Playing Pétanque Along The River

A top autumn outdoor event on Amelia Island happens at the riverfront in downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida.

French Sport in Fernandina

The largest Pétanque event in the Americas (pronounced “pay-tonk”), draws players and spectators from around the world to Amelia Island at the Florida-Georgia border. This annual event held in November each year takes place waterfront, near the Fernandina harbor marina in the downtown historic district. The tournament has attracted players from 29 countries, and typically features around 200 teams.

Described as “a cousin of both horseshoes and the Italian bowling game Bocce,” some local folks also play the sport, year round and in this annual event. Whether you wish to play yourself or just watch, check out the Pétanque video below for an idea of the Fernandina experience.

Nov. 9-11, 2018

See what Amelia Island’s annual Pétanque tournament looks like, a popular autumn event happening this year November 9th through 11th, 2018. There’s live musical entertainment and vendor booths set up along the riverfront (offering food, wine and more including the “Boules Bar”). So whether you wish to participate in the games (see registration info further below), or just stop by to observe, take a look.

Visit Downtown Fernandina

It’s a nice opportunity to spend some time downtown. Do a bit of shopping or browsing, with the holiday season approaching. Perhaps enjoy one of Fernandina’s downtown tours and get a bite to eat. Plus this extra treat, to see the players of this French boules game competing (or play yourself).

Want To Play?

At this writing, registration remains open. Cost for a team of two players is $249 (minimum age 13). To register to play or find out more information about this event, eMail questions to: [email protected]

Local Club

Besides this annual tournament, and since the introduction of the game to Amelia Island by the tournament’s founder, Philippe Boets, of Pétanque America, local interest in playing has grown. An Amelia Island Boules Club (see their Facebook page) formed. Year round, a few courts are permanently in place at the downtown riverfront Pétanque courts, plus courts that were installed at Fernandina’s Central Park on Atlantic Avenue. And while the sand is too soft for an official court, people are sometimes seen playing or practicing on the beach.

Find out more about how the game is played (and purchase boules for those who might like to practice the sport), at
SPONSORS: The annual event is produced by the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, plus partner support (Amelia Island Boules Club, Main Street Fernandina, and the city of Fernandina Beach). This year the “presenting sponsor” is BuyGo.