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AmeriFlora '92

Columbus’ Columbus Day: From AmeriFlora ’92 to its cancellation

Twenty-six years ago, Columbus Day in Columbus, Ohio was celebrated with a $95 million, 88-acre floral wonderland.

Today, Columbus Day is not celebrated at all.

On Friday, the Mayor’s office issued the following release:

“The City of Columbus will be open on Columbus Day on Monday, October 8, 2018. All city offices will maintain regular hours of operation. Trash collection and parking enforcement will also remain regularly scheduled.”

In addition, Columbus Metropolitan Library branches will be open Monday and Central Ohio Transit Authority offices will be open and buses will run on a regular schedule.

Spokeswoman Robin Davis told The Washington Post the changes to the observance of the holiday is not in connection to the nationwide movement to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, but rather a necessity because the city lacks funding to give its 8,500 city employees the day off.

Instead, for the first time in its history, Columbus will close on Veterans Day.

Read comments from 614now readers about changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

Read comments from 614now readers about whether or not the Christopher Columbus monument on Capitol Square should be removed. 

Back in 1992, Columbus put on a six-month exhibit called AmeriFlora ’92 to honor Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas.

Franklin Park off East Broad Street was transformed into a horticultural exposition that rivaled both Disney’s EPCOT and World’s Fair.

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There was a waterfall, a rose garden with 130 varieties, a display of grasses from almost every continent on earth, restaurants, pubs, international shopping, theaters, an antique carousel, entertainment and so much more.

AmeriFlora’s opening ceremony was attended by was attended by President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, entertainer Bob Hope, Ohio Gov. George V. Voinovich and Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka among many others.

It was the most popular tour bus destination in the country that year.

It’s quite clear the way in which Columbus Day is celebrated in our city has changed immensely over the years.

No doubt there are some residents that support the city shrugging off the holiday this year but according to The Washington Post, there is one group whose opposition to it has rung out the loudest.

“If you’re mayor of a city and its name is Columbus, why wouldn’t you capitalize on that?” Joseph Contino, board member of the Columbus Italian Festival, told the Associated Press. “Use this day to celebrate the entire culture, celebrate Italians and indigenous both.”

The Columbus Italian Club shared an article from The Dispatch about the city’s decision forego observing Columbus Day with a single thumbs-down emoji as the caption.

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