Deland is a town of many surprises, interesting people, history and events.
We had an amazing welcome which included a proclamation and presentation of the key to the city. From there we went to the VFW for a pancake breakfast where we met some local heroes. Throughout the day we learned about the pride of the people of Deland and their Wounded Warrior Project.
The next stop on our tour was Skydive DeLand, the skydive training capital of the world offering training programs for all experience levels, from first time jumpers to the world class competitors. We met local legend Bill Booth an
engineer, inventor, and noted entrepreneur (often mistaken for a member of ZZ top ) Bill is renowned in the skydiving equipment manufacturing industry for his invention of the 3-ring safety device that allows the rapid release of the skydiver’s main parachute in the event of a malfunction which is used in all sport skydiving equipment, and some military systems employ this design as well. He’s also been in a movie or two including The Firm with Tom Cruise.
As we blew into town, so did tropical storm Debbie. While she may have rained on any hopes of skydiving, the big celebration planned at the ball park and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, she did not dampen the spirits of the community who quickly went into action rearranging everything to flawless perfection. An impromptu event was held at city hall including song, dance, and even a mock 1st pitch to start the game that would have been. It was AWESOME!
We visited several local museums and spoke with some amazing volunteers who shared with us the history of Deland. We also met Dr. Libby, President of Stetson University, which was founded in 1883 and is Florida’s first private university, first law school and first private school to be granted a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
The crown jewel of Deland comes by way of the Stetson Mansion- restored and for the 1st time, open to the public for tours (not to be missed)
We ate delicious food, made great friends and learned that a little rain or even a tropical storm bring out the best in Deland!