The United States’ oldest continuously inhabited European-established city will celebrate the 452rd anniversary of Pedro Menéndez y Avila’s landing with a three-day citywide event on August 28-30, 2017. Admission is free.
According to St. Augustine publicist Barbara Golden, “The City of St. Augustine’s Birthday is one of the most exciting times of the year in Northeast Florida. The celebration grows each year and this year includes three full days of special events celebrating the city’s rich Spanish heritage.”
This year’s focus is the culture and heritage of the Native Americans who were already living on the land when Pedro Menéndez y Avila’s ship made its 1565 landing.
Highlights of the celebration are an Indian Pow Wow, a reenactment of Pedro Menéndez’s landing followed by a celebration of Mass at the historic spot, an interactive exhibit of the city’s historic timeline, and a birthday party with cake and party games.
Thursday, August 28: Celebrating Those Who Were Already Here
Opening night events, set for 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., remember the residents of Seloy, the large Timucuan village that predated St. Augustine’s Spanish sellers. The Seminoles and members of other tribes who have played their parts in Florida history will also be honored. The evening will include an Indian Pow Wow celebrating the Native American traditions that are a part of the city’s history.
Friday, August 29: Entertainment in 16th Century Style
The gardens of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, 19 San Marco Avenue, will become the stage for entertainment sixteenth-century style, including jugglers, madrigal singers, and actors who will present authentic skits and comedies. Admission to the museum grounds is free.
Saturday, August 30: Landing Reenactment and Commemorative Mass Celebration
A full day of festivities begins at 9:30 a.m. with an authentically costumed reenactment of the landing by the city’s founder, don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, at the Mission of Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Avenue. Following the reenactment, an outdoor Mass will be celebrated on a wooden altar at the water’s edge, the exact landing point of the Spanish colonists in 1565.
Saturday, August 30: First Thanksgiving Cooking Contest and Historical Encampment, Fountain of Youth Archeological Park
From noon until 2:00 p.m., a cooking contest, classes, and demonstrations using sixteenth century foods and recipes will re-create the First Thanksgiving. The early Spanish settlers of St. Augustine shared this harvest feast with their Timucuan neighbors decades before the better-known banquet in New England. Authentic sixteenth century lunches will be available for purchase.
Saturday, August 30: Fiesta at the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum
From noon until 3:00 p.m., the fiesta will feature live bluegrass music and children’s activities in the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum, located on St. George Street. During the fiesta, St. Augustine’s Royal Family will cut the official birthday cake.
For More Information
Visit the official St. Augustine’s Birthday website for more detailed information about the event. For more information about travel to St. Augustine and room availability during the celebration, call the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau at 800.653.2489 or view their travel-planning website.