by The Editors | January 6, 2020

The Top 10 Flamingo Stories That Readers Loved in 2020

From searching for spirits in Florida’s most mysterious town to riding in the fast lane with race car driver Hurley Haywood, it’s been a year to remember.


We can all agree 2020 was one for the books—and not in a good way. Instead of reminiscing about all the cancellations, life upheavals and how we never want to hear the word “unprecedented” again, let’s take a look back at some of our readers’ favorite Flamingo stories of the year.

Haywood at the 1973 Riverside Can-Am Championship. Photography courtesy of Porsche Cars North America

Under the Hood with Hurley Haywood

By Moni Basu

The Brumos racing icon Hurley Haywood gets candid about his storied career and the parts of his personal life he kept hidden—until now. Contributing writer Moni Basu sits down for an intimate one-on-one with the sports car superstar in our Spring 2020 Issue.

Oyster Fishers
Colton McUlley, left, Dylan Thompson, center and Connor Whitfield, with Oyster Boss LLC., work an oyster lease in Alligator Harbor along the Forgotten Coast of the North Florida Panhandle. Photography by Mark Wallheiser

Meet the Farmers Leading an Oyster Revival on the Forgotten Coast

By Steve Dollar

Apalachicola’s oyster industry hit a breaking point in 2020, leading the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to completely shut down wild oyster harvesting. For our Spring 2020 issue, writer Steve Dollar journeys to the Panhandle town to find that there’s a new breed of farmer emerging—one that could help save a suffering region and industry.

Anne Gorden-Vega holds the record for the most pythons captured in the Everglades. Photography by Mary Beth Koeth.

Hunting Pythons with the Ladies of the Glades

By Craig Pittman

Take a ride through the Everglades with Flamingo contributor Craig Pittman and the women wrangling one of South Florida’s most pervasive pests—pythons. Get to know the ladies giving “Girls’ Night Out” a whole new meaning in our Summer 2020 cover story.

Ginnie Springs is at the center of the North Florida water war. Photography by Nicole Pollio

Does Florida’s Water Spring Eternal?

By Bucky McMahon

Bucky McMahon takes us inside the contentious water war bubbling in the heart of North Florida. Can environmental activists save one of the Sunshine States most valuable resources or will bottled water companies suck them dry? Go behind the scenes of the battle in our Summer 2020 issue.

94 year-old writer Jeanette Zanghi in the living room of her home in Cassadaga, a spiritualist community established in 1894. Cassadaga, not far from Orlando, is the psychic center of the South and is registered as a historic site. Photography by Mark Wallheiser

In Search of Spirits in Cassadaga

By Moni Basu

Myths and lore swirl around the enigmatic community of Cassadaga, but what is life really like inside this spiritualist town? Moni Basu takes a trip to the paranormal enclave to separate fact from fiction in this feature story from our Fall 2020 edition.

Leonard George during his time at the University of Florida. Photography courtesy of the University of Florida Athletic Association.

The Black Pioneers of Southern Football

By Eric Barton

One touchdown in 1970 changed college football forever. Eric Barton takes us back to the Old South, where black student-athletes broke color lines, both literally and figuratively. Read about the change agents in our Fall 2020 edition.

Bernstein opened Cafe La Trova with close friend and celebrity bartender Julio Cabrera. Photography by Michael Pisarri.

How Chef Michelle Bernstein Finally Found Her Groove

By Eric Barton

Miami superstar chef Michelle Bernstein reveals how she found herself in her latest restaurant, Cafe La Trova. Eric Barton takes us on a journey through the cultural and culinary world of Little Havana in this Spring 2020 Grove Stand chef profile.

One snake snafu later and Prissy Elrod was quickly known throughout the neighborhood as the “Snake Lady.” Illustration by Stephen Lomazzo.

How Prissy’s Pandemic Garden Became a True Crime Story

By Prissy Elrod

Some people spent quarantine baking bread and trying every home workout on Youtube. Flamingo columnist Prissy Elrod met the most interesting man on earth. Read how Prissy got wrapped up in one of Florida’s most notorious true crime stories in her Summer 2020 Panhandling column.

green and white mobile home
In the ’80s, the mobile home was top-of-the-line, but over the years it’s been weathered by the elements and gnawed on by critters. Photography courtesy of Shelbie Eakins.

How Nail Polish and an Old Double-Wide Helped me Find Peace in Tragedy

By Shelbie Eakins

An empty mobile home and a beat-up 2001 Ford Expedition may be one family’s last hope amid the coronavirus pandemic. In this essay submitted for our “From Florida, with Love” series, University of Florida student Shelbie Eakins shows us how nail polish and a little bit of glitter got her through the end of the world as she knew it in this piece from Spring 2020.

Carl Hiaasen says that Florida is fertile ground for fiction writers. Photography by Quinn Hiaasen.

The Real Florida Men: A Chat with Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey

By Jessica Giles

They say the best place to be a writer is in Florida, and fiction icons Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey are certainly a testament to that. Flamingo Assistant Editor Jessica Giles sits down with these literary giants to find out what Florida means to them and how the eccentricity of the state shapes their writing for the Summer 2020 issue.

Read what Flamingo has in store for 2021 in a note from Editor in Chief Jamie Rich