Spring is in the air, and so are St. Augustine’s unique fairs, events and festivals
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – March 21, 2018 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – Even if you love snow flurries, sitting by a warm fire and all winter related activities; you can’t deny that blissful feeling when spring flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and you feel the sun on your face as the weather warms up. Cultures around the globe have celebrated the transition from winter to spring since early civilization. On Florida’s Historic Coast, festivals and special events are a definite sign that spring has arrived. With so many upcoming local gatherings, special events of arts and culture, history and heritage and food and entertainment, now is the time to check out the calendar and plan your vacation, which will put a spring in your step.
VINYL IS MAKING A COMEBACK
St. Augustine Record Fair
Over the past few years there has been an unexpected revival of analog goods including physical books, board games and, of course, vinyl records — despite the fact that these technologies are functionally obsolete. According to analog aficionados, vinyl records simply sound better. Digital music might be more convenient but if you want to “hear” the music, vinyl produces a bigger sound stage with more depth.
On Sunday, March 18, music lovers and collectors are invited to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre to shop thousands of music-related items including new and used vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, posters, turntable equipment and supplies, memorabilia, collectibles and more. This year, over 30 music vendors from across the Southeast United States will be on site, offering shoppers the chance to choose from nearly every type of musical genre to grow their collection. Fun activities will be planned for the entire family including a “DJ 101” tutorial session on how to DJ. Visitors to St. Augustine will have a chance to add to their vinyl record collection. In our opinion, any essential compilation of vinyl records must have Van Morrison’s Moondance, The Rolling Stone’s Exile on Main Street or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. What do you consider fundamental to own?
People can learn so much about a culture or destination through the food it creates. Springtime in St. Augustine brings out the best of the best and foodies gather to enjoy the incredible eats of the season and enjoy live entertainment. Whether its shrimp and fish, local chowders or the best BBQ in the South, visitors and locals have been enjoying—and celebrating—spring with culinary treats for a good long time.
St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival
The popular St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival returns – March 16-18 – bringing boatloads of seafood delicacies, entertainment and 100 artisans to the Ancient City for three days of food and fun including a musical lineup featuring a Grammy nominee and regional favorites. The festival will serve up traditional fish and shrimp, lobster rolls, conch salad, grilled octopus, crab cakes, Cajun specialties and so much more. Admission to the festival is $5 for adults and free for youth ages 15 and under. www.lionsfestival.com
Rhythm and Ribs Festival
You’ll find non-stop music and award-winning barbecue all weekend at St. Augustine’s Francis Field during the annual Rhythm and Ribs Festival April 6-8. Friday and Saturday nights offer nationally recognized musical entertainment. Founded in 1995 by St. Augustine’s Sunshine Rotary Club, the festival has grown from a small BBQ fest to the largest festival in St. Johns County. General admission is $10 on Friday and Saturday and $5 on Sunday, and youth ages 15 and under are free. www.rhythmandribs.net
A Taste of St. Augustine
This signature food festival at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre serves up tastes from St. Augustine’s famous restaurants on April 29. From 11 a.m.-5 p.m., the area’s best restaurants will offer samples of their signature dishes. Restaurants will compete for the prestigious TOStA (Taste of St. Augustine) awards, with categories including Best Family Dining, Best Ethnic, Best Upscale and Best Dessert, as well as the ever-popular People’s Choice. Everyone gets to vote. There will be a children’s area with fun activities including crafts and face-painting as well as live music throughout the day. Admission is $5 and taste tickets are $1 each with restaurants charging between 1-5 tickets per taste. www.epicbh.org
Pups and Sups Surfing Competition
Dogs of all shapes and sizes will take part in a surf city pup tournament in the waves of St. Augustine Beach. Puppies will be propped on paddleboards and race for fun, glory, prizes and to support a worthy canine cause on April 21. Hosted by K9s for Warriors, Surf Station and Guy Harvey Outpost Resort, this dog surfing contest for humans and their pets will have them competing to see who can ride the biggest wave, take the longest ride, cruise in highest style, and take the best wipe-out– among other categories– in this family-friendly competition. Proceeds will benefit K9s for Warriors — a Ponte Vedra non-profit dedicated to supplying combat veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with service dogs that ease their adjustment into civilian life. Registration per “participant” is $40 and is available at the Surf Station or online.
TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
Spain founded St. Augustine in 1565, and between 1672 and 1695 settlers built Castillo de San Marcos. The fort was built to help defend against hostile powers that preyed on Spanish treasure fleets returning from Peru and Mexico. Formidable as it remains — now a National Monument that interprets St. Augustine as part of American and world history — the fort also reminds visitors of war’s distant echo in the day-to-day city.
Castillo by Candlelight: Women’s Work – Keeping a Colony Alive
While St. Augustine was primarily a military town throughout its long history, it could not have survived without the women who supported their soldiers. Join the Castillo de San Marcos staff to learn about women’s roles in historic St. Augustine on March 24 and see examples of wool carding, spinning, weaving, cord-making, basket-making, cooking, embroidery and more. You can even try your hand at a craft and take home the product. Groups of 50 visitors will be admitted into the Castillo at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. The event admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youth ages 5-15 and free for youth under age 5. www.nps.gov/casa
BEST KEPT SECRET
Located just north of downtown St. Augustine, it’s a favorite among the locals and attracts much smaller crowds than the rest of Florida’s Historic Coast. Vilano, is a popular beach destination since Henry Flagler’s millionaire friends of the late 1800s enjoyed it.
Vilano Fest 2018
The Vilano Fest – April 21-20 – is an annual festival that celebrates the history, future and individuality of the community where all people feel welcome. The event consists of a weekend of activities, including The Sea Turtle Soiree: a 1920s themed costume party on the Vilano Beach Pier. Unlike any other event, this Soiree combines the best views of the sunset over St. Augustine with music and gourmet food. Dress up in your finest “Gatsby” attire and swing to the tunes of Ramona’s eight piece band under 200 feet of lighted tent. Followed by Tour of Homes on Saturday where visitors and locals celebrate with neighbors, talk with the home owners on tour and meet your local community leaders. Vilano and the North Beaches are perhaps most known as small, eclectic beach communities within the sight of St. Augustine, the Nation’s oldest city.
For more information about events, tours and deals in St. Augustine visit www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com. Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra Beach and 42 miles of pristine, Atlantic beaches. Become a fan on Facebook or call 1.800.653.2489.