A Time for Family, Faith, & Fun
Dec 08, 2015 10:58AM
There’s no place like home for the holidays, especially when your home is Amelia Island! Our lovely island paradise has all the amenities for joyful holiday celebrations. December weather is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a picnic on the beach, a fishing excursion with the kids, or Christmas shopping with friends. And do we miss that white stuff from up north? You bet we don’t, because we can always dip our toes in the white sands of Amelia Island’s coastal beaches any time we want. The Christmas season begins Thanksgiving evening. Once the turkey is carved and the dishes washed, we’re ready to start our shopping and merry-making. At Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, the fun has already begun, with their annual Holiday Tree Lighting at The Shops, held the day after Thanksgiving. Enjoy the magic and twinkling lights while you shop and dine there this season, and don’t miss the Festival of Trees, which will be featured through January 1. Ten local charities will display trees on the porches of the shops around the lake. Guests of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, along with members of the public, can select their favorite tree and/or charity and donate to that cause. In addition to other numerous goings on about the resort during December, the Omni hosts the Gator Bowl Golf Classic on Thursday, December 31, a fine way to welcome the New Year. For more information, call (904) 261-6161. A sailing vessel the likes of which you have never seen, the S. S. Amelia, the world’s largest gingerbread pirate ship, arrived at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island just in time for their tree-lighting ceremony, which was held on November 25. The pirate ship is made of over six hundred pieces of gingerbread and festooned with fondant sculpted seafarers. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is sparkling with holiday allure, enhancing the numerous events held there throughout the season, from Breakfast with Santa to fine holiday dining opportunities, and overall family fun. For more information, call (904) 277-1100. Join the Amelia Island Museum of History for their most anticipated event of the year. The Ninth Annual Holiday Home Tour will take place on Friday, December 4, and Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A high point of the Fernandina Beach festive yuletide season, this year will be a unique Holiday Home Tour showcasing six private beach homes located along the stunning Amelia Island coastline. These beautiful and exclusive homes will be decorated by professional florists and designers. Free trolley service will transport guests from a central parking area to the featured homes while costumed carolers and musicians entertain them with seasonal selections. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ameliahometours.com, or call the museum at (904) 261-7378. Wander and wonder through a true Victorian Christmas, made new through the spectacular “Dickens on Centre” event held December 4 through 13, in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. The historic district’s holiday season is already in full swing, kicked off in November with their annual Black Friday Pajama Party and annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. During Dickens on Centre, shoppers will enjoy street vendors, carolers, and stage performers animating the season during the weekends of December 4-6, and December 11-13. Saint Nick will arrive on Fridays, visiting with the young and the young at heart from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturdays and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon, and 2 to 5 p.m. Readings of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” will occur Fridays and Saturday at 6:46 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Catch the spirit of the season at the annual Amelia Island Bed & Breakfast Holiday Cookie Tour, hosted by the Amelia Island Bed & Breakfast Association on Saturday, December 12, from noon until 5 p.m. You are invited to experience a special afternoon of delicious sweet treats as six of Amelia Island’s classic inns dress up in festive holiday finery and open their doors to the public. As you stroll through the historic district on the Amelia Island Cookie Tour, you will able to sample a signature cookie at each inn, take home a beautifully printed recipe card, and view some great decorating ideas just in time for the holidays. You’ll even learn a historical tidbit or two as you peek inside Amelia Island’s charming and unique inns. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available in the historic district for your enjoyment between the downtown bed-and-breakfast inns. A portion of the proceeds from ticket and cookbook sales will benefit Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ameliaislandinns.com/cookie-tour. December 5 brings two whimsical events for everyone in the family, even our furry family members! Dress up your pooches in Victorian, holiday-themed costumes and parade them down Centre Street for the Nassau Humane Society’s sixteenth annual Parade of Paws. The parade will be held at 11 a.m. and pre-registration is required. Prizes will be awarded. For more information, call (904) 321-1647 or visit www.nassauhumanesociety.com. Also on December 5, the Fernandina Beach Library will host a Children’s Holiday Extravaganza with a “lighting of the library,” followed by indoor crafts and readings. For more information, call the library at (904) 277-3765. If live music and theatre is your preference, there are