On September 8, 2012, St. Augustine celebrated the 447th anniversary of its founding. Re-enactors walked in the steps Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, landing near the current site of the Mission Nombre de Dios. (See a few pix on this site http://www.floridashistoriccoast.com/listings/view/21900)
The stories I’ve read agree that, after a Catholic mass was held, Menendez didn’t rest on his fancy coattails. He marched north to what is now Jacksonville to destroy the French Fort Caroline. Then he learned French ships had sunk or run aground south of St. Augustine during a storm, and he double-timed it to the inlet south of St. Augustine on Anastasia Island to intercept the French survivors. It didn’t end well for them, thus the name Matanzas Inlet.
The anniversary re-enactment takes place every year, and is free, but wait! There’s more happening in St. Augustine as we approach the city’s 450th anniversary. In fact, there are years of commemorative events planned!
On October 1, 2012, Viva Florida 500 holds a statewide summit at the Flagler College Auditorium. Juan Ponce de Leon “discovered” and named Florida in 1513, and January 2013 marks the beginning of Florida’s Quincentennial Anniversary.
On October 3-6 break out the castanets, clear your palate, and groove to city’s Spanish heritage at a new festival! For three days, at various venues, those with tickets may experience authentic Spanish foods and wines, music and dancing. The festival benefits programs in the St. Augustine community, too—a win-win for everyone! FMI, visit
On October 20, 2012 the Fountain of Youth Archaeological National Park will host a re-enactment of the reading of the Spanish Constitution. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine will present a blessing, and the events are free!
Fun factoid: In the central plaza of St. Augustine - the Plaza de la Constitución – a monument to the Spanish Constitution of 1812 stands. It is perhaps the only one of its kind left in the Western Hemisphere. Why? Because the city Powers That Be didn’t follow orders from Spain to tear it down.
Last for this installment, I hope you’ll visit the city someday at Christmas time to see the gorgeous Nights of Lights. I believe this festival of lights, which also has its roots in Spanish tradition, runs from November 17th, 2012 to January 31, 2013.
I leave you for now with a saucy stomp of my fflamenco dance shoes. Happy Reading!