Still no definite plans for 450th celebration

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By KIMEKO MCCOY
kimeko.mccoy@staugustine.com
A final plan for St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary celebration will not be available for at least two more weeks.

St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver raised concerns about the schedule at the Monday City Commission meeting, when officials discussed the status of the plans.

“As a general rule for an event like this, if you don’t have it locked and loaded six months out, you’re in trouble,” Shaver said.

A firm schedule will not be available for at least two weeks, said Loran Lueders, St. Augustine Police chief.

Lueders, who has a leadership role in the planning, updated the commission on plans for the 450th.

While there are events planned, such as the Tapestry exhibit and re-enactments, Shaver wanted a firm schedule from Sept. 4 to 7.

For now, the tentative plan for the Friday through Tuesday celebration is the same.

Friday evening will include a festival with restricted vehicular traffic downtown.

Lueders said stages for musical performances will be set up on Hypolita Street, the Colonial Quarter, Aviles Street and the gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitucion.

Saturday’s events will include theatrical performances.

The portion of the 450th budget that will be available for the programming is $278,000. The budget is about $1 million.

The issue facing City Manager John Regan, 450th Commemoration Director Dana Ste. Claire and Lueders is divvying up those funds.

“It’s a matter of figuring out how many cops are going to work the road closing, how many garbage cans there’s going to be, how many fireman there need to be out there, how many port-o-lets, what the stage is going to cost. That’s where we’re at,” Lueders said.

City Commissioner Leanna Freeman said her concern wasn’t the lack of planning at this point. Her deadline is in six months.

“I think for me, that deadline is critical,” she said.

However, Shaver thinks an earlier deadline is critical for business owners around the city. They will be hurt the most by the lack of information because they’re supposed to be selling a story to attract customers, she said.

After Lueders explained the plan, or lack thereof, for the weekend, Ste. Claire approached the commission with definite plans for Monday and Tuesday.

Monday at 1 p.m. will be local musical performances and a proclamation reading then cake and music.

Tuesday, Ste. Claire listed events to begin at 7:45 a.m. with the countdown clock in the Visitor Information Center. A re-enactment at 9 a.m. will be followed by a commemorative procession and mass.

“Light day on Monday. Solemn day on Tuesday,” Ste. Claire said.

His plan is to integrate the 450th Commemoration Alliance partners into the programming.

While retaining independence, alliance partners coordinate and direct their own events while the 450th department helps promote it.

“We do have a pretty good idea of how we’re going to integrate some of the cultural groups who we’ve been cultivating as alliance partners,” Ste. Claire said.

Once the venues and schedules have been determined, those groups will be integrated in.