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The City of St. Augustine remains committed to providing accessibility to all and provides for handicapped accessible parking in the city. For a map of accessible parking locations, Click Here To notify the city regarding accessibility concerns contact: Will Franke, Building Official, Phn: 904.825.1065, Fax: 904.209.4335, Email: email@example.com; or Todd Grant, Public Works Deputy Director, Phn: 904.825.1040, Fax: 904.209.4286, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also write either of these contacts at City of St. Augustine, P.O. Box 210, St. Augustine, FL 32085-0210.
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The City of St. Augustine remains committed to providing clean and safe drinking water. For the previous year's sampling results please click here. To notify the city regarding water treatment concerns contact: Patrick Timoney, Water Treatment Plant Supervisor, Phn: 904.825.1044, Fax: 904.823-2280, Email: email@example.com; or firstname.lastname@example.org, or write the City of St. Augustine, P.O. Box 210, St. Augustine, FL 32085-0210.
St. Augustine’s City Hall is one of the historic centerpieces of the city
and one of the most beautiful when decorated for the Nights of Lights.
When the Nights of Lights began its 11th year on Saturday, November 20, it did so with a relatively new tradition in this city of old traditions. Continuing a practice began last year, the city honored members of the community by having them turn on the lights for the city’s Christmas tree and then "flipping the switch" to light the entire city.
An estimated 8,000 people jammed the downtown Plaza de la Constitucion and adjoining streets to see the start of the annual holiday light spectacular. Started in 1993, the Nights of Lights begins each year the Saturday before Thanksgiving with a simple flip of a switch that magically fills every corner of the city with brilliant white lights, transforming the Nation's Oldest City into an enchanted city of light. The Nights of Lights’ displays remains through February 6.
This year the city bestowed the honor of lighting the lights to those who give in service to their community: one is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the other a veteran of Florida’s busiest hurricane season in a generation.
First Light the Tree
Sergeant First Class Brian Fancher, a member of the Florida Army National Guard's 220th Finance Group and a resident of St. Augustine was joined by his family as together they waited for the countdown and then lit the city’s 25ft Christmas tree. SFC Fancher was joined in the lighting by his wife Terry, daughter Danielle, and son Nicholas. He served in Iraq for over 15 months from January 2003 until March 2004 and currently works at the Mark Lance Armory.
"As we enter into this time of year when families will be gathering for the holidays, and some perhaps missing a member because of their military obligations, the city wishes to show its appreciation to all of those who have served their country, and all the families that have supported them," said St. Augustine Mayor George Gardner at the ceremony. "By inviting SFC Fancher and his family to light the tree, we honor all who serve their country."
St. Augustine’s Plaza de la Constitucion and historic Gazebo
is the setting for the annual lighting ceremony for the Nights of Lights.
Then Light the City
Then the moment came for the lighting of the whole city, an honor that went to Ray Ashton, Director of St. Johns County’s Department of Emergency Management.
"During the months of August and September, while the nation watched Florida being pounded by storms, St. Johns County was fortunate in two respects: it escaped much of the destruction seen elsewhere, and we had Ray Ashton in charge at the emergency operations center," said Mayor Gardner "By inviting Ray and his family to light the city, we honor him for his leadership and we honor the hundreds of people in our community that served their neighbors during their times of need."
A native of St. Johns County, Mr. Ashton first served his community as the county’s Director of Rescue from 1980 until his appointment as Director of Emergency Management. He was joined in the lighting by his wife Brenda.
Then, as all eyes turned towards the ancient oak canopy over the Plaza, the sweeping arch of the historic Bridge of Lions and the fanciful spires of the city’s skyline, the moment arrives: "3…2…1!"
In the blink of an eye, the Ancient City instantly dazzles in the brilliance of holiday light.
Truly it is one of the most festive times of year for a city that thrives on festivals.
Those Who Make It Possible
The City of St. Augustine manages the installation and maintenance of the Nights of Lights displays at over 100 locations, including public buildings, parks, medians and gardens. The funding for the program comes from both the city and a generous grant from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.
Much credit for the continued success year after year of the Nights of Lights goes to the hundreds of businesses and home owners throughout St. Augustine who voluntarily participate in the event. Because they join in, the city truly becomes a city of light.
Two million lights…and then some
The 11-weeks of the Nights of Lights include a calendar filled with dozens of special events from bed and breakfast tours to boat parades, from classic and pop concerts to historical reenactments and parades.
For complete visitor information for St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the Beaches, including a listing of all the special events during the Nights of Lights, call 800.OLD.CITY or visit www.visitoldcity.com.
For more information on the Nights of Lights, visit www.nightsoflights.com.