St. Augustine's 445th Birthday Celebration this Weekend

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thursday-Sunday: September 2-5
The birthday celebration gets underway on Thursday, September 2 in the town's Plaza de la Constitucion. Free birthday cake will be distributed to everyone attending the free 7 p.m. Concert in the Plaza.

Beginning on Friday and continuing through Sunday, the Fountain of Youth will feature an encampment with re-enactors portraying Timucuas and the Spanish soldiers and colonists who lived here during the early days of the city's history. The re-enactments will begin each day at 9 a.m. The colorful and dramatic re-enactment of The Landing will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday when Menendez will arrive by boat at Mission Nombre de Dios on San Marco Avenue, adjacent to the Fountain of Youth. The Spanish colonists landed along this shoreline in 1565. After the landing, Dr. Bonnie McEwan, director of Mission San Luis, will speak about the importance of Mission Nombre de Dios, the first mission established here by the Spaniards. Bishop Victor Galeone will conduct a Celebration Mass at the mission's outdoor altar -on the grounds where Father Lopez performed mass on the day of the City of St. Augustine's birth 445 years ago. Following mass, a procession of 16th century Spanish soldiers will carry the actual casket of Pedro Menendez in a solemn procession to its new home in the new Mission Nombre de Dios Museum. Bishop Galeone will provide a blessing and dedication ceremony for the new museum. All of these events are free and open to the public. For more information about the landing re-enactment at the museum, go to http://www.missionandshrine.org/ or call 904.824.2809.

On Saturday at 4:45 p.m., the First Thanksgiving will be re-enacted on the grounds of the Fountain of Youth. This well-documented event occurred on this site on September 8, 1565 when Timucuas and Spaniards shared their food in a Feast of Thanksgiving. The re-enactment will include a cooking contest with entries limited to ingredients that would have been readily available on that date at that location. The public will be invited to sample the entries. Admission to the Fountain of Youth is free for St. Johns County residents. For more information about the encampment and cooking contest, call 904.829.3168. Full details on all of the Birthday Celebration events can be found on the City of St. Augustine's website http://www.staugustinesbirthday.com/.

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