Amelia Island Festivals & Top Events

Amelia Island’s Signature Events:

January —

Amelia Island Restaurant Week  — (Jan. 22 – 31, 2021) — The 13 Annual event, “Restaurant Week” (it’s actually 10 days), features special lunch and dinner price-fixed menus. Further updates about the 2021 culinary event will be available as the date nears.  (See article about the previous event and participants “Amelia Island Restaurant Week 2020.”)

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival — (Concert dates vary from January through April.) 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 for music lovers. 2021 will be a celebration of the 20th Season. Learn more at 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.” Learn more at Amelia Island Book Festival website.

March —

Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance March 4 - 7, 2021

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance — (March 4 – 7, 2021) — The huge collector car show plans to motor its way through the pandemic in March 2021. See related article about the Amelia Concours d’Elegance, happening March 4 – 7, 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 full collection of articles about Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

May —

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

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival  — Coronavirus concerns prompted the cancellation of the 2020 Shrimp Festival.  The 2021 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in downtown Fernandina Beach is scheduled for April 30 – May 2, 2021. The Shrimp Festival Parade is scheduled for Thurs., April 29, 2021. (More updates as the 2021 event date nears.)

Wild Amelia Nature Festival UPDATE: This event was canceled in 2020, the May 2021 date has not been announced (as of late September). Wild Amelia is hosting virtual ZOOM “Wild Nites,” starting in fall 2020. 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. See Wild Amelia Festival website for info.

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

October —

Amelia Island Jazz Festival (October 4 – 11, 2020) —  UPDATE — The Labor Day Big Band Bash scheduled for Sept. 5, 2020 has been postponed to February 13, 2021. A special virtual concert is happening Friday, October 9, 2020 (7 – 9 pm) online, “Salute To Duke Ellington.” Hosted by The Les DeMerle Jazz Orchestra. Watch concert online (tickets $20). Check for updates at Amelia Island Jazz Festival.

8 Flags Car Show by Amelia Cruizers (October 17, 2020) — UPDATE: October’s classic car show has been canceled.  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 terrific car show.

November —

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

Right Whale Festival (Nov. 7-8, 2020) —  UPDATE: November’s whale festival has been canceled. 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 has been 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 has been 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, the other two at the south end resorts. Whether these events will be held in November 2020 is uncertain as of the end of September.

Normally these celebrations are community events, open to the public. Neither resort (the Ritz and Omni), as of the end of September, have scheduled tree lightings on their November 2020 calendars (subject to change). No further info was available when inquiries were made to both resorts.

Ritz-Carlton Christmas Tree Lighting —  Traditionally held Wednesday evening, Thanksgiving “Eve.” A signature event ushering in the holidays on Amelia Island. Enjoy complimentary holiday refreshments, live entertainment, the lighting of towering Christmas tree, arrival of Santa Claus and fireworks at the oceanfront. Also see the traditional gingerbread pirate’s ship in the lobby. Park at Peters Point Beach, free shuttle to Ritz. Call Ritz for more info 904-277-1100.

Omni Holiday Lights Celebration — Traditionally held the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Festive culinary creations, holiday crafts, elf training, inflatable fun, stilt walkers, train rides, s’mores. Free admission, however, some games and activities, food & beverages require purchase (a fundraiser for Barnabas). Call Omni for more info 904-277-5992.

City of Fernandina Christmas Tree Lighting — Traditionally held the  Saturday after Thanksgiving in the downtown to the historic district near the riverfront. Pirates and activities for kids (including bounce house and Santa photos). Vendors offer items for purchase. Live music performed by the Nassau Community Band.

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 museum indicates they still plan to host this holiday tour, and tickets will go on sale online in late October.  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.Visit the Amelia Island Museum’s website for updates, or call museum at 904-261-7378.

Lighted Christmas Parade — (Dec. 5, 2020) — The evening Lighted Christmas Parade from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in downtown Fernandina Beach remains on city’s special events calendar (as of the end of September, 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.

Dickens on Centre — (Dec. 10-13, 2020) — The 6th Annual “Dickens on Centre,” a Victorian Christmas-themed street festival in downtown Fernandina, will be downsized due to pandemic. It 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.)

New Year’s Eve Annual Shrimp Drop & Fireworks (Dec. 31, 2020) — This year end celebration and fireworks over the river in downtown Fernandina remains scheduled as of the end of September (subject to change). 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 will be from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It’s being 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. (Further updates forthcoming).

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.