SAINT AUGUSTINE – Florida A&M University took the top prize April 16, when the 2017 Easter Festival Parade made its way through the oldest city. The famous FAMU Band, brought to St. Augustine thanks to the efforts of FAMU graduates and supporters, received the top prize of best overall entry in this year’s parade.
Winners of the various categories included:
Easter: First – St. Augustine Ballet Company; second – Perla Ballet Company; third – Las Floridanos.
Historic: First – St. Augustine Swashbucklers; Second – Fernandina Pirates; Third – St. Augustine Fire Department.
Religious: First – FAMU Character Counts; second – Memorial Lutheran Church.
Open: First – Youth Challenge Academy; second – Gator Clowns; third – Pet Camp.
This year’s Easter Festival, a 10-day celebration, included a variety of special events beginning with participation in the Palm Sunday Blessing of the Fleet and concluding with the Fromajardis Serenade. April 5, members of the community were recognized for their contributions to the city.
Knighted during special ceremonies by Queen Mariana, portrayed this year by Shannon Nanney, were First Coast news anchor Jessica Clark, Otis Mason, community leader and retired superintendent of St. Johns County Schools; Cora Tyson, a leader who promotes the black history of this oldest city; and Michael and Teresa Usina, longtime members of the Easter Festival committee.
The Royal Family, which portrays the ruling family in Spain in 1672, the year construction was begun on St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos, also includes this year Xavier Taylor as King Carlos; and Sophie Tilton as Princess Margarita Maria.