Highlights of Festivals, Parades, & Biggest Events Held on Amelia Island, FL
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade — January 16, 2023 (12 Noon) — The annual MLK parade will follow the traditional parade route through historic downtown Fernandina Beach’s Ash Street and Centre Street. For more information or to be in the parade, contact Wayne Peterson with the Elm Street Sportsman’s Association at 904-753-1663.
Amelia Island Restaurant Week — January 20-29, 2023 — The 15th annual culinary event, “Restaurant Week” features lunch and dinner price-fixed menus. Lunches are $15, and most 3-course dinners priced from $35 to $45 per person (with a few $25 options). (See more about 2023’s Restaurant Week.)
Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival — (Concert dates vary January through May 2023). One need not travel to New York or Europe to hear some of the world’s most accomplished musicians. This 2023 season on Amelia Island, FL includes a January performance by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine. On April 1st, the Festival welcomes Grammy® award-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov. See all 2023 Amelia Island concert dates, musicians, venues, ticket info at Chamber Music Festival’s website.
Amelia Island Book Festival — For more than 20 years, the annual Amelia Island Book Festival presents best-selling authors and independent publishers, offers workshops on various topics and holds a community Authors’ Expo & Readers Extravaganza (at Fernandina Beach Middle School, this year on February 18, 2023). Events also include an Authors in Schools program here in Nassau County, FL benefiting local students. See more info at Amelia Island Book Festival.
“The Amelia” — The 28th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is March 2-5, 2023. One of the top events of its kind in the world, fairways at The Golf Club of Amelia in northeast Florida are lined with gleaming, glitzy, rare collector automobiles, dubbed the “Field of Dreams.”
This year in 2023 is the second show under new owner, Hagerty. The centerpiece event is held on Sunday, the Concours d’Elegance, happening on March 5, 2023.
Downtown Fernandina hosts a free display of selection of Concours cars (the Reliable Carriers Eight Flags Road Tour, see related article), when some of these rare collector cars are parked along Centre Street for a few hours, this year happening Friday, March 3, 2023.
Several auto auctions and other car-related events are also held at various venues around the Amelia Island during the four day celebration of car culture. See collection of published articles about the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
“Sounds On Centre” free series of street music concerts are held in downtown Fernandina Beach the first Friday evening of each month, starting in April 2023 and continuing through October 2023. All Friday evening 2-hour concerts are 6 to 8 p.m.
Fernandina Beach Songwriter Festival — April 14-16, 2023 — New in 2023, the inaugural Songwriters Festival features three days of free performances and special ticketed events. Attendees will have opportunity to meet various artists, get autographs, and take photos. Last performance will be aboard a two-hour cruise to Cumberland Island, GA. Tickets at EventBrite.
Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival — May 5-7, 2023 — Fernandina’s most popular and biggest attendance festival of the year is always held the first weekend in May (with the biggest parade, this year happening on Thurs., May 4, 2023 at 6 p.m.).
Pride Parade & Festival — June 10, 2023 — Parade begins downtown at 10 a.m. followed by Festival at Central Park on Atlantic Avenue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Event features live music, vendors, and food trucks. See more at Fernandina Beach Pride.
Juneteenth Jump-Off – Saturday, June 17, 2023 (Noon to 7 p.m.) – Presented by 4 The Culture, a free admission, family-friendly outdoor event happening at the Peck Center (516 S. 10th Street in Fernandina Beach). Entertainment, food trucks, and other vendors. For more info, eMail: [email protected].`
Fourth of July Fireworks & Celebration — July 4, 2023 –Happy Birthday America! The 4th of July Hometown Celebration 2023 is happening at Fernandina’s downtown riverfront (city marina parking lot B) featuring a FIREWORKS display over the riverfront at 9 p.m. The Independence Day celebration starts at 6 p.m. with music, food trucks and other vendors. Event sponsored by LIGHT UP AMELIA, the city of Fernandina Beach and Florida Public Utilities.
Fort Clinch “Cars & Cannons” Classic Car Show — September 23, 2023 –– (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) This Saturday show presents around 60 vintage vehicles displayed across the parade ground inside the walls of this historic fortress in Fernandina Beach. An annual fundraising event for non-profit, “Friends of Fort Clinch,” in support of the park. Read article about this year’s car show.
