Cycling Festival Sept 11-12

On September 11-12, the 2nd Annual St. Augustine Cycling Festival will return to the St. Augustine Amphitheater with plenty to do, see, and enjoy for bicyclists from the casual rider to professional racer. The event offers an ideal opportunity to learn about one of the world's most popular sports-health activities and to promote safe and healthy cycling lifestyles in north Florida.

The two day-event offers a bicycle expo both days, a clinic and live music on Saturday, plenty of food and drink, and the 21st Annual Endless Summer Watermelon Ride on Sunday. This ride offers routes from 30 to 100 miles and is listed in Elizabeth and Charles Skinner's book, The Best Rides in the South.

The Bicycle Expo runs Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and offers special deals on bicycles, clothing, and accessories, as well as educational opportunities for both experienced cyclists and those who think they might be interested in picking up this sports-hobby. Regional bike shops will be participating as well as representatives of most major bicycle manufacturers. A new bicycling clinic will offer nutrition and training information suitable for the beginner or expert.

Live music will be performed on stage by Trapdoor and Pili Pili on Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m., and by Tony Novelly on Sunday, from noon to 3:30 p.m. A $3,500 gift certificate good for the purchase of a new bicycle at any of Champion Cycling's locations will be raffled off to benefit the Boy Scouts of America, North Florida Council. Tickets may be purchased at any Champion Cycling shop, from Billy Morrow at LBA Certified Accounts, or at the Bike Expo, Saturday and Sunday, Sept 11th and 12th.

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is located on Anastasia Island at 1340C A1A South. Admission is free to both the Bicycle Expo and the concert. Find out more atwww.staugustinecyclingfestival.com or contact Michael Breeden at 904.472.6301 orpr@staugustinecyclingfestival.com .

The St. Augustine Cycling Festival is a collaborative project by the North Florida Bicycle Club, Boy Scouts of America, St. Johns County Recreation & Parks and the St Augustine, Ponte Vedra, and the Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau.


This Saturday in St. Augustine: Spanish Re-enactors and Lots of Fun at the Beach


Experience living history demonstrations conducted by authentic 18th century colonial Spanish re-enactors from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. at Fort Mose State Park located at 15 Fort Mose Trail in St. Augustine. Admission is $4 per vehicle or $2 for pedestrians or bicyclists. For more information, call 904.823.2232 or visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortmose.


Don't miss the 13th Annual Beach Tug-of-War at the Holiday Inn St. Augustine Beach and help raise funds for a worthy cause - the Give Kids The World Village, a Kissimmee resort that provides week-long, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Five-person teams can register for the tug-of-war competition for $10 and everyone can enjoy the beachside and poolside refreshments, live music, activities, door prizes and silent auction. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 904.471.2555.


Join a park ranger for a 3-½ mile low tide bike ride and bird watch. Participants will enjoy an ecology talk at the point of Conch Island and then start the return trip. Riders should be prepared for weather conditions on the beach. This program is free with paid park admission. Bike rentals will be available from Island Joes. The ride begins at 5 p.m. from Island Joe's Pavilion in Anastasia State Park. Park admission is $8 per vehicle with up to 8 passengers and $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists. The park entrance is located at 1340 A A1A South in St. Augustine. For more information, call 904.461.2033 or visithttp://www.floridastateparks.org/anastasia.

Come to the City of St. Augustine Beach for a Party on the Pier! Local crafts, food and drink, a dunking tank and music by Skip Disc, sublime cover band 32 Oz. to Freedom and hair-metal cover band Paper Cutt. It all takes place from 4-9 p.m. at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier, 350 A1A Beach Blvd, St. Augustine Beach. Admission is free! (Bring lawn chairs for seating.) For more information, call 904.461.0019 or 904.209.0366



On Saturday, September 4, the Nation's oldest city, will celebrate its 445th birthday with an authentic re-creation of its founding, a procession featuring its founder's casket, and the opening of a magnificent new museum. In addition, special activities will focus on the Native Americans who greeted the Spaniards in 1565 and the celebration of the First Thanksgiving. Of course, there will be free birthday cake for everyone!

