Historic St. Augustine’s 25th Annual Nights of Lights kicks off on Saturday, November 17, when the city turns on its 3 million twinkling lights to spread holiday cheer throughout the Oldest City!

Don’t miss Flagler College and the Lightner Museum, which are known for their especially spectacular displays. Lights continue throughout the Plaza de la Constitución, which also features a large Christmas tree.

Saturday’s festivities start with live music at 4 p.m. outside the Lightner Museum, followed by a special performance by the All Star Orchestra in the Plaza de la Constitución at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the big countdown begins to light the tree and all 3 million lights around town. Live music continues until 8 p.m.

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Looking for a fun and meaningful family event this weekend? The 23rd Annual Ancient City Kids Day is coming to Francis Field this Saturday, October 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The popular annual event is free to all and includes games, arts & crafts, giveaways and contests, bounce houses and live entertainment, as well as kid-friendly food and drinks available for purchase.

The event is hosted by EPIC Behavioral Healthcare and includes involvement by more than 40 youth service organizations. While the kids engage in various games and activities, parents can learn about community resources available for families. One Blood will also be holding a blood drive during the event.

T-shirts and goody bags will be handed out to all children who attend (while supplies last).

Live Entertainment Schedule:

11 a.m. Good Puppy (local band made up of kids)

12 p.m. Showtime USA (dance troupe)

1 p.m. Drum Circle with Unk’l Ray Nutter (interactive drumming activity)

2 p.m. 3NMotion (dance troupe)

Francis Field is located at 25 W. Castillo Drive in St. Augustine’s historic district. For more information, please call EPIC at (904) 829-2273 or visit epicbh.org.

 
 
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Smithsonian magazine is hosting a nationwide celebration of museums on Saturday, September 22! The organization is partnering with more than 1,250 museums and cultural institutions around the U.S. to offer free general admission.

Just go to the Museum Day site, select your museum of choice, and provide your name and email address. Your ticket will arrive in your email inbox. According to the website, a ticket is good for free general admission for two people on Museum Day.

 

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If you love live music but have no interest in paying Ticketmaster prices to see shows, you are in luck! St. Augustine’s 2018 Sing Out Loud Music Festival runs the first four weekends in September and performances are free and open to the public!

The festival includes concerts at 19 venues throughout St. Johns County including the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, Colonial Oak Music Park, Plum Gallery on Aviles Street, Bokeh, Dog Rose Brewing, Limelight Theatre, Nobby’s, Sarbez and others.

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Outdoor markets are great for finding crafty gifts, fresh produce and locally produced goods. While most markets are only open on weekend mornings, the St. Augustine Amphitheater offers a great chance to enjoy the market experience on a weeknight.

The St. Augustine Amphitheater Night Market is open the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 6 to 9 p.m. Come peruse the more than 70 vendors and enjoy dinner options and live music.

 

The next market, scheduled for August 14, will feature Davis & the Loose Cannons as well as The Space Heaters. The August 28 market will feature the Wild Shiners.

The Night Market is free and open to the public with free parking. Gather the family after work and head to the Night Market for shopping, eating and fun! No pets please.

For more information and updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/staugampmarket, email staampmkt@gmail.com or call (904) 315-9252. The St. Augustine Amphitheater is located at 1340C A1A South.

 
 
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The National Park Service will present a special day of boat tours and cannon firings on Saturday, August 4, at Fort Matanzas National Monument on Rattlesnake Island.

The tours are free and include a ferry ride to the fort, a tour and cannon firing at the end. British Navy re-enactors in full regalia will speak about the life of an 18th century British sailor and the 276-year-old fort’s role in St. Augustine’s storied past.

The tours are hourly beginning at 10 a.m. The day’s final tour begins at 3 p.m.

Stop by the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center (8635 A1A South, about 15 miles south of St. Augustine) to pick up free boarding passes prior to each tour.

Plan to arrive early as space on each tour is limitedand boarding passes are issued for the next available fort tour on a first come, first served basis (no reservations). Tours are about 45 minutes and subject to weather.

Learn more about the fort by visiting NPS.gov. For additional information, call 904-471-0116 or visit them on Facebook at Facebook.com/FortMatanzasNPS.

 
 
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Look no further for your 4th of July fireworks plans! Head over to the Old City to take in the impressive bayfront light show known as Fireworks over the Matanzas.

Plan to arrive early to stroll down St. George Street, browse shops, enjoy a cold treat and take in the live music at the Plaza de la Constitución, which will play from 6 to 8 p.m.

Then, make your way over to the waterfront between Castillo de San Marcos and the Bridge of Lions to get a good spot for the show! Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. The spectacular 20-minute display is choreographed to patriotic and pop music.

 

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St. Augustine’s regional history, local geography and diverse culture define, and importantly characterize – our place. Contextually, our place is far different than any other. Recognizing our context is the first step to preserving our unique attributes. We don’t need to be like everywhere else. As we grow our communities, we need to fuse the new with the old while insuring quality and originality.
History reigns over our region. St. Augustine is America’s original city. Some historians claim the actual First Thanksgiving was celebrated in the stronghold on September 8, 1565, over 450 years ago and at least 56 years before the Pilgrims in Massachusetts. A visit to the Old Town can inspire inquisitiveness. Return trips illuminate the stories of early occupation. Familiarity induces multiple explorations and discoveries and an appreciation of the city’s proximity and accessibility. Our authentic sense-of-place is evocative of the history and heritage of St. Augustine as America’s initial melting pot.

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If you believe in the importance of eating healthy while supporting your local farmers, and you want to experience a little local southern fare with a St. Augustine flair, you definitely have to try The Floridian restaurant located in the Spanish Quarter of downtown St. Augustine.  Even Chef Emeril Lagasse will highly recommend you do so, as The Floridian was featured in an episode of the Cooking Channel’s Emeril’s Florida, which featured Farm-to-Table venues.
Owners Jeff and Chef Genie McNally opened The Floridian in 2010 showcasing a great deal of respect for St. Augustine’s history and culture.  Their passion for food is evident when you peruse their menu, which provides a various array of options from seafood, steak, chicken, right down to vegetarian or gluten-free.  The not-your-ordinary appetizer options of Fried Green Tomatoes, Pickled Pepper Shrimps or Biscuits and Belly (to name just a few) are a great way to start your mouth to watering for the main entrée.  If you have a hard time picking just one appetizer, wait until you get to the main course!  The Cajuns might be known for their jambalayas and crawfish pies, but the Minorcans of St. Augustine are known for their pilaus and cornbread, which The Floridian proudly showcases in its “Shrimp and Sausage Pilau” entrée.  It would be remiss to not include that the cornbread with this entrée is drizzled with hot honey.

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St. Augustine has been gearing up for its 450th birthday celebration for quite some time. Though the banning of food trucks and remnants from Hurricane Erika might have dampened some excitement, most Augustinians are ready to get the party started. Here are the major events queued up for the week:

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