By ANNE C. HEYMEN
SAINT AUGUSTINE – Easter Festival events for 2017 get underway today (April 5) with the Royal Transfer of Office at 6 p.m. in the Queen Isabella Gardens, corner of St. George and Hypolita streets, when the new royal trio is officially introduced. The trio, young King Carlos, his mother, Queen Mariana, and sister, Princess Margarita Maria, represent the ruling family in Spain in 1672, the year construction was begun on St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos.
This year’s trio includes Xavier Taylor, 11, as King Carlos. He’s descended from, among other Spanish families, Oliveros or Oliveri. Shannon Nanney, whose ancestry includes the Pellicer family, is Queen Mariana, and Sophie Tilton, East Palatka, will portray Princess Margarita Maria. Her family includes Solana and Colee.
Following the transfer, the new royal trio’s first official appearance will be during the 11 a.m. April 9 Palm Sunday Mass at the Basilica-Cathedral of St. Augustine. Following services, the group processes to the city yacht pier for the yearly Blessing of the Fleet.
April 10 at 6 p.m. the west courtyard of the Basilica-Cathedral, will be setting for the traditional knighting, when residents of the community are recognized by the Easter Festival for contributions to the city. The church courtyard is located at the corner of Cathedral Place and St. George Street.
Easter Day. April 16, is the big day, with registration for the promenade beginning at noon in the Plaza de la Constitucion. The promenade begins at 12:30 p.m. with a variety of prizes awarded, including to the largest family, the family traveling the greatest distance, and recognition for the best hat, best
The Easter Parade begins at 3 p.m.. from the Old Jail, making its way down San Marco Avenue, through downtown and concluding at the Visitors Information Center. Headlined as the Parade of Horses and Hats, the event spotlights hats donated by prominent women of the city, state and nation and worn by horses pulling the sightseeing carriages.
David Chatterton is again heading up the parade, an event which will feature as parade marshals, two young men who attended local schools and are now place kickers for professional football teams. Caleb Sturgis, a graduate of St. Augustine High School, plays for the Philadelphia Eagles; and Cairo Santos, who attended St. Joseph Academy, kicks for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Floats, Shrine units, bands and walking units comprise the remainder of the parade with the world-renowned Florida A&M University Band, Tallahassee, headlining the musical contingent of the parade.
The traditional Fromajardis Serenade, the evening of April 16, concludes this year’s Easter celebration. Fromajardis are a traditional Spanish cheese pastry, and they will be served at the closing event. Time and location of thee Fromajardis Serenade will be announced. The cheese pastries are traditionally made by members of the St. Augustine Menorcan Cultural Society.
For further information on the Easter parade call 904-829-3800 or go to oldestcityeaster.org/easter-parade.html.