Menéndez Noche de Gala
Celebrating the 492nd Birthday of don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés

Founder and Adelantado of St. Augustine

February 26 in the Historic Lightner Museum

Join in the 16th century Noche de Gala, the birthday celebration honoring don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the founder of our Nation’s Oldest City, St. Augustine.

The celebration begins on Saturday, February 26 at 5:00 p.m. with a grand and exciting procession through downtown St. Augustine to announce the arrival of Menéndez who will be accompanied by his colorful entourage. Starting at the City Gate, Menéndez will lead the procession down St. George Street to the front of the Lightner Museum, engaging the town folks as he inspects his colony and prepares to enjoy his birthday celebration, Noche de Gala.

This year Menéndez will be portrayed by Chad Light who has submerged himself in the study of city founder; his speech patterns, mannerisms, dress and look.  To read more about Chad Light and his background, click here.


The exquisite Lightner Museum is the setting for the annual Noche de Gala which starts with cocktails at 6:30 in the Grand Ballroom followed by dinner on the Mezzanine at 8:00 p.m. Entertainment features Menéndez, his entourage, 16th century musicians, heralding horns, and swordsmen. Menéndez was not a quiet man; we find him robust and exuberant, fond of music and a fine dancer. In fact his guests will join him in song and dance throughout the evening, culminating in shouts of “Viva Avilés, Viva St. Augustine!”

After dinner all guests and revelers are invited to dance until midnight to the contemporary sounds of The Company band.

Noche de Gala is known as St. Augustine’s premier event and attendees are encouraged to wear 16th century dress. The event is a formal, black tie event should dress attire not be available. 

Many attendees will be wearing 16th century dress made locally by Heidi Mosier who has almost 30 years of experience in sewing period clothing.  To read more about Heidi Mosier, click here.

Invitations to Noche de Gala have been extended to The Counsel General of Spain in Miami, mayors of Avilés and Cadiz, Spain, and to the mayor of Cartagena, Colombia – cities central to St. Augustine’s long standing Spanish tradition and heritage.

For more information or to make reservations call 904.209.4226 or email  To follow the Gala on Facebook go to




King Philip II





Consulate General of Spain  























Special Thanks

Southern Horticulture

Dow Museum of Historic Houses

Teresa de Balmase da Milam

Herbert and Annette Wiles

Doug and Doris Wiles

Nettie Ruth Brown

Barbara Bozard

Penny Farthing Inn

Mr. and Mrs. F. D. Usina

Mr. William F. Young

Leonardi’s Nursery Landscaping & Irrigation

John Valdez and Associates Inc.

BBH Associates L.P.

Bryant-Miller-Olive P.A.


For reservations and information call Catherine Culver at 904.209.4226 or email

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