Amelia Island offers a fun-filled calendar of special events over the holidays in 2010, creating a special Thanksgiving and Christmas season on this northeast Florida barrier island. Get in the spirit with Christmas tree lightings, holiday feasts, visits with Santa, lighted parades and more. Fernandina’s small-town ambiance offers a memorable setting for holiday celebrations on Florida’s east coast.
Lots of family-oriented activities are planned including horse-drawn carriage rides under twinkling lights and a holiday cookie tour showcasing Fernandina’s lovely B & B inns. Another holiday historic home tour is organized by the Amelia Island Museum, and a very special event is the Victorian Tea at historic Bailey House.
November and December’s featured Amelia Island holiday events in 2010 include:
November 20, 2010 Holiday Cookie Tour
“Cookies, Christmas and Critters” take center stage on this year’s Holiday Cookie Tour of Bed & Breakfast Inns. Fernandina’s charming inns are housed in the area’s most breathtaking and historically significant structures. Tour these decorated gems while sampling cookies, collecting recipes, and also help support local animal shelters (Nassau County Humane Society and Cats’ Angels). Go at your own pace during the self-guided tour of Fernandina’s inns decked out for the season. Hear each inn’s history, sample freshly baked Christmas cookies, and tour these lovely historic B & Bs from 1 to 5 pm on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010. Tickets are $20 all ages (save $5 by purchasing by November 6th). Click to buy cookie tour tickets online.
November 24, 2010 Gingerbread Ship & Christmas Tree Lighting, Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton
Stepping into the lobby of Amelia Island’s Ritz-Carlton hotel during the holiday season scintillates the senses. The scent of gingerbread permeates from a magnificent culinary feat — a 17-foot long gingerbread pirate ship. Songs of the season filter through the lobby. Fireplaces are aglow. Along with gorgeous seasonal décor, it’s an experience not to be missed. One would be hard pressed to see a more pleasing holiday scene in Florida.
Like busy elves in Santa’s workshop, come November, Ritz chefs are mixing, rolling, cutting, baking and decorating upwards of a thousand pieces of gingerbread that form the life-sized pirate ship. The ingredient list boggles the mind, a recipe that calls for around 3,000 eggs, 435 egg whites, 1,200 pounds of flour, 900 pounds of sugar, 300 pounds of shortening, 15 gallons of milk and 14 pounds of special holiday spices. But it’s the skill and elbow grease that makes this come to life, much to the delight of young and old alike.
A tradition, the annual tree lighting ceremony will be held this year at 5:30 pm on November 24, 2010, a signature event ushering in the holidays on Amelia Island, Florida. Guests will enjoy holiday refreshments, live entertainment, and the lighting of the towering 50-foot tree in the courtyard of the Ritz-Carlton at the oceanfront. The ceremony finishes with a holiday fireworks display. The public is welcomed to visit the Ritz-Carlton to view the gingerbread ship and witness the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, an event that many local residents enjoy each year.
The gingerbread ship will be docked in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island November 22 – December 28, 2010. Complimentary tours are held. For additional information call the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton at (904) 277-1100.
November 24, 2010: Holiday Character Dinner
The public is invited to join Santa, elves, reindeer and some of Christmas’ most famed holiday characters that will be present to share a dinner that ignites the festive spirit in children, young and old. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Talbot Ballroom. The cost is $49 per adult and $25 per child (ages 5-12), and reservations are required. Additional information is available at (904) 277-1100.
November 25, 2010: Thanksgiving Day Feast at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a traditional meal with all the trimmings will be offered in the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom during the resort’s annual Thanksgiving feast. The event features a lavish buffet, live music, and children’s games. The cost is $89 per adult and $45 per child (ages 5-12), and reservations are required. For more information, call (904) 277-1100.
November 25, 2010: Thanksgiving Grand Buffet at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
To celebrate the holiday season, Sunrise Café/Ocean Grill at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is serving up a lavish Thanksgiving feast from 12 to 7 p.m. Guests are invited to enjoy a traditional holiday dinner of turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings, and then pose for a free 5 x 7 family photo to take home. The buffet is $50 for adults and $19.95 for children 12 and under. For seating times, call restaurant reservations at (904) 321-5050.
November 26, 2010: Holiday Celebration at The Spa & Shops at Omni Amelia Island Plantation
Another annual tradition on Amelia Island each year is the tree lighting ceremony and festivities at the Shops and Spa at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. From 5 to 9 p.m., the night will be filled with carousel rides, train rides, live entertainment, and cookies and cider. There will also be an opportunity for guests to have their picture taken with Santa. Enjoy refreshments and activities by purchasing a wrist band for $5 per person. For more information on this celebration, call (904) 491-4646.
November 26, 2010: Annual Pajama Party Sale & Contest in Historic Fernandina Beach
Tradition continues in downtown Fernandina with the Annual Pajama Party Sale & Contest. Held on “Black Friday”, the Pajama Party Sale invites shoppers to slip into their footed pajamas, bunny slippers, and other assorted sleepwear to enjoy special deals and discounts, along with fresh juice, coffee and pastries to fuel their shopping spirit. Shoppers entering the PJ contest are eligible for “Best Dressed Individual Shopper in Pajamas” and “Best Dressed Shopping Group in Pajamas.” Visit www.ameliaisland.com for more information.