Amelia Island Jazz Festival — October 1-8, 2023 — The Jazz Festival is a week long event held annually in October. Concerts are offered at various venues around Amelia Island. Featuring Steve Tyrell in 2023 (TOP 5 status on Billboard’s Jazz charts for all nine of his American Standards albums). A non-profit organization founded by Les DeMerle over 20 years ago, besides concerts, the Jazz Festival offers educational programs and jazz workshops in local area schools and senior centers. The Amelia Island Jazz Festival funds a college scholarship program for aspiring jazz musicians. See more about 2023 Jazz Festival with scheduled performances, ticket info and more.
Island Hop Craft Beer Festival – October 7, 2023 (12 p.m. to 4 pm) at Fernandina’s Central Park ( Atlantic Avenue), presented by and in support of Fernandina Main Street. Live music, vendors, food trucks, and kids’ activities. Three Fernandina Beach craft brewers are featured – Mocama Beer Co., First Love Brewing, Amelia Island Brewing Company. Other First Coast area brewers will also be present. See more at Island Hop Craft Festival website.
Hispanic Heritage Food Festival – Sat., October 14, 2023 — One of the newest Fernandina festivals, the 2nd annual event is happening in the downtown historic district from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Visit South 3rd Street (in between Centre and Ash Streets) to enjoy food and music. Featured entertainment is the Jax English Salsa Band, “Bringing Cultures Together Thru Music.”
27th Annual 8 Flags Car Show – October 21, 2023 (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) — A local fall favorite, folks flock downtown to browse Amelia Cruizers’ annual classic car show, a popular tradition.
The October 21st 8 Flags Car Show is a free admission event that has grown over the past quarter century and features hundreds of beautifully restored classics parked along Centre Street plus side feeder streets for eight blocks downtown. Music played from speakers helps set the atmosphere during this casual, enjoyable event. For more info, see Amelia Cruizers website.
Right Whale Festival — November 4-5, 2023 — This educational, fun, family-friendly two-day weekend festival is held oceanfront at Fernandina’s Main Beach Park and features exhibits, speakers, vendors and live music. Saturday hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. See related article about this year’s Right Whale Festival.
Pétanque Amelia Island Open — November 10-12, 2023 — Pétanque tournament attract players from around the world to Fernandina Beach. Held at downtown riverfront courts. Participant registration begins June 1, 2023. More info at Pétanque website.
Veterans Day Parade — Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 11 a.m. — Annual parade held in downtown Fernandina Beach (traditional parade route), organized by American Legion Post 54.
“History of the American Soldier” at Fort Clinch State Park (November 11, 2023)
Read more about 2023’s “History of the American Soldier.” Living historians and volunteers create a timeline of soldiers from every major U.S. military conflict in American history from the Revolutionary War to contemporary times. Listen to period music that helps set the mood and watch firing demonstrations of vintage weapons. Entry to parade grounds starts at 6 p.m., the show is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is one canned food item per person, a donation for Barnabas Food Pantry.
November 2023 Christmas Tree Lightings
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. 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 is on Black Friday. 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
Stroll around Fernandina’s Centre Street in the downtown historic district with its extra enchantment during the holiday season. Starting the week of Thanksgiving each year (through New Year’s), downtown Fernandina twinkles in white lights creating a fanciful atmosphere.
Lighted Christmas Parade — December 2, 2023 (6 p.m.)– This very festive annual holiday parade is held in downtown Fernandina Beach featuring lighted floats, marching band, 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 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). See related article about this year’s Dickens On Centre 2023.
Parade of Paws — Saturday, December 9, 2023 (11:00 a.m.) — A fun holiday fundraiser for the Nassau Humane Society, this parade features oodles of adorable doggies and their spirited owners, walking along the sidewalk in downtown Fernandina.
The 2023 Parade of Paws on December 9th will start at 4th & Centre Streets and end at the Wharf Main Stage. There’s also 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.
New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop — December 31, 2023 —
Presented by “Light Up Amelia,” and the city of Fernandina Beach, this annual celebration is held at the downtown riverfront New Year’s Eve. The festivities include food trucks, vendors, some activities for kids and 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 holiday event is the grand finale FIREWORKS DISPLAY over the riverfront at 7 p.m.