List of Amelia Island’s Signature Events:
Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival — One need not travel to New York or Europe to hear some of the world’s most accomplished musicians. An extraordinary experience presents itself on Amelia Island, FL for music lovers. Concert dates vary from January through April. Exciting news to start off 2019 is the scheduled appearance of Wynton Marsalis, winner of nine Grammy awards, and his 15-member Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, performing on Amelia Island January 25, 2019. See related article about 2019 concert schedule.
Amelia Island Book Festival — Wordsmiths gather on Amelia Island each year for the Book Festival, featuring author talks, writer’s workshops, luncheons, a gala dinner and EXPO book marketplace. The 2019 Book Festival brings an impressive group of celebrity authors to Amelia Island February 14-16, 2019, read about who’s appearing, see article. The Festival is a non-profit organization, proceeds benefiting the “Nassau County Authors in Schools Literacy Program.”
Second Weekend in March —
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance — March 7-10, 2019 Want to experience one of the top collector automobile events in the world? The posh event of the year on Amelia Island is the Concours d’Elegance, always held the full second weekend in March each year. It’s a time when the 10th and 18th golf fairways of Summer Beach are lined with millions of dollars worth of gleaming, glitzy collector automobiles, dubbed the “Field of Dreams.” See large collection of articles about the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
The main Concours d’Elegance event is held Sunday, the 2019 event is March 10th (weather permitting). In 2018 and 2017, a last minute switch to Saturday was made. Most events require tickets, including dinners, seminars, and workshops. There’s a week full of activities during “Concours Week,” (including a wonderful FREE event on Saturday, March 9, 2019, Cars and Coffee showcasing hundreds of classics from area car clubs). There are also several collector auto auctions held at different venues around the island.
First Weekend In May —
Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival — This annual event is always held the first weekend in May (in 2019 the dates are May 3rd-5th). It’s the island’s longest running event (this year is the 56th annual festival). It’s also the biggest tourism attraction of the year, with over 100,000 visitors throughout the weekend. The festival area spans eight city blocks (plus side streets), foot-traffic only.
The Shrimp Festival is also a wonderful art event, featuring 400 juried art and craftsmen booths on Saturday and Sunday. Also experience concerts and entertainment at the riverfront (free) and watch the fun Shrimp Festival parade (Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 6 pm). Friday night features fireworks and pirate invasion by sea into the Fernandina harbor. Plus seafood (shrimp, shrimp, and more shrimp), the kids/family fun zone and more. Read more and see detailed entertainment schedule at Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival page.
May — Wild Amelia Nature Festival (904-251-0016) — Held in May each year, Wild Amelia celebrates the local bio region and includes a sea turtle release at the beach, nature tours led by area naturalists, nature photography field trips and workshops, an Eco-Expo, Kids Niche, plus live music and critters. Read related article about the activities happening during the Wild Amelia Nature Festival, May 17 – 19, 2019.
October — 8 Flags Car Show, Amelia Cruizers — This wonderful classic car show features around 250 collector vehicles parked along historic corridor of Centre Street in downtown Fernandina during one-day event (FREE ADMISSION). Read previous article and watch video about this terrific car show.
Amelia Island Jazz Festival — The Amelia Island Jazz Festival always kicks off with a FREE concert for the community and visitors. During the week long festival, music fans enjoy a diversity of styles ranging from traditional New Orleans jazz and big band swing to bebop and contemporary. Visit Amelia Island Jazz Festival.
History of the American Solider at Fort Clinch State Park — While Fort Clinch hosts special re-enactments the first weekend of each month throughout the year, this particular event is the most comprehensive production each year. Browse military displays, watch firing demonstrations, and interact with living historians representing soldiers from every major US military conflict in American history from Revolutionary War to contemporary times. For more info call Fort Clinch at 904-277-7272.
November — Petanque America Open USA — Held on the riverfront downtown in historic Fernandina Beach, hundreds of Petanque players enjoy international tournament on Amelia Island as they compete in this outdoor bowling game. Play or watch it, enjoy food, wine, music. Learn more, read article and watch video about last year’s Petanque tournament, “Playing Petanque Along the River.”
November — Ritz-Carlton Christmas Tree Lighting, always held on Wednesday evening, Thanksgiving “Eve.” A signature event ushering in the holidays on Amelia Island, enjoy holiday refreshments, live entertainment, the lighting of towering Christmas tree, arrival of Santa Claus and fireworks. More info, 904-277-1100.
November — Tree Lighting at Omni — The day after Thanksgiving on Friday evening, at the shopping village at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, is the annual Christmas tree lighting celebration and festivities. Complimentary entry. Special activities for kids, food, beverages available for purchase, a fundraising event for Barnabas. Call for more info, 904-277-5992.
November — Fernandina Tree Lighting — Happening the Saturday just after Thanksgiving is the city of Fernandina’s annual tree lighting held in the downtown historic district near riverfront. Leading up to the lighting are fun things for the kids, including face painting, photos with Santa, musical performances.
Dickens on Centre, Victorian-themed street festival — See the downtown Fernandina Beach streetscape twinkling with holiday lights (free admission). Features live stage performances (bands, choirs, dancers, holiday movies), vendor booths for gift shopping, roaming characters and carolers, visits with St. Nick and photo ops. No vehicular traffic on Centre Street within the Festival zone. Read article published about last year’s event and Dickens’ festivities. Plus two other events, the Lighted Christmas Parade and Fernandina’s downtown New Year’s Eve “Shrimp Drop” and fireworks.
December — Amelia Island Holiday Home Tour — See inside some of Amelia Island’s loveliest, private homes professionally decorated for Christmastime, a fundraiser that benefits the Amelia Island Museum. See Amelia Island Museum of History website for ticket info, or call 904-261-7378.
Monthly Recurring Events
The first weekend of every month features living history reenactments at Fort Clinch State Park. Experience Civil War-era soldier life in the year 1864. These monthly Union Garrisons are a more elaborate presentation, featuring parade ground drills and demonstrations, including firing the cannons. Read lots more about Fort Clinch State Park and watch video.
Monthly Artrageous Art Gallery Walks happen the second Saturday evening every month from 5 to 8 pm in Fernandina’s historic district and also at the newest enclave of artists at Artisan Village of Amelia (2188 Sadler Road). Browse island art galleries, self-paced, free admission and mingle with local artists.
Sounds on Centre, the FREE Friday evening outdoor music concert series in Fernandina’s historic district is held from April through October (except May) on the first Friday night of the month from 6 to 8 pm on historic Centre Street (closed to traffic from 2nd Street to riverfront). This music event features live bands and dancing in the street. Feel free to bring a beach chair, sit and relax downtown.