St. Augustine was founded on September 8, 1565 when Spanish military forces and colonists came ashore to establish a base of operations against French trespassers in La Florida. Commanded by Admiral don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the base was named St. Augustine because the fleet had sighted La Florida on August 28, the feast day of St. Augustine, and because Augustine was also the patron saint of Aviles, Spain - the birthplace of Menendez. People of European descent have been living continuously in St. Augustine since that Saturday in 1565, making it the oldest city in the continental United States.

The birthday celebration gets underway on Thursday, September 2 in the town's Plaza de la Constitucion. Free birthday cake will be distributed to everyone attending the free 7 p.m. Concert in the Plaza. City officials and Royal Family will participate in the cake-cutting ceremony.

When the Spaniards arrived, they found a large Native American village called Seloy already located at the present day site of Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archeological Park located at 11 Magnolia Avenue. In fact, it was here that the Spaniards quickly dug defensive positions on the first days of St. Augustine's existence. Menendez lived here with the natives known as Timucuas. This year's birthday activities will include a special Celebration of Those Who Were Already Here. Beginning on Friday and continuing through Sunday, the Fountain of Youth will feature an encampment with re-enactors portraying Timucuas and the Spanish soldiers and colonists who lived here during the early days of the city's history. The encampment will open each day at 9 a.m.

On Saturday at 4:45 p.m., the First Thanksgiving will be re-enacted on the grounds of the Fountain of Youth. This well-documented event occurred on this site on September 8, 1565 when Timucuas and Spaniards shared their food in a Feast of Thanksgiving. The re-enactment will include a cooking contest with entries limited to ingredients that would have been readily available on that date at that location. The public will be invited to sample the entries. Admission to the Fountain of Youth is free for St. Johns County residents. For more information about the encampment and cooking contest, call 904.829.3168.

The colorful and dramatic re-enactment of The Landing will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday when Menendez arrives by boat at the Mission Nombre de Dios on San Marco Avenue, adjacent to the Fountain of Youth and the exact landing point of the Spanish colonists in 1565. After the landing, Dr. Bonnie McEwan, director of Mission San Luis, will speak about the importance of Mission Nombre de Dios, the first mission established here by the Spaniards. Bishop Victor Galeone will conduct a Celebration Mass at the mission's outdoor altar -- on the grounds where Father Lopez performed mass on the day of the City of St. Augustine's birth 445 years ago. Following mass, a procession of 16th century Spanish soldiers will carry the actual casket of Pedro Menendez in a solemn procession to its new home in the new Mission Nombre de Dios Museum. Bishop Galeone will provide a blessing and dedication ceremony for the new museum. All of these events are free and open to the public. For more information about the landing re-enactment at the museum, go to www.MissionandShrine.org or call 904.824.2809.

Full details on all of the Birthday Celebration events can be found on the City of St. Augustine's website www.staugustinesbirthday.com .

The 445th Anniversary of the Founding of St. Augustine received support from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and is sponsored by Mission Nombre de Dios and La Compania de Santiago. For information on other events and vacation opportunities on Florida's Historic Coast go to www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com or call 800.653.2489. (News bulletin from the Visitors & Convention Bureau.)


MORE this weekend: Big Cats, Food, Music, Beer!

1st Annual Taco & Burrito Cookoff! Across the Bridge of Lions on Anastasia Island. 1pm-9pm. Proceeds will benefit Single Vision, Inc. - an endangered species educational facility.


This Weekend: Classic Cars, Hawks & Gators!

See classic cars and street-rods on display from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy music, door prizes and plenty of fun activities in the parking lot of the Ponce de Leon Mall, located on US 1 South of SR 312 in St. Augustine. For more information, call 904.940.8819.

