SunFest 2018: We issued a Fitbit challenge and the steps are worth celebrating


In my 15 years covering SunFest, I’ve relayed two consistent messages: Don’t let people weigh you down with hand sanitizer and tiny fans you won’t use, and stop trying to be cute with the uncomfortable footwear because you’re going to be walking. A lot. But how much, exactly? Enter the Fitbit!

I’ve always wondered exactly how far I walk during the music festival, particularly on Saturdays, which are the longest day each year. Back when I was consistently covering most of the concerts at SunFest, I made the nearly mile-long trip from the northernmost Ford Stage to the southern JetBlue Stage each way at least three times. My unofficial count was always “However many steps it takes to justify this extra margarita,” but with my hand Fitbit Flex 2, I can now get an exact number.

So I challenged my SunFest-bound Facebook and Twitter followers to keep track of their steps accrued hoofing it between music and visits to the drinking barges. “You know it!,” responded Facebook and actual friend Perrie Susman, with whom I’m constantly vying for Fitbit dominance in daily challenges (Confession: She usually beats me.) A few others agreed, and since I’m super competitive even when I lose, I was in.

» Did we see you at SunFest: Check out our photo galleries

Wanting to keep things as scientific as possible, I didn’t put my Fitbit on until I got out of my car at one of the Judicial Center parking garages at the corner of Banyan and Quadrille Boulevards. I would keep track until I got back into the car. (In the spirit of full disclosure, the iPhone app gave me 97 pity steps, probably earned from the thing riding around in my back pack till I put it on.)

The first time I checked the app, less than 15 minutes in, I was sitting by the waterfront in front of the Ford stage dancing in my chair. Already I’d walked more than a mile or about 2500 steps, a quarter of my 10,000 step goal. And yes, this justified that second margarita.

After some more dancing, both chair and otherwise, as well as a few trips to hug people I hadn’t seen since last year’s SunFest, I headed with my son to the Tire Kingdom stage in the middle and eventually to the JetBlue stage, which I’ve always joked was in Guam. We kind of meandered, but by the time we got all the way down, I was at 2.65 miles, or about 6400 steps. Fine. It’s not as far as Guam. It just feels that way.

I wasn’t the only one. My friend Perrie Susman, who lives in West Palm Beach, “walked in the gate with 3,819” steps, and eventually logged 14,227 by the time she got back to her car. Rebecca Seeling, a SunFest volunteer, put in 19,234 traversing the grounds, and Carrie Bradburn, a noted photographer and SunFest committee member, also racked up the points — “12,279 steps, baby!” she reported.

» Keep steppin’: Florida man vs. Fitbit: 10,000 steps a day, every day, for a year

Some of you guys walk so much, you can’t tell exactly when and where the steps happened.

“I got just under 16,000, but not all happened at SunFest,” reported friend Elizabeth Kelley Grace of Boca Raton.

As for me, by the time I got back into my car, hours later, I had put in about 11,000 steps, beating my 10,000 step goal, but, unfortunately, not one of the other challengers. That’s OK. I burned off that margarita.


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