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Balloon Rally, 1990
Balloon Rally, 1990 Falls Church area, Tallahassee. Photo: David McCord

Springtime Tallahassee

This community event began in 1968 to call attention to the beauty of Florida's state capital. Throughout the history of Florida, the idea to move the state capital from Tallahassee to another location has surfaced several times, starting in the 1850s. The most recent attempt was in 1967, when a bill was introduced in the state legislature to move the capital to Orlando. Tallahassee community leaders decided to hold a festival when Tallahassee's numerous dogwood trees and azaleas, which surround nearly every building and home, are in full bloom.

The first festival, held throughout the month of March, was called "Springtime Tallahassee, A Capital Affair." Key events of the festival took place during a one-week period, which included a Parade of Governors and a Jubilee, attended by 12,000 people. The original pageant, which follows the parade has become a large and varied collection of arts, crafts, and delicious food, provided by more 200 vendors, and music performed on six stages. The month long festival period provides local nonprofit organizations and charities with opportunities to raise funds and promote their causes. These includes walks and runs, and two-day fests.

The Breakfast in the Park is traditionally the first event of the festival season, held in conjunction with the start of the Florida Legislative session, which brings the community and state and local leaders out early for a southern-style breakfast. Two gala balls are held during the festival, the Twelfth Night Ball celebrates the victory of the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1851 with a candle lighting ceremony and the selection of an honorary Andrew Jackson; at the Grand Ball senior "belles and gents" are presented with their parents to honor their hard work and dedication to service organizations.

The 2000 festival was coordinated by 500 volunteers who are traditionally organized into five "krewes;" each representing a different period of Florida history: Spanish, American Territory, antebellum statehood, the Civil war and reconstruction, and the 20th century. Each "krewe" builds a parade float that is themed around an event that occurred during its historical period. The "krewes" also appear in period costume at a number of gala events during the festival.

Documentation includes a 22-page report, program covers from various festivals, and photographs.

Originally submitted by: Allen Boyd, Representative (2nd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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