Pandemic Continues To Impact Festivals & Events
Having already experienced six months of event cancellations due to COVID-19, the unfortunate trend continues through fall 2020. (See updated Amelia Island event listing below).
A few holiday season 2020 events remain tentatively scheduled but are subject to change. Decisions have already been announced about some Amelia Island events in the first quarter of 2021 (see end of article).
Events Within The City Limits
According to the Fernandina Beach city government, the special event policy within the city limits continues to follow state guidelines of Florida’s Phase 2 Recovery Plan: “Special events held on City property are canceled until Governor DeSantis lifts restrictions mandating that crowds be no larger than 50 people.”
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 happening on Saturday, November 7, 2020 in downtown Fernandina Beach, hosted by the American Legion Post 54. The parade line up starts at 10 am at Veterans Park with the parade starting at 11 am. 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. No official announcement has been made (further info forthcoming).
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. Neither resort, at this time, have scheduled tree lightings on their November 2020 calendars (subject to change). No further information was available when inquiries were made to both resorts recently.
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. The museum indicates they still plan to host this holiday tour, and tickets will go on sale online in late October. Visit the Amelia Island Museum’s website for further updates, or call the museum at 904-261-7378.
Fernandina’s Lighted Christmas Parade 2020
The evening Lighted Christmas Parade in downtown Fernandina Beach remains on city’s special events calendar (scheduled for 6 pm to 8 pm on Saturday, December 5, 2020, but subject to change). The parade is sponsored by “America’s Youth, Inc.” This annual event features decorated floats with Christmas lights (and normally marching bands, walkers and dancers), plus Santa Claus.
Downsized “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 in its traditional format. The main entertainment and activities will be eliminated. (There won’t be a “Kids Zone,” stage entertainment, or the vendor shopping booths along the street). 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.” (Further updates will forthcoming.)
“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 remains scheduled at this time (but subject to change). Presented by “Light Up Amelia,” the organization had canceled their Fourth of July fireworks show. If the show is held, “Light Up Amelia” had previously indicated the Shrimp Drop fireworks would be much bigger and better than ever, referring to the celebration as the “Goodbye and Good Riddance 2020 Shrimp Drop Extravaganza.” Seems a fitting toast we can all raise our glasses to this New Year’s Eve, even from home on the couch. (Further updates will forthcoming).
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. The Chamber Music Festival is premiering its festival with a free virtual performance September 20, 2020.
Amelia Island Chamber Music Virtual Concert
Amelia Island Book Festival 2021
The Amelia Island Book Festival has already announced a 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.