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St. Augustine Amphitheatre Brings Community Together in Honor of Nation's Oldest European Settlement

By Kelly Church

In honor of the oldest permanent European settlement in the country, St. Augustine Amphitheatre in the Florida city of the same name is a 16-acre portion of Anastasia State Park as a space for concerts, theatre and events of the like. Just one mile from the ocean and with an old coquina rock quarry on property used to build early St. Augustine homes, the amphitheatre is rich in the city's history surrounded by a beautiful environment.

Opened in 1965, the amphitheatre's early shows included the State play "Cross & Sword," which run from 1965 to 1996. Now, they host an average of 32 concert and musical events throughout the year and more than 12 free and community-based events. Such events include the Community First Credit's A December To Remember, a series of events with holiday movies, live music and food trucks to celebrate the holidays. Movies include holiday favorites such as Elf, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Christmas Vacation.

The amphitheatre has attracted major artists over the years, including Santana, Jack Johnson, Stevie Nicks, Crosby Stills and Nash Weezer, Modest Mouse, Bob Dylan, John Legend and Little Big Town. After renovations in 2007, the property became an updated facility for the best live music in St. Augustine.

"We strive to guarantee the best concert experience for both the concert attendee and the artist which is a major reason why people, and artists, come back to the Amphitheatre each year," Markovits says. "You never know who we're going to announce is coming to the Amphitheatre!"

The amphitheatre is also the site of Friends of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Children's Arts Festivals, local college and high school graduations, camps and other needs of the community. There is a Farmers Market in the amphitheatre parking lot every Saturday for local organic farmers and crafters to sell their products. Markovits says these types of community programs, musical events and theatre events put the amphitheatre on the map for providing diversity in programming, which is what they're striving for.

The venue holds up to 4,100 patrons and features four concession stands, an updated conference room, a merchandising area, a plaza and an arboretum of walking trails. For a complete calendar of events, ticketing information and how to get involved in the programs, visit St. Augustine Amphitheatre website.

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