Chalupa Christening at Fountain of Youth

St. Augustine’s Maritime Heritage Foundation marked the completion of a major project as they christened their hand-built 16th-century-era chalupa today March 22, 2015, at the Fountain of Youth, St Augustine, FL.

This is the first building project at the Maritime Heritage Foundation’s replica boat yard on the waterfront at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Volunteers have been working on this replica workboat for the past three years. The chalupa will be featured in St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary celebrations later this year.

The weather was perfect for the event, and crowds came to support the event. People in period dress, food, sangria, Spanish music, it was truly a christening turned into festival.

Chalupas are long utility boats that were used extensively by early Spanish explorers and settlers. They plied the waters between the larger ships and the mainland, crossing sandbars and navigating shallows to off-load soldiers, arms, and equipment.

Founders Day at Fort Mose

On March 21, First Coast.TV caught up with James Bullock who portrays Captain Francisco Menendez at Fort Mose State Park for founders day.

Founders day highlights Governor Manuel de Montiano granting Francisco Menendez and his men their freedom and proclaiming the founding of a new town to honor the free black residents of St. Augustine and it will be know henceforth as Pubelo de Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose.

Captain Menendez pledges on behalf if all black subjects to support and defend St. Augustune. A church is also built at Mose under the orders of Governor Montanio by Francisco Frair, Don Joseph de Leon.

Fort Mose is the site of the First Free Black Settlement in North America and exists 2 miles north of the city if St. Augustine.

Anastasia Mosquito Control District and Jeanne Moeller

Derek Hankerson sat down with Jeanne Moeller and had a conversation about the Anastasia Mosquito Control District. Its present and its future.

Mosquitoes are insects with two wings. There are over 3,500 different species of mosquitoes found in the world; over 77 of these species are found in Florida. Forty-three species have been found in St. Johns County, each of which has a different habitat, behavior and preferred source of blood. About 10 of these species are most common and are vicious biters of man and animals in our county. Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance as biting insects, but are also involved periodically in transmitting diseases to humans and animals.

Anastasia Mosquito Control District’s mission is to protect and educate us.

For more info go to:

A Conversation with Vicky Oakes and the Special Election

An interview with Vicky Oakes the Supervisor of Elections of St Johns County, turned out to be very interesting, and be a vault of information for the voter. We talked about many things, and among them the April 7th special election, low voter turn out and the education of future voters.

The interview took place March 17th at her office in St Augustine, FL.

For more info go to: :

Movie Musical Magic and St Augustine Community Chorus

St. Augustine Community Chorus offered “Movie Musical Magic!”

We all love going to the movies and often leave singing or humming tunes from the score, especially with musicals. For audiences who enjoy music from Broadway or the cinema, this was an opportunity to attend the St. Augustine Community Chorus concert: These are a few of our favorite things: Movie Musical Magic! The concert took place at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 14 and at 3:00 PM on Sunday, March 15 at the Performing Arts Center of St. Augustine High School, 3205 Varella Avenue.

From the early days of films in the thirties up through the 1990’s, there are many memorable melodies that we all love, including: “My Favorite Things”, “Unchained Melody”, “As Time Goes By”, “My Heart Will Go On”, “Singin’ in the Rain” “Under the Boardwalk”, and “Hooray for Hollywood”. Director Kathleen Vande Berg selected all of these and more to be performed by the chorus and guest soloists during the spring concert, this was the final concert that Ms. Vande Berg directed the chorus. Having been a Chorus Director since 2005, she will remain active as the Director of the St. Augustine Singers and involved in many other community activities, including Co-Chair of the Romanza Festivale. The new director, Michael Sanflippo, will take over the baton for the May 17, 2015 concert and subsequent concerts in the next season.

For more info go to:

St Augustine’s Saint Patrick’s Parade 2015

The parade started at 10am, and Saint Patrick blessed us with a beautiful day. Full of kilts, bag pipes, floats and everything that makes a St Patrick’s Day parade exceptional was there. Grand Marshall this year was St. Augustine’s founder, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles (portrayed by Chad Light).
The parade traveled down Orange Street to Avenida Menendez (the bayfront), then to Cathedral Place, next on Cordova Street, then back to Orange Street. Spectators arrived early to claim a spot along the parade route … then followed the parade to the Celtic Festival at Francis Field. Tons of people and a lot of great fun.

Whisky the Celtic Way

The day before St Augustine’s St Patty’s Parade (March 13th, 2005) a whisky tasting event took place. It featured premium brands of whisky and took place under tent #2, at Francis Field. Robert Burns filled the tent with music as he played the Dulcimer, a very pleasant Celtic sounding instrument.

The Chalupa Meets the Water

A nimble, utility longboat, known as a chalupa to the Spanish of the 16th Century, was an essential craft of the early Spanish explorers and settlers. It allowed them to off-load larger ships, crossing the sandbars at the mouths of inlets, to explore shallow creeks, and land soldiers, arms, and equipment ashore. This was especially convenient in the early days of St. Augustine, due to St. Augustine inlet being very shallow with ever-changing sand bars.

The design for this boat comes from a well preserved marine archeological find in Red Bay, Canada [link]. This contemporary era craft was used by Basque whalers, as a pursuit long boat and gives an idea of the speed with which it could be rowed by its crew.

While a smaller, open deck rowing boat, it could be equipped with sails and was seaworthy for long coastal and even open sea travel. Built with 10 oars, a rudder, and two masts, this versatile craft is the first building project of our replica boat yard on waterfront at the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. This first boat is to be finished in time for the 450th Anniversary of St. Augustine in September, 2015.

We’re Christening the Chalupa at 3:00pm March 22 at the Fountain of Youth.
For more info go to

Mayor Nancy Shaver’s First 100 Days

Mayor Nancy Shaver of St. Augustine sat down with Jorge Rivera from FirstCoast.TV, and talked about her first 100 days in office. City issues, the 450th and much more, was part of the conversation.

Niger Innis, CORE, and Putnam County Tea Party

Niger Innis,
Executive Director of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE)

Niger Innis, Executive Director of Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and National Civil Rights leader, visited Putnam County’s republicans, democrats and independents, and was warmly received as he spoke to a large group of people, some came as far as Palm Coast.
The meeting was hosted by Putnam County Republican Executive Committee and Putnam County Tea Party. Niger Innis spoke to the crowd and did a Q and A. Later he was interviewed by Derek B. Hankerson of FirstCoast.TV.