Spend 55 fascinating minutes with North America's 30 species of hawks during the screening of the nature film "Hawks Up Close" at the GTM Environmental Education Center. Show times are 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Admission to the Center is $2 for adults, $1 for children age 10 to 17 and children under 10 are free. GTM Environmental education Center is located at 505 Guana River Road, of A1A in Ponte Vedra South. For more information, call 904.823.4500 or visit www.gtmnerr.org

Head over to the GTM Environmental Education Center to learn about the alligator's habitat, prey, reproduction, history with man, and how to avoid conflict in a state with over a million alligators. On hand will be a live gator. After the talk, there will be a short hike to observe wild alligators in their native habitat. Bring water and insect repellant for the hike. The fun begins at 12:30 p.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission to the GTM EEC, located at 505 Guana River Rd., off A1A in Ponte Vedra Beach South, is $2 for adults, $1 for children age 10 to 17 and children under 10 are free. Reservations Required! For more information, call 904.823.4500.


Recession Rescue Special 50% - 100% Savings!

Stay during August or September:

* Reserve a two-night midweek stay (Sunday through Thursday), pay full price for the 1st night, and the 2nd night is HALF-PRICE!
* Stay during the same period for three nights, pay full price for the first 2 nights, and the 3rd night is FREE!

Cannot be combined with any other discounts or specials. Available during August & September, Sunday through Thursday nights, except Labor Day holiday period, based on availability. Taxes and gratuities not included.


Frankie Who?

Most guests of the St. Francis Inn are familiar with our cat Zeke. He's a big gray (rumored to be pureblood Russian Blue) cat who lives here at the Inn. About a year after Zeke adopted us a large (very large) black and gray tabby started hanging out here. He was so large and obviously well-fed that we assumed that some new people had moved into the neighborhood and this was their cat. Evidently not.

We watched and waited. No one came looking for him. We became convinced someone had dumped him. He showed up every morning for breakfast and again every evening for dinner. He was friendly to everyone (except Zeke).

That brings us to ... how was Zeke dealing with this intruder. Not well. For one thing both cats are male. Neutered, but still male. They hissed. They growled. They circled each other. They taunted each other. The amazing thing is they never really fought or hurt each other. So we decided if they could put up with each other then we'd let the large tabby live here, too. The staff nominated names for him and the majority voted for Frankie.

It was about this time that Frankie disappeared. Days went by without a Frankie sighting. Someone spotted him at the little pink cottage on St. Francis Street (behind our Wilson House). Then someone spotted him at the small apartment building next door. Turns out he was spending most of his time next door and mooching off the other neighbors at times, too. And our neighbors next door were calling him Leo. Leo! What kind of cat name is that?

Frankie has since fallen into a "routine" of spending some time here at the Inn, but taking his show "on the road" as the mood strikes. We regard him as our part-time cat and enjoy his occasional antics. Recently he and Zeke have been playing in the courtyard. Yes. Two adult male cats. Playing. Stalking each other. Chasing each other. Climbing the trees and jumping out at each other (and us sometimes). The above picture was taken last week when Frankie jumped (!) up on our coquina wall and laid on it, welcoming guests to the Inn all morning.


This Weekend: Art Walk, Theatre & Scramble

Enjoy the latest exhibits, music, entertainment and refreshments at over 20 participating galleries - plus, great food courtesy of the St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association. Tours begin at Rembrandtz American Craft Gallery, 131 King Street. Galleries are open from 5 to 9 p.m. St. Augustine Sightseeing Trains and Old Town Trolleys offer attendees a complimentary shuttle service to most of the galleries. Shuttles run on a continuous loop every 30 minutes. For more information, call 904.829.0065 or visitwww.artgalleriesofstaugustine.com .

Five Southern women whose friendship began on their college swim team meet every year at a cottage on the Outer Banks. Free from husbands, jobs and kids, they catch up and meddle in each other's lives. A touching and delightful comedy performed at the Limelight Theater, 11 Old Mission Avenue in St. Augustine. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $25, $22 for seniors (62+) and $20 for students. Fro more information, go to
www.limelight-theatre.org or call 904.825.1164.

Start with a set of clues to find your way around town, then either photograph the spot or take on a challenge. The competition begins in St. Augustine at The Mill Top Tavern where teams will seek clues along St. George Street using photography. The first team back, with all the clues answered correctly, wins $500. The Milltop is located at 19 St. George Street and the Scramble begins at 8 a.m. Registration is $90 per team of two and includes t-shirts and goodie bags. For more information, call 904.377.2431 or visitwww.TheCityScramble.com .