You know you are getting old when your candles can’t fit on the cake – and that’s certainly true when it comes to the city of St Augustine the saying rings true, because on Labor Day Weekend the old city is celebrating its 444th Birthday.
The birthday celebration is an annual tradition in St. Augustine, Florida and during the event you can learn about the City of St. Augustine’s founding 445 years ago in 1565. For this kind of birthday – a big birthday bash is in order and this is exactly what you will find in the Old City during the St. Augustine’s birthday event September 2 – September 4, 2010.
The city of St. Augustine is the longest continually inhabited city founded by Europeans in what is now the United States. This makes it the Nation’s Oldest City.
The birth of the city was proclaimed by Don Pedro Menéndez de Aviles on September 8, 1565. Since then St. Augustine has survived and flourished despite hurricanes, wars, plagues and countless pirate raids.
Thursday September 2
On Thursday at 7 p.m. come to St. Augustine Government House Courtyard for a special Birthday cake cutting ceremony to celebrate the city’s 445th birthday. Afterwards walk to the nearby Plaza de la Constitucion for the Concert in the Plaza from 7 to 9 p.m.
Saturday September 4
Witness the reenactment of the landing of St. Augustine’s founder, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, at Mission of Nombre De Dios starting around 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning. This location was the exact landing point where Spanish colonists came ashore and were greeted by the Timucua Indians in 1565. Following the reenactment, Dr. Bonnie McEwan, director of Mission San Luis, will speak about the development of the first mission, Nombre de Dios. Then, a celebration of Mass led by Bishop Victor Galeone will take place at the Mission’s outdoor altar. Following Mass, a procession led by authentic Spanish reenactors will depart from the Mission’s Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche Chapel with the actual casket of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, to its new home in the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum. Bishop Galeone will provide the blessing and dedication ceremony for the museum. Then at 4:45 p.m. come be a part of the first real Thanksgiving Cooking Contest at the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park, located at 11 Magnolia Avenue.
Activities include a 16th century encampment and a 16th century cooking contest where entries utilize only ingredients that either the native Timucuans had here or the Spanish settlers brought with them. For more information about the landing, visit www.MissionandShrine.org or call 904.824.2809.