Amelia Island Festivals & Top Events

Amelia Island’s Signature Events:

January —

Amelia Island Restaurant Week  — (Jan. 22 – 31, 2021) — The 13th annual event, “Restaurant Week” (it’s actually 10 days), features special lunch and dinner price-fixed menus. See latest article about Amelia Island’s 2021 culinary event.

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival — (Concert dates vary from January through April.) An extraordinary experience presents itself on Amelia Island for music lovers. One need not travel to New York or Europe to hear some of the world’s most accomplished musicians. 2021 is the celebration of the 20th Season. See Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival website.

February —

Amelia Island Book Festival — February 2021 event CANCELED, due to the pandemic. Normally, it’s a time when wordsmiths gather on Amelia Island and features author talks, writer’s workshops, luncheons, a gala dinner and free EXPO book marketplace. The Amelia Island Book Festival is a non-profit organization, proceeds benefit the “Nassau County Authors in Schools Literacy Program.”  See Amelia Island Book Festival.

May —

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance — The huge collector car show has postponed the event by two months, now scheduled for May 20-23, 2021 rather than its traditional March dates. In a January 11, 2021 news release, the event organizers announced the date change, stating, “In light of current developments both locally and around the globe, the 26th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will move to May 20-23, 2021.” One of the top events of its kind in the world, it’s a time when the 10th and 18th fairways at The Golf Club of Amelia are lined with millions of dollars worth of gleaming, glitzy, rare automobiles, dubbed the “Field of Dreams.” Several auto auctions and other events held are also held at different venues around the island.  See the latest updates, a collection of articles about the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Shrimp Festival 2021 Officially Canceled
Shrimp Festival Fernandina Isle of Eight Flags
Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival (First Weekend in May)

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival  —  The 2021 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in downtown Fernandina Beach has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (It had been scheduled for April 30 – May 2, 2021. The Shrimp Festival Parade is also canceled.) The longest-running Festival held on Amelia Island, Shrimp Festival also attracts the largest attendance of any event each year.

Wild Amelia Nature Festival This event was canceled in 2020 and the May 2021 status has not been announced. Wild Amelia began hosting virtual ZOOM “Wild Nites,” last fall 2020. The nature festival 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. See Wild Amelia Festival website for updates.

Amelia Island Roseate Spoonbills (Egans Greenway)
Roseate Spoonbills (Egans Greenway)

October —

Amelia Island Jazz Festival —  UPDATE — The Labor Day Big Band Bash scheduled for last year on Sept. 5, 2020 was postponed to February 13, 2021. Check for more 2021 updates at Amelia Island Jazz Festival.

8 Flags Car Show by Amelia Cruizers  UPDATE: Last year’s classic car show was canceled. This year in 2021, the 25th 8 Flags Car Show event is scheduled for Saturday, October 16, 2021.  A fun, popular event, it normally features around 250 collector vehicles parked along historic corridor of Centre Street in downtown Fernandina (free admission). Read related article about past event, watch video about this terrific car show.

November —

Fernandina Beach Right Whale Festival Main Beach Amelia Island, Florida
Fernandina Right Whale Festival

Right Whale Festival  —  UPDATE: Last year’s November Festival at Main Beach was canceled due to the pandemic. The status of this year’s 2021 November Festival has not yet been announced. The outdoor Festival traditionally features bands, food trucks, exhibits, kids activities, and presentations. Located at the oceanfront setting of Fernandina’s Main Beach Park. Read related article about the last Festival, news about critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Fort Clinch State Park Amelia Island

History of the American Solider at Fort Clinch  UPDATE: November 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic. This once-a-year event held annually in November to celebrate Veterans Day is the most comprehensive annual production. Living historians represent soldiers from every major US military conflict in American history from Revolutionary War to contemporary times. For more info call Fort Clinch at 904-277-7274.

Petanque America Open USA  (November 13-15, 2020) — UPDATE: Annual tournament was canceled due to pandemic. 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 past article, see video “Playing Petanque Along the River.”

Holiday Season 2020

downtown Fernandina Beach Christmas Lights December
Downtown Fernandina Holiday Season Lights
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. There will be some extra lighting added, expanding the decorated area downtown this 2020 season. It’s always a cozy, enchanting scene sure to lift spirits.

Christmas Tree Lighting Celebrations (Thanksgiving Week)

Three traditional Amelia Island Christmas tree lighting celebrations normally happen in November during the week of Thanksgiving each year. One is held in downtown Fernandina, hosted by the city.

City of Fernandina Christmas Tree Lighting — Traditionally held the Saturday after Thanksgiving in downtown historic district near the riverfront with pirates, activities for kids and live music performed by the Nassau Community Band. The city commission discussed this event at a meeting held Nov. 4, 2020 and made the decision to cancel the downtown Fernandina Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and associated festivities. However, the city’s Christmas tree will be placed downtown and decorated.

The other two Christmas tree lighting celebrations normally happen at the south end resorts. These celebrations are usually community events, open to the public.

Ritz-Carlton Christmas Tree Lighting —  Traditionally held Wednesday evening, Thanksgiving “Eve.” A signature event ushering in the holidays on Amelia Island, along with the traditional gingerbread pirate ship in the lobby. ** 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 Ritz for more info 904-277-1100.

Omni Holiday Lights Celebration — Traditionally held the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Call Omni for more info 904-261-6161.

December —

Historic home, Lucy Cottage, circa 1872, Fernandina Beach. Originally owned by Lucy Thompson Haverstick.
Lucy Cottage, circa 1872, Fernandina

Amelia Island Holiday Home Tour — (Dec. 4-5, 2020) — Tour five historic homes in downtown Fernandina, 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. The museum plans to host this holiday tour, with some changes due to the pandemic, including purchasing one ticket per home at $7 each during a specific time slot. See all five historic homes or choose which ones you’d like to tour. Tickets went on sale October 21, 2020.  This is a unique opportunity to tour privately-owned homes decorated by professionals for the Christmas season. Visit the Amelia Island Museum’s website for updates, or call museum at 904-261-7378.

Lighted Christmas Parade — (Dec. 5, 2020)UPDATE 11/17/2020 — The city of Fernandina Beach commission canceled this event due to the pandemic. 

Dickens on Centre — (Dec. 10-13, 2020) — The 6th Annual “Dickens on Centre,” a Victorian Christmas-themed street festival in downtown Fernandina has also been canceled due to the pandemic. As noted further above, downtown Fernandina will be illuminated with white holiday lights. The “Christmas Wish Tree” will still be present, along with the red mail box to send letters to Santa Claus.

New Year’s Eve Annual Shrimp Drop & Fireworks (Dec. 31, 2020) — UPDATE 11/17/2020 — This event has also been canceled by city commission due to the pandemic. Family-friendly community event traditionally held with activities (kids’ zone, live music, laser show, food and vendors). According to the event host, “Light Up Amelia,” this year’s event in 2020 is called the “Goodbye and Good Riddance 2020 Shrimp Drop Extravaganza.”  This sentiment seems a fitting toast we can all raise our glasses to, even from home on the couch.

Monthly Recurring Events

The first weekend of every month features living history reenactments at Fort Clinch State Park. UPDATE: Due to the pandemic, the Florida State Park system has canceled special events at many parks, including Fort Clinch. Call Fort Clinch for status updates at 904-277-7274. 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.  Browse island art galleries, self-paced, free admission and mingle with local artists.

Fernandina’s “Sounds on Centre” — UPDATE — The concert series has been canceled in 2020 due to pandemic. 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.