St. Augustine, Fla. – The vibrant city of St. Augustine is set to commemorate its 458th Founder’s Day anniversary on Sept. 9, beginning at 10 a.m. at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, situated within the hallowed grounds of Mission Nombre de Dios, 101 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine.
Hosted by the National Shrine of the Diocese of St. Augustine and the Fountain of Youth
Archaeological Park, the annual Founder’s Day celebration promises an engaging and unforgettable
experience for the whole family.
The September 8, 1565 historic landing of Don Pedro Menéndez de Avíles and his men, four diocesan priests and the subsequent establishment of St. Augustine, will be vividly brought to life through a historical reenactment presented by the distinguished Historic Florida Militia: Men of Menéndez. This portrayal will take spectators on a captivating journey back in time.
St. Augustine holds the honor of being the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the present-day United States. For the Catholic community, 1565 represents the establishment of the “First Parish,” now known as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine – the see of the Diocese of St. Augustine that encompasses 17 counties of North Florida.
After the reenactment, the events will continue with a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Bishop Erik Pohlmeier at the picturesque Rustic Altar, set amidst the natural beauty of the outdoors.
Participating in the festivities will be the Royal Family of St. Augustine, representatives of the Menorcan community and visiting governmental leaders including St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline, who will read a proclamation on behalf of the city.
This celebration is open to all, free of charge. Attendees are encouraged to bring along their lawn chairs, sunscreen and water bottles, as well as their family and friends.
The festivities will extend beyond the morning ceremony, with afternoon activities unfolding at the
Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, next door to the mission, at 11 Magnolia Ave.
It’s worth noting that admission fees apply for entry to this part of the celebration.
Schedule of events, Saturday, September 9 — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 10 a.m. | Menendez and crew land at Mission Nombre de Dios grounds, FREE
- 11 a.m. | Catholic Mass at Rustic Altar on Mission grounds, FREE (bring a folding chair)
- 12 p.m. | Procession from Mission to Fountain of Youth, FREE
- 1 p.m. | Reenactment of first Thanksgiving meal at Fountain of Youth, St. Johns County residents and participants admitted FREE; Regular admission: $19.95 adults, $9.95 ages 6-12, FREE for 5 and under
- 1– 5 p.m. | Encampment and weapons demonstrations at Fountain of Youth, Regular admission rates above apply, FREE for St. Johns County residents.