Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s beloved here in America. But, How did it all get started? Who brought it into this land? How much has it changed throughout the years?
First Thanksgiving Celebration
Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated by many for as long as we can remember. Getting the perfect turkey and putting it in the oven as you watch the Macy’s Day Parade, playing football while you wait for everything to be done, and then sitting at the table with your family enjoying good times and good food is what it’s all about.
But how did this tradition get started? By whom? According to historians, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October, 1621. It was celebrated by the pilgrims after their first successful corn harvest in the New World. Their guest, the Wampanoag Tribe, also shared food with them. This is what the history books teach school age children.
The Real First Thanksgiving
Let us rewind 66 years before this event, on September 8 1565. Spanish explorers landed in what was deemed the ‘New World’. Don Pedro Menendez Aviles landed in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. The Spanish Colonists were in celebration mode after traversing the dangerous seas and making it out unscathed. Their arrival fell on the Catholic holiday of “The Birth Of the Virgin Mary”, which added to the celebratory air of the day. The Native Tribe of the Timucua were invited to this event (sounds similar to the traditional Thanksgiving story, doesn’t it?).
This Thanksgiving feast did not have a turkey as part of the menu. In fact, they had the food the Spanish brought on their ships. They made a stew containing beans and salted pork from what we can gather. The record does not show if the natives brought any items but if they did, it most like was vegetables, seafood and possibly even had gator meat! Check out more of the story here.
There’s a lot of history here in St. Augustine. The rich heritage of this city continues to surprise and captivate visitors and locals alike. Let us see how we honor that heritage and look at what there is to do this Thanksgiving around town.
Thanksgiving in St. Augustine
4th Annual Turkey Run 5K
Want to start the holidays off healthy? Join an early morning Thanksgiving day run to get the family out and running before the big feast! The 4th Annual Turkey Run 5K will take place in World Golf Village just north of St. Augustine. The course will take runners along World Commerce Parkway. The registration fee for the 5K varies depending on the time ordered. On the day of the race, registration will be payable in cash or check only. Race day registration starts at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 7:35 a.m.
- Perks: All runners will be given a unique long-sleeve T-shirt, a custom medal, and post-race refreshments including fruit and cranberry sparklers. Kids will receive a short sleeve shirt. Shirts and medals only guaranteed by Thursday, November 15.
- Awards: Massage gift certificates will be given to Top Overall Male and Female finishers and the Top Overall Masters. The top three runners in the following age groups will receive awards: 9 and under, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80 and over.
World Golf Village is located at 500 S Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, FL, 32092. For more information on this event, visit the website or call Ultimate Racing at (904) 710-2458.
St. Augustine Art & Craft Festival 2018
Don’t miss the 53rd Annual St. Augustine Art & Craft Festival, a premier outdoor art fair that is a Thanksgiving weekend tradition attracting thousands of visitors, art collectors, and savvy shoppers. It features over 150 top national and regional artists exhibiting paintings, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, glassware, fiber art, photography, mixed media, and more! This is a great opportunity to get your holiday shopping started! The event also includes live music, food and beverages, a kids art zone, and a historic village featuring the Textile Arts Guild of St. Augustine.
- Saturday, November 24 — 10:00am-5:00pm
- Sunday, November 25 — 10:00am-4:30pm
A $2 entry donation entitles visitors to free tickets for a drawing for entry into select area attractions or specialty gifts. All day parking is available in the Historic Parking Garage. There will be a free park & ride shuttle service on Saturday that starts at 1pm from the St. Johns County Health Department and San Marco Avenue, north of town.
Check out the event website for more details or call the Art Association at 904-824-2310.
Night of Pints
You may have heard of the Night of Lights, but have you tried the Nights of Pints? This event is a bar-hopping special offered by four local St. Augustine breweries during the Nights of Lights season 2018-19. Participants can enjoy a seasonal pint on the house at any time between November 17, 2018, and February 3, 2019, from any of these four breweries:
- Ancient City Brewing Downtown Taproom, 18 Cathedral Place
- Bog Brewing Company, 218 W King Street
- Dog Rose Brewing, 77 Bridge Street
- Old Coast Ales, 300 Anastasia Boulevard
For $30, participants receive a commemorative T-shirt and a passport that entitles them to a free pint at the four local breweries above at any time during the Nights of Lights event.
