Oldest City Throws Birthday Bash for America

Fireworks, Hotel Deals, Concerts, Art Walk…And More!

A spectacular fireworks show high above the ancient Castillo de San Marcos and reflected in the waters of Matanzas Bay is just one of many memorable July 4th weekend events set for St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches.

Selected last week by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten places to live in the United States, St. Augustine combines the best traditions of America’s Independence Day with activities that never fail to inspire and delight residents and visitors alike.

Fireworks Over the Matanzas is the traditional July 4th spectacular in St. Augustine. This year, the event gets underway at 6 p.m. with a free, two-hour concert by The All Star Orchestra concert in the Plaza de la Consititucion in the heart of the historic district of the Nation’s oldest city. One of the region’s most popular big bands, The All Star Orchestra will combine patriotic favorites with nostalgic Big Band and Swing music. At 9:30 p.m., a bursting shell high above Matanzas Bay will signal the beginning of a pyrotechnic extravaganza that for the next 2 0 minutes will thrill thousands of spectators. To enhance the fireworks experience, local radio station WFOY/1240-AM will broadcast a stirring soundtrack of great popular music to coincide with the aerial spectacular. The broadcast can be heard on radios throughout the fireworks viewing area from Vilano Beach to the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Plus, a sophisticated audio system using loudspeakers will insure spectators along Matanzas Bay will be able to enjoy the musical accompaniment.

Following the fireworks, many shops, galleries and restaurants in downtown St. Augustine will remain open for the benefit of spectators at the fireworks show. Plus, for those who have not made their 4th of July B&B, hotel or resort reservations, the Visitors and Convention Bureau has made booking last-minute accommodations easy. For a link to room availability and special accommodations rates for this popular weekend, simply go to and click on the special July 4th Room Availability Button.

Fireworks Over the Matanzas is just one of the many July 4th weekend events available in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches. Combined with a visit to the gorgeous beaches of the area, sightseeing in one of the nation’s most historic cities, a round of golf on some of the most famous courses in the world or just some special pampering at the spas and resorts of Ponte Vedra Beach, these events are sure to make this Independence Day weekend a time of special memories.

Here are some great weekend activities:

Thursday, July 2:

Embark on a narrated tour of St. Augustine’s Civil Rights Landmarks: Freedom Trail. Featuring the many sites and homes of the people who participated in St. Augustine’s pivotal role in the Civil Rights movement of 1964, the tour takes place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tours depart from Excelsior African American Cultural Museum, 102 M. L. King Avenue in St. Augustine. Suggested donations are $15 for adults and $7 for students and will go toward sponsoring the 40th ACCORD’s efforts to erect additional Freedom Trail markers. For tickets and more information call 904.825.1194 or 386.986.4121 or visit

Bring your chair and enjoy an evening concert in St. Augustine’s Plaza de la Constitucion while enjoying bluegrass and beyond performed by The Driftwoods. The concert is from 7 to 9 p.m. and is free to the public. For more information, call 904.825.1004 or visit

Enjoy one of the largest fireworks displays in Northeast Florida as the World Golf Village celebrates Independence Day. Bring blankets or lawn chairs (no coolers please) and find a spot around the Walk of Champions to enjoy the show. The Fireworks take place at 9:30 p.m. and admission is free. The World Golf Village is located at Exit 323 off I-95 in St. Augustine. For more information, visit or call 904.940.4123.

Start your Fourth of July weekend sampling early at this special fund raiser for The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach. Located at Urban Flats Flatbread and Wine Company in the Shoppes at Ponte Vedra, the fun begins at 5:30 p.m. For just a $20 tax deductible donation, participants can sample flatbreads, desserts and the very best wines from Urban Flats. Proceeds benefit the Cultural Center’s arts education programs. For more information, call 904.280.0614.

