cultural season begins in October, the estate is hosting many events before October and throughout the fall.

Deering Estate is partnering with the Miami Short Film Festival and offering a series of screenings at the estate. The films will concentrate around certain themes. The series  start with a special event on Aug. 15, said Jenna Noordhoek, Deering Estate’s Special Events coordinator.

The Deering Estate and Miami Film Festival will host a night called “Focus on Germany,” which will begin with a reception with the German Consulate of Miami followed by screenings of award-winning German short films. The event will run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $10.

“We wanted this programming of short films to be available to this community,” said Cathy Guerra, Deering Estate’s marketing manager.

Also in the performing arts realm, an intimate concert will take place on Aug. 17 featuring Alejandro Elizondo, a Miami-based singer and songwriter, Noordhoek said. This event, to be held in the Great Hall of the Historic Stonehouse, will conclude Deering Estate’s Summer Cabaret Concert Series. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and concert will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Conservation efforts and nature education comprise a tenet of Deering Estate’s mission. Through a partnership with the Biscayne National Park Institute and Biscayne National Park, Deering Estate is offering two boat cruises guided by park rangers, Guerra said.

A Stiltsville cruise is offered on the first and third Sunday of every month, and a cruise showing the lighthouses of Biscayne Bay is offered on the second Saturday of each month. The cruises are from noon to 2:30 p.m., and will return to Deering early enough that that guests can take the 3 p.m. Deering historic house tour, Noordhoek said.

The theme of Deering events transitions along with the seasons as historic ghost tours are beginning in September and being offered through November. The estate has been giving these tours for about eight years, and is offering now offering private tours in addition to their public tours.

“What makes them unique is the history of the site itself. The Richmond Cottage dates to 1896, so I think having that historic significance brings value to it,” Guerra said. “There are aspects of things that have happened in the past that kind of leave a history on places which can sometimes be part of a paranormal experience.”

During the ghost tours, guests experience the stories of Deering Estate’s previous inhabitants. As they walk the paths of Native Americans and Miami’s early pioneers, guests are encouraged to use equipment typically used to summon the paranormal, Guerra said.

Keeping in Halloween theme, Deering will be hosting its first 1920s themed “Spirits’ Speakeasy” in October, Noordhoek said. It will feature themed cocktails and self-guided ghost tours.
In mid-October, Deering Estate will host a public reveal of Egyptian Medieval stained glass paintings that have been restored. The project, “Flight Into Egypt,” is by the 100 Ladies of Deering, an extension of the Deering Foundationcommitted to preserving and enhancing the estate. The pieces were from Charles Deering’s collection.

The estate will host its eighth annual vintage auto show on Nov. 3 in partnership with the South Florida Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. This auto show ties into the historic traditions of the estate, Guerra said.

The programs and events hosted at and in collaboration with the Deering Estate promote the core values of history, art, education and conservation that have been championed by the property throughout its narrative.

“It all basically all ties into the legacy of Charles Deering and the legacy of the time period,” Noordhoek said.

April Rubin is a sophomore at the University of Florida.

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