State Officials Get The Party Pumping For Fla. 500th Birthday

Apr 1, 2013

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner at the Viva500 Week media event
Credit Thomas Andrew Gustafson

Florida’s five-hundredth birthday party is a yearlong event and the in first week of April the celebration is hitting a high note. Starting Monday, Viva 500 Week is bringing with special events and one very large ship across the state.

Don’t be alarmed by the giant wooden Galleon arriving in Florida ports in the coming weeks. It’s not full of time-traveling pirates, but it is a ship similar to what Juan Ponce de Leon used to reach Florida 500 years ago this week. It’s departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico on Monday to stop in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and other ports up the east coast.

“The galleon will continue to play a lead role on expanding what people think of and understanding the incredible spirit of adventure and innovation that Juan Ponce de Leon exhibited 500 years ago when he found La Florida,” says CEO and President of Visit Florida Will Seccombe.

The ship’s voyage to Florida is part of the state’s biggest week in its 500th birthday celebration, called Viva500. The general consensus is Ponce de Leon discovered Florida sometime around April second. So on the Capitol building’s top floor Monday, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and other officials like Seccombe showcased events planned for this week and beyond. Secretary Detzner says all the events center on Florida History education

“This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the Department of State Conservation Lab will be offering behind-the-scenes tour of the lab. The Museum of Florida History will also be offering guided tours of the Museum’s permanent exhibit. Also housed in our Museum during these three days will be a very special Florida Archives Display,” says Secretary Detzner.

To accompany the museum events, the Florida Lottery put together a 30 minute film and shorter public service announcements about the history of Florida to air on television channels around Florida and in Florida schools. But

Detzner ended saying this week isn’t just educational but also economic with the possible extra tourism for now and the future.