St. Augustine's 450th Birthday

Stay informed as the Nation's Oldest City gears up for it's 450th celebration starting September 2015.

Ready to celebrate with us?

This year is a momentous occasion to celebrate...it’s the 450th Birthday of St. Augustine, the Nation’s Oldest City!  And, we’re celebrating in a Big way with a five-day event,”Celebrate 450!”. Not only will there be a re-enactment of Menendez’s landing, along with a procession and mass on September 8 – St. Augustine’s birthday, but there will be a 450th Birthday cake to share as well as spectacular fireworks, a Spanish heritage themed musical celebration “Fiesta 450”, and a Music and Street Festival with some big named entertainment. Helping us celebrate this special occasion are headliners Aaron Neville and Mavis Staples on September 4 and on September 5, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, JJ Grey & Mofro, Justin Townes Earle, and Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers! There is also plenty of local musical and cultural entertainment as well. Most of the events will occur in the downtown area and are free.

OldCity.com is delighted to join with the rest of our community in marking this tremendous event!  We have created this page to help visitors find information about the city's historical significance and the events that will take place as we approach St. Augustine's 450th jubilee.

St. Augustine's 450th Birthday Celebration450 Years of Diverse History

Beginning with Ponce de Leon's quest for the Fountain of Youth that led him to Florida in 1513, our beautiful shores have been a long sought destination for conquistadors and kings. In 1565, it was Pedro Menendez of Aviles, Spain, who first stepped onto the soil in St. Augustine and proclaimed it for his homeland. The first Catholic mass was held at what is now the Mission Nombre de Dios by Menendez and his men.

Two centuries later, a location in St. Augustine known as Fort Mose was established to offer refuge for freed slaves from the British colonies in the north. Believed to be a precursor to the Underground Railroad, this historic site and the militia that protected it earned a name for themselves with through their bravery in a difficult time. After the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincolnville was established closer to the city center as a residential area for freed slaves. Lincolnville would later become an important location during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's.

In the 1920's, Henry Flagler and his railroad came to town. This important move led to the construction of Flagler's architecturally exquisite hotels including three that remain today -- Flagler College, Lightner Museum (formerly the Alcazar) and the only one that still operates as a hotel, the Casa Monica.

From the 300 year-old Castillo de San Marcos coquina fortress to the Oldest House, St. Augustine is filled with historical relics of a by-gone era that will make you appreciate all the sacrifices made by our ancestors to bring us to this point.

There will be more and more events added to our page and calendar as St. Augustine's 450th Birthday approaches.  Please check back with us to see what has been added.

Read more about St. Augustine's history »

  • Hot Fun Fishing Charters

Celebrate 450th
Street & Music Festival

Entertainment Locations & Closures

Bike Rack Locations

450th Celebration Events

• April 4 – Oct. 4, 2015:   The Cultural Threads of First America Exhibition

• September 3rd - Sister City of Aviles Band Performances

In celebration of St. Augustine’s 450th Anniversary, the St. Augustine Sister City Association, Inc. is hosting three groups from our Sister City Aviles, Spain.   The kick-off concert featuring Tejedor, Alexandra in Grey, and Morrigans will be at the Flagler College Auditorium at 7:30pm and is free and open to the public.

Seating is limited! Registration for seats is required in advance. Please register for the seats that you can use, but no more, as we want as many people from our community to be able to see these wonderful performers as possible. Any pre-registered seats not claimed by 7:15pm will be released at that time.

Sign up at: www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0445AAAB23A5F49-enjoy

All three will be performing a 2nd concert on Saturday at the Gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitution beginning at 2:00pm until 5:00pm.  Please see the Gazebo Plaza schedule.

 

September 4th to 6th - Music & Street Festival

The Music and Street Festival will have a main stage near the Bayfront and four additional stages, Plaza Stage,  Hypolita Street Stage, the Colonial Quarter Stage, and Aviles Street Festival, located throughout the downtown area. The Bayfront Main Stage, where the headliners will perform Friday and Saturday evenings, is located directly in front of the Plaza de la Constitucion and will be faced from the Bayfront where streets will be closed to vehicular traffic.

Friday, September 4th

Bayfront Main Stage

  • 6:00 p.m. – People Helping People Gospel Choir…created in 1988, this local choir is comprised of local musicians who are members of various churches throughout St. Augustine and the surrounding areas.
  • 6:45 p.m. – Mavis Staples…started singing in the 1950’s with her family, The Staple Singers. She has won a Grammy for her 2011 album You Are Not Alone. Rolling Stone has listed her as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and she was named one of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll by VH1.
  • 8:30 p.m. – Aaron Neville…this rhythm and blues and soul artist has a 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame Recording inductee, “Tell It Like It Is,” which topped the R&B chart in 1967.   He also has had four platinum-certified albums and four Top 20 hits in the United States.

