Ponce de Leon official landing ceremony

400-PONCE-LANDING-FOYPonce de Leon official landing ceremony

By Raphael Cosme
St Augustine, FL

The Historic Florida Militia reported to Historic City News in St Augustine that they are bringing the Ponce de Leon celebration back to town, just in time to celebrate Florida’s 500th Anniversary.

While St Augustine’s original Ponce de Leon Celebrations were great city-wide fiestas that began in 1883, the revived Ponce de Leon Celebrations will be a celebration of Florida’s quincentennial and the rich and continuing history of our State and St Augustine itself.

The Ponce de Leon celebration: Fiesta de la Florida will begin on April 6 at 10:00 a.m. with an official landing reenactment and ceremony honoring Ponce at his statue east of the Plaza de la Constitución in the St Augustine bay front downtown.

A blessing will be given by Fr. Tom Willis from the Cathedral Basilica.

La fiesta will follow after the official ceremony with diverse performances from Hispanic and historical performers, Latin food and historic military demonstrations. Visitors and locals alike will be entertained by performances of Latin American Folklore, Spanish music and dance at venues along St George Street at the North City Gate, Grist Mill Plaza, Ribera House Courtyard, Spanish Isabella Garden, Arrivas House Courtyard and in the Plaza at the Gazebo.

Don Juan Ponce de Leon portrayed by Fr. Gilbert Medina from the St Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church; Miss Ponce de Leon, Raisa La Rosa (Miss Mundo Latina 2012); and the St Augustine Royal Family will make special appearances throughout the Fiesta.

Performers at the two-day extravaganza include historical re-enactors, a Buccaneer Fiesta Garden with a 1720 Period encampment; pre-Columbian dancers of Xochitlalpan; Lucero Bernal’s traditional Mariachi styling, the Latin American folk dances from “Roots of Colombia and Puerto Rico”; San Patricio dancers, the taste of the Fuego Flamenco; The Blue Lotus Bellydancers’; a variety of traditional dances; and recognized guitar players will bring the passion and romance of traditional Spanish and Salsa music.

Hours for the Fiesta are from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm on Saturday; and from 11:00am to 6:00pm on Sunday, when the grand finale will take place at the Cubo Line field adjacent to the Huguenot Cemetery. Our re-enactors will gather there one last time to shoot their cannons and muskets for the crowds.

This free commemorative event is sponsored by the Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park, Eclipse Recording Company, Signs Now, Columbia Restaurant, St Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church, Miss Mundo Latina, Days Inn at Historic Downtown, Herbie Wiles Insurance and Quality Inn.

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Photo credits: © 2013 Historic City News contributed photograph by Raphael Cosme

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