Many of our 2013 BookFest programs this year were offered as part of the Viva Florida 500 celebration. Robert Macomber an internationally recognized award-winning maritime writer, lecturer, television commentator, and defense consultant presented a series of three programs describing Florida's momentous involvement in the Civil War. The final years received a standing ovation from a captivated audience. Author and UCF History Professor, Dr. James C. Clark, spoke on U.S. Presidents and how they have played a major role in shaping Florida, whether waging wars, protecting the environment, seeking votes, or just drawing media attention to the state's attractions.
Dr. Jason Moser, from the Florida Public Archeology Network, presented Shipwreck on a Table: The Emmanuel Point Wreck which described the cultures that used the ships, and the people that lived on board them. Amateur Archeologist, Jules Turscanyi, spoke on Florida’s Ancient Mysteries from thousands of years ago when small groups of hunter-gatherers wandered onto the North American continent and changed this pristine paradise forever.
Author Bob Grenier led the audience on an extraordinary journey back to the early days of Florida's small hamlets, cracker houses, and more. Author and former Leesburg Mayor Bob Lovell discussed his book, Cracker Outlaw and the Florida Cracker culture. Julie England’s Florida food heritage program offered information on historical foods from early Floridians including Native Americans and Spaniards through current times. Kevin McCarthy’s Aviation in Florida took us from the launch of Amelia Earhart’s final flight to the world’s first scheduled airplane flight, important events in aviation that have taken place in Florida.
Captain Bill Good, sang his tales of natural Florida at the Bluegrass Festival. Award winning author and documentary filmmaker Bill Belleville described wild places in Florida and how they have changed through the years with both time and the advance of civilization.
Two exhibits this year, the Catherine Haynes Stockwell Retrospective Exhibit in the Tavares City Hall celebrated the creativity of acclaimed local artist whose paintings of the early 1900s preserve Central Florida’s landmarks of that period. The John Moran Exhibit, funded by the State Wildflower license plate and the Florida Wildflower Foundation consisted of beautiful photos of native Florida wildflowers, some of which occur nowhere else in the world.