With the overwhelming amount of 450th festivities taking place between now and September 8, it’s hard to know where you should be, and when. Whether you plan to venture into downtown St. Augustine for a single day or evening, or for the entire 5+ days of entertainment, here are 10 events you don’t want to miss. While this list doesn’t cover every single memorable happening taking place, it does offer you a starting point and includes something every day.
1. KICK OFF PARTY — BANDS FROM SPAIN
Thursday Sept. 3, 7 – 10 p.m.
Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College
It doesn’t get more authentically Spanish than three bands from St. Augustine’s sister city — Aviles Spain — coming all the way to St. Augustine to perform live at Celebrate 450 both individually throughout the weekend, and during a kick-off event. The kick-off concert Thursday evening features the three acts performing together to bring the culture and music of Spain to St. Augustine. The three bands include: Tejedor, an Asturian folk band, Los Morrigans, an Asturian Spanish pop band, and Alexandra in GREY, a Spanish Indie Rock artist.
3. LOCAL MUSIC ACTS
Friday Sept. 4 – Sunday Sept. 6, various times
Hypolita Street Stage, Colonial Quarter Stage, Plaza Stage, Aviles Street Fest
While we totally recommend you catch any or all of the headlining acts taking place on Friday and Saturday evenings on the bayfront main stage, we have to say that we are blown away by the local talent St. Augustine boasts in the music department. Aslyn & the Naysayers, The Willowwacks, Hogtown Creek, Sam Pacetti, The Rubies, and The Rivernecks are just a handful of names that will be taking to the various stages and representing St. Augustine’s local, present-day music scene this weekend. View the complete schedule of who is playing where and when on our Entertainment Lineup & Performance Schedule page.
4. BIKE ST. AUGUSTINE WELCOME PARTY
Friday Sept. 4 – Saturday Sept. 5, 4:30 p.m. onward
GAS Full Service Restaurant, Anastasia Island
Along with a bike valet and park and lock bike parking that will be happening throughout the weekend thanks to VeloFest and Canan Law group, there are more festivities where these came from. A stage to help welcome the 451st year will be located on Anastasia Boulevard at GAS Restaurant. Here’s a quick look at the happenings:
Friday September 4 — Bike valet opens 4:30 p.m., a DJ will be getting the energy going at GAS Restaurant beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday September 5 — Party Like a Local: Valet opens 4:30 p.m., Live Music 4:45-6:30 at GAS followed by an open mic night until 11 p.m.
For more details about bike parking and valet services throughout the weekend, visit bikestaugustine.org.
Navigate the Weekend: To get around by bike, trolley and car during the weekend, check out our Getting Around page, for road closures, parking locations, trolley routes, and more.
5. CULTURAL PERFORMANCES & YOUTH HAPPENINGS
Friday Sept. 4 – Sunday Sept. 6, Various Times
Hypolita Street Stage, Colonial Quarter Stage, Plaza Stage, Aviles Street Fest
In addition to the many local and regional bands that will be performing on the various stages throughout the weekend, there is also a diverse mix of cultural acts scheduled to perform across these stages. These performances represent a number of different art forms and extend to include the community’s youth.
Youth Spotlight: On Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. the St. Johns County Schools Combined Choral Performance takes place on the Gazebo stage, immediately followed by the Florida School of Deaf and Blind’s Dance Troupe (11:40 a.m.).
For a complete schedule of cultural performances, check out our Entertainment & Cultural Lineup page here.
6. FIESTA DE AVILES + RUNNING OF THE BULLS
Saturday Sept. 5, 3 p.m., Aviles Street
Throughout the weekend, the brick-paven Aviles Street will be home base for a street party. Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. the street party transforms into a full-fledged Fiesta — Fiesta De Aviles. A celebration of Spanish heritage, this fiesta features costumes, art exhibits and a special running of the “bulls” along Aviles Street. The running of the bulls youth race takes place at 3 p.m. and adult race at 3:30 p.m. The fiesta also includes a Name the Bull Contest. While there will be no real bulls running in the race, a live Andulusian Bull will be available to view at the Fatio House Courtyard. The contest is from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The drawing of the winning name will be at 4 p.m. The winner receives $100.
Saturday Sept. 5, 11 p.m.-ish, Downtown Bayfront
Saturday night’s main stage acts include Northeast Florida natives JJ Grey & MOFRO followed by the renown EmmyLou Harris who will be closing things out before the fireworks. Just as the main stage goes dark on Saturday evening and the music ends for the night, the attention will turn toward the bayfront where said fireworks will illuminate the night sky. Anyone who is familiar with the way St. Augustine treats fireworks knows that this will be no average display. It will be spectacular. TIP: We recommend arriving early, and enjoying the acts on the main stage to secure a prime viewing spot along the water. Also, much like the Fourth of July, you can expect to stay put until crowds gradually clear.
8. EMMA — FIESTA 450!
Sunday Sept. 6, 3 – 9 p.m.
St. Augustine Amphitheatre, Anastasia Island
If there’s one reason to leave the heart of the downtown celebrations this weekend — it’s EMMA. Presented by the EMMA Concert Association, The Fiesta 450 performance at The St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Anastasia Island provides an evening of entertainment that showcases St. Augustine’s Spanish heritage. It’s a performance that has been a long time in the making and will undoubtedly be nothing short of fantastic and memorable.
4 to 5:30 p.m. – Local performing arts organizations will produce the first performance (St. Augustine Orchestra, St. Augustine Community Chorus, St. Augustine Community Youth Chorus, First Coast Opera & Limelight Theatre). This performance will be free to the public and gates open at 3 p.m.
5:30 to 7 p.m. – On the grounds, The St. Augustine Textile Arts Guild, Heritage (re-enactors) organizations, and representatives from the Castillo and St. George Players. The Art Association will provide hands-on activities and demonstrations geared toward family involvement.
6 to 7:30 p.m. – VIP Ticketed Event: $100 per person (only 100 tickets available) The event will be held on the deck near the stage. Ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, wine, preferred seating and parking. Attendees will be served by the 450th Youth Ambassadors.
7:30 p.m. – Evening Concert: Ensemble Español – The ensemble will perform all styles of Spanish dance – Flamenco, Classical Spanish Dance “Estilizatión, Folklore, 18th Century Dances, Ballet (Classical Dance) and Castanets. Tickets $5 – $39 available at the Amphitheatre Box Office. www.staugamphitheatre.com
9. PROCLAMATION & CAKE CUTTING
Monday September 7, 2 p.m.
What would the city’s birthday be without a celebratory cake? From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Mayor Nancy Shaver and County Commissioners will present the Official 450th Anniversary Proclamation. Immediately following, St. Augustine’s own royal family will be cutting the cake to serve to the community. Cake will then be served in The Public Market for all in attendance.
10. DIOCESAN EVENTS
Saturday Sept. 5, Mission Nombre de Dios — Bishop Felipe J. Estévez will celebrate a Mass in honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although the official feast day is Sept. 8, due to this year’s Founder’s Day happenings, he is celebrating the feast on Saturday. The 11 a.m. Mass will take place at the outdoor Rustic Altar at Mission Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Avenue. The public is invited to attend.
Founder’s Day Landing Reenactment & Procession – Tuesday Sept. 8
The public is invited to attend the following events Tuesday:
9 a.m. – Menéndez landing re-enactment at the Mission Nombre de Dios
10 a.m. – Procession to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
For a full breakdown of Commemorative Happenings check out our Cultural and Commemorative Events Page.
With the exception of the ticketed portion of EMMA, all events included in this roundup are free and open to the public. For more 450th details — check out our Unofficial Official Guide here.