St. Augustine to Commemorate 450th Anniversary With Multi-Day Celebration
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St. Augustine, Florida, known as the Ancient City, is the oldest continuously inhabited European established settlement in the continental U.S.
Next month, the city will commemorate its 450th anniversary with a five-day celebration that will include a street and music festival, reenactments, exhibitions and fireworks, among other attractions.
The Celebrate 450 event will kick off Sept. 3 with a free concert featuring a trio of bands hailing from Aviles, Spain, St. Augustine's sister city. The entertainment will continue through the weekend with a plethora of live music performances throughout the city.
Headliners for the Sept. 4-5 concert performances include Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Aaron Neville, Mavis Staples, JJ Grey & Mofro and Justin Townes Earle.
"We have said all along that Celebrate 450 is a party for the community, and to be able to offer these nationally known and respected and highly sought after performers to headline our free festival...well, it’s really, really exciting," said St. Augustine City Manager John Regan in a statement.
The downtown street and music festival will run from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 4 and stretch five hours longer Sept. 5, starting at 11 a.m. and concluding at 11 p.m. Visitors will be able to return for two more hours Sept. 6 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Other notable events include a performance by the St. Augustine line dancers, a cake cutting and proclamation reading at the Plaza de la Constitucion and a historical reenactment of Pedro Menendez's landing at Mission Nombre de Dios.
The celebration will conclude on Sept. 8 with a procession to The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, where a commemorative mass will be held.
September's Celebrate 450 event should be well-attended based not only on the widespread efforts from local tourism officials to get the word out, but based on figures presented to the region's Tourist Development Council earlier this year that showed a rise in overnight visitors.
This past spring, executive director of the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau, Richard Goldman attributed the encouraging trend to the area's improvement as a destination.
"That applies not just to hotels, but our culinary experience has improved as well," Goldman told the St. Augustine Record. "We do have some very high-quality experiences. The rising tide of visitation and spending helps us improve the experience for visitors and residents."
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