 

Plaza Stage

  • 3:00 p.m. – Jim Sloan, bagpiper, performing traditional jigs, reels and marches
  • 3:15 p.m. – “Eli” Grimes, singer/songwriter of “1565” performing his original composition
  • 3:40 p.m. – Fort Mose Historical Society with a “Flight to Freedom” presentation
  • 4:25 p.m. – West African Drum Circles of St Augustine sharing the beat of drum circles
  • 4:55 p.m. – Stanley Alston
  • 5:25 p.m. – El Conjunto Tropical

 

Hypolita Street Stage

  • 3:00 p.m. – Ramona Quimby Band
  • 3:50 p.m. – The Rubies
  • 4:40 p.m. – Sea Floor Explosions
  • 5:30 p.m. – Red River Band
  • 7:00 p.m. – The Falling Bones

 

Colonial Quarter Stage

  • 3:00 p.m. – T. Martin Band
  • 3:40 p.m. – Shea Birney
  • 4:20 p.m. – Rob Peck
  • 5:00 p.m. – Dewey Via
  • 5:40 p.m. – Michael Jordan
  • 6:20 p.m. – Emma Moseley Band
  • 7:15 p.m. – Trio of Boom

 

Aviles Street Festival

  • 1:00 p.m. – The House Cats

 

Saturday, September 5th

Bayfront Main Stage

  • 5:30 p.m. – Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers….these performers have the California Sound, born of folk, rock, country, psychedelia, blues and pop, as ageless, adventurous and ever-adaptive as the Golden State itself.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Justin Townes Earle…. two time American Music Award winner, Nashville native singer/song -writer, performs his own unique blend of Americana, folk, country, rockability and the blues.
  • 7:45 p.m. – JJ Grey & Mofro…. a regular favorite of St. Augustine’s own Rhythm & Ribs Festival, performs next.   Locally-made, but nationally known, the band delivers a powerful combination of blues and soul, rock and funk.
  • 9:30 p.m. – Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell…. Country Music Hall of Fame inductee in 2008, Emmylou's contribution as a singer and songwriter spans 40 years. She's a 13-time Grammy winner and Billboard Century Award recipient with more than 25 albums. Rodney, a multi-Grammy Award winner whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Norah Jones, the Grateful Dead..among others, is also a recipient of an ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award and membership in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Fireworks Over The Matanzas 450!

 

Plaza Stage

  • 11:00 a.m. – St. Johns County Public Schools’ combined school choral performance of “God Bless St. Augustine”
  • 11:40 a.m. – Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind’s dance troupe
  • 12:20 p.m. – Renaissance Band’s pre-1750 instrumental music
  • 12:50 p.m. – Greek Orthodox Shrine featuring traditional Greek dancers and musicians
  • 1:30 p.m. – Brent Byrd
  • 2:00 p.m. – Tejedor
  • 3:00 p.m. – Alexandra in Grey
  • 4:00 p.m. – The Morrigans
  • 4:50 p.m. – Menorcan Cultural Society featuring traditional dancers and singers

 

Hypolita Street Stage

  • 11:00 a.m. – Harp of Hope, featuring Diane Schneider, harpist
  • 11:30 a.m. – The Gatorbone Band
  • 12:20 p.m. – Aslyn & the Naysayers
  • 1:10 p.m. – Amy Hendrickson
  • 2:00 p.m. – Chelsea Saddler
  • 2:50 p.m. – Addi & Jacq
  • 3:40 p.m. – Billy Buchanan
  • 4:30 p.m. – Laurel Lee & the Escapees
  • 5:20 p.m. – Sam Pacetti
  • 6:10 p.m. – The Springfields
  • 7:00 p.m. – Paradox

 

Colonial Quarter Stage

  • 11:00 a.m. – Jeffrey Spear, author, “The First Coast Heritage Cookbook” with a colonial    cooking demonstration
  • 11:50 a.m. – Germaine Veronica
  • 12:40 p.m. – The Sand Fleas / Hunter Miller
  • 1:30 p.m. – Kenny and the Jets
  • 2:20 p.m. – Rivernecks
  • 3:10 p.m. – The Wild Shiners
  • 4:00 p.m. – The WillowWacks
  • 4:50 p.m. – Lonesome Bert & the Skinny Lizards
  • 5:40 p.m. – The Wobbly Toms
  • 6:30 p.m. – Complicated Animals
  • 7:20 p.m. – Ancient City Slickers

 

Aviles Street Festival

  • 11:00 a.m. – The Three Amigos of Ancient
  • 11:40 p.m. – Fuego Flamenco
  • 12:00 p.m. – Luis Mario Band
  • 1:00 p.m. – Flamenco Dancers of the St. Augustine Dance Company
  • 3:00 p.m. – Fiesta de Avilés

 

Saturday, September 6th

Plaza Stage

  •    12:00 p.m. – A1A Blues Band
  •    12:40 p.m. – St. Augustine Line Dancers perform dances with a bit of waltz, mambo, tango
  •    1:20 p.m. – Island Duet

 

Hypolita Street Stage

  •    12:00 p.m. – Gary Campbell
  •    12:45 p.m. – Scott Sweet
  •    1:30 p.m. – Colton McKenna
  •    2:15 p.m. – Jim Johnston

 

Colonial Quarter Stage

  • 12:00 p.m. – Collapsible B
  • 12:50 p.m. – Salt Driven Ride
  • 1:40 p.m. – Herd of Watts
  • 2:30 p.m. – I-Vibes
  • 3:30 p.m. – Love Chunk

 

Aviles Street Festival

  • 11:00 a.m. – Elizabeth Roth
  • 11:40 a.m. – Obscure Brothers
  • 12:20 p.m. – Joe Schauer
  • 1:00 p.m. – Latin Jazz
  • 1:00 p.m. – Sangria Sunday

 

 • A KidZone & Family Oasis is also being provided. It will be located in front of the Government House on St. George Street between Cathedral Place and King Street and will give the kids and families a break. It will feature face painting, sandbox, beach chairs and water misters, archaeological dig boxes and history touch boxes will be provided.

