President John F. Kennedy visited Tampa just four-days before his death. As the 50th anniversary approaches, a new exhibit relives his visit through pictures, artifacts, and rare video footage.
"Kennedy was the first sitting president to visit Tampa and so it was a huge event for the city," explained Rodney Kite-Powell, Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center.
The November 18, 1963 campaign stop lasted just five-hours. Now five-decades later, visitors can see pictures of JFK at MacDill Air Force Base, Al Lopez Field, and the armory.
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"People turned out in droves to sit or stand along the motorcade and watch him go by," said Kite-Powell. "I think the news of Kennedy's assassination really did hit Tampa particularly hard because he had just been here."
Tampa film producer Lynn Marvin Dingfelder dug up all the photos and footage for her new documentary JFK in Tampa: The 50th Anniversary. She interviewed more than 50 people for the project who came out to see the President that historic day.
"Now they're going to be preserved. It's kind of a time capsule," she said.
The documentary premiered at the Tampa Theatre Thursday night. It will air on WUSF TV on Sunday at 8 p.m.
The exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center opens Friday at 10 a.m. and runs through December 8th.
On the actual 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, the City of Tampa will unveil a historic marker on Kennedy Blvd.
200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606
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