When Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales put his quill & ink to parchment some 450 years ago, chronicling the voyage to la Florida of one Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, he could have never imagined the thousands of people who will gather this Labor Day weekend in celebration.
The City of St. Augustine has been years planning this anniversary celebration for its 450th anniversary on Sept. 8, 2015, and there have been other anniversary events to commemorate the multiple influences St. Augustine has had on the nation. These include the 200th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution in 2012, the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Ponce de León in 2013, and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in 2014. The folks of Old City respect their history, and also never miss a chance to throw a party.
A lot has happened in our Nation’s Oldest City throughout its somewhat checkered history. The more colorful characters included scallywags, scoundrels and minstrels. Whereas the minstrels remain the others reside in Congress today. For the most part the mongrel blend of Spanish, Minorcans, Africans and Native Americans worked hard together to build a lasting community along the shores of their new continent.
Today the community of St. Augustine has lasted four and a half centuries and the area is now home for over 70,000 residents and a welcome travel destination for thousands of visitors annually.
This special Celebrate 450! edition of EU Jacksonville will provide you a tour through the Celebration events, music performances, places to eat, sites of interest along with an Old City resident’s “insider’s guide” to the local’s hangouts.
Make your Labor Day weekend plans now. According to Trip Advisor there are some 106 hotel, motel and B&B’s in St. Augustine and there are rooms still available. But, these days, with the I-295 extension, St. A seems to have gotten a lot closer – and a rather pleasant, relaxing short drive from Jacksonville. Pick up a copy of EU’s August issue, it will serve you well, if for nothing more than a hand fan or paper rain bonnet.