Although local Historic City News reporters and thousands of people in St Augustine witnessed the re-enactment of Ponce de Leon’s landing on April 3, our readers who missed the first ceremonies will get their chance to relive history as Florida’s 500th Anniversary events continue through the weekend in the nation’s oldest city.
Tomorrow is Living History Day at Fort Matanzas National Monument. From 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Saturday, authentically clad re-enactors will demonstrate Spanish cannons at this fortress that guarded the southern approach to St. Augustine.
Admission is free including the ferry ride to and from Rattlesnake Island. Fort Matanzas National Monument is located at 8635 A1A at the south end of Anastasia Island — approximately 15 miles south of St. Augustine. For information call 904-471-0116.
On Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7, the La Fiesta de la Florida, a weekend-long revival of St. Augustine’s Ponce de Leon celebration begins with festivities at 10:00 a.m. on April 6 with a re-enactment on the bayfront of Ponce de Leon’s 1513 landing and naming of La Florida.
A ceremony will follow at the Ponce de Leon statue at the east end of the Plaza de la Constitucion. Re-enactors representing 500 years of Florida history will appear during festivities continuing until 10:00 p.m.
Admission to all events is free.
The celebrations on both days will take place at the Ribera House, 22 St. George Street and Arrivas House, 46 St. George Street. Latin food, historic military demonstrations by the Historic Florida Militia, folkloric dancers from Hispanic countries and other live entertainment will be featured.
On April 7, the festivities begin on St. George Street at 11:00 a.m. with a performance of “Dancing with the Sun” by the pre-Columbian dancers Xochitalpan. The day’s entertainment includes Lucero Bernal with traditional Mariachi-style music; Latin American folkloric groups Raices de Colombia, Fuego Flamenco; Raices de mi Tierra Puerto Rico; San Patricio Mexican Dancers and Belly Flamenco Dancers; “Taste of the Fuego Flamenco”; Blue Lotus belly dancing; guitar performances and special appearances by Don Juan Ponce de Leon (portrayed by Fr. Gilbert Medina) and Miss Ponce de Leon (portrayed by Raisa La Rosa, the reigning Miss Mundo Latina).
Photo credits: © 2013 Historic City News contributed photograph by Visitors and Convention Bureau