Amelia Island Celebrates 4th of July, 2013: Family-Oriented, “Old-Fashioned” Holiday Weekend Events

Fourth of July holiday weekend 2013 on Amelia offers lots of fun things to do around the island to celebrate this summer holiday with friends and family. Watch fireworks on Thursday, July 4, 2013 either downtown in Fernandina at the riverfront or on the southend beachfront. Also happening over the holiday weekend 2013 is the Stars & Stripes Freedom Festival at Central Park, Sounds on Centre free concert downtown, and “Living History” re-enactments at Fort Clinch State Park.

FESTIVE 4TH OF JULY, 2013 EVENTS HAPPENING AROUND AMELIA ISLAND

Dawn's Early Light, Amelia Island, Florida
Dawn’s Early Light, Amelia Island, Florida

Fourth of July weekend 2013 on Amelia offers lots of fun things to do around the island to celebrate this summer holiday with friends and family.

Watch fireworks on Thursday, July 4, 2013 either downtown in Fernandina at the riverfront or on the southend beachfront. Fireworks over the Amelia River near the Fernandina Harbor Marina will begin at approximately 9:30 pm, thanks to the fireworks fundraising efforts of the Historic Fernandina Business Association.

Along the Atlantic coast, the fireworks displays launched by Amelia’s two oceanfront luxury resorts start at 9:15 pm at the Ritz-Carlton and Omni Amelia Island Plantation. During the day on July 4th from 10 am to 2 pm, a family-friendly event is the Stars and Stripes Freedom Festival 2013 (read more below about this free event). Friday evening, July 5, 2013 features “Sounds on Centre,” a free street concert in downtown Fernandina, and July 6-7, 2013 is also a “Living History Weekend” at Fort Clinch State Park (more below).

FAMILY FUN: STARS & STRIPES FREEDOM FESTIVAL JULY 4, 2013 AT CENTRAL PARK, FERNANDINA

Celebrate America’s Independence Day on Amelia Island with the Stars & Stripes Freedom Festival at Central Park in Fernandina (Atlantic Avenue), July 4, 2013 from 10 am to 2 pm, free admission. This family-oriented event features some great old-fashioned fun such a “Homemade Apple Pie Contest” and a “Hot Dog Eating Contest.” Plus musical entertainment, slides, face painting, food, games. A special “Touch-a-Service Vehicle Station,” and a “Make-a-Video-to-the-Troops Booth” are nice activities for the kids. For further information call the Fernandina Rec Department at 904-277-7350.

SOUNDS ON CENTRE, FREE STREET CONCERT, JULY 5, 2013, DOWNTOWN FERNANDINA HISTORIC DISTRICT

Historic District Downtown Centre Street, Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island
Historic District Downtown Centre Street, Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island

Attend a free street concert in the downtown historic district of Fernandina Beach near the riverfront. The July 5, 2013 Friday evening entertainment from 6 to 8 p.m. is “Island Vibe.” Sounds on Centre provides a nice opportunity for friends and families to mingle, bring along beach chairs and enjoy a summer evening outside near the Amelia River. Count on seeing dancing in the street! Sounds on Centre is presented by the Historic Fernandina Business Association.

WATCH FIREWORKS ON AMELIA ISLAND’S BEACHFRONT

Besides the downtown Fernandina Harbor fireworks, some folks instead head across the island to the east coast for a night on the beach. Along the island’s miles of beachfront, thousands usually go to the beach in the evening with eyes to the skies, looking toward the southend’s fireworks. Islanders and visitors often gather in the late afternoon to early evening, bringing picnic fare and setting up for a festive holiday feast at the beach. There are lots of meet-ups — neighbors and friends who set up tailgating-like gatherings and wait for dark to fall and the show to begin. An annual tradition, the night sky over the Atlantic Ocean will burst with fireworks on the fourth thanks to Amelia Island’s luxury resorts on the southend of the island.

The Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton will shoot off their fireworks at 9:15 pm. Leading up to the display is the Red, White and The Deep Blue Celebration starting at 7 pm, an All-American barbecue over looking the dunes and ocean. The evening’s activities include a bounce house, crab races and music by Southern rock band, The Bama Gamblers, and a front row seat for fireworks at 9:15 pm. Price: $89 per adult and $25 children 5-12, call the Ritz at (904) 277-1100 (price includes barbeque, draft beer, soft drinks and service charge, reservations requested).

Omni Amelia Island Plantation will also shoot off fireworks at 9:15 pm (see all the holiday festivities happening at the Omni resort by reading their blog).

FORT CLINCH STATE PARK LIVING HISTORY REENACTMENTS JULY 6-7, 2013

Fort Clinch State Park Living History Re-enactment Flag Raising Ceremony
Fort Clinch State Park Living History Re-enactment Flag Raising Ceremony

Spend time at Fort Clinch Saturday or Sunday July 6-7, 2013. Perched on the Cumberland Sound, this Amelia Island fortress is considered one of America’s most well-preserved 19th century forts. Reenactors will present what life was like for soldiers in the year 1864. Experience living history at Fort Clinch from 9 to 5 on Saturday and 9 to noon on Sunday. Activities typically include black powder artillery demonstrations and marching drills and soldiers on duty in the laundry, infirmary, and kitchen. It costs just $6 per vehicle (up to 8 passengers) plus $2 per person to tour the fortress. Note that special candlelight viewing of the fort takes place on Saturday evenings during the first weekend every month (except December). Besides being an interactive history lesson, the state park offers beautiful Atlantic coast beachfront, a half-mile-long fishing pier, hiking and biking trails, picnic tables, nature observation, and is the gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail. Call Fort Clinch at 904-277-7274 for more info.