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Viva Florida 500 Program to be Celebrated in May

Viva Florida 500 Program will showcase 500 years of Spanish influence on Florida.

Spain’s 500-year influence on the culture of Florida and the nation will be celebrated May 3-6 in St. Augustine. Culturally La Florida will feature presentations by leading experts, living history demonstrations and a variety of educational and entertaining performances that will take public appreciation of Spain’s influence in the New World to a new level.

Hosted and based at Flagler College, but with programs citywide as well as in Hastings and Palm Coast, Cullturally La Florida will offer a mix of lectures, presentations and performances that will appeal to everyone from academicians to school children. Among the topics to be covered are archeology, Native Americans, runaway slaves, Spanish missions, food, arts, ranching, maritime explorations, folklore and much more.

Culturally La Florida will begin ati 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 with Opening Ceremonies followed by a keynote address by Dr. Michael Gannon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History and member of the St. Augustine 450th Commemorative Commission. Dr. Gannon brings a unique perspective to the history of St. Augustine and Florida.  Half a century ago, he served on the St. Augustine 400th Commemorative Commission.

Friday and Saturday will be filled with fascinating presentations on historical Spanish influences that began as early as 1513 with the arrival of Ponce de Leon and continue today. Field trips will explore commercial farming operations in Hastings and a visit to the Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast will explain what Florida farm life was like throughout history and provide an interesting look at Spanish heritage livestock.

All of the events included in Culturally La Florida are free and open to the public. Seating, however, will be on a first come, first served basis. For a complete program and full details, go to www.culturallylaflorida.org.

Flagler College thanks the following partners and sponsors for their assistance with this program: Florida Humanities Council, St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, St. Augustine Foundation, St. Johns County Visitor and Convention Bureau, City of St. Augustine, Nation’s Oldest Port National Heritage Area, Florida Public Archaeology Network, and Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

“Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

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