Today marks the 175th anniversary of Florida’s founding and to mark the terquasquicentennial (we admit we had to look up how to describe this occasion), a public education initiative is being launched to celebrate the Sunshine State.
The “Happy Birthday, Florida!” campaign will bring together public, private and non-profit partners to conduct a celebratory effort beginning in the Spring.
The year-long campaign will include a 30-minute television special to be broadcast statewide and in schools, a dynamic informational website and a public opinion survey reflecting knowledge deficits among residents about Florida. And social and digital informative messages, special events, and a variety of other tools will educate Floridians and celebrate the key people, places and moments in state’s history.
“Today is a great time to reflect on how far we’ve come since Florida became the nation’s 27th state on March 3, 1845,” said Ron Sachs, the founder and CEO of Sachs Media Group. “We’re honoring the amazing story of our state and our citizens by creating an exciting, educational and entertaining project to highlight Florida’s grand history and heritage all-year long.”
The project promises to connect the pioneer age to the “Space Age” and Florida’s role in both — along with the history of more than 400 cities and towns. Sachs Media Group also produced statewide initiatives on Florida’s 150th anniversary of statehood in 1995 and the “Viva Florida, 500” initiative in 2013, the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León‘s ‘discovery’ of Florida.
Florida was admitted into the Union in 1845 and has now grown to be the third most populous state in America. The Sunshine State has 21 million residents and more than 400 municipalities, including St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest continuously occupied settlement.
Ed Moore, a state history expert and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida’s retired president, said Florida has one of the most fascinating histories of any state in America.
“People have lived in Florida since the Ice Age, and Juan Ponce de León visited Florida more than 500 years ago,” said Moore. “Florida was making history before the Pilgrims set foot at Plymouth Rock. You could easily spend your entire life studying our state’s intriguing past. It’s an incredible history well worth sharing with all Floridians.”
Sharon Berrian, director of membership relations at the Florida League of Cities, said the initiative will help educate the state’s youth and new residents about Florida’s vast history and diverse groups of peoples and cultures.
“The majority of Floridians moved here from someplace else, choosing to make the Sunshine State their home,” Berrian said. “This is an opportunity for these newer residents – as well as native Floridians — to learn all about the history of Florida, and the strength and diversity of our cultures and citizens.”
The League was a key partner in the 150th anniversary celebration and in the “Viva Florida, 500” project in 2013.
Sachs said the “Happy Birthday, Florida!” initiative will formally be launched during the spring with more initiative coming shortly.