Saturday, August 1, 2009

Three 450th Committees!

The 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine in 1565 is coming up along with the 500th anniversary of discover of Florida in 2015 and 2013 respectively. I noticed that in an editorial in yesterday's the St. Augustine Record that there were three Committees dedicated to this historic commemoration.

The State of Florida and City of St. Augustine official has the, St.Augustine 450th Commemoration Steering Committee and there is also a local 450 Community Corps which has lots of ideas, and finally the Federal government has a St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission in the works.

Given the nature of current funding realities I'm not expecting much in spite of some of the ambitious plans, like building a replica ship, that have been put forth. Like the Jamestown 400th celebration I suspect we'll see a bit of a mash-up of events and projects without a real focused objective, especially since the City hired one of the Jamestown organizers as a consultant. A number of us from Florida had planned to join in the festivities in Virgina, going so far as to travel in 2006 for training at the State's Jamestown Settlement. I found the staff at the Fort to be wonderful. Like most reenactors I've picked up interpretive skills through osmosis rather than any formal training, I found Jamestown's classes eye-opening. But it was also clear that circumstances beyond their control; security concerns, crowd control, construction and simply not being in charge of the overall celebration, we couldn't get a straight answer about exactly what we would be able to do, and quite a bit of what we couldn't not do, less than a few months out from the event and concluded that it wasn't going to worth the expense and effort. I'm not sorry that I went to the training and from what I've heard from those who did attend the 400th Landing Day they had a good time, then again I was spared the horror of Ba-Baaah and the Windigo.

Coming up even sooner than St. Augustine's 450th is Florida's quincentennial. In due course several years ago a law was passed creating a Discovery of Florida Quincentennial Commemoration Act which required a commission to produce "An initial draft of the [master]plan by May 2009... with the completed master plan submitted to such officials by May 2010. needless to say, no funding was apparently ever appropriated nor near as I can tell anyone ever appointed to said commission. In 2008 the Act was repealed. with the suggestion that a CSO, citizen support organization be established to "raise funds as well as assist the commission in other matters as deemed necessary." serve to raise funds as well. The only thing that I've found the State of Florida doing for its Quincentennial thus far is the Viva Florida website. Though I must say that I find it rather ironic that most of the photos is the "multimedia" section are from a De Soto Winter Encampment event several years ago, an annual event that was discontinued last year do to lack of, pretty minimal, funding.

Of course the c.1990's Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commission which was generally considered a fiasco.

Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee statement of Richard C. Stiener, Director, Office of Special Investigations, ...

I hope that a more modest success is in the offing for the St. Augustine 450 & Florida 500 anniversaries.

No comments:

Post a Comment