Good Tidings! Festive Fernandina Holiday Happenings

Enjoy a Victorian-themed street festival in Fernandina, Christmas tree lightings, holiday tours, & more during 2015 holiday season.

Victorian Vibe: A “Dickens” of a Christmas is being planned for the historic district downtown plus many other festive holiday events to spread good cheer around Amelia Island, Florida. See lots more below about activities happening this 2015 season.

Christmas on the River, Centre Street, Fernandina Beach
Christmas on the River, Centre Street, Fernandina Beach

This year, be sure to visit the riverfront historic district the first two weekends of December for a special Victorian-themed street festival in downtown Fernandina Beach, “Dickens on Centre,” a brand new event.

Holiday season events begin Thanksgiving week with three traditional Christmas tree lighting celebrations. December is full of special events including the annual Holiday Cookie Tour and Holiday Home Tour. The Holiday Jollification of Fort Clinch is a special evening event featuring a roaring bonfire on the parade grounds, hot chocolate, cookies and living history reenactors.

The city of Fernandina is also hosting a special New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop this year, a family-friendly celebration at the downtown riverfront.

A holiday tradition continues at the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton, with the display of the world’s largest gingerbread pirate ship (baked and assembled by Ritz chefs). The Christmas tree lighting celebration oceanfront is Thanksgiving Eve, Wed., Nov., 25th at 5:30 pm (free event open to the public). Santa will make a grand appearance plus enjoy a seaside fireworks display. The Ritz also provides complimentary Christmas cookies and hot chocolate. The main parking lot for this event is the nearby Peter’s Point public beach park with free shuttle bus service beginning at 4 pm. For more info, call the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton at 904-277-1100.

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Tree Lighting – Fri., Nov. 27, 2015

Omni’s Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration is from 5:00 to 9:00 PM (free event open to the public). Enjoy the annual tree lighting, fireworks, Mr. & Mrs. Claus, music, family activities and real snow in Florida! The holiday season’s Festival of Trees and main events are held at the resort’s shopping village. To find out more about all the holiday activities at the resort, call the Omni Amelia Island Plantation at 904-261-6161.

City of Fernandina’s Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration — November 28, 2015

Fernandina's Christmas Tree at the Riverfront Downtown
City of Fernandina’s Christmas Tree at the Riverfront Downtown
Enjoy holiday music, festivities and food vendors from 1 pm to 6:15 pm on November 28th near the Fernandina Harbor Marina, waterfront parking lot A. There will be arts and crafts for the kids, pirates making ‘Smores, photos with Santa from 3 to 5 pm and Christmas tree lighting. For more info, call the city of Fernandina at 904-310-3350.

Annual “Black Friday Pajama Party” plus Block Party Downtown — November 27, 2015

Sponsored by the Historic Fernandina Business Association, Fernandina’s downtown merchants will offer shopping discounts and refreshments from 8 am until noon on Black Friday. Wear pajamas and enter the pajama contest (win prizes for the best individual, best group and most creative pajamas). A block party (until 2 pm) is also being hosted downtown by Pajama Dave of Pajama Life featuring family activities and live music by Dan Voll, Jim Bacaro, Michele and Sean McCarthy, Hotshot Carter and Ernie Elum.

Downtown Window Reflections Along Centre Stree
Downtown Window Reflections Along Centre Stree

Downtown Fernandina’s “Dickens on Centre”

DATES: Dec. 4, 5, 6th and Dec. 11, 12 13th, 2015 — Experience an “authentic Victorian holiday festival” in the historic district of downtown Fernandina Beach the first two weekends of December. This riverfront city aims to create a festive, old-fashioned Victorian-themed streetscape with its inaugural event, “Dickens on Centre.” Downtown will twinkle with Christmas lights and Centre Street between 4th and the riverfront will be closed to traffic to create street fair atmosphere with roaming performers and street vendors. Expect to hear and see costumed carolers, roving musicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, and a jolly, old-fashioned Saint Nick. In addition to the downtown restaurants, shops, galleries and other local businesses that will be participating, period vendors will be selling handmade crafts and special holiday treats such as meat pies, scotch eggs, sausage rolls and more.

DICKENS ON CENTRE WEEKEND HOURS: Special activities schedule — Fridays from 5:00 pm to 9 pm, Saturdays from 9 am until 8 pm, and on Sundays from 11 am until 6 pm. Old Saint Nick will make appearances on Fridays from 7 to 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am until noon, and 2 pm to 5 pm. There will be readings of “Twas The Night Before Christmas” Fridays and Saturdays at 6:45 pm and Sundays at 4 pm.

