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St. Augustine Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

— Come and celebrate the place where the Hispanic culture in the U.S. was born —

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL — September 21, 2022 — (NOTICIAS NEWSWIRE) — Hispanic Heritage Month is here, and what better way to celebrate than visiting St. Augustine, the place where Hispanic influence began in the United States.

“The Latino spirit of what is now the United States was born in St. Augustine. Its Latin influences can be seen in everything, particularly in the restaurants and its gastronomy,” says Wilson Camelo, representative of the Florida Historic Coast. “There is so much Hispanic history in St. Augustine, and that’s why we see many Latinos who visit the city from all over Florida, Puerto Rico, and from other states. U.S. Puerto Ricans connect St. Augustine with Old San Juan and its streets, the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, as well as its history. I am proud to celebrate our Hispanic heritage between September and October, but really St. Augustine celebrates Latin culture throughout the year with events such as Unidos en la Música, Noches de Luces, Easter traditions and much more."

Visitors who want to celebrate their Hispanic heritage with family and friends can enjoy free events, visit Latino-owned restaurants and businesses, and learn about the city's history at local museums.

Here are several activities you can enjoy through Hispanic Heritage month:

On October 1, Fort Mose State Historic Site will host a Militia Muster to learn about the first free black settlement. And, later in the evening, Latin Fusion Band Baba Caiman will bring lively music to the Colonial Oak Music Park for a fun free concert in the heart of the oldest city.

On October 3, the Castillo de San Marcos will commemorate the presence of Spanish culture during the 350th Anniversary of the groundbreaking for the build-out of the oldest masonry fortress in North America. The day’s events will include ceremonies, storytelling, historic weapon demonstrations, and more led by costumed storytellers and reenactors.

Castillo de San Marcos - This imposing fortress is the oldest masonry fortification in North America, and it took more than 20 years to build (1672-1695). 1 S Castillo Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park - The Park is the site of America’s first colony, settled by Spaniards in 1565. Take a drink from the fountain, hear a Spanish Cannon roar and more. 11 Magnolia Ave, St. Augustine, FL 32084

St. Augustine Historic District and Aviles Street - St. Augustine holds a special place in America’s history as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. Aviles Street is the oldest street in the United States and is today one of the most interesting places to explore in St. Augustine. Aviles Street, St. Augustine, FL, 32084

Fort Matanzas – This fort guarded St. Augustine’s southern river approach. The colonial wars are over, but the monument is still protecting the fort. It was built in 1740. 89 A1A Scenic and Coastal Byway, St. Augustine, FL 32080

Mission Nombre de Dios - On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Aviles landed and proclaimed this site for Spain and the church. On that date, Father Francisco López de Mendoza offered the first Holy Mass and became the first Catholic parish in the nation.  101 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32084

WHERE TO EAT 

During Hispanic Heritage Month be sure to visit one of the many restaurants that deliver flavors inspired by Hispanic influences. Some of the local favorites include:

De Leon La Cocina - Their two locations serve Latin, Colombian, Spanish, and South American dishes prepared by a skilled culinary team.

Columbia Restaurant - A classic Spanish-style setting with old-world charm and award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine and wine.

Michael’s Restaurant - A casually elegant dining experience with a celebrated chef, dedicated staff, and passion for exquisite flavors and world-class wines.

Spanish Bakery & Café - Nestled under the Historic Cedar Tree, serving traditional freshly-made baked goods, empanadas, picadillos, pilau, and more.

Llama Restaurant - Immerse yourself in a fine dining experience that explores the rich culture, ingredients & flavors of Peru.

FREE AND BUDGET-FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS

It would take several days to experience all the free attractions here. Visit the website for 50 Free and Budget Friendly Things to Do in St. Augustine. 

HISTORIC FACTS

First Thanksgiving had a Spanish Flare
In 1565 Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and Spanish settlers founded the settlement of St. Augustine in Spanish La Florida.  As soon as they were ashore the landing party celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving, and, afterward, Menéndez laid out a meal to which he invited as guests the native Timucua tribe of Seloy who occupied the site.

Fountain of Youth Site of the First Spanish Settlement
Commemorating the founding of La Florida by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon and his legendary search for the Fountain of Youth, archeologists have discovered that the park is the actual site of the original Spanish settlement of St. Augustine of 1565. Spanish colonial military cannon firings, authentic 16th-century boat works, a recreated Seloy Indian Village, and exhibits demonstrating how the Spanish explorers navigated the seas are part of this classic experience in St. Augustine.

First Celebration of Holy Mass - Mission Nombre de Dios
On the day, Don Pedro Menendez came ashore and founded St. Augustine, Father Francisco Lopez offered the first Holy Mass at the Mission Nombre de Dios – a site that became the home of the first Catholic parish in the nation. The museum on site tells the story of the mission and visitors can light a candle in the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.

Castillo San Marcos - First Masonry Fortress
First and oldest masonry fortress in the United States is the Castillo de San Marcos, built-in 1672-1695. Castillo de San Marcos – completed by the Spanish in 1695 to protect their treasure fleets from the English and pirates, it is the oldest structure in present-day St. Augustine and a national monument and national park.

Getting There
More than 90 major and regional airline flights serve Jacksonville International (JAX) Airport. The Jacksonville airport is 50 minutes north of St. Augustine and 30 minutes from Ponte Vedra Beach. Northeast Florida Regional Airport operates VIA Air with service to Charlotte, NC, as well as private and charter aircraft. NFRA is a 5-minute drive from downtown San Agustin, and 20 minutes from Ponte Vedra beach. By car, access to Florida's historic coastline is via I-95 from the north or south, and I-10 from the west.

About St. Augustine and the Historic District:

Located halfway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida's Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the exceptional golfing and coastal elegance of Ponte Vedra Beach, and the laid-back beachside communities of Crescent Beach, St. Augustine Beach and Vilano Beach along 42 miles of beaches. For more information, visit the Visitor Info section at the website www.floridashistoriccoast.com or follow us on Facebook.com/ViajaSanAgustin.