FESTIVE FERNANDINA: Holiday Highlights, Amelia Island

This small barrier island with a big heart at its “Centre” — the historic corridor of downtown Fernandina Beach — combines special events with its endearing small-town ambiance, for a cozy coastal experience every Christmas season.

fernandina beach centre street downtown historic district

AMELIA ISLAND, Florida (FERNANDINA BEACH) – This small barrier island with a big heart at its “Centre” — the historic corridor of downtown Fernandina Beach — combines special events with its endearing small-town ambiance, for a cozy coastal experience every Christmas season. Enjoy these 2014 holiday events happening from one tip of the island to the other.

Festive in Fernandina

Kicking off the festivities on November 22, 2014 is the cheerful Holiday Cookie Tour of Inns, an opportunity to see inside some of the grandest, historic homes of Fernandina. You can be sure the innkeepers have decked out the halls and been busy as elves baking yummy cookies. Another chance to visit lovely homes of the historic district downtown is during The Holiday Home Tour of private residences. Go shopping in your pajamas downtown and join the Block Party on “Black Friday.” There’s opportunity to attend various Christmas tree lighting celebrations around the island, caroling at Fort Clinch plus a special Fort “Holiday Encampment.” In this parade-loving town, head to Centre Street for the “Lighted Christmas Parade” and “Parade of Paws,” annual traditions of Fernandina Beach.

Browse Listing of 2014 Holiday Highlights Below

Holiday Cookie Tour of Inns (November 22, 2014)

Fernandina's Fairbanks House
Fairbanks House. See Fernandina’s Historic B & Bs, Holiday Cookie Tour Nov. 22, 2014
The Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast Association invites the public to enjoy its annual open-house and self-guided walking tour of inns. Inspiring guests with seasonal decorating ideas, Fernandina’s downtown bed and breakfast inns will be decked out in holiday finery.

On Saturday, November 22 from noon to 5 p.m., visitors can tour some of the most impressive buildings on the island, sample a holiday cookie from each inn, and be entertained with history, complimentary carriage rides between stops, and collect heirloom recipes along the way. In keeping with tradition, a portion of ticket and cookbook sales from the tour will benefit Micah’s Place. Tickets are $25, for more information, call 904-277-2328 or visit ameliaislandinns.com.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Holiday Events (Nov. 26, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015)

Each year The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island kicks off holiday magic with the arrival of the S.S. Amelia Gingerbread Pirate Ship (this year debuting on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, continuing to be on display through December 29th, 2014). The holiday season at the resort includes the wonderful Christmas Tree Lighting November 26th at 5:30 pm (complimentary public event) and Santa’s Wonderland Dinner also on November 26th following tree lighting.

Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton's 17-Foot Gingerbread Pirate Ship!
Don’t Miss Seeing Ritz-Carlton’s 17-Foot Gingerbread Pirate Ship!
Other holiday happenings are Santa’s Storybook Tea (Nov. 29, Dec 6, 13 and 20), Santa Tuck-ins (Dec. 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 & 20), and New Year’s Eve Black and White Masquerade Ball. Additionally, guests can choose from a delectable selection of on-property dining options during Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Visit www.ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland or call 904-277-1087 for additional information about any of the holiday events.

Holiday Celebration at Omni Amelia Island Plantation (Nov. 26, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015)

The holiday season at Omni Amelia Island Plantation will begin with a Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving Day. On November 28, the Omni will hold their Tree Lighting Celebration from 5 to 8 pm, which features stilt walkers, train and hay rides, bounce houses, crafts, food and, of course, Santa Claus. The Festival of trees will be on display through the end of December. Starting November 29, Santa’s Workshop will relocate to the Shops of Amelia Island Plantation. Daily entertainment will include crafts, cupcake decorating, hot cocoa bar, and more. On weekends, guests can enjoy live entertainment, gingerbread decorating, and even snow. Additionally, visitors can take advantage of a number of Thanksgiving and Christmas dining options available on property. Read much more about all the holiday events and dining options, view Omni Amelia Island Plantation’s holiday blog.

BLACK FRIDAY: Annual Pajama Party Sale, PJ Contest & Block Party (Nov. 28, 2014)

Ditch the crowds at Jacksonville malls along with the hectic holiday traffic on “Black Friday.” An enjoyable time is to be had in downtown Fernandina. The Historic Fernandina Business Association invites shoppers to its festive Pajama Party Sale (8 am to 11 am) on Black Friday. Shop in the comfort of your PJs and enjoy special deals and discounts, along with refreshments to fuel the shopping spirit. Enjoy live entertainment in front of the Old Train Depot on Centre Street starting at 9 a.m. Also, 2nd Street North will be offering a Block Party featuring live music, face painting and other family-friendly activities. PAJAMA CONTEST: A photo backdrop will be available for Facebook posting and prizes will be awarded for “Best Dressed” (group and individual) and “Most Outrageous” pajamas.

