When it comes to the Zika virus, Zak Stern is taking on bad spirits, not mosquitoes.
That’s the motivation behind the eclectic collection of photographs, food and candles that makes up his “Go Away Zika!” shrine outside his Wynwood bakery, Zak the Baker. It’s an effort to make sure all bases are covered, Stern said.
“We’re just trying to take care of the lighter side of Zika,” he said, adding while he is concerned about the spread of the virus in the area, he sees no reason to stop coming to the neighborhood. Florida Gov. Rick Scott was among the politicians who stopped by his store Thursday to tour Wynwood to learn more about the locally transmitted Zika cases that have emanated from a one-square-mile radius that includes Wynwood.
On the wooden table outside his store, Stern featured a pair of American Spirit cigarettes, a plastic cup with a shot of Kentucky bourbon, crystals from the neighbors across the street, sage, sunflowers, an Elegua candle (recommended for the bad spirits) and photos of the Indian guru behind the phrase, ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ There was also a photograph of Stern as a child, balancing a basketball on his finger.
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Someone added half an orange wrapped in Saran wrap. And while the spiritual divination of that particular addition are unknown, as Stern noted, it certainly adds to the table.
“I’m trying to have a very comprehensive approach to attacking the Zika,” he said.
The bakery, open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Saturday, is still accepting contributions to the shrine, Stern said.
“We’re really calling on Miami to stand united and come together and fight this,” he said. “If anyone has anything they’d like to contribute to the table in the fight against Zika, we’re open to it.”