The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum and Florida Folklife Project will highlight North Florida’s maritime heritage as part of the citywide celebration of St. Augustine’s 450th birthday. 

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. –Traditions of St. Augustine’s Spanish, Minorcan and Greek ancestors will be on display at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum’s Maritime Folklife Festival on Saturday, Sept. 5th, during the citywide 450th birthday celebration. This free festival is co-sponsored by the Lighthouse and the Florida Division of Historical Resource’s Florida Folklife Program.

Latin music performer Goliath Flores

Latin music performer Goliath Flores

“So much of our maritime history is tied to the cultural roots of this community,” said Executive Director Kathy A. Fleming. “This event ties in perfectly with our museum’s dedication to folk culture, like our traditional wooden boatworks and exhibits on shrimping and boatbuilding. It’s also a great fit with the 450th celebration.”

The festival will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will include elements of food, music and history (see full schedule below). Volunteers from the museum’s Heritage Boatworks will showcase some of their traditional wooden boatbuilding skills during the morning session, followed by a Minorcan castnet demonstration from Michael Usina. Lunch will feature Cuban and Minorcan food samples provided by Marisella Veiga and Mary Ellen Masters.

Pam Solano weaving palmetto leaves into textiles.

Pam Solano weaving palmetto leaves into textiles.

In the afternoon, Pam Solano will demonstrate palmetto hat making, followed by a Florida shrimping and boatbuilding presentation from Nick Deonas. Latin Music performers Goliath Flores and Joel Mejias will conclude the festival with a concert from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

“The term ‘folklife’ represents the traditional expressive culture that is woven into our daily lives through occupational traditions, material arts, and foodways,” said Amanda Hardeman, State Folklorist for the Bureau of Historic Preservation. “This special event will celebrate the diverse cultures and living traditions that are so tightly bound to St. Augustine’s community identity and cultural history.”

Mike Usina demonstrating the use of a Minorcan castnet.

Mike Usina demonstrating the use of a Minorcan castnet.

The festival will be held on the front lawn of the Keepers’ House. Admission is not required for the festival, however if guests would like to enter the Lighthouse grounds to climb the tower and view museum exhibits, general admission rates would apply.

Visitors are encouraged to use the Usina Bridge on State Road 312 to access the Lighthouse due to high traffic in the downtown areas for the 450th celebration. Trolleys will also be running along Anastasia Boulevard between designated parking areas and the base of the Bridge of Lions.


10:00 a.m.: Opening remarks from state folklorist Amanda Hardeman

10:15 – 10:45 a.m.: Boatbuilding demonstration

10:45 – 11:15 a.m.: Minorcan castnet demonstration by Michael Usina

Mary Ellen Masters stirring a fresh batch of Minorcan chowder.

Mary Ellen Masters stirring a fresh batch of Minorcan chowder.

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Minorcan foodways with Mary Ellen Masters

12:00 – 12:30 p.m.: Cuban foodways with Marisella Veiga

12:30 – 1:00 p.m.: Palmetto hat marking demonstration with Pam Solano

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.: Florida shrimping and boatbuilding presentation by Nick Deonas

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.: Latin music performance by Goliath Flores and Joel Mejias



A pivotal navigation tool and unique landmark of St. Augustine for over 140 years, the St. Augustine Light Station is host to centuries of history in the Nation’s Oldest Port. Through interactive exhibits, guided tours and maritime research, the 501(c)3 non-profit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum is on a mission to preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest Port sm as symbolized by our working lighthouse. We are the parent organization to the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.