Okay, so 500 years down the road, you should know the truth – Pedro Menedez de Aviles, Spanish founder of St. Augustine, came from the Celtic region of northern Spain.
Which explains many things, like why most of the Spanish governors were really Irish.
Yep, St. Augustine has been Celtic that long.
Green paint & green beer
The streets run green this weekend for the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival, March 7-9.
There’s more to this celtic thing than Ann O'Malley's on Orange Street and Meehan's Irish Pub on the bayfront.
Let’s start with the Whisky Tastin’ on Fri., Mar. 7. At 6:30 p.m. $45 gets you five wee drinkies and admission to the pre-festival party.
The big St. Patrick’s Day parade is bright and early the next morning.
Starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday in downtown St. Augustine, and each year the festival attracts participants from Florida and Georgia – marching bands, wenches on horseback, floats and much more family-friendly fun.
Find the Celt in you
The heritage festival has something for Irish persons and good Scots alike.
In addition to the usual paeons to Irish culture, enjoy the festival’s own Highland Games – $15 for the weekend to compete – where competitors test their mettle in traditional contests of athletics and strength including:
- Open Stone Put – 16 lb. thrown for distance in any style
- Heavy Hammer Throw – 28 lb. & 56 lb. weights for thrown distance
- Caber Toss – Size and weight of caber differs between the classes of athletes. A regulation caber is a 19 ft. pine pole that weighs 175 lbs. and must be tossed end over end.
- Sheaf Toss – 16 lb. burlap bag tossed with a pitch fork for height, 56 lb. weight tossed for Height)
Still more ways to test your mettle
For instance, there’s a festival magician – one Capt. Mayhem– St. Augustine’s very own Pirate Magician.
Should you need some sustenance after dropping a wad at The Compleat Knight and Scots Corner, find your corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew and soda bread convenient to hand on the very grounds of the festival.
Give Highland Glenn Food, Cameron’s British Foods, House of Douglas Scottish Bakery and the Scottish Cottage at whirl.
But it’s really all about the music
The concerts begin in earnest with a Bagpipe Jam at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Over the course of two days, festival goers will enjoy authentic Irish and Scottish music by:
- Black 47
- Dublin City Ramblers
- Jig to a Milestone
- Scuttered the Bruce
- The Tannahill Weavers
- The Wobbly Toms
See? Celtic life in Greater Jacksonville is just as vibrant as it was 500 years ago.
And it’s easy to find in St. Augustine, and not just this weekend.
Take the kids, take six bucks and take the Old City by storm.
St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival
- Fri., Mar. 7, Sat., Mar. 8, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. & Sun. Mar. 9, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Admission: $6 general, $45 VIP weekend package, Kids 12 & under FREE, Military with active ID FREE.
- Francis Field
- 14 W Castillo Dr.
- St. Augustine, Fla.
- Phone: 904-535-6853
- Email: Pat Syeles – firstname.lastname@example.org
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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: email@example.com