Southern charm and holiday trimmings will greet folks once more from Thanksgiving 2023 through New Year’s Day 2024 around Amelia Island, Florida.
Stroll along Fernandina’s Centre Street in the downtown historic district with its extra enchantment during the holiday season. Starting around Thanksgiving week each year (through New Year’s), downtown Fernandina twinkles in white lights creating a fanciful atmosphere.
2023 Holiday Events Happening Around Amelia Island
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Christmas Tree Lighting — Wed., November 22, 2023 (5:30 – 6:30 p.m.)
A wonderful holiday celebration, this special event showcases a 40-foot Christmas tree in seaside setting at Ritz-Carlton. Featuring musical entertainment, Royal Amelia Dance Academy, the arrival of Santa Claus in a train, and the grand FIREWORKS finale. While the celebration begins at 5:30 p.m., allow extra time to park vehicles at Peters Point beach parking lot, then take the complimentary shuttle service over to the Ritz-Carlton. Enjoy fresh baked cookies and cider. A fundraiser for various Nassau County charities, tickets cost $20 (aged 10 and older), 100% of funds donated. Purchase tickets in advance online at Eventbrite website.
Black Friday Downtown Shopping & Pajama Block Party – November 24, 2023 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), followed by Fernandina’s Christmas Tree Lighting (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
Fernandina’s downtown shops will present special offers and treats while visitors shop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Join in the festive mood by wearing holiday-themed pajamas. There’s a PJ contest at 11 a.m., and prizes for the best group, best individual and most creative PJs. The 2nd Street block party features music all day and family-friendly activities.
City of Fernandina Beach Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration — November 24, 2023 (4 p.m. to 6 p.m) —
Happening at the Fernandina Harbor Marina downtown, this year the tree lighting celebration is on Black Friday, Nov. 24, 2023 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. The festivities include the Royal Amelia Dancers, music by the Nassau Community Band, S’mores with the Fernandina Pirates, and photos with Santa. The evening’s finale is the Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m.
December 2023 Holiday Events
Lighted Christmas Parade — December 2, 2023 (6 p.m.)– This very festive, family-friendly annual holiday parade is held in downtown Fernandina Beach featuring lots of lighted floats, marching bands, dancers and decorated vehicles.
Holiday Home Tour – December 1-2,2023 — This two-day event features privately-owned homes professionally decorated for the Christmas season. Home tour visitors hear history and architectural features of each home. The special tour is presented by the Amelia Island Museum of History, an annual fund-raising event. For more info call museum at 904-261-7378, or visit Amelia Island Museum website.
Dickens on Centre – December 7-10, 2023 — This Victorian-era themed Christmas street festival has become a popular annual event in downtown Fernandina Beach featuring entertainment, gift shopping, and many other activities.
Starting with the Dickens Illuminated Procession on Thursday, December 7, 2023 (5 – 7 p.m.), watch or participate in walking lantern parade followed by a 3D drone light show over Fernandina’s downtown riverfront. The Dickens on Centre street festival and marketplace opens the next day on Friday evening, Dec. 8th, and continues through Sunday. Dickens on Centre features stage performances by the Old Train Depot at foot of Centre Street, a Tiny Tim’s Kid Zone, shopping at vendor booths, food and beverages and other special events.
The 3D Drone light show is also happening Friday and Saturday nights, as well. More about Dickens on Centre activities and Festival hours.
Parade of Paws — Saturday, December 9, 2023 (11:00 a.m.)
Pet lovers alert! Don’t miss the Parade of Paws! A fun holiday fundraiser for the Nassau Humane Society, this parade features oodles of adorable doggies and their spirited owners in holiday garb walking along the sidewalk in downtown Fernandina. The 2023 Parade of Paws on December 9, 2023 at 11 a.m. will start at 4th & Centre Street and end at the Wharf Main Stage. There’s a contest for “best” in several themed categories. Prizes will be awarded for Best Victorian, Most Original, Looks Most Like Owner, and top 3 overall, provided by Redbones Dog Bakery. Want to be in the parade? Day of event registration and check-ins ($20 per pet donation), begin at 9:30 a.m. until 10:45 a.m., at city’s 4th street parking lot (between Ash & Centre). However, Humane Society suggests early registration due to popularity of event, at following locations: Redbones, Hot Paws Pet Grooming, NHS Second Chance store or at the Nassau Humane Society.
New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop — December 31, 2023 (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Join the community to ring in the New Year 2024 in downtown Fernandina along the riverfront. An annual New Year’s Eve celebration, the evening features food trucks, vendors and some activities for kids. Plus a countdown to ring in the New Year as the symbolic lighted shrimp is dropped in Fernandina, birthplace of the modern shrimping industry in America. Wrapping up this early evening celebration is the grand finale FIREWORKS DISPLAY over the riverfront at 7 p.m., presented by “Light Up Amelia,” the city of Fernandina Beach, and Florida Public Utilities.