Dining out on Thanksgiving? Here’s a list to help vacationers find local places in St. Augustine that offer Thanksgiving meals with all the good food you get on Thanksgiving and a few extras. Choose from traditional sit-down meals, buffets, and special menus.
Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving
Maybe you are visiting and staying at a resort on the beach and don’t have the resources available – or maybe you just want to avoid cooking for hours straight – but it’s nice to know where you can get a warm meal with the family this Thanksgiving. Luckily, St. Augustine has some great restaurants open this turkey day! Here’s some to check out:
Restaurant Phone Hours Information
|La Pentola||(904) 824-3282||12 p.m. – 8 p.m.||Traditional plated dinner and limited menu items available. Call for reservations.|
|Reef Restaurant||(904) 824-8008||10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.||Brunch buffet. Reservations strongly suggested.|
|Raintree Restaurant||(904) 824-7211||12 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.||Traditional plated dinner and limited menu items available. Call for reservations.|
|Old City House Inn Restaurant||(904) 826-0113||11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.||Traditional meal and limited menu items available. Call for reservations.|
|Costa Brava||(904) 810-6810||11 a.m. – 9 p.m.||Breakfast buffet and brunch, then Thanksgiving dinner station starting later. Adults $69, Kids $25. Call for reservations.|
|Columbia Restaurant||(904) 824-3341||11 a.m. – 10 p.m.||Traditional plated dinner and menu items available. Call for details and reservations.|
|O.C. White’s||(904) 824-0808||11 a.m. – 8 p.m.||Traditional meal. Call for details and reservations.|
|Aviles Restaurant||(904) 829-2277||12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. & 6 p.m.||Holiday buffet. Call for details and reservations.|
|TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse||(904) 273-3238||12 – 7 p.m.||Thanksgiving buffet featuring traditional favorites. Call for reservations. $78 for adults, $39 for children. Kids 5 – 11 are free.|
|Athena Greek Restaurant||(904) 823-9076||7 a.m. – 9 p.m.||Holiday menu with Greek specials. Call for details and reservations.|
|Georgie’s Diner||(904) 819-9006||7 a.m. – 9 p.m.||Holiday specials along with regular menu. Call for details and reservations.|
|Aunt Kate’s||(904) 829-1105||11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.||Traditional plated dinner available. Call for details and reservations.|
|Le Pavilion||(904) 824-6202||11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.||Call for details and reservations.|
|Gypsy Cab Co.||(904) 824-8244||1 – 8 p.m.||Holiday menu. Call for details and reservations. Walk ins are welcome.|
|Zaharias Restaurant||(904) 471-4799||12 p.m. – 9 p.m.||Special Thanksgiving menu. Walk-ins welcome, no reservations.|
|La Cocina at Castillo Real||(904) 461-8288||12 – 7 p.m.||4-course holiday meal. Call for details and reservations.|
|Oak Room||(904) 825-1923||12 p.m. – 4 p.m.||Complete holiday meal. Reservations recommended.|
|The Conch House||(904) 829- 8646||11 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Special Thanksgiving meal in addition to regular menu.|
|Casablanca Inn||(904) 638-7104||7:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.||Regular brunch food menu at Restaurant Brunchfrom 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tini Martini Bar open from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m. for cocktails.|
|Villagio Grille at Renaissance Resort||(904) 940-8696||11 a.m. – 3 p.m.||Thanksgiving Day Buffet. Call for reservations.|
|Barley Republic||(904) 547-2023||1 p.m. – 10 p.m.||Limited Holiday Menu. No reservations accepted or needed. Walk-ins only.|
|Romeo’s Italiano Cafe||(904) 679-4785||12 p.m. – 9 p.m.||Regular menu with holiday specials. Walk-ins welcome.|
|Sangrias||(904) 827-1947||12 p.m. – 11 p.m.||Regular Menu|
For details or more information contact the restaurants.
You can enjoy these events and more through the season. Just come out to good old St. Augustine! As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, remember that Thanksgiving meals have changed through the ages. As the years go by and more people come to Florida from all different walks of life, they add new food items and new traditions. But Thanksgiving remains the same in spirit.