Celebrating the Joys of the Season

From the magical “Dickens on Centre” to musical concerts and Christmas plays, Amelia Island knows how to celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, and New Year’s Eve.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Amelia Island! The shopping season has begun, and the holiday decorations and lights have been carefully placed. Look around the island and you will see historic bed and breakfast inns decorated with garlands and greenery. The Salvation Army volunteers are ringing their bells, and children are trying their best to be as good as possible. Everywhere you go, you’ll see Amelia Islanders are doing what they do best—enjoying their beautiful island paradise!

CELEBRATING THE SEASON WITH MUSIC AND THEATER
Beginning December 1, Amelia Musical Playhouse presents its annual Christmas musical, Scrooge! Come experience Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with the Spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, based on the book by Charles Dickens. Also at Amelia Musical Playhouse is a “Holiday Revue by the Senior Theatre Project” on December 14 and 18 at 2:30 p.m. Over 25 talented performers will present all your holiday favorites, including musical numbers, comedy, and old-time radio skits. For more information and tickets, visit www.ameliamusicalplayhouse.com.

The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberly begins on December 2 at Amelia Community Theatre. This charming romantic comedy continues the imagined story of beloved characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It is a companion piece to ACT’s 2021 show, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. This year, ACT returns to the Darcy estate, but they go “downstairs” to meet the cooks, maids, and footmen who are busy preparing for the holiday festivities.

New characters join the familiar “upstairs” faces, as secrets are kept and revealed. Good cheer and forgiveness are in the air, and this play is sure to boost your own holiday spirits. (The play is rated PG: Appropriate for Most Audiences.) For more information and to purchase tickets, visit
www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org.

“This will be our newest family Christmas tradition!” is the overwhelming response of many who have attended Amelia Baptist Church’s An Evening in December. This presentation, held this year on December 2, 3, and 5, is a walk-through experience consisting of three events: a 25-minute Christmas Community Choir Concert of favorite Christmas songs in the worship center; Wise Men Still Seek Him, a drama portrayed on five stages on their west lawn with volunteers from the community; and a visit to a Bethlehem-style village on the east lawn of the church.

Guests will also be greeted by shopkeepers with first-century wares, a petting zoo, and other unique sights. There is no admission charge, but all guests must have a ticket to attend. Register for An Evening in December by going to eveningindecember2022.eventbrite.com. For more information, visit www.ameliabaptist.org or call (904) 261-9527.

Don’t miss out on Fernandina Beach’s most iconic Christmas event—the Amelia Island Museum of History’s Holiday Home Tour. Carefully curated historic family homes are decorated by local florists and interior designers. Docents in each home give its history, highlight the period architectural elements, and guide visitors through the lavishly decorated homes. The tour will be held December 2 and 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For tickets and more information, call (904) 261-7378 or visit www.ameliamuseum.org/holidayhometour.

Kick off your holiday season with the annual Lighted Christmas Parade on December 3 at 6 p.m. Come enjoy the magic of the holiday season, organized by America’s Youth. The parade, which begins at Central Park, consists of bands, dancers, lighted floats, and more. For information on becoming a participant, contact John Gilbert at [email protected] or Louryne Spaulding at [email protected] This year’s theme is “An Old-Fashioned Christmas.”

“The Jazz Spirit of Christmas” show, held at Story and Song Bookstore Bistro on December 3 at 5 p.m., is classic jazz through and through! Featuring the Dynamic Les DeMerle Band with Bonnie Eisele, vocals, Matt Vance, sax and clarinet, and Doug Matthews, piano, the song selections are strong and gratifying.

Enjoy Bonnie’s heartfelt versions of “The Christmas Song”, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, plus her sassy interpretations of “Santa Baby” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. Les’s dynamic drumming and vocals will also be featured on Little BeBop Drummer Boy and the New Orleans favorite, Santa Claus is Near. Tickets are available online at www.storyandsongbookstore.com/specialevents or by calling (904) 601-2118.

Starting December 6th (first Tuesday of every month), all V Pizzas host a holiday party designed to raise money for local families fighting cancer. During the party times, regular menu/orders will not be available. You may purchase a ticket to eat all that you want, with the proceeds going to benefit the local families fighting cancer charity. Tickets are $25. For more information, call (423) 605-9497. V Pizza is located at 2709 Sadler Road.

DICKENS ON CENTRE IN DOWNTOