It’s a celebration 450 years in the making and it happens this weekend in St. Augustine. The oldest continuous European settlement in the United States was founded September 8, 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles. The culminating event of St. Augustine’s multi-year commemoration of the city’s founding will feature more than 60 hours of free entertainment, historical reenactments, and a fireworks show. If you plan to go, here are some things you shouldn’t miss.
Friday, September 4
450 Minutes of Art Walk – The Art Galleries of St. Augustine will celebrate the historic founding of the Oldest City with a special 450 Minutes of Art Walk. Participating members of The Art Galleries of St. Augustine will have extended hours of First Friday Art Walk from 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 4. Hosting the Art Walk for 450 minutes (7.5 hours) will allow the public to view and shop for art throughout the day and into the evening to celebrate the kickoff of Celebrate 450!
Mavis Staples and Aaron Neville – Rolling Stone magazine once named Mavis Staples one of the 100 greatest singers of all time. She’ll take the main stage on the city’s Bayfront at 6:45 pm. Grammy Hall of Fame recording artist Aaron Neville will bring his special brand of soul to the same stage at 8:30.
Saturday, September 5
450th Landing Day Thanksgiving Feast – Reenactors will land at the Fountain of Youth, proceed around the Park, and settle in to celebrate a recreated Thanksgiving meal just like the first documented Thanksgiving Feast in what is now the U.S. It happens 10:30 am to 2 pm. Admission is $15 adults, $14 seniors, $9 children, 5 and under are free. Feast tickets sold separately.
Fiesta de Aviles & Running of the Bulls – The fiesta features costumes, art exhibits and a special running of the “bulls” along Aviles Street. Participate in the two running of the bulls races: youth race at 3 p.m. and adult race at 3:30 p.m. The fiesta also includes a Name the Bull Contest. A live Andulusian Bull will be available to view at the Fatio House Courtyard. The winner receives a $100. The contest is from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The drawing of the winning name will be at 4 p.m.
Vilano Beach Sunset Celebration – Features a spectacular sunset across the bay plus dozens of market vendors, live music, local arts and crafts and more at the Vilano Pier. Activities are from 4 p.m. to dusk. Admission is free.
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – These two legendary entertainers have multiple Grammy awards between them and have influenced countless music artists. They take the Bayfront main stage at 9:30 pm Saturday.
Fireworks Over the Matanzas 450! – The day is capped by an awesome fireworks display over the Matanzas River at 11 pm.
Monday, September 7
Cake Cutting & Proclamation Reading – A cake cutting, local music and reading of a proclamation will take place in the Gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitución. The festivities begin at 12 pm.
Tuesday, September 8
Menendez Landing Reenactment – An authentic, historical re-enactment of Pedro Menéndez’s landing takes place at the Mission Nombre de Dios starting at 9 am.
450th Procession – A procession takes dignitaries, re-enactors and spectators from the Mission Nombre de Dios to The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine for the Commemorative Mass. It’s scheduled to start at 10 am.
For the complete schedule of events marking St. Augustine’s 450th, visit StAugustine-450.com.