KidZone times:

  •  Friday, Sept. 4 -- 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 5 -- 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  •  Sunday, Sept. 6 -- 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

 

• Street Closures downtown and along the Bayfront will occur at various times throughout the 450th Celebration and will be posted when we have more details.   Closures begin on September 4th and 5th at 5 p.m., on several downtown streets, and remain closed until midnight. Others will be closed Noon to Midnight September 4th, 10 a.m. to Midnight September 5th, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 6th.

• Bridge of Lions will be closed on September 4th and 5th from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.   St. George Street in front of the Government House will be closed from September 4th at Noon through September 6th at 3 p.m.

 

• Parking

Several areas will be available for parking. The parking garage located off W. Castillo Drive is open 24 hours a day, every day. Francis Field, just before the parking garage, will be used for parking for the event. Parking at both locations is $10 per vehicle per entry. If those lots are full, there will be other designated areas for parking.

On Anastasia Island, Friday and Saturday only, there will be a shuttle making a constant loop and picking up festival goers from three locations: Anastasia Baptist Church, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, and from the Conch House. Drop off and pick up will be on Dolphin Drive.

• Bicycle Parking

There are several locations throughout downtown for bicycle parking with plans to add additional bike racks for the event.

 

• September 5th – Fireworks Over The Matanzas

Celebrate St. Augustine’s 450th Birthday in style with a spectacular fireworks show over the Matanzas River! The best viewing will be along the Bayfront or from the Bridge of Lions. The Bridge of Lions and downtown streets along and near the Bayfront will already be closed for the Music & Street Festival. Come early and pick a good spot to enjoy them.

 

• September 5th – Florida Lottery Drawing

As an added highlight, the Florida Lottery drawing will be held live Saturday night from the Visitors Information Center.

 

• September 6th – EMMA Concert Fiesta 450!

As part of St. Augustine’s 450th Birthday, EMMA is presenting “Fiesta 450″, a major celebration with free events during the day and an evening ticketed performance. This event showcases St. Augustine’s Spanish heritage.

Gates open at 3:00pm

4:00pm-5:30pm — The first performance is local performing arts organizations (St. Augustine Orchestra, St. Augustine Community Chorus, St. Augustine Community Youth Chorus, First Coast Opera & Limelight Theatre). This performance will be free to the public.

5:30pm-7:00pm — On the grounds, the St. Augustine Textile Arts Guild, Heritage (re-enactors) organizations, and representatives from the Castillo and St. George Players. The Art Association will provide hands-on activities and demonstrations geared toward family involvement.

6:00pm-7:30pm — VIP Ticketed Event: $100 per person (only 100 tickets available). The event will be held on the deck near the stage. Ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, wine, preferred seating and parking. Attendees will be served by the 450th Youth Ambassadors.

7:30pm-til ? — Evening Concert: Ensemble Español – The ensemble will perform all styles of Spanish dance – Flamenco, Classical Spanish Dance “Estilizatión, Folklore, 18th Century Dances, Ballet (Classical Dance) and Castanets.

Tickets can be purchased on EMMA’s website or at The St. Augustine Amphitheatre.

 

• September 7th – Cake Cutting and Proclamation   Noon to 5:00 pm

The festivities continue in the Plaza de la Constitucion with music, the reading of the official 450th Birthday Proclamation reading and cutting of the 450th Birthday Cake which everyone is invited to enjoy.

12 Noon to 2:00 pm   The Driftwoods perform in the Gazebo.

2:00 pm to 3:00 pm   The Official 450th Birthday Proclamation is read and the 450th Birthday Cake will be cut by members of the Royal Family. Free cake will be served in the Public Market.

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm   Mid-Life Crisis performs in the Gazebo.

 

• September 8th – Founding of St. Augustine Reenactment, Procession & Commemorative Mass

Four hundred and fifty years ago, on September 8th, 1565, Admiral Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles stepped ashore on Matanzas Bay and founded St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest, continuously occupied, European city, port, and parish in the continental United States.

Florida Living History, Inc., the Diocese of St. Augustine, and Mission Nombre de Dios will present the annual, historical re-enactment of Menendez’ landing, on the original landing site, and the founding of the city of St. Augustine in 1565.

9 a.m. – Menendez landing re-enactment at the Mission Nombre de Dios

10 a.m. – Procession to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine

11 a.m. – Commemorative Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine

• Sept. 9, 2015:   St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival

• Nov. 2015:   St. Augustine Marathon Weekend