Friday, July 3

Join one of St. Augustine’s most popular cultural events on the first Friday of every month. Enjoy the latest exhibits, music, entertainment and refreshments at over 20 participating galleries – plus, great food courtesy of the St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association. And at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica, the Don Thompson Chorale will present a free Christmas Concert. Tours begin at Rembrandtz American Craft Gallery, 131 King Street. Galleries are open from 5 to 9 p.m. St. Augustine Sightseeing Trains and Old Town Trolleys offer attendees a complimentary shuttle service to most of the galleries. Shuttles run on a continuous loop every 30 minutes. For more information, call 904.829.0065 or visit

Saturday, July 4

Come learn about the art, techniques and tools to make great sandcastles. In preparation for the City of St. Augustine Beach’s 50th Birthday sand sculpting contest on November 7, there will be sand sculpting classes for kids of all ages the first Saturday of every month through October. These family-fun instructional sessions take place each Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to noon on the beach in front of Ocean Trace Ramp at St. Augustine Beach. The classes are free and open to the public. For more information, call 904.501.1253 or email, or visit

Experience a fun and educational stroll through the uplands trails located within the Guana Reserve. The walk will cover approximately one and one-half miles round trip. Bring water, bug spray, and wear closed toe shoes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The walk takes place from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and starts at the Guana Dam trailhead pavilion. Then, at 11 a.m. join Research Reserve Visitor Services Specialist Jake Fitzroy for an informative presentation about the Pine Snake, including habitat, diet, predators, breeding, population status and other fun facts. Plus, the movie “Crash: A Tale of Two Species” will be shown at 10 a.m. The GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center is located at 505 Guana River Road, approximately 8 miles north of Vilano Beach in Ponte Vedra South. Admission is$2 for adults, $1 for Children 10 to 17 years old, and free for children 10 and under For more information, call 904.823.4500.

Have a blast at one of the East Coast’s largest fireworks shows! The spectacular fireworks burst above the ancient Castillo de San Marcos and reflect in the waters of Matanzas Bay. The 20-minute show includes a stirring soundtrack of great patriotic music. Admission is free with the best vantage points located along the bayfront between the Castillo and the Bridge of Lions. The fireworks blast off at 9:30 p.m. For more details, call 904.825.1004.

Come celebrate our nation’s independence at the grand opening of The White Room’s Loft and Rooftop and enjoy the fireworks with the best view in town. Throughout the evening live entertainment from jazz and American classics will be performed. Dinner and party packages ranging from $30 to $50 are available. The White Room is located on the third floor of 1 King Street in St. Augustine. For more information, call 904.824.9056.

Hop aboard St. Augustine Scenic Cruises’ Victory III for the best seats in town for the Nation’s oldest city’s 2009 fireworks display on Matanzas Bay. The Victory III will begin boarding at 8:15 p.m. and depart the City Marina, 111 Avenida Menendez at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person. Space is limited advance ticket purchase required. For more information or to order your tickets, call 904.824.1806 ext 210.

Come aboard if ye dare for a blast of a good time aboard the Black Raven. The Black Raven will be departing from the St. Augustine Marina for a sail about the Matanzas Bay for this year’s spectacular fireworks display. Boarding is at 8 p.m. and the Raven departs at 8:15 p.m. Tickets, which includes light snacks and a beer or wine are $55 per person. For more information and reservations call 877.578.5050 904.826.0000 or visit

Celebrate the 4th of July at the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse with a magnificent view of the skyline and the fireworks. This memorable event begins with a sunset view. Then when darkness sets…… spectacular fireworks! St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum is located at 81 Lighthouse Avenue in St. Augustine. Tickets are $40 per person and space is limited. For reservations call 904.829.0745 ext. 207. For more information, visit

Sunday, July 5

Enjoy beautiful views of the Princess Place Preserve while a Florida Master Naturalist interprets local ecology, history, folklore, and proper kayaking technique. The tour leaves from Faver-Dykes State Park for a 3-hour paddling eco-tour through one of the best kept natural estuaries in Florida and be a million miles from nowhere! Faver-Dykes State Park is located off US1 South at I-95 Exit 298 in St. Augustine. The tour is from 9 a.m. to noon. The cost is $50 per person and includes park admission, kayaking equipment, guided tour and photos. For more information or to reserve your space, call 904.347.1565 or visit

For more information on special events, activities, accommodations and vacation opportunities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, call the Visitors and Convention Bureau at 1.800.653.2489 or visit www.Getaway4Florida.


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