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Celebrate Pensacola Group Plans 450th Birthday Bash

July 20, 2009

celebrate-pensacola-1Pensacola, Fla. – July 16, 2009 – Pensacola has been in the midst of a 450-day celebration, including a kick-off party in May 2008, a visit from the king and queen of Spain, tours of the Elcano tall ship, Revolutionary War battle reenactments, and visits from renowned artists and Spanish winemakers. Now, it’s time to blow out the candles on Saturday, Aug. 15, the 450th anniversary of the founding of Pensacola, at the free birthday bash, which is open to the public.
The day begins with a landing ceremony including reenactors and a Catholic Mass on Pensacola Beach. That evening, local and regional bands perform on Palafox Place in Downtown Pensacola. Attendees can enjoy birthday cake, contribute personal items to a time capsule, and sign the world’s largest birthday card on record.


The Pensacola Celebrity Chefs, who cooked for the king and queen of Spain during their February visit, are preparing Spanish small plates for $4.50. Plus, children can buy tickets for a chance to dunk their favorite chef in a dunking booth.

The evening will end with a fireworks display over Downtown Pensacola.
“It’s been a fantastic celebration for the City of Pensacola,” said Coy Irvin, co-chairman of Celebrate Pensacola. “We hope to have a big crowd for the birthday party. It’s a wonderful time to honor the history and heritage of Pensacola as the first European settlement in the United States.”

bullockbugsigTo ensure the event is free for the public, event sponsorships are available. Sponsors at the $450 level receive two passes to the Jackson’s Steakhouse VIP area, and sponsors at the $100 level receive one pass to the Seville Quarter VIP area. The passes are good the evening of Aug. 15 and include hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.
The dedication of the Spanish conquistador statue will take place on Thursday, Aug. 13, followed by an art auction on Friday, Aug. 14 of the ten historic paintings that Celebrate Pensacola commissioned artist-in-residence Dean Quigley to create.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, Aug. 13    5 p.m.           Spanish conquistador statue dedication at Plaza de Luna
Friday, Aug. 14          7 p.m.          Art auction featuring ten historic paintings of Dean Quigley
Saturday, Aug. 15     8:30 a.m.    Don Tristan de Luna Landing Reenactment and Catholic Mass with Bishop Ricard on Pensacola Beach at Fort Pickens Gate Park

5-10 p.m.     Downtown Street Festival and Birthday Bash

  • World’s largest birthday card
  • Live music and entertainment
  • Fireworks display
  • Spanish cuisine from the Pensacola Celebrity Chefs
  • Birthday cake
  • Time capsule
  • Historic reenactors

About Pensacola’s History

Spanish sailor Don Tristan de Luna arrived in Pensacola on Aug.15, 1559 with a contingent of more than 1,500 soldiers, servants, settlers, priests and Mexican Indians. Shortly after establishing the settlement, a hurricane destroyed supplies, eventually causing the Spanish to flee the area and not return until the late 1600s. In 1698, Presidio Santa MarÌa de Galve became the first permanent settlement in Northwest Florida. Remains of the fort can be found at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The city is proud of its rich heritage, historically significant events and landmarks.

  • Having been ruled by Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy and the United States, Pensacola has earned the nickname City of Five Flags.
  • Old Christ Church in Historic Pensacola Village is the oldest church in Florida still on its original site.
  • Emmanuel Point II is the second-oldest ship wreck in the country. Discovered in 2007 by University of West Florida archaeology students, the ship belonged to Spanish sailor Don Tristan de Luna’s expedition, dating back to 1559.
  • St. Michael’s Cemetery is one of the oldest extant cemeteries in the state of Florida, with burials dated back to the late 1700s.
  • Pensacola was the original capital of Florida, and it was here that Gov. Andrew Jackson changed flags with Spanish Governor Jose Callava, bringing West Florida under the control of the United States.
  • The first Catholic Mass in the United States was held on Pensacola Beach shortly after the sailors arrived in August 1559.

Find more facts and information about the 450th at www.CelebratePensacola.com. For more information about the Pensacola Bay Area or to request a visitor guide, call the Pensacola Bay Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at†(800) 874-1234 or (850) 434-1234 or go online to www.VisitPensacola.com.

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