Pedro Menéndez de Avilés’ 500th Birthday Bash!

The year 2019 is a big one for Santa Elena founder Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, born in Spain in 1519!

Join in a community commemoration of his 500th birthday with an all-day, family-friendly fiesta brimming with Spanish inspiration in downtown Beaufort at the Santa Elena History Center. From 11 am–5 pm on Saturday, March 2, regular-priced admission to the History Center will give visitors extra special ways to enjoy Spanish culture and learn about the man who oversaw the first European capital in America. In the courtyard of the Santa Elena History Center, visitors will meet members of the Santa Elena Living History Company in an authentic 16thCentury Spanish Encampment, where weapons demonstrations and flint knapping will add extra flavor! Take a step back to a time when living was much simpler, yet surviving was uncertain.

~Tentative Schedule of Events~

  • 11:30 Program- Dr. Larry Rowland
  • 1:30 Music- Classical Guitar by Ulyana Machneva
  • 12:00 Program- Living History Performance “Story of Pedro Menéndez”
  • 2:00 Program- Eustace Conway from History Channel’s Mountain Men “Living off the Land”
  • 3:00 Music- Early Instrument Demonstration
  • 4:00 Music- Main Musical Performance by the Taylor Festival Choir of Charleston
  • Ongoing- Period Weapons Demonstrations will take place throughout the day in our living history encampment!

Visitors will also explore the newly enhanced main exhibit, “America’s First Century”, with dynamic new features and perspectives. Knowledgeable docents will guide you through the many displays including the debut of videos from the La Florida interpretive digital archive, the Evolution of 16th Century Maps, a display of Native American information, and a chance to don your own armor and weapons for a photo!

Another neat display for the birthday party will be birthday cards from students. We invite all ages to send in their artwork for display in the main corridor through the Spring for all to enjoy! Contact to arrange and let your creative juices flow!

Cake and Local food trucks will be on-site for those seeking lunch fare, or you may hop on the free shuttle for a ride to the delicious downtown restaurants.