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Zack Scharlepp, The President’s Korner is Blooming

March 18, 2018, for April Newsletter

The azaleas are in full bloom, the leaves are greening, and the lawn has been cut for the first time of the year. While March 20th marks the official start of Spring on the calendar, I personally mark the start of spring as the first day my car turns yellow. Pollen is not the only thing Spring brings to Tallahassee. Springtime Tallahassee and Gulf Winds Track Club’s annual Springtime 10k are also right around the corner; a Tallahassee tradition for almost half a century.

1967 marked a year of change for our great state. Air conditioning made the swamps of Central and South Florida more inhabitable, drastically changing the population centers of the state. The state’s political landscape was also changing. A new state constitution went into effect that year. The 1967 legislature was the first under the reapportionment plan requirement mandated by the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Baker v. Carr requiring legislative districts of near equal population. So ended the stranglehold North Florida’s good ole boys had on political power in the state. The decision nearly marked the end of Tallahassee as the state capital as well. It is a long way from Miami to Tallahassee, a fact apparently not lost on the newly elected legislators from South Florida. The idea of moving the capital to Orlando became a distinct possibility, and one seriously contemplated by the legislature.

In response, local Tallahassee business and civic leaders met behind closed doors to map a strategy to keep the state’s capital in Tallahassee. A festival highlighting Tallahassee’s natural beauty would be just the ticket to persuade our southern neighbors to keep coming to Tallahassee every year. The plan worked, more than 20 groups planned the First Annual Spring Festival from March-April 1968. As a result, the Legislature historically chose to keep our state's capital in Tallahassee, and Springtime Tallahassee became an annual celebration.

The Springtime 10k has been a prominent feature in 42 of the past 49 festivals. Tallahassee’s preeminent and fastest – just ask Herb Wills – 10k will return for its 43rd annual running on April 7, 2018. This year the hills promise to be a little easier, the road a little smoother, and the times a little faster. With the promise of faster times, I urge you to register. I also invite you to come see Rachel, Rhys, and me at the Springtime Tallahassee Music Festival on April 6th in Kleman Plaza from 6-8 for packet pickup. Live music and libations will be available. If fun and entertainment are not your cup of tea, packet pickup will also be offered at Capital City Runners midtown on Thursday April 5th from 4-7. If you don’t believe me about the hills being easier, the roads smoother, or the times faster, I have a great volunteer spot for you. If interested email me at springtime10k@gmail.com and we will assign you a duty.

However you decide to partake, come help us celebrate the beauty of our Capital City and its bountiful blooms, green foliage, and yellow glow on April 7th.