St. Augustine is 453 years old this year, and will celebrate the original September 8, 1565, landing by the Spanish with its annual Founder’s Day Commemoration on Saturday, September 8, 2018. The anniversary of the founding of the city by Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés will take place at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, with activities from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
Historic Florida Militia’s Men of Menéndez present the 2018 Founder’s Day commemoration in partnership with the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios, the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. The landing takes place at 10:00 a.m. at the Mission, accompanied by cannon and musket salutes from the adjacent shores of the Fountain of Youth. After the landing, at 11:00 a.m. Bishop Felipe Estévez will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Rustic Altar on the Mission grounds, just as Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales did 453 years ago.
Following the religious ceremonies, kids can have their photos taken with some of the historical reenactors at the Mission. At 1:00 p.m., the Menéndez entourage will move to the Fountain of Youth in the Grand Procession, and at 1:30 p.m. there will be a First Thanksgiving Meal and reenactment. A re-created encampment and living history demonstrations will continue at the Fountain of Youth until 5:00 p.m.
Here is the schedule of events for 2018:
10 a.m. Menéndez and his entourage approach and land at Mission grounds Mission Nombre de Dios
11 a.m. Ceremonies and Catholic Mass at the Rustic Altar at Mission Mission Nombre de Dios
12:15 p.m. Photo opportunity with historical reenactors Mission Nombre de Dios
1 p.m. Grand Procession from Mission grounds to the Fountain of Youth Fountain of Youth
1:30 p.m. Reenactment of First Thanksgiving Fountain of Youth
1 – 5 p.m. Encampment and regularly scheduled weapons demonstrations Fountain of Youth
St. Augustine is the oldest continuously-occupied European settlement in the continental United States. Volunteers will reenact the landing of Menéndez and his crew at the original site of the founding of the “Noble and Loyal City” on September 8, 1565.
Ample, free parking is available at the Mission. Seating is limited, so guests are encouraged to bring folding chairs.
Admission: The landing, Mass, and Procession are free. Regular admission rates apply to enter the Fountain of Youth ($15 for adults, $14 for seniors ages 60 and over, $9 for children ages 6-12, and free for toddlers 5 and under).
When: The landing, and Mass will take place at the Mission beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, 2018. The First Thanksgiving reenactment will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Fountain of Youth, where a re-created encampment and historic demonstrations will continue until 5:00 p.m.
Where: The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios is located at 27 Ocean Avenue in St. Augustine FL 32084. The Fountain of Youth is located at 11 Magnolia Avenue in St. Augustine FL 32084.