Woman’s Club of Fernandina Annual Christmas Glow — Dec. 4, 2015

A long running tradition featuring about 2 miles of luminaries placed along Atlantic Avenue in early evening, the Woman’s Club is holding their annual Christmas event Friday evening, December 4th from 5:30 to 8 pm. The community is invited to enjoy the festivities, watch performances by the Bean School of Dance and Fernandina Beach Middle School choir, take photos with Santa, and more. The clubhouse is located at 201 Jean Lafitte Blvd., behind the Atlantic Avenue Rec Center. For more info call 904-415-1283.

Fort Clinch Holiday Jollification — (was Dec. 5th) ** POSTPONED TO JAN. 2, 2016**

Walk Over Drawbridge & Through "Time Tunnel" to 1864 at Fort Clinch

UPDATE: Due to blustery weather, park has announced “The Fort Clinch Holiday Jollification previously schedule for December 5th, has been postponed until Saturday, January 2, 2016, due to high winds and unsafe fire potential within the Fort.”

Walk Over Drawbridge & Through “Time Tunnel” to 1864 at Fort Clinch

Enjoy a very special evening at Fort Clinch State Park from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm featuring living history reeanactors, a roaring bonfire on the parade grounds, hot chocolate and cookies. The entry fee is being waived for this holiday event in lieu of a can of food per person to be donated to the Barnabas Food Pantry. For more info, call Fort Clinch at 904-277-7274.

Holiday Parade of Paws — December 05, 2015

A fundraiser for the Nassau Humane Society, head downtown to watch the annual Parade of Paws that will begin by the Old Train Depot on Fernandina’s historic Centre Street at 11 am. Those wishing to dress pets in holiday attire to prance in the parade should call (904) 321-1647 for more info, registration fee is $15.

Holiday Beach Home Tour – Dec. 4-5, 2015

Six private beach homes, decorated by florists and professional designers, will be open to the public this year for Amelia Island Museum’s annual Holiday Home Tour. Parking will be located at Peter’s Point beachfront park (in vicinity of the Ritz-Carlton), with free trolley service transporting tour guests to each beach home. Tickets are $25 when purchased in advance through Dec. 3rd, or $30 at the door, see the Holiday Home Tour website for more info and to buy tickets.

Reindeer Run, Amelia Island Runners — Dec. 6, 2015

This annual holiday 5K, kids fun run and half marathon is organized by the Amelia Island Runners Club and held from Main Beach Park in Fernandina, the start/finish line for the event. Kids fun zone, bounce houses and appearance by Santa Claus.

Lighted Christmas Parade – December 10, 2015

Enjoy Fernandina’s annual “Lighted Christmas Parade” in the downtown historic district at 6 pm on December 10, 2015.

Holiday Cookie Tour of B & B Inns – December 12, 2015

Fernandina's Fairbanks House
The Fairbanks House. Holiday Cookie Tour is Dec. 12, 2015
Tour six of Fernandina’s grandest, historic homes, the lovely bed and breakfast inns decked out for the Christmas season. Taste each inn’s signature cookie, take home the recipe, too, and learn about the home’s history. This is a self-guided walking tour from noon until 5 pm on Sat., Dec., 12th, but horse-drawn carriages will also be available to transport guests (first come, first serve basis). A portion of proceeds benefits Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library, a local non-profit. Tickets: $25 each for all ages and can be purchased online or at any of the downtown Fernandina bed and breakfast inns, the Amelia Island Visitors Center, the Fernandina Beach library, and the Chamber of Commerce Gateway office. Tickets will also be available at the door of the inns on day of the tour.

Fernandina’s New Year’s Eve Event, Dec. 31, 2015

The city of Fernandina Beach is hosting its first New Year’s Eve celebration downtown with a family-friendly event dubbed the “Shrimp Drop.” The world famous Waterford crystal ball drops in New York City’s Times Square at midnight each year on December 31st, but here in the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry in America, a lighted shrimp will be dropped at 7 pm. This New Year’s Eve celebration begins at 5 pm (ends at 9 pm) near the Fernandina Harbor Marina (parking lot B) and will offer a fun kids zone, games, and contests. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase, and live music performed by Zach Deputy. For more info, call the city of Fernandina at 904-310-3350.