List of Amelia Island’s Signature Events:
Amelia Island Restaurant Week (Jan. 17 – 26, 2020) — Amelia Island presents its annual culinary celebration. This year in 2020, it’s a 10-day, island-wide event. A special highlight leading up to Restaurant Week is a pre-opening tasting event at the Ritz-Carlton to introduce “Coquina,” a brand new restaurant scheduled to open in March 2020 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. See article with list of participating restaurants “Amelia Island Restaurant Week 2020.”
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 for music lovers. Concert dates vary from January 2020 through April 2020. See concert schedule and more information at Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival website.
Amelia Island Book Festival (February 13-15, 2020) –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 Book Festival features best-selling authors. This year in 2020, the Honorary Chair of the Festival is the New York Times best-seller author, David Baldacci. Also appearing are: Sandra Brown (NYT best-seller and author of 75 novels); Kathy Reichs (best-seller author and forensic anthropologist); Sharon Robinson (acclaimed author and daughter of Jackie Robinson); Margot Lee Shetterley (author of the best-selling book “Hidden Figures”). The Amelia Island Book Festival is a non-profit organization, proceeds benefit the “Nassau County Authors in Schools Literacy Program.” See 2020 Book Festival schedule and ticket info.
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (March 5-8, 2020) –Want to experience one of the top collector automobile events in the world? Always held in March, 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 collector automobiles, dubbed the “Field of Dreams.” There are also several auto auctions and other events held at different venues around the island. See collection of articles about the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival (May 1-3, 2020) — This annual event is always held the first weekend in May each year. It’s the biggest tourism attraction of the year, with over 100,000 visitors throughout the weekend. Fernandina’s 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 Fernandina riverfront (free) and watch the fun Shrimp Festival parade on Thurs., April 30, 2020. 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. The festival area spans eight city blocks (plus side streets), foot-traffic only. Read more about the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.
Wild Amelia Nature Festival (May 15-17, 2020) — 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.
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, watch video about terrific car show.)
Amelia Island Jazz Festival — This music festival always kicks off with a free concert for the community. 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. See more at Amelia Island Jazz Festival.
Right Whale Festival (Nov. 7-8, 2020) — The outdoor Festival features bands, food trucks, exhibits, kids activities, presentations and more. Located at the oceanfront setting of Fernandina’s Main Beach Park on Amelia Island, the Festival kicks off the beginning of whale calving season. Read related article about last year’s Festival, news about critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.
History of the American Solider at Fort Clinch — While Fort Clinch hosts special re-enactments the first weekend of each month throughout the year, this once-a-year event held in November in honor of 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. More info about Fort Clinch, or call at 904-277-7272.
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 past article, see video “Playing Petanque Along the River.”
Here are Amelia Island’s top holiday events.
Ritz-Carlton Christmas Tree Lighting — (always 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. 904-277-1100.
Omni Holiday Lights Celebration — 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. Silent auction proceeds support Omni’s “Say Goodnight To Hunger” initiative to benefit the Barnabas Center. Park at Omni Racquet Park (First Coast Highway), take shuttle. Info: 904-277-5992.
City of Fernandina Beach Christmas Tree Lighting — Gather around downtown in the historic district near the riverfront for the annual festivities leading up to the Christmas tree lighting. There will be pirates and activities for kids (including bounce house and Santa photos). Vendors will also offer items for purchase. Live music performed by the Nassau Community Band.
Amelia Island Holiday Home Tour — See inside some of Fernandina’s lovely, private homes, professionally decorated for Christmas (a fundraiser to benefit the Amelia Island Museum). See Amelia Island Museum of History website for more info, or call 904-261-7378.
Dickens on Centre — Victorian-themed street festival. Experience 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.
New Year’s Eve Annual Shrimp Drop & Fireworks. Family-friendly community event in downtown Fernandina Beach with activities (kids’ zone, live music, laser show, food and vendors). Lighted shrimp is dropped at 7 PM, followed by fireworks over the Amelia river.
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. 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.