James Dean Fiske announced to Historic City News yesterday that the hopeful plans to resurrect a once popular fiesta, to be known as St. Augustine’s “Days in old Spain”, have been canceled.
This one-time mainstay of the historic city, a three-day community Fiesta, was presented for many years by the now disbanded St. Augustine Jaycees. Fisk informed us last month of plans for the non-profit Historic Florida Militia, to pick up the challenge.
Tentative plans included many memorable favorites from the predecessor event as well as some new additions, the appearance of local dignitaries and an appearance by the St. Augustine Royal Family.
Working with Fisk was Stuart Gamsey, the former horse carriage operator in St. Augustine — attempting to promote the event. Fisk is the Educational and Public Tour Guide south of the St. Johns County line at Old Florida Museum near Princess Place.
Fisk did not give specific reasons for canceling the event in his announcement; however, a facebook page which he setup to coordinate participants, indicated that out of 411 invited guests, only 27 were confirmed to attend.
In years past, authentic swordfighters appeared on stage to entertain the crowds that once filled Aviles Street, then the Plaza de la Constitucion, and, at one time, St. George Street. Sally Walton dancers, traveling vendors offered homemade Minorcan staples like black beans and rice and shrimp pilau, the annual beard contest recognized the man who most resembled our Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon and settler Pedro Menendez.
Historic City News editor, Michael Gold, spoke with Romanza president, Albert Syeles, about the origins of the Fiesta. Although his organization has a lot on their plate coordinating their current events, he did not rule out the possibility of working with local sponsors at some point in the future to bring the Days in Spain back to the city.