Saturday, October 1, 2011

Florida prepares to celebrate its 500th Anniversary

Communities all over Florida are preparing for the state’s 500th anniversary. Artists are sculpting and painting, RSVP’s from Royalty have been received, reenactors are polishing their armor, historians are brushing up on their historical facts and writers are tapping on their keyboards for this much heralded series of events.

Many cities around Florida have their own foundations and organizations to help facilitate the planning of their own respective events. Although the main centerpiece of history for this event is the landing of Ponce de Leon in Florida in 1513, other heritage related events of other cultures are also planned.

The following is listing of projects, events, organizations and online resources that are involved.

Projects:

WikiFriends of Viva Florida 500 WP is a project to help celebrate and embellish Wikipedia articles about the heritage and history of the U.S. state of Florida.
Several work in progress projects including adding material to the Florida Historical Society wiki page, research archives in Spain for the original writings of Alvaro Mexia especially his encounters with native cultures, create a new Afro-Americans in Florida page and add dates and events to the Timeline of Florida History wkipage.

Events:

August 20, And for the 499 days that follow, a different Florida wildflower will be depicted by a different Florida artist and posted online to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's landing. On Easter Sunday 1513, he landed on our shores and named our state La Florida --from "flor," the Spanish word for flower.

August 22, Florida Governor Rick Scott initiated the "The 500 days to 500 years" campaign in Miami. The Spain Florida Foundation's Board of Directors met Governor of Florida, Rick Scott and Secretary of State, Kurt Browning to kick off "the 500 days to 500 years"


Organizations:

In Brevard County- The Royal Order of Don Juan Ponce de Leon Historical V Centennial Celebration Committee -have been busy with plans including a royal visit with the King/Queen of Spain and the Governor of Puerto Rico, Banquet Galas, a visit of the Tall Ships sailing, and Air Force Flyovers.

City of St.Augustine -is working with the Smithsonain National Museums to design exhibits of African American, Latino and American Indian for their new visitor center.

Florida Humanities Council
A special edition of Forum magazine is planned for Viva Florida 500.

Websites:

Oldest House
St. Augustine Oldest House Museum has launched an online exhibit with a relevant heritage slideshow that will include ancient maps.

Official website for Viva Florida 500
Recently launched website includes the Viva Florida 500 Insider with more news on relevant events and multiple heritages including Native American,Black,Cuban and Spanish Colonial histories.


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