March 21 2018
Published by former Mayor George Gardner The Report is an independent publication serving our community Contributions are appreciated
Triple header weekend The Old Town Art & Craft Show, Festival of the Chariots and Blessing of the Fleet are on tap this weekend. The privately produced art and craft show at Francis Field Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm is a free juried show promising “everything from exquisite jewelry to funky and functional pottery, abstract sculpture to glistening glass, hand-woven fashions to stunning photography, extraordinary paintings to wonderful wood carvings.” The Festival of the Chariots, Saturday 10:30 am – noon along downtown streets and in the Plaza de la Constitución is a timeless festival, originating in India as an invitation to the Lord. The Blessing of the Fleet, Sunday, approximately 12:30 pm at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, follows a procession from the Cathedral Basilica led by the St. Augustine Royal Family.
History’s highlight St. Augustine’s Royal Family It began with a request by city and Chamber of Commerce officials: “Can you put something together to activate this slow tourist period?” St. Augustine’s springtime in the mid-1950s. An Easter Festival could do the trick; not just an Easter Parade so prominent in many cities but several weeks of activity to create a lively tourism period. As the nation’s oldest city its Spanish heritage could be drawn upon to create the program. Whether the date or the royals at that time came first we don’t know. The choice was a royal trio, Spanish Queen Regent Mariana, ruling until her young son King Carlos came of age, and her teenage daughter, Princess Margarita Maria. What is more, the family ruled at the start of construction on St. Augustine’s major landmark, the Castillo de San Marcos, 1672. The choice of this royal trio would also provide representation of adult, teen and young years. The annual selection of this royal family was also carefully thought out. A recognition of the first families of St. Augustine, whose lineage could be traced back to the city’s 256 years of history before becoming an American territory in 1821. The first event of the Easter Festival is the royal transfer, a public ceremony with a full entourage of 17th century senoras, dons, and attendants. Amid the pomp of a royal court, the scepter is passed from past to new queen regent, the sword to King Carlos and Crown & Cross symbol of office medallion to Princess Margarita Maria. Over the past half century a volunteer Easter Festival Committee has kept the tradition alive, the royal family presiding over the Easter Festival and many civic events throughout the year. In addition to a Knighting Ceremony, the Easter Parade, Palm Sunday Blessing of the Fleet, Fromajardis Serenade, and Royal Family Tea, the royal family and entourage have been a highlight of parades throughout the region, carrying St. Augustine’s historic message far and wide. Photo - Royal Trio 1965, St. Augustine's 400th anniversary - Queen Regent Mariana - Jessica Grimsley Sparks, Imperial Princess Margarita Maria - Marie Angela Mier, King Carlos - Donald Norman Pacetti, Jr.                                                       Florida State Archives  
Board pushes adherence to city’s historic guidelines Architect Don Crichlow is experienced as both an architect and former city commissioner, and no stranger to city code processes. He argued through months of Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) sessions to win demolition of the former Local Heros Café at 18 St. George Street. Last week he faced the board seeking an Opinion of Appropriateness to replace the structures on the property that stretches from St. George to Spanish Street. The property can’t be demolished until its replacement is approved. After one hour of discussion and public comment, the board decided it didn’t like the concept – a series of buildings creating retail spaces. The matter was continued to April 19 “to bring the design into compliance with AGHP (Architectural Guidelines for Historic Preservation) guidelines and based on one of the historic periods.” To board member Jeffrey Gordon’s comment, “The reality is that it’s one long building,” Crichlow responded, “That’s what’s been employed in the historic district; buildings going up now are using this.” Board Chair Toni Wallace said, “the precedent should be our AGHP guidelines, not something later.”
Quotable If we, as a community, are going to engage (guns and school safety) problems, then let’s address a very real third aspect of this disaster. My wife and I have lived with our son's schizophrenia for the past 10 years. So, to discuss the safety of our community and our citizens, we desperately need to address the mental health crisis as well. … When I read about the brother of a friend of ours who was hospitalized 34 times and booked in the Duval County Jail 23 times before the ultimate disaster occurred; When I read about the sheriffs across the state explaining their jails now packed with the mentally ill are not equipped or funded to be hospitals; And when I read of the nearly 195,000 Floridians Baker Acted in fiscal year 2015-2016, most were released with no follow-up, I can only conclude Florida is not doing this right. Adding to my discouragement, when I give my one hour presentation to law enforcement during Crisis Intervention Team Training or encounter people in public discussion, I am continually saddened how many people are still unaware that Florida is ranked 50th in mental health programs. Richard & Kathleen Marquis
Strike up our community band The Saint Augustine Community Band – 70 strong – presents its Spring Concert Friday, March 23, 7:30– 9 pm at Pacetti Bay Middle School, 245 Meadowlark Lane, St. Augustine. Originally established in the late gilded age of the early 1900s with a small military style band of about 16 members but disbanded in 1950.  Attempts to reform never survived long-term.  Today, after nearly 65 years of dormancy, the 70-member Saint Augustine Community Band is back in full force.  Members range from 16 to 80, including high school students, amateurs and semi-professionals from all walks of life.  The band was re-formed in September of 2015 under the baton of Maestro Geoffrey S. Magnani, who retired to Saint Augustine from New York State.  The goal is to offer instrumentalists in Saint Augustine and surrounding areas an opportunity to play in a band that is based in the city known for its rich heritage, culture and history.  Tickets $15 adults, $5 students, under 12 free, at Eventbrite ticket office.
Castillo program for Women’s History Month The Castillo will recognize Women’s History Month with a special evening event on Saturday, March 24. “Though St. Augustine was primarily a military city throughout its long history, it could not have survived or thrived without the ladies of the community,” Castillo rangers say. “Join us to meet women from St. Augustine’s past, learn about the city’s rich history through their unique stories, see them demonstrate the skills and crafts that helped them keep the colony alive, and even try your own hand at a craft to take home with you!”  Tickets $10 adult, $5 child ages 5 to 15 may be purchased in advance at the ticket booth or by phone by calling (904) 829-6506 ext. 239 on Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Easter Week Festival events The annual spring rites featuring St. Augustine’s Royal Family begin Thursday, March 22, with the Royal Transfer of Office in the West Courtyard of the Cathedral Basilica at 6 pm. Since 1959, the St. Augustine Royal Family has promoted St. Augustine by portraying the famous "Trio" of Queen Marianna, King Carlos and Princess Margarita Maria of 1672 Spain. March 25 (Palm Sunday) The Royal Family will attend the 11am Mass at the Cathedral Basilica and then participate in a procession to the city yacht pier for the Blessing of the Fleet. March 26 is the Knighting ceremony held in the Queen Isabella Gardens on St. George Street at 6 pm.  During the Knighting ceremony deserving citizens will be recognized by Queen Marianna for their contributions to the community. April 1 (Easter Sunday) at noon a Promenade will be held in the Plaza de la Constitución gazebo in downtown St. Augustine on Cathedral Place.  At the event awards will be presented in several fun categories including best-dressed couple, best Easter bonnet, and family traveled the farthest, etc. April 1 beginning at 3 pm will be the 59th annual Easter Parade, featuring horse drawn carriages, marching bands, floats, drill teams, the Easter Bunny and St. Augustine's Royal Family. The parade begins at the Authentic Old Jail Museum and follows San Marco Avenue through the city. April 1 at 6 pm following the Easter Parade a Fromajada Celebration hosted by the St. Augustine Easter Festival Committee and the St. Augustine Royal Family will be held at the Colonial Quarter.  Traditional Menorcan pastries will be available and the Easter Parade awards will be presented. All events are free and open to the public. Visit