St. Augustine's 450th Birthday
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.
450 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.
450th Celebration Events
- April 4 – Oct. 4, 2015: The Cultural Threads of First America Exhibition
- Sept. 4-6, 2015: Music & Street Festival
- Sept. 5, 2015: Fireworks Over The Matanzas
- Sept. 6, 2015: EMMA Concert Event “Fiesta 450”
- Sept. 8, 2015: St. Augustine Founding Re-enactment, Procession & Mass
- Sept. 9, 2015: St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival
- Nov. 2015: St. Augustine Marathon Weekend