VIVA 500 Celebration

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

Apr 1, 2013
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.

Florida is turning 500 years old, and one Miami-based artist is giving the state a floral facelift as a birthday gift.  

Five-hundred years ago, Juan Ponce de Leon was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he arrived in Florida. He named it la Florida (translation: Flowery Land) because of its beautiful flora.  Today, Florida International University Artist-in-Residence Xavier Cortada is inviting all Floridians to help bring back some of the natural beauty Ponce de Leon saw.

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.