November 27, 2010: Holiday Family Fun at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
Enjoy some holiday family fun at The Spa & Shops at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort from 6 to 9 p.m. Visitors will enjoy horse & carriage rides, carousel rides, entertainment and a special viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” under the stars. For additional information, call (904) 491-4646.
November 27, 2010: Fernandina Beach Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The City of Fernandina Beach and Historic Fernandina Business Association will host the official City of Fernandina Beach Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, November 27, 2010. This annual ceremony will be held, as always, at the foot of Centre Street. Santa Claus will arrive earlier in the afternoon and will be available to take pictures with the kids, pets – and kids at heart. For more information, visit the Calendar of Events at www.ameliaisland.com or call (904) 277-7325, x222.
November 27, 2010: Santa’s Holiday Arrival
Santa and Mrs. Claus make an appearance at 11:30 a.m. at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, offering refreshments and carriage rides. Additional information is available by calling (904) 277-1100.
November 27, 2010: Gingerbread Creations Workshop
In addition to the 17-foot long, 12-foot high gingerbread pirate ship on display in the lobby, guests can get into the holiday spirit by creating their very own gingerbread masterpiece at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Children receive a chef’s hat, apron, diploma and photo. Reservations are required. The cost is $35 per child, ages 5 and up. Additional information is available by calling (904) 277-1100.
December 3, 2010: Fernandina Woman’s Club Christmas Glow
Luminaries will light the corridor from Fernandina’s historic Centre Street heading east along Atlantic Avenue leading to the clubhouse on Jean LaFitte Blvd. (just behind the Fernandina Beach Rec Center). Follow the glowing trail of votives to the Woman’s Club. Experience this wonderful community event. Enjoy free punch & cookies, Santa Claus, and face painting for the children. Watch local kids from elementary schools dance and sing. (Chile, hot dogs, and cola will also be available for purchase). Friday, Dec. 3, 2010 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
December 3-4, 2010: Holiday Home Tour in Historic Fernandina Beach
Tour four of Amelia Island’s loveliest, private homes in Fernandina Beach’s historic district during the Amelia Island Museum of History’s fourth annual celebration of the holiday season. Historic homes decorated for the holidays will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., tickets are $25 in advance (or $30 tour day). Also visit another historic home and enjoy an authentic Victorian Tea in the splendid Bailey House, a gorgeous Queen Anne home. The Victorian Tea is a separate $15 ticket and reservations are required for seatings to be held at 2, 3, and 4 pm both days. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit Amelia Island Museum’s home tour website or call (904) 261-7378, ext. 100.
December 4, 2010: Parade of Paws
On Saturday, December 4, Redbones Dog Bakery and Boutique will be holding their annual “Parade of Paws” down historic Centre Street to benefit the Nassau Humane Society. This annual tradition is a pet lover’s delight, giving owners a chance to show off their precious pets. You 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 to benefit the Nassau Humane Society. Those walking in the parade should get there early to enjoy a cup of coffee, hot chocolate and breakfast bites. The parade starts at 11 am in downtown Fernandina, Saturday, Dec. 4th. Head to Fernandina to watch this fun parade and get into the holiday spirit. Can you resist a cute pooch dressed in holiday attire? For more information call (904) 583-0776.
December 4-5, 2010: Union Holiday Encampment
The Fort Clinch State Park Holiday Encampment is a gathering of re-enactors decorating the fort for Christmas. Volunteers in Civil War era costume 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. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday. For details call (904) 277-7274.
December 4, 11, and 18, 2010: Santa’s Story Book Tea at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
A holiday storybook performance by Santa adds an exciting twist to the traditional afternoon tea, featuring sandwiches, sweets and a souvenir photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus for every child. The cost is $39 per person, ages 5 and up, and reservations are required. For more information, call (904) 277-1100.
December 11: Fernandina Beach Land and Sea Parade
The Lighted Land Parade will start at 6 p.m. and will run on Ash Street, 2nd Street and on Centre Street. The Lighted Boat Parade will start about 30 minutes after the end of the Land Parade and will be held at the Fernandina Beach Marina – Water Front. For more information, visit the Calendar of Events at www.ameliaisland.com or call (904) 277-7325, x. 222.
December 25, 2010: Christmas Grand Buffet at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
From 1 to 5 p.m., families and friends will gather at the Sunrise Café/Ocean Grill at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort for the annual Christmas Grand Buffet. A popular tradition for visitors and residents alike, the Grand Buffet is the ultimate celebration of fellowship, family and outstanding food. The Grand Buffet is $50 for adults and $19.95 for children 12 and under. For seating times, call restaurant reservations at (904) 321-5050.
December 31, 2010: A Gala New Year’s Eve Celebration at Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton
From 9 p.m. through 1 a.m., enjoy lavish food, an open bar, music, dancing, and fireworks at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Cost is $150 per person. Price includes gratuity but not tax. For more information, call (904) 277-1100.