Learn About Florida’s History At Yesteryear Village Lecture Series

Eliot Kleinberg

One of the best ways to learn about Florida’s history is to meet and listen to those who have lived and studied it. That opportunity will be provided at Yesteryear Village, a living history park at the South Florida Fairgrounds, when it hosts a lecture series featuring Eliot Kleinberg, Greg Rice, Harvey E. Oyer III and Judge Nelson E. Bailey.

The four meet-and-greet receptions and presentations will take place on Aug. 25 and Nov. 17, 2018, as well as March 16 and May 11, 2019, in Yesteryear Village’s Bink Glisson Historical Museum. Kleinberg, Rice and Bailey will give two presentations each at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Oyer will do one lecture at 11 a.m. All four include admission to Yesteryear Village from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kleinberg will kick off the lecture series on Saturday, Aug. 25, with “Florida’s Amazing History and Why You Should Care.” During his talk, he will address a whirlwind tour of 500 years of Florida history, capped with a strong argument that Florida’s biggest challenge is encouraging its transplants to become Floridians.

Born in South Florida, Kleinberg has spent nearly four decades as a reporter, including 31 years at The Palm Beach Post. In addition to covering local news, he also writes extensively about Florida and Florida history.

He has written 10 books, all focusing on Florida, including Black Cloud, on the great 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane; two Weird Florida books; and Palm Beach Past and Wicked Palm Beach, both collections of items from “Post Time,” his weekly local history column. His 10th book, Peace River, is a historical novel based at the end of the Civil War. He is a member of the Florida, South Florida and Palm Beach County historical societies.

Rice will present the second lecture, “Think Big! Creative Thinking,” on Nov. 17. Rice is best known as a local advertising legend and Palm Beach County native on television for more than 50 years, along with his late twin brother, John.

Rice will share his story about growing up in South Florida, his early business experiences, the lessons he has learned and his definition of success. He has circled the globe sharing his inspirational “Think Big” success principles.

Oyer, a fifth-generation Floridian, will present the “Adventures of Charlie Pierce” on March 16, 2019. A descendent from one of the earliest pioneer families in South Florida, he is the great-great-grandson of Capt. Hannibal Dillingham Pierce and his wife Margretta Moore Pierce, who in 1872 became one of the first non-Native American families to settle in Southeast Florida. Oyer is the great-grand-nephew of Charlie Pierce, the subject of his book series.

Oyer is an attorney in West Palm Beach, a Cambridge University educated archaeologist and an avid historian. He served for many years as the chairman of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County and has written or contributed to numerous books and articles about Florida history.

Many of the stories contained in his book series have been passed down through five generations of his family. Oyer has won numerous awards for his Adventures of Charlie Pierce children’s book series.

The lecture series will conclude on May 11, 2019 with Bailey, who will present “Crackers, Cows & Curs.” Bailey is a retired Palm Beach County court judge, a longtime Loxahatchee Groves resident and an acclaimed “Florida Cracker Storyteller.”

His stories highlight Florida’s rich multi-cultural history and agricultural roots that seek to preserve the human accounts that go with that land. For more than 20 years, Bailey told his stories at outdoor events while mounted on his horse — one with Spanish bloodlines that goes back 500 years in Florida — and accompanied by one of his Florida Cur cow-dogs. His horse passed away a few years ago at age 34, but Bailey still brings one of his dogs to storytelling events.

Pricing for all four lectures is $120. Individual lectures also may be purchased for $18 or $35. For details, or to purchase tickets, visit www.southfloridafair.com/lectureseries.