Pedro Menendez and his troops landed in St. Augustine on September 8, 1565, and the city celebrates each year with a Founder's Day Commemoration. For the 458th anniversary, the observance is on Saturday, September 7, 2024. Activities start at 10:00 a.m. at the Mission Nombre de Dios and continue at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, concluding at 5:00 p.m.
Historic Florida Militia's Men of Menéndez will present the 2023 Founder's Day Commemoration in partnership with the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios, the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. The landing is at 10:00 a.m. at the Mission, accompanied by cannon and musket salutes from the adjacent shores of the Fountain of Youth. Following that, a Catholic Mass will be held at the Rustic Altar on the Mission grounds at 11:00 a.m.
At noon, the Menéndez entourage will move to the Fountain of Youth in the Grand Procession, and at 1:00 p.m., there is a First Thanksgiving Meal reenactment. A re-created encampment and living history demonstrations will continue at the Fountain of Youth until 5:00 p.m.
Below is the schedule of events for 2023. When we have 2024 information, we'll update the schedule.
Menéndez and his entourage approach and land at the Mission grounds
Mission Nombre de Dios
Ceremonies and Catholic Mass at the Rustic Altar at Mission
Mission Nombre de Dios
Grand Procession from Mission grounds to the Fountain of Youth
Moving to the Fountain of Youth
The reenactment of the First Thanksgiving Meal (Regular admissions apply; free for residents of St. Johns County.)
Ample, free parking is available at the Mission. Seating is limited, so guests are encouraged to bring folding chairs.
Admission: The landing, mass, and procession are free. Regular admission rates apply to enter the Fountain of Youth ($19.95 for adults, $9.95 for children ages 6-12, and free for toddlers five and under). On Founders Day, St. Johns County residents who have valid IDs showing county residence will be admitted free, as will procession participants.
When: The landing and mass are at the Mission beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 7, 2024. The First Thanksgiving reenactment is at 1:00 p.m. at the Fountain of Youth, where a re-created encampment and historic demonstrations will continue until 5:00 p.m.
Where: The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios is at 101 San Marco. The Fountain of Youth is at 11 Magnolia Avenue.