ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Augustine Easter Week Festival has invited Florida A&M University’s world- renowned Marching “100” band to perform during the Easter Sunday Parade on April 16 beginning at 3 p.m. The historic parade route starts at the Authentic Old Jail Museum, 167 San Marco Avenue, and runs through the historic district in downtown St. Augustine.
The Willie Galimore FAMU National Alumni Chapter launched a donation campaign to bring nearly 200 members of the FAMU band to the parade through a variety of activities to raise funds which support the band’s transportation, lodging and food.
“We are very proud of our alumni and business partners for donations and direct funding, and for producing statewide events like t-shirt sales, raffles and barbeques,” said Cynthia A. Williams, vice president of the Willie Galimore FAMU National Alumni Chapter and principal of St. Johns Technical High School and St. Johns Virtual School in St. Augustine.
According to Williams, major donors include the J.R.E. Lee Jacksonville Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association Chapter, Herbie Wiles Insurance, The Bailey Group, and numerous individuals and businesses along with assistance from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and the Easter Week Committee. Additional major sponsors include AXA, Coleman’s Mortuary, Dick’s Wings, Hastings ML King Committee, Island Doctors, Leonard’s Photography Studio, Tony Pearson Insurance, and the W.W. Gay.
Williams added that J.R.E. Lee Jacksonville Chapter members, who were formerly with the renowned band, will also participate in the parade. Also, Miss Florida A&M University will be among parade participants along with the voice of the Marching “100” Joe Bullard, a nationally syndicated broadcaster and the longest-running announcer of historically Black college and university bands.
The FAMU marching band has been credited for its highly innovative techniques, which have become the standard operating procedures for many high school and collegiate marching band programs throughout the nation. Band precision is demonstrated in each performance and is key to the college students’ and the band’s success while exemplifying the band’s mission to serve as role models of excellence.
The St. Augustine Easter Parade began in 1957 through the organization of the St. Augustine Easter Week Festival. The family-friendly parade is known as the Parada de los Caballos y Coches (Parade of Horses and Carriages) and features St. Augustine’s Royal Family, the Easter Bunny, clowns, drill teams, community floats and marching bands. The St. Augustine Easter Week Festival culminates with the parade, a tradition headed by Michele Reyna, president of the St. Augustine Easter Week Festival.
Submitted by Dave Chatterton