SAINT AUGUSTINE – St. Augustine’s Easter Week Festival begins March 22, when the Royal Three accept the symbols of office. Heritage natives portray the Spanish royalty who ruled Spain in 1672, the year construction was begun on St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos. This year’s trio includes Heather Hartley Leonardy as Queen Mariana; Alyssa Rogero as Princess Margarita Maria; and Tristan Root as the young boy king, Carlos. The transfer of office ceremony begins at 6 p.m. March 22 in the West Courtyard of the Cathedral-Basilica at the corner of St. George Street and Cathedral Place.
Like all events associated with the yearly festival, there is no charge to attend the transfer.
Following the transfer, the festival continues March 25 when the Royal Family and its Entourage – composed of representatives of many lands – participate in the Palm Sunday rites, beginning with 11 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral, following by a solemn procession to the city yacht pier where the annual Blessing of the Boats is conducted by religious leaders of the Cathedral.
The next day, March 26, attention turns to the Queen Isabella Gardens, St. George Street, at 6 p.m. for the knighting ceremony, where individuals of the community are recognized for their contributions to the city.
April 1, a full day of activities is planned to celebrate Easter Day beginning with the annual Promenade at noon at the gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitucion in downtown St. Augustine. Prizes are awarded for numerous categories ranging from prettiest hat to largest family and family the farthest from home. Registration for the promenade is just prior to the event.
At 3 p.m. it’s time to turn attention to the downtown area as the annual Easter Parade begins with. bands, floats, drill teams, clowns and much more.
The Royal Trio and Entourage ride on floats and in carriages pulled by horses modeling the latest in Easter finery. In years past, prominent ladies of the city, state and nation have provided hats for the horses, and thus the name Parada de los Caballos y Coches. Hats for this year’s horses are being refurbished by the company Two Sisters of Jacksonville, explains Taylor.
The parade led by parade marshal Miss Florida begins at the Mission of Nombre de Dios on San Marco Avenue, and makes its way down to Avenida Menendez and downtown.