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Easter in St. Augustine

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You know, you’d think that high pomp and pageantry would be the order of the day on Easter in the Old City.

Just look at the objective data – Founded in the name of Roman Catholic Spain. Seat of the oldest Catholic diocese in the US. Site of the oldest mission (Nombre de Dios) in the US.

Easter should be a big hairy deal. It’s still a big deal to the Catholic Church.

Now try finding out where to go to watch the Easter Parade.

Here’s one of the more informative notices posted on FloridasHistoricCoast.com:

Sun., Apr. 20: Features marching bands, floats, drill teams, clowns, the Easter Bunny, the [St. Augustine] Royal Family and the city's carriage horses wearing hats donated by nationally-recognized women. The parade begins at 3 p.m. at the Mission of Nombre de Dios and winds through downtown St. Augustine. Trophies will be presented in four categories. Info: 904-829-2333.

How exciting.

Why, we're just so swept away by the mystery and passion, the respect for tradition, the hours of hard work that must have gone into the promos.

This year is the 54th(?) Parade? Internationally known as the Parada de los Caballos y Coches (horses and carriages), you say.

Brings 20,000 people a year into St. Augustine? Really!

O the majesty of it all.

Wear your Easter bonnet

If the parade weren’t enough reason to visit our nation’s oldest city, then maybe the 56th Annual St. Augustine Easter Promenade is.

Starting at 12:30 p.m. on the Plaza de la Constitución, costumed Royals mix with citizens dressed in their Easter finery for more fun than you’d think was possible based on the description of one of the most famous Easter Parades in the country.

Not only do you get to promenade and hobnob, you can win prizes, too, for: Prettiest hats, most creative hat, best-dressed couple, best dressed children and pets, largest family, family from farthest way, etc.

A good guesser? Win even more prizes for guessing the weight of the giant, live bunny on site.

It’s free, like the parade.

And, unlike the parade, which lasts a whole hour, the promenade goes on all day.

For more information about the 56th Easter Promenade, call 904-315-7414.

Grand tradition since at least the 1950s

No one really remembers when St. Augustine threw its first Easter Parade & Festival.

1535? 1565? Somewhere in there is probably closer to correct, and not 1902.

In more modern times, the City started taking credit sometime in the mid ‘50s.

And, gee, it was such a big deal.

People loved getting ready for the parade, which has usually been a pretty good show, even when the weather sucks.

Organizers did tons of research so that the Royal Family’s costumes would be authentic, that the carriages and horses would be decorous and accurate, that the people chosen to portray the Royal Family could traces their ancestry back to the founding of St. Augustine.

Woe, alas and alack! What evils and laziness have befallen contemporary parade hosts and our society?

Please help St. Augustine and the City fathers make Easter special the way it used to be, the way it should be.

Just don’t ask the locals for the 411, at least not this year –

“Easter Parade? Oh yeah, that’s um … hmmm ... on Sunday?”

GJE

-30-

©2014 All rights reserved.

OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: kt.4examiner@yahoo.com

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