Events for 2009 Easter Festival

Easter parade
April 3
Knighting Ceremony – When a person works hard to do a good job, they are said to be a hard worker. When a person adds a few extra hours of volunteer work to aid the community in which they live, they are said to be good citizens. Here in St. Augustine, when a person not only does a good job, not only gives a little extra work to the community, but also volunteers for tasks to improve our community and improve the Easter Festival, they deserve to be knighted. This tradition started when we decided that members of our community need to be singled out to be thanked for all the extra hours they put in.

The Knighting will be held this year in Isabella’s Garden, on St. George Street, across from the Columbia Restaurant. It will begin at 7:00 p.m.

April 5
Palm Sunday Blessing of the Fleet– Throughout the years, the Blessing of the Fleet has had all the majesty of tradition and the solemnity of a religious ceremony. Gaily decorated shrimp boats, private yachts, and small pleasure crafts participate in the traditional blessing. This tradition began centuries ago to protect the fishing vessels and insure their safe return to port. As the vessels pass by the municipal pier, they are solemnly blessed with the recitation of the Ancient Prayer of the Sea. “May the Blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost descend upon your ship and upon all who shall be in them and remain forever. Amen.”

At the conclusion of the passing of the boats, a floral bouquet in the shape of an anchor is placed in the water of the bay to float with the tide out to sea.

The Blessing of the Fleet will follow directly after Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica Downtown.

April 12
Promenade – Are you from Honolulu, Hawaii? Or could you be from Hamburg, Germany? Does your age and your wife’s or husband’s age add up to 168 years or how about 172 years? If you answer yes to any of these questions you could be a winner in the annual Easter Promenade.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a promenade is a leisurely walk in a public place for pleasure or display. Of course, we have judges and prizes.

Here are some of the categories that you could be a winner in:
Largest Family, Oldest Couple, Farthest from Home, Prettiest Hat, Most Original Hat, Best Dressed Little Boy, Best Dressed Little Girl, Best Dressed Mother/Daughter, and finally Best Dressed Father/Son. Added in the recent past years has been the best dressed animal promenade, which has become very popular. Why not join us “In Your Easter Bonnet, With All the Frills Upon It?”

This event will be held in the Downtown Plaza at 12:30 p.m.

Easter Parade – Here in the Nation’s Oldest City, we have a parade that is unique in the first colony in America. St. Augustine adopted The “Parada de los Caballos y Coches”, the Parade of Horses and Carriages in early 1957. Carriages were decorated, and the horses wore hats donated by the ladies. Now joining the parade are high stepping bands, marching and twirling units, colorfully decorated Floats, clowns, gaily decorated horse units, the Easter Bunny, historic Militia and police units, and beauty queens.

Many local and state dignitaries will sit on the reviewing stand and enjoy the master of ceremonies and parade as our parade marshal Leads the Royal Trio and Entourage through the downtown streets of St. Augustine.

The Easter Parade will begin at 3:00 p.m.

April 16
Fromajardis Serenace – Tasty cheese pastries and a lilting Spanish Melody will hold center stage for this Easter Activity. This custom was originally brought to this country in the late 1799s when the Menorcans migrated to St. Augustine. According to tradition, the Fromajada Serenade, held on Easter Eve, involved bands of young men who went about the streets singing at various houses with violin and guitar accompaniment, a song of praise to the Virgin Mary. At these houses, a slight tap or knock would announce their arrival along with music, and if the residents were at home, and the music was pleasing to them, the reward was a treat of the delicious fromarjadis.

For this the musicians would sing “The Owner of this house is a Polite Gentleman,” but for those who did not favor the Musicians with a tasty treat, the musical reply was “The Owner of this house is Not a Polite Gentleman.”

To be held at 7:00 p.m. in Isabella’s Garden, on St. George Street, across from the Columbia Restaurant.

April 19
Menorcan Day Tea- From a beautiful little island just off the coast of Spain came some of St. Augustine’s hardiest settlers – the Menorcans – and, to this day, perhaps the most prominent Spanish names in St. Augustine are Menorcan in origin. The story of the Menorcans’ arrival in Florida, and their eventual migration from New Smyrna Beach to this ancient City, is one that never fails to stir the imagination and interest of each succeeding generation.

It is a courageous, exciting story, and descendants of the original settlers have an opportunity to relive it to some extent over Easter Week on the occasion of the annual Menorcan Day Celebration.

To be held at 2:00 p.m. in Isabella’s Garden, on St. George Street, across from the Columbia Restaurant

Dates, times and locations of all events are subject to change. Please contact an officer of the Easter Festival Committee for further information if you plan on attending any event. Or please visit our website at www.staugeasterfestival.com.

2008-2009 Easter Festival Board
Philip Genovar, President
Janelle Whaley, Vice President
Terry Stokes Letterman, Vice President
Lisa Colee, Secretary

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