The 456th Anniversary of St Augustine
Historic City News photojournalist
A large crowd witnessed the 456th anniversary of the founding of St Augustine during the annual celebration. Guests were welcomed by a sunny day and a pleasant breeze from the bay.
Upon the arrival of his vessel, Spanish conqueror Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles knelt to kiss the cross that Father Francisco de Mendoza Grajales held as a symbol of the arrival of Christianity in the New World.
“This is a very special celebration of our nation, a great tradition every year,” said Bishop Felipe de Jesus Estevez of the Diocese of St Augustine. “No other city in the nation celebrates its roots like St Augustine. You are responsible for keeping them alive with this historical recreation of our Foundation. Celebrating our roots is important for the Faith just as it is important for the City of San Agustín and our children.”
Menendez was accompanied on the grounds of the Mission of Nombre de Dios by the reenactment groups produced by Historic Florida Militia, including a family that represented the Indians of Seloy. They celebrated the traditional mass of the founding of St Augustine at a rustic altar delivering a message about the importance of keeping these traditions latent in the community
After mass, Menéndez and his outpost went in procession to the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park where they celebrated the first Thanksgiving dinner. Traditional dishes of the time were shared with the Timucuan Indians.