When the State of Florida found more money to market our area, both in the “Visit Florida” program and this year’s “Viva Florida 500” celebration, Historic City News noted that they elected to showcase our authentic European heritage, the Spanish discovery of La Florida, and the founding of America’s Oldest City by Pedro Menendez in 1565.
Wednesday, instead of scenes from Disney-esque, pseudo-historic fantasies that have crept into the city’s entertainment venues, the order of the day was to shine a bright spotlight on our authentic, centuries-old heritage and its unique ability to attract over 70 million visitors to the state each year.
“More money for Florida tourism prompts more marketing,” said Richard Goldman, Vistor and Convention Bureau executive director, in a televised interview last week. “What we’re doing today is the local part of a statewide effort to boost tourism.”
Vanessa Baker and her horse, Renegade, were stars-for-a-day as they paraded around the north-end of historic St George Street; an integral part of the authentic first colony. Camera crews were recording Renegade’s images as re-enactor Chad Light mounted the horse and the pair worked a small section of Charlotte Street; Renegade taking a shot at “parallel parking” between two compact cars.
The footage is part of a television commercial to promote the 450th Commemoration. The production crew shot a commercial on the streets of St. Augustine Wednesday.
Story lines cover St Augustine’s Black Heritage, Civil War, French Heritage, Native Americans, the Spanish Colonial period, and World War II. Events interpreted in the Viva Florida 500 programs include the Underground Railroad in Florida, Timucuan Preserve in Northeast Florida, Mala Compra plantation in Palm Coast, Fort Caroline at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Florida’s African-American Heritage, Florida’s Civil War Heritage, Florida’s Native American Heritage, the Spanish Colonial Heritage and St. Augustine’s Mission Nombre de Dios.
Photo credits: © 2013 Historic City News contributed photographs