ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Juan Ponce de Leon is a rock star around the Ancient City.
He's everywhere -- from statues, to street signs to re-enactments like here at the Fountain of Youth.
"We've been celebrating and St. Augustine have been celebrating Ponce de Leon's presence for over 132 years," said Richard Goldman, Executive Director for the St. Augustine Ponte Vedra and Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Ponce de Leon is often noted for being Christopher Columbus' shipmate but his biggest feat came in 1513 when he sailed from Puerto Rico to The Sunshine State. According to navigation records from the royal histographer, the explorer first spotted land at 30 degrees and eight minutes north latitude, which is south of Ponte Vedra near St. Augustine.
One 10-year-old heard a different legend.
"I think my teacher told me he landed somewhere in the Miami area," Matthew Greenwood said.
Brevard County has the same claim. Some years ago, an amateur historian built a ship and attempted to sail Ponce de Leon's route. Instead of St. Johns County, his trek landed him about 125 nautical miles south in Melbourne Beach. In result, the city decided to put a sign up, rivaling our area.
"It is interesting, but I'd like to know what evidence they may have," tourist Marcy Lay said.
There may never be any. The St. Augustine Ponte Vedra and the Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau says the original Spanish log can't be found. In the Spring, both St. Augustine and Melbourne Beach will be holding a 500th anniversary celebration.
Leaders here say that's fine as long as the man who named "La Florida" is honored.
"We're really not worried about competition. The truth is, if it brings attention to the state of Florida and Juan Ponce de Leon, who is our legacy -- we'll be fine," Goldman said with a smile.
The anniversary celebration is scheduled for April 3rd, the day Ponce de Leon came ashore. There will be re-enactments and dedication of a baptismal font sent from Spain.