Pandemic Impacts Festivals & Events
Having already experienced event cancellations due to COVID-19 for most of the year, the unfortunate trend continues through the holidays to year end 2020 (see event listings info below). Also, two organizations have already announced decisions about two big Amelia Island events in the first quarter of 2021 (see end of article). Note this article was updated in mid-November, 2020 with the latest news.
Events Within The City Limits
September 2020 Canceled Events:
- “Sounds on Centre” downtown street concert (was scheduled for Friday, Sept. 4, 2020)
- Amelia Island Jazz Festival ‘s Labor Day Big Band Bash (was scheduled for September 5, 2020).
- The Homecoming Parade, Fernandina Beach High School (was scheduled for Sept. 18, 2020)
- Fort Clinch Cars & Cannons classic car show (was scheduled for Sept. 19, 2020)
October 2020 Canceled Events:
- “Sounds on Centre” downtown street concert (was scheduled for Friday, October 2, 2020)
- Amelia Island Jazz Festival — While the traditional Jazz Fest is not happening, a special virtual concert is happening Friday, October 9, 2020 (7 – 9 pm) online, “Salute To Duke Ellington.” Hosted by The Les DeMerle 17-piece Jazz Orchestra. Watch concert online (tickets $20). More info at website, Amelia Island Jazz Festival.
- 8 Flags Car Show by Amelia Cruizers (was scheduled for October 17, 2020)
November 2020 Canceled Events:
- Right Whale Festival at Fernandina’s Main Beach Park — (was scheduled for November 7-8, 2020)
- Fort Clinch — History of the American Solider, annual Veterans tribute (was scheduled for November 14, 2020).
- Petanque American Open Tournament (was scheduled for November 13- 15, 2020)
Veterans Day Parade 2020
The annual Veterans Day parade is scheduled for Saturday, November 7, 2020 in downtown Fernandina Beach, hosted by the American Legion Post 54. The city commission further discussed this event at Nov. 4, 2020 meeting and is allowing the Veterans Day parade to proceed. The parade line up starts at 10 a.m. at Veterans Park with the parade starting at 11 a.m. Those who wish to be in the parade should contact Chris Watrous at 740-253-3437 or via e-mail at [email protected](Please don’t call the American Legion Post about parade registration).
Amelia Island Holiday Season 2020
Downtown Fernandina Christmas Lights
Downtown Fernandina Beach will twinkle with its traditional Christmas glow this 2020 holiday season. Lights will cover trees and downtown buildings within the heart of Fernandina’s historic district along Centre Street, always a cozy, enchanting scene to lift spirits. (There will be some extra lighting added, expanding the decorated area downtown this season).
Christmas Tree Lighting Celebrations (Around Thanksgiving)
Three traditional Amelia Island Christmas tree lighting celebrations normally happen in November during the week of Thanksgiving each year. The city’s tree lighting festivities in downtown Fernandina are usually held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. At the Nov. 4, 2020 city meeting, the commission decided to cancel the Christmas tree lighting festivities and ceremony that normally takes place. However, the city’s Christmas tree will be placed downtown and decorated.
The other two traditional tree lighting celebrations are held outside the city limits on resort properties at the Ritz-Carlton and Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Normally, these celebrations are community events, open to the public.
Ritz-Carlton Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 2020
** News Update 11/6/2020 ** According to the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, their annual community Christmas tree lighting celebration that would have been held Wed., Nov. 25, 2020 is canceled. Also, the hotel is not doing the gingerbread pirate ship this 2020 holiday season. Call Amelia Island’s Ritz for more info 904-277-1100.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation — Call the Omni at 904-261-6161 for further information about 2020 holiday season events.
Holiday Home Tour December 2020
The 14th Annual Holiday Home Tour remains scheduled for Friday, December 4 and Saturday, 5, 2020. Five historic homes in downtown Fernandina are featured, including the “Lucy Cottage,” circa 1872, pictured above. The Holiday Home Tour is an annual fundraising event presented by the Amelia Island Museum of History. It’s an opportunity to tour privately-owned homes decorated by professionals for the Christmas season. Tickets went on sale October 21st, online. The Holiday Home Tour 2020 visitation will be different this year due to the pandemic. One ticket per home is required to be purchased in advance online ($7 each), with a specific time slot to tour each home. Choose to tour only one home, some, or all five homes for $35. These historic homes are located within walking distance of each other. (There will be no shuttle transportation between these homes this year). Visit the Amelia Island Museum’s website for further info and to buy tickets online, or call the museum at 904-261-7378.
Fernandina’s Lighted Christmas Parade 2020
The evening Lighted Christmas Parade in downtown Fernandina Beach was scheduled for Saturday, December 5, 2020. At the November 4, 2020 city commission meeting, a decision was made to allow this holiday parade to proceed. However, at the Nov. 17, 2020 commission meeting, this parade plus other holiday events within the city limits that attract crowds were canceled through the end of the year 2020.
Parade of Paws
Another holiday event is the fun and adorable “Parade of Paws,” presented by the Nassau Humane Society. The holiday-costumed pet parade was tentatively scheduled for Saturday, December 12, 2020. According to the Nassau Humane Society (NHS), parade approval was pending,” to be discussed at the November 17, 2020 city of Fernandina Beach commission meeting. (UPDATE: PARADE CANCELED by city of Fernandina Beach.) For further info, call the Nassau Humane Society at 904-321-1647.
“Dickens On Centre” 2020
The 6th Annual “Dickens on Centre,” a Victorian Christmas-themed street festival in downtown Fernandina, was scheduled for December 10-13, 2020, but will not be held. The “Christmas Wish Tree” will still be present in 2020 and downtown shop windows decorated for the holidays. Something new is planned to be introduced, “Dickens Dining Week 2020.”
“Goodbye & Good Riddance” New Year’s Eve 2020
The December 31, 2020 New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop celebration and fireworks over the river in downtown Fernandina — CANCELED by city commission. “Light Up Amelia,” the non-profit organization who hosts this event, had previously indicated the Shrimp Drop fireworks in 2020 would be much bigger and better than ever, referring to the celebration as the “Goodbye and Good Riddance 2020 Shrimp Drop Extravaganza.” Even from home on the couch, this seems a fitting toast we can all raise our glasses to this New Year’s Eve.
Status of Amelia Island Events In 2021
The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival intends to celebrate its 20th season in 2021. Watch video clip introduction below, featuring The Christiania Trio.
Amelia Island Chamber Music Virtual Concert
Amelia Island Book Festival 2021
The Amelia Island Book Festival announced its decision to cancel their 3-day February 2021 event. The Book Festival will still be holding its annual short story writing contest for local Nassau County students. The high school senior who wins receives a $5,000 scholarship.
Amelia Concours d’Elegance 2021
The huge collector car show, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance has already decided to motor its way through the pandemic in March 2021. See related article about the Amelia Concours d’Elegance, happening March 4 – 7, 2021.