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The Noche de Gala 16th Century Ball Celebrates City’s Spanish Cultural Heritage

From left to right: Michelle LaRocco, Dave Chatterton, Joyce Pease, Noble Lester, Savannah Brewer, Terry Akras, Vince Leone, Melissa Mezick

Marking the 493rd birthday of St. Augustine’s founder, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the city hosted its annual formal Grand Masked Ball or Noche de Gala this Saturday, February 25 in the Lightner Museum’s ballroom.

Truly a one-of-a-kind event, the Noche de Gala begins when guests are whisked back in time by re-enactors in 16th-century attire who escort them upstairs where the Proclamador announces their arrival. After an hour of butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and an open bar in the splendor of the Lightner Ballroom, guests follow musicians and re-enactors in a ceremonial procession that includes Spanish and local dignitaries to an elaborate dinner on the Lightner Mezzanine. Pageantry and period entertainment continue throughout dinner followed by dancing until midnight to the music of the Royal Court Musicians. This is easily one of St. Augustine’s most magical evenings.

The Noche de Gala, is hosted yearly by the City of St. Augustine’s Department of Heritage Tourism, and is a fundraiser for the St. Augustine Trust for Historic Preservation. All proceeds are designated to support preservation of the city’s historic resources.

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