Florida VIVA 500 Celebrations expands internationally

May 30, 2012

State officials are planning a year-long celebration to commemorate important parts of Florida’s history, like the arrival of the state’s first Spanish explorer 500 years ago. And, the state is getting ready to expand the celebration internationally.

Florida’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner says he’s excited to continue planning VIVA 500, which commemorates Florida’s history as the first U.S. landing place of European explorers, like Juan Ponce de Leon. Detzner says he talked with Spain’s leaders about the celebration during a recent business development trip to the country.

“We met with the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs in Spain, and the first question he asked Governor Scott was ‘how are things going with the VIVA 500 commemoration?’ So, there’s a very high level of awareness about what we’re doing here! There’s a very strong interest in participation," said Detzner. "The Secretary of Cultural Affairs is also interested in a cultural exchange and doing some other things. I’m in the process of drafting a letter of agreement with them, and so what we’re doing is going to have a global effect on not only Florida, but individuals throughout the world, particularly in Spain."

Detzner gave that update on a conference call Wednesday to several people the state is partnering with to hold VIVA 500 events in Florida all throughout the year 2013. They include the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, the Embassy of Spain, and the National Hispanic Corporate Achievers.

Educational events and tourist exhibits will be set up all throughout the state in 2013 to mark the 500th anniversary of explorers landing on Florida’s coast.