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October - December 2012     VOLUME 16 ISSUE 4
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Lake County Celebrates Viva Florida 500

In 2013, the Lake County Library System’s 10th annual Lake BookFest (formerly the Festival of Reading), will embrace Viva Florida, a State initiative that commemorates 500 years of Florida's rich heritage and diverse cultural history. Viva Libros! will take place from March 11th through the 16th, 2013 and will feature events different cultures and their impact on the history of Florida.
Visit the Florida Department of State’s Viva Florida 500 website for detailed information. The following is an excerpt:

“In 2013, Florida will reach a significant milestone, the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León's arrival on Florida's east coast. What makes this anniversary so unique is that Ponce de León's convoy of explorers was the first group of Europeans to document such a landing and give a name to Florida—La Florida. They were also the first recorded Europeans to explore any part of what's now the continental United States of America.

Florida's documented material history dates back more than 12,000 years to American Indians, who were the original pioneers. But Spain's claim in 1513 began a new era in human history that saw many nationalities come together as the foundation that eventually formed the United States of America. The legacy of Spanish Florida started with Ponce de León and was further established by Pedro Menéndez when he founded St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied settlement in North America, in 1565.

Spanish explorers weren't alone in Florida's transformation. In addition to the American Indians who were already in Florida, Spanish settlers were preceded by the French who established the military base, Fort Caroline, in 1564. The Spanish were then temporarily displaced under English rule in the late eighteenth century. Under each flag, Florida was cultivated by settlers of multiple nationalities and new communities were built. Today, a countless number of different cultures thrive together in Florida. Viva Florida 500 is about all of them and their impact on the history of Florida.

The Florida Department of State and its many partners are planning enriching events and experiences across the state. Join us in celebrating the Florida we live in today!”