In school, Americans were taught that the first Thanksgiving occurred when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and shared a meal with the Native American Indians. However, some historians claim that the real first Thanksgiving was celebrated in St. Augustine in 1565, when the Spanish landed ashore and shared a meal with the native Timucuan Indians.
As the oldest city in the nation, St. Augustine is full of rich history. To celebrate this, visit the Friends of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for an enriching experience to learn about the Timucuan Indian Native American Heritage. Discover their way of life through stories from Park Services Specialist Joe Woodbury and learn about the shelter, food, and clothing of the Timicuans hands on.
If you want a more modern Thanksgiving experience, don’t miss the Night of Illumination the Saturday before Thanksgiving, starting at 6:30 pm at the Plaza. Over 2 million Christmas lights will illuminate the city of St. Augustine, transforming it into a beautiful place for the holidays.
For those who feel a little guilty for stuffing their faces on Thanksgiving, register for the Run Turkey Run 5k or the Shut Up and Run 5k. The Run Turkey Run 5k will take place at World Golf Village and will benefit The Easy Peasy Kids Fitness Foundation, and the Shut Up and Run 5k will be held at Treaty Park and will benefit the St. Francis House.
Friday night, Community First Credit Union will sponsor a free viewing of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre to kick off their “A December to Remember” Series. There will also be train rides, face painting, a bounce house, and even a special guest visit from Santa!
End the week with a fantastic Thanksgiving tradition: the 49th Annual St. Augustine Arts and Crafts Festival. It will be held on the grounds of the Castillo de San Marcos the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving and will feature 150 national and regional artists. Stop by for paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, and more, as well as food, live music, and crafts!
Whether these events are part of your regular Thanksgiving traditions, or you decide to try something new this year, there’s no way you’ll be bored this Thanksgiving in St. Augustine.