Our Offbeat Easter Parade
This year marks the 60th Annual Easter Parade in St. Augustine. Dubbed "La Parada de los Caballos y Coches," or "The Parade of Horses and Carriages," this popular hometown parade features pirates, soldiers, horses and carriages, and the “royal trio” from 17th-century Spain, all of which you might expect in a city with over 450 years of history.
But St. Augustine’s Easter Parade also includes a number of specific traditional aspects that are tied to the unique multicultural roots of the nation’s oldest city. And even more, the parade has evolved over the years to include a host of quirky characters and groups, from the Easter Bunny (of course!) to beauty pageant contestants and Imperial Storm Troopers (wearing pink bunny slippers).
St. Augustine's Easter Week festivities began in 1902 and have grown to include several major events, including The Blessing of the Fleet on Palm Sunday and the Easter Parade, which will now take place on the Saturday before Easter. The tradition of the Royal Family Trio was begun in the early 1950s to honor Queen Marianna of Spain, who first called for a masonry fort to be built to protect the young city in 1672. She and the rest of the royal family trio (King Juan Carlos and Princess Margaret Maria) are portrayed by members of Minorcan and Spanish families, who are chosen each year to commemorate the construction of the Castillo de San Marcos, which enabled the city of St. Augustine to survive in the coming centuries.
Leading up to Easter Sunday, St. Augustine’s Royal Family Trio continues to preside over several heritage celebrations throughout the city, including the Royal Family Transfer of Office, the Royal Knighting Ceremony, and the Easter Promenade on Easter Sunday.
The Easter Parade Today
The Easter Parade continues to grow in popularity and in scope. 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of the Easter Parade and is also the first year that the parade will be held on the Saturday before Easter. Stepping off at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, 2019, the parade begins just north of the Mission of Nombre de Dios (27 Ocean Ave. St. Augustine, FL 32084) and heads south along San Marco Avenue and Avenida Menendez to the Plaza de la Constitución.
The Easter Parade is run completely by volunteers, with significant help from Old Town Trolley Tours, which organizes the parade down to every detail. It’s hard to imagine a better way to spend a beautiful spring morning than sitting on a curb or lounging against a tree, watching the parade go by.
Click here for information on all the events happening around Easter in St. Augustine.
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