In life, family traditions endure through generations, from recipes cooked, special crafts made, the gathering of relatives, and other actions that become rituals over time. Just like families, communities also have their own.
The first weekend in December each year is one filled with small-town holiday traditions in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Here are some highlights of events happening this first weekend ushering in December 2011, reflecting a coastal community’s Christmas spirit here on Amelia Island, Florida:
Holiday Tour of Historic Homes 2011 in Fernandina Beach (December 2-3, 2011) 10 to 4 pm
Experience the Amelia Island Museum’s tour showcasing privately-owned historic homes, professionally decorated for Christmas with guests transported between the homes via trolley. It looks like the museum has lined up some marvelous homes in Fernandina’s historic district this year! This is the very first time these particular homes have been open to the public for viewing, so it’s a very special treat! Tickets to preview the historic homes are $25 prior to December 2, 2011 or $30 on days of the tour. Also new this year, an additional ticket can be purchased for a luncheon and costume display at Beech Street Grill, available for $15. Seatings are at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm with advance reservations. See more about the museum’s Holiday Home Tour or call the museum at (904) 261.7378, ext. 100.
Fernandina Woman’s Club “Glow Night” – December 2, 2011 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm
If there’s ever an evening to hop in the car and take a drive along Atlantic Avenue, it’s the first Friday night in December each year. Witness a 2-mile long glow from luminaries that line this main east-west corridor crossing Amelia Island (from Fernandina’s historic Centre Street heading east along Atlantic Avenue leading to the beach), ending at the Woman’s Club located on Jean LaFitte Blvd. — just behind the Fernandina Beach Recreation Center. “Christmas Glow Night” is a wonderful annual tradition, held on Friday evening from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and open to the community. Enjoy free punch & cookies, Santa Claus, face painting and entertainment by the Bean School of Dance performing on stage at the Woman’s Club clubhouse on Jean LaFitte Blvd. (Additional food and beverage will also be available for purchase).
Taste of Amelia (December 2, 2011)
CELEBRATING AMELIA ISLAND’S VOLUNTEER CULTURE — With a theme of “Ring in the Holiday Season,” it’s the 20th annual celebration of this culinary fair featuring the cuisine of Amelia Island’s finest chefs and restaurants and fine wine. The event is a traditional fund raiser for the Nassau County Volunteer Center. Enjoy cocktails from 6:30 pm to 7 pm followed by the tasting 7 to 9 pm at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Ballroom,, $40 per person. Jazz music by Crescendo Amelia, a silent auction and more. Required attire is semi formal (for further information call 904-261-2771). Tickets can be purchased at various places including downtown at the News-Leader’s office on Ash Street and at Century 21 on Centre Street, at the Plantation Shop and Horizons within Palmetto Walk on First Coast Highway, and at the Nassau County Volunteer Center at 1303 Jasmine Street and a few other locations. Also buy tickets online at the Volunteer Center’s website.
Holiday Parade of Paws, Historic Centre Street, Fernandina (December 3, 2011)
Precious pets in holiday attire will prance down historic Centre Street with their leashed owners. Join the parade with your pet or head downtown to watch others in this traditional holiday procession. A pet lover’s delight, the Parade of Paws offers owners a chance to walk with pets in their holiday best, and it’s all for a good cause. (Pet owners can even sign up the day of the parade, late registration is 10 am at the Central Park gazebo on Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach — the park is the “staging area” for parade participants). Registration fee of $10, a fund raising event to benefit the Nassau Humane Society. The parade starts at 11 am in downtown Fernandina, on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. Head to Fernandina to watch this cute parade and get in the holiday spirit. Pet owners can choose between two route options along Centre Street ( a half mile or one mile route, both ending at Central Park.) Also enjoy fun activities at the park before and after the parade. Awards will be announced immediately after the parade. For more information call (904) 583-0776. Register in advance at Nassau Humane Society Dog Park or Redbones Dog Bakery.
Fort Clinch Union Holiday Encampment (December 3-4, 2011)
Step back in time to Christmas of 1864 at Fort Clinch State Park. See a gathering of re-enactors decorating the fort for Christmas on Saturday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 9 am until noon. Florida’s Fort Clinch State Park Holiday Encampment in Fernandina Beach is a gathering of volunteers in Civil War era costumes as they decorate the fort for Christmas. Volunteers place fresh greenery on the mantle, put up and decorate a period Christmas tree, and portray daily life as it was in the winter of 1864. The ladies string berries and popcorn on the tree while cheerful fires burn in the fireplaces and soldiers answer questions about what it is like to be stationed at Fort Clinch. For details call (904) 277-7274, or visit Amelia Island Living’s Fort Clinch page with video and photo gallery slide show of this wonderful state park on Amelia Island.