After all the buildup and waiting, St. Augustine’s 450th birthday celebration is finally here. With an event of this magnitude, there are several measures that can and should be taken to make sure you’re prepared. To help you have the most eventful and wonderful time ever from now through Sept. 8, we’ve arrived at the following list of tips for you.
1. Plan Ahead
Map out a plan of what musical acts and cultural performances you want to see, where you want to eat, and who you’re going to meet up with, before you arrive downtown in the thick of it. Check out the full entertainment schedule to get started on crafting your own personal lineup.
2. Pack Smart
Pack a bag that you won’t get tired of carrying and stock it with only the bare necessities. Bring cash for parking, snacks, and the likes. Be sure to leave the following outlawed items at home: Chairs of all types (lawn chairs, etc.), weapons, alcohol, illegal substances of any kind, skateboards, coolers, lasers, silly string, confetti, glitter, spray paint, glass containers and metal aerosol cans (including sunscreen in aerosol cans), audio or video recording devices, cameras with detachable lenses.
3. Ride Your Bike
If you live within a five-ish mile radius of downtown, we say pump up those tires, put on your helmet and cruise downtown. Lock your bike up downtown at one of the designated park and lock locations or valet park it on the island. Details at bikestaugustine.com.
If you don’t have a bike or live a bit too far out for your liking, at least make a plan to carpool with friends to help cut down on the number of cars on the road. For ideas on where to park it and where you and your crew can hop on a trolley, check out our Getting Around page.
5. Stay Cool
It is September in Florida, which means there’s a pretty good chance it will be blazing hot. Before leaving the house, be sure to apply sunscreen, bring more with you (in a non-aerosol can), and grab your sunglasses and water bottle while you’re at it. To stay cool while you’re downtown, be on the look out for free water as well as Polar Pod — mobile cooling station.
Whether or not you like it, Florida weather is 100% fickle. Pack a poncho or another rain shield in your bag, just in case. Based on Florida’s track record this time of year, there’s a pretty likely chance we will experience at least one pop up shower.
7. Keep An Open Mind
What we really mean by keep an open mind is be patient at all costs. There’s a good possibility that at some point throughout the festivities you’re going to be in a crowd of thousands upon thousands. Patience also applies to your time behind the wheel. While driving, check at least three times (each way) for bikes and pedestrians.
8. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Ain’t nobody got time for blisters. Even if you park afar and hop on the trolley, you better believe you will get your fair share of walking in throughout the weekend. We say, comfortable walking kicks are a must. (TIP: Wear your Fitbit or other step counter if you want to make yourself feel even better about the amount of walking you’ll be doing).
9. Remember: Safety First
If you choose to bring your kids along with you for the festivities, take extra safety precautions. Have your name and cell phone number displayed on your child’s wrist in case you get separated. Don’t have kids but thinking of venturing downtown solo this weekend? No matter what age you are, it’s a good rule of thumb to make sure someone knows where you are, always.
10. Hashtag #staugsocial
Share your sights, sounds and festival highlights with us by hashtagging #staugsocial on Instagram and Twitter. While you’re at it be sure to hashtag #celebrate450 too.