ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Some reenactors in St. Augustine are concerned history is on the back burner when it comes to marketing for the area.
Bob and Maria Alvarez are two of them.
On Friday, they took First Coast News inside a room which they call "the closet." It's full of rack and shelves of colonial costumes and props.
"We are living history interpreters," Maria Alvarez said.
They lead a non-profit organization called the St. Augustine Garrison. They along with other members dress as colonists in the streets and attractions of St. Augustine, sharing the story of the nation’s oldest city.
"We just talk to people, talk to tourists, to locals," Bob Alvarez said. "We answer any questions they might have about history."
There is something about seeing a person dressed in the right clothing that brings history to life and makes the place memorable.
"If they see people dressed in period clothing, they’ll come up to you, and ask, 'What are you wearing? Why are you wearing it? What are you doing?'" he said.
But the Alvarez's are concerned that recent advertising campaigns are marketing the city's culinary, nightlife, and other aspects... and not its history.
"The U.S. began in St. Augustine," Maria Alvarez said. "It's so important for people to know the history and where it really, really began."
"With each new ad campaign, history is taking a step back," Bob Alvarez said. "We would like to see history move to the forefront again."
I took their concerns to the St. Johns County Visitors and Tourism Bureau Director, Richard Goldman.
"We're not going to walk away from history," he said. "With the need to attract more affluent visitors, we have to include some of the other features and attractions of the destination."
Goldman said a soon-to-be-revealed campaign will include history.
The Alvarez's hope so.
"We're trying to desperately to hold onto history and present it," Bob Alvarez said.
Present it in ways that stitch together a real-life look at what living was like in the nation's oldest city.