By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - A free speaker series at The Emerson Center in Vero Beach doesn't require tickets, but the lineup, organizers hope, will pack the house.
The 2012-13 Florida Humanities Series at The Emerson Center will begin in October and excitement is already building for the popular educational lecture series.
On Oct. 25, archaeologist and author Robert S. Carr will present "Finding Bimini: Ponce de Leon's Florida." The discussion will cover European explorers, the prehistoric and early historic contacts between Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba, as well as the mystery of the Fountain of Youth.
Mr. Carr is the executive director of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, a not-for-profit in Davie.
Marine Bank and Trust is the sponsor of the series. The series broadly covers topics relating to Florida issues, history, nature and culture.
All presentations in the humanities series begin at 7 p.m.
Musician, composer and educator Randall "Big Daddy" Webster will present, "An Introspection of Blues" on Dec. 6.
In a press release, Mr. Webster said he strives to bring positive change with his music.
"The tradition of playing music from the soul is much the same around the world as it is in America and people tap into that," he said.
Mr. Webster has toured overseas 53 times to 28 countries and has solo, duo and band releases.
The New Year will bring back a hot topic: immigration in Florida.
On Jan. 17, Alex Stepnick, an authority on immigration law and the impact of immigration on Miami, will present, "Immigration's Impact on Florida and the United States."
Dana Ste.Clair, a historian on Florida Cracker Culture and the director of the St. Augustine 450th commemoration, will visit The Emerson Center on Feb. 21. His presentation will be "The Cracker Culture in Florida History."
Spending childhood summers immersed in a "cracker way of life" spurred his interest in the culture of the times.
A professional clown and the former Goodwill ambassador for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus is scheduled to speak on March 21.
Steve Smith's presentation, "Laughing Matters! An Energetic and Enthusiastic Look Into the Art of Clowning," promises to be uplifting, educational and inspiring.
Mr. Smith has been in show business for more than 40 years and his credentials include employment under Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Walt Disney World, McDonald's and Ringling Clown College, to name a few.
The final speaker in the series will be former astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Jon McBride.
Mr. McBride was the pilot of the first Challenger mission in space and currently lives in Cocoa.
Now retired, Mr. McBride will speak about "The Florida Space Program: Its Past, Present and Future."
Another speaker series put on by The Emerson Center is the Celebrated Speaker Series, which is a ticketed series. Season tickets are available and single event tickets will be available Dec. 1.
The Celebrated Speaker Series will kick off on Jan. 12, 2013 with a pair of speaking engagements by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
For more information, call (772) 778-5249 or visit www.theemersoncenter.org/humanities.asp