Fernandina Beach Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration (November 29, 2014)

Fernandina's Christmas Tree Lighting is Nov. 29, 2014
Fernandina’s Christmas Tree Lighting is Nov. 29, 2014
Holiday festivities will be happening downtown on November 29th from noon to 7 pm. Guests can enjoy music and dance performances, bounce houses, tasty treats, and more. Fernandina’s pirates will be toasting marshmallows over a fire pit for ‘Smores. The Christmas tree lighting will take place at 6:15 p.m. This event is hosted by the City of Fernandina Beach. Visit www.fbfl.org for more information.

Holiday Home Tour in Historic Fernandina Beach (December 5-6, 2014)

Tour several of Amelia Island’s lovely private homes in Fernandina Beach’s historic district during the Amelia Island Museum of History’s eighth annual holiday celebration. The Holiday Home Tour will showcase five homes decorated by professional florists and designers. Free trolley service will transport guests to each of the homes while costumed carolers recall the days of Charles Dickens. Tickets are $25 purchased before Dec. 5th or $30 at the door during the event. For more information, visit www.ameliahometours.com.

Parade of Paws (December 6, 2014)

Watch the pet parade at 11 am in downtown Fernandina Beach. To participate with your pet, meet at Old Train Depot at foot of Centre Street. Walk along Centre Street beginning and ending at the Old Railroad Depot. Late registration begins at 10:00 a.m. and the parade begins at 11:00 a.m. Registration fee is $15.00 per dog. Pre-register online, or go to Second Chance Store (321-0022), Redbones Dog Bakery (321-0020), or the NHS Dog Park (491-1511) or NHS Adoption Center 321-1647. Dress up your dog and yourself in Christmas attire. Awards for best costume announced immediately after the parade.

Caroling at Clinch (December 6, 2014)

Fort Clinch State Park will host “Caroling at Clinch” on the evening of Saturday, December 6th from 7 to 9 pm. The program will allow visitors to step back in time and celebrate a Civil War holiday complete with crackling fires, carolers, popcorn-garland strung trees and candlelight. The Friends of Fort Clinch State Park will offer hot coffee, hot chocolate and cookies to make it the perfect night of festivity. Park entrance fees are waived for this special celebration. WHAT TO BRING: Event admission is one canned food item per visitor to be donated to the community through the Barnabas Food Pantry. Learn more about Fort Clinch State Park, watch video, browse photo album, or call the Fort at 904-277-7274.

Union Holiday Encampment (December 6-7, 2014)

Fort Clinch Holiday Encampment Amelia Island
Fort Clinch Holiday Encampment Dec. 6-7, 2014
The Fort Clinch State Park Holiday Encampment is a gathering of volunteers in Civil War-era costumes bustling about the fort as they decorate 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 further info call (904)277-7274, or learn more about Fort Clinch State Park amenities, browse photo album, watch Fort Clinch video.

Reindeer Run 5K & Half Marathon (December 7, 2014)

The Reindeer Run starts at Main Beach Park in Fernandina (walkers also welcomed, but must finish course in 3.5 hours). This nice family event with special kids activities includes one and half-mile fun runs (age 12 and under) with Santa along and a tiny reindeer run 100 yard dash (age 1 to 4 years). Prizes to all finishers, “best” Christmas costume and a KIDS FUN ZONE. This fundraising event benefits The Healthy Families Program, Friends of Fort Clinch and Amelia Island Runners Youth Running Program and the featured charity Girl Power 2 Cure. See Amelia Island Runners website for more info and Reindeer Run registration forms.

Fernandina Lighted Christmas Parade (December 13, 2014)

The downtown Lighted Christmas Parade will be held at 6 pm along Centre Street. This year’s theme is “Christmas Memories & Tradition.” (If the parade has to be cancelled to due rain, it will be held the following day, at 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 14, 2014.)

Winter Wonderland Carnival (Dec. 13, 2014)

Sponsored by the city of Fernandina Beach, the Winter Wonderland Carnival will be held at the Atlantic Avenue Rec Center on December 13th from 5:30-7:30 pm. Enjoy a family evening of games, crafts, face painting, hay rides, tasty treats, and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Game and refreshment tickets are $.25 each.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol (December 4-20)

The Amelia Community Theatre (ACT) is featuring “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol” performances at 8 p.m. on December 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 and at 2 p.m. on December 14. The play presents Sherlock Holmes suffering from “coldness” in his heart as Christmas draws near. It takes visitations from the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future for Holmes to welcome the season of hope, charity, and forgiveness. Additionally, ACT is hosting several holiday events including a Festival of Trees from December 4 through 20 and “A Visit with Santa” on December 6. For ticket pricing and details on all events visit www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org or call the box office at 904-261-6749.