During the regular business meeting Monday night, Dana Ste Claire, 450th Development Director for the City of St Augustine, introduced posters for the First Annual Spanish Wine and Food Festival coming to town on October 3-6.
Ste Claire claims that the first-year event is designed to make St Augustine “the Spanish wine capital of the United States” — a claim that may be a bit overreaching; according to some members of the public who attended the meeting.
Visitors and Convention Bureau Promotions Director Rick Hensler clarified that the wine fest is being wrapped into the third year of a VCB production — “Flavors of Florida’s Historic Coast”.
Ste Claire mentioned two other events being claimed as part of the celebration of the founding of St Augustine in 1565 — a statewide leadership forum being held by Viva Florida 500, the state’s initiative for the Ponce de Leon quincentennial, and, a statewide tourism symposium being held at the World Golf Village for three days in January.
Going further out on a limb, after being ordered to either take down all flags of private groups and events, or, to allow all flags to be flown; without the mayor in attendance, the remaining four commissioners voted to allow the attachment of banners harking “official City of St Augustine government special events” to about 50 city-owned light poles.
Some who expressed opinions in the audience were concerned that this may be a 450th activity that leads the city taxpayers into court; if groups like Ancient City Pride, Inc., or others, demand equal use of city property to express themselves.