The big celebration in Vance Harmon Park will mark Poinciana's 40th anniversary.
POINCIANA — Myriam Santiago recalls the days when Poinciana still felt like a rural community, with wide open fields and just a handful of people living there.
“I can remember when Poinciana was 1,000 residents,” she said.
So much has changed in the past four decades, Santiago said – including the explosive growth in residential development seen throughout the past eight years, followed by new businesses coming in as well.
“Today, you know how many residents we have in Poinciana? Eighty-five thousand,” she said. “And we have the hospital coming in. We have new gas stations coming here. We have a new Wendy’s coming in. We don’t have to go out now, we’ve got everything here. We have apartments, and we’re going to have the train, SunRail, which is going to go to Poinciana.”
The community of 10 villages that cut across Polk and Osceola counties has indeed grown enormously in the past decade, but for those who have moved to Poinciana in recent years, as Santiago noted, there’s a lot more history to this community that simply the building boom that went on when the housing market was soaring between 2004 and 2007.
Poinciana, Santiago noted, has a history that runs much deeper than that — and the story of how Poinciana was settled is going to be given a spotlight this year as those 10 villages celebrate the past four decades as a community.
“We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary,” Santiago said.
The celebrations will begin next month with a special event, the Association of Poinciana Villages’s 40th Anniversary Music and Health Fair Festival. It will be held on Saturday, May 26 at Vance Harmon Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free, and area residents are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs while enjoying music, American and Latin food, and a whole lot more.
“We are going to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Poinciana, and because of that, we want to have the entire community come to this health fair and food festival,” said Santiago, one of the organizers of this event. “It’s also going to be a musical festival. We’re going to have music and live bands from here in the United States, and from the Dominican Republic, and another from Columbia, and another from Puerto Rico. We tried to have music for everyone who lives in Poinciana. We’re going to have a stage with a sound system throughout the whole festival, and we’re also going to have food from Mexico and Columbia and the Dominican Republic.”
At the same time, while the food and music will be served up as the entertainment throughout the day, the health fair will have an added benefit and offer a different kind of service to local residents, Santiago said. Physicians and nurses from local medical offices will be at this event, providing free screenings to the people who attend.
“We will be doing free tests for the public, like diabetic testing, high blood pressure, and back problems,” she said. “There will be chiropractors checking back pain and things like that.”
There will also be representatives from various non-profit agencies attending the festival, providing information to the public, and representatives from the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, to answer questions about any federal issues that constituents might have.
“We’re going to have a lot of non-profit organizations giving information to the public, talking about the importance of taking care of your children, and people from Marco Rubio’s office will be helping people who have problems with any federal agency, like having a problem with their income tax or Social Security,” she said. “They will have a group of people trying to solve those problems. It’s going to be a lot of important information.”
Poinciana turns exactly 40 years old this spring. The actual birthday of the community arrives in May 2012.
To learn more about this event, contact Santiago at 407-535-7768.
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