numerous Christmas and holiday performances throughout the season on Amelia Island. On December 21 and 22, Crescendo Amelia Big Band performs “How the Big Band Stole Christmas: Holiday Show with Crescendo Amelia.” The performances at Amelia Community Theatre feature six singers and a 21-piece jazz band. Enjoy the stylings of a classic big band, with a few modern twists! Also at Amelia Community Theatre is “Miracle on 34th Street,” based on the beloved film and novel, performed from December 3 through 19. This is a nostalgic holiday treat for the whole family. A single mother and her young daughter, Susan, have given up on Christmas until they meet a mysterious gentleman at Macy’s claiming to be Santa Claus. This jolly Kris Kringle brings them hope and unleashes waves of goodwill throughout New York City. For more information or to buy tickets for these events, call (904) 261-6749 or visit www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org. At Fernandina Little Theatre, enjoy a modern adaptation of a timeless classic, “A Christmas Carol.” The play will be held from December 5 through 12. To purchase tickets, call (904) 206-2607 or visit www.ameliaflt.org. At Amelia Musical Playhouse, treat the entire family to an exciting musical version of “Charlotte’s Web,” a new dimension to E.B. White’s beloved classic. With music and lyrics by Charles Strouse and book by Joseph Robinette, you will thrill to a musical score which includes “Eating,” Wilbur the pig’s humorous yet poignant song about growing up; “Who Says We Can’t Be Friends,” an enchanting duet between Wilbur and his new-found companion, Charlotte; “Welcome to the Zuckerman Barn,” featuring all the story’s unforgettable animals in a hand-clapping, toe-tapping hoe-down; and “Summer,” a haunting, nostalgic chorus number which evokes a time and place from everyone’s childhood. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (904)277-3455 or visit www.ameliamusicalplayhouse.com. This year marks the nineteenth year of “An Evening in December,” which will be presented Friday and Sunday, December 11 and 13, at 7 p.m. at Amelia Baptist Church. The community is invited to enjoy this annual celebration of the Christmas Story, which is presented each year in a unique blend of choral music, drama, and dance. The theme of this year’s presentation is “Unexpected Joy.” The inspiring musical selections are diverse, including arrangements that are fresh, new expressions of familiar carols by several contemporary arrangers. The program also features two local dance students who are attending Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. Each year, the church offers an evening of music and drama as its gift to the community. No admission is charged. For more information, contact Pam Helton at (904) 261-9527 or Allen Lennon at (904) 261-8799. For the first time in six years, Les DeMerle and Bonnie Eisele are spending the holidays at home on Amelia Island, jazzin’ up Christmas and New Year’s Eve with three performance nights, featuring two shows each night, held at Horizons Restaurant. The Jazz Spirit of Christmas Holiday Dinner and Show will be held on December 18 and 19, with seatings at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. On New Year’s Eve, seatings are at 7 and 9 p.m., and performances include music from the couple’s CD, “Feelin’ Good”. To make reservations, call Horizons at (904) 321-2430. On December 5 and 6, join Living History re-enactors at Fort Clinch for their annual Union Holiday Encampment. Ladies in their holiday finery will be trimming a Christmas tree and decorating the mantles for the holiday season. Sutlers display their wares, and drummer boys project the sounds of the Civil War era. The program allows visitors to interact with living historians to experience life in the fort as it was in 1864. This event is so much fun, and it’s great to watch children and families as they get into the spirit of the season as it was one hundred fifty years ago. For more information, call the fort at (904) 277-7274. Sponsored by America’s Youth Inc., the Annual Christmas Lighted Parade will take place in downtown Fernandina Beach on Thursday, December 10 beginning at 6 p.m. Those looking to participate in the parade can call (904) 264-5383 or (904) 583-1569. Join the City of Fernandina Beach and “Light Up Amelia” for a unique, family-friendly New Year’s celebration at the downtown waterfront. Celebrate the ringing in of the New Year in conjunction with the Greenwich Mean Time stroke of midnight, which is at 7 p.m. The event will feature live music, a kids zone, vendors, holiday food and drink, all leading up to the dropping of the LED-lighted shrimp. On December 5, join members of the Jewish Community of Amelia Island for their annual Chanukah Party. Participants are asked to bring their own menorahs and a dish to share. All ages and families are welcome to attend, and there will be judging on who makes the best potato pancakes! The Jewish Community of Amelia Island also meets monthly for Shabbat Services, and for high holidays. For more information or to make a reservation to attend the Chanukah Party, contact Debbie Price at [email protected] or call (203) 313-3925 or (904) 310-6060. Visit www.ameliaisland.com for updates on these and other Christmas and holiday events. Be sure to check with the local churches for the dates of their pageants and craft shows, and don’t forget our local charities! Micah’s Place, Joy to the Children, Hope House, and many other charities need donations of time and gifts this Christmas season. Enjoy the holidays here on Amelia Island, and spread a little cheer of your own!