Community kickoff for 450th commemoration

200-450TH-250HPlanning for the commemoration of the city’s 450th anniversary will start with a community kickoff event set for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at the Flagler College Auditorium, according to an announcement received by Historic City News this morning from Cathy Dupont in the city’s Office of Public Affairs.

The City of St. Augustine will host the community kickoff to launch planning for the 2015 commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the city’s founding. The event will be held from 7:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and the public is encouraged to attend.

St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles will introduce the evening and provide an update on the federal legislation to create the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission. Then he will facilitate the panel discussion which is expected to be enthusiastic and cover a wide range of topics regarding such an important event.

The program will consist of a lively panel discussion to introduce to the community some of the opportunities and challenges presented by what will be a nationally recognized event. In addition, all those in attendance will have the opportunity to sign-up to be included in future communications and planning sessions.

Panel members were invited because of their expertise in the fields of history, economic development, and tourism. They are: Dr. Michael Gannon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Florida; Nick Sacia, Executive Director, Economic Development Council of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce; and Glenn Hastings, Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & the Beaches Visitors & Convention Bureau.

Also participating on the panel will be Jeanne Zeidler, Mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia. Mayor Zeidler is the executive director of Jamestown 2007 which oversaw the 400th anniversary commemoration of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia last year. Mayor Zeidler’s input will be invaluable as the community plans for St. Augustine’s 450th.

At the conclusion of the hour, those in attendance will have the opportunity to sign-up for notifications of future planning meetings and to receive communications updating them on the progress of the planning for the 450th.

“Even though the anniversary is a few years away,” said Mayor Boles, “we want to lay the foundation now to ensure that we develop a well-coordinated cultural and educational program highlighting the city’s unique character and rich heritage that will be both entertaining and exciting. Of course, to be successful, we all need to work together.”

It is expected that other members of the City Commission will be in attendance.

For more information, contact the City of St. Augustine Public Affairs Department at 904.825.1004.

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