Discover First America programs return next month

Dana Ste. Claire, development director for the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration, announced to Historic City News the return of the “Discover First America!” program; a five-part entertainment series that explores facets of the rich history and culture that is uniquely St. Augustine.

Presentations begin at 7:00 p.m. with the doors opening at 6:00 p.m. for seating, lobby displays, demonstrations and book signings. All programs are held in the Flagler College Auditorium, located at 14 Granada Street in St. Augustine.

The new series featuring food, dance, colorful costumes, shipwrecks, pirates, discovery, archaeological sites, Revolutionary War, and the military presence in St. Augustine for more than four-and-a–half centuries, will begin December 7, 2011.

“We are thrilled to bring this series of events back to the community,” Ste. Claire told Historic City News. “The first series was standing-room only, and we are excited to continue presenting information on St. Augustine’s history and culture.”

Jennifer Zuberer, who serves as Communications and Resources Manager for the 450th Commemoration, said that passports will be given to all participants and souvenir stampings will be provided for attending each of the programs.

The following planned schedule has been announced:

Pirates Attack St. Augustine!
On Dec. 7, 2011, Pat Croce, owner of the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum and celebrity adventurer, and Sam Turner, maritime archaeologist, will present this program; coordinated by the First Light Maritime Society with support from the Maritime Heritage Foundation. Croce will speak about the journeys of the pirates of St. Augustine from Francis Drake to Robert Searle. Turner will tell about 1500s life in St. Augustine and the nation’s oldest port based on recent historical and archaeological research. This event is sponsored by the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum and the First Light Maritime Society.

First Colony
On Jan. 10, 2012, Kathleen Deagan, archaeologist, will report on her latest finds at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, which is located on the area settled by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565. Menendez re-enactor Chad Light and his cast will recreate the historic landing in 1565, which will incude a full entourage of Spanish soldiers, Timucuan Indians and Catholic priests. This event is sponsored by the Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park.

The Madness of King George
On Jan. 25, 2012, Roger Smith will recount the last days of the British reign in America, which took place in St. Augustine at the Pena-Peck House. Smith will also talk about the rich colonial maritime history of St. Augustine. John Stavely, author, tour guide and re-enactor, will appear as Jesse Fish, the persuasive British broker. A colonial fashion show will conclude the program. This event is sponsored by the First Light Maritime Society with support from the Maritime Heritage Foundation.

St. Augustine Tapestry
On Feb. 7, 2012, the lifeways, foods, songs and dance of the multiple cultures of St. Augustine will be presented, including the Menorcan, Greek and African cultures. These cultures are important threads of St. Augustine’s tapestry. Also, the secret colonial recipes for rum and Menorcan clam chowder will be revealed. This event is sponsored by the Casa Monica Hotel.

To Arms! Four & a Half Centuries of Military History in St. Augustine
On Feb. 16, 2012, the military presence from the beginning of St. Augustine will be depicted. For centuries, St. Augustine has been shaped by wars, battles and military campaigns. From the soldiers of Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles and the Fort Mose Militia to the Revolutionary, Seminole and Civil Wars, and finally the modern-day National Guard, 450 years of military history will be covered in 100 minutes through soldier re-enactors and vignettes. This event is sponsored by the St. Augustine 450th Military Commemoration Committee of the St. Johns County Veteran’s Council.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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