Jay Humphreys reports to Historic City News that summer sunshine and star-spangled nights have quickly made tropical storm Fayâ€™s wind and rain nothing more than soggy memories for visitors to northeast Floridaâ€™s St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches.
â€œFortunately, Fayâ€™s fury resulted in no significant damage to our area â€“ in fact, a day after the stormâ€™s passage there was little evidence that it was even here,â€ said Glenn Hastings, executive director of the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau. â€œVisitors have retuned to our beaches and everyone is looking forward to the coming weekendâ€™s big birthday party â€“ St. Augustineâ€™s four-hundred and forty-third.â€
St. Augustineâ€™s annual birthday celebration commemorating the cityâ€™s founding in 1565 will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 28 at the Fountain of Youth National Archeological Park where living history presentations devoted to the Timucua â€“ the areaâ€™s original inhabitants â€“ will be conducted.
From 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, 16th century entertainers including jugglers, madrigal singers and actors will perform outdoors at Ripleyâ€™s Believe It or Not! Museum.
The colorful and impressive re-enactment of the cityâ€™s founding will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Mission of Nombre de Dios when re-enactors portraying Admiral Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, his soldiers, sailors, priests and colonists come ashore at the exact location where the Spanish landed 443 yeas ago. The landing will be followed, just as it was in 1565, with a celebration of mass.
Next door, on the grounds of the Fountain of Youth, a living timeline featuring dozens of authentic re-enactors will give visitors an opportunity to walk through nearly four-and-a-half centuries of the cityâ€™s history. The timeline will lead to a re-enactment of the Nationâ€™s first Thanksgiving Feast where competitors will present dishes prepared only with ingredients that were available to the Spaniards and Native Americans who held the feast in St. Augustine on September 8, 1565.
The birthday party will continue until 3 p.m. at the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum on St. George Street where visitors can enjoy live music and be served free birthday cake by re-enactors portraying the Spanish royal family of 1672â€”the year the cityâ€™s Castillo de San Marcos was commissioned.
All of the cityâ€™s birthday celebration events are free and open to the public. For full details, go to: www.staugustinesbirthday.com
Just up the coast, the internationally-renowned resorts of Ponte Vedra are welcoming guests looking for an upscale end-of-summer escape featuring magnificent, undamaged beaches and some of the worldâ€™s best tennis and golfing opportunities â€“ including the THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship.
Nearby, the World Golf Hall of Fame offers inspiration to fans of the game â€“ especially those who want to experience the challenges of the Slammer and Squire and King and Bear courses at World Golf Village.
ABCâ€™s Good Morning America recently dubbed St. Augustine the number one place in the United States where visitors can feel like they in Europe without the expense of trans-Atlantic travel. The city features more than 60 historic, educational and fun attractions.
The oldest, continuously-occupied city in the fifty states, St. Augustine is so rich in historic architectural treasures that its entire 144-square block historic district is on the National Register of Historic Places. Horse-drawn carriages, motorized trolleys and trains, and guided walking tours provide outstanding ways to experience the narrow streets, plazas and architecture of this ancient city â€“ including historic inns, a magnificent hotel from the Gilded Age, a beautiful lighthouse, and the impressive Spanish fortress Castillo de San Marcos.
For more information on seaside and historic district accommodations, events and activities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, contact the Visitors and Convention Bureau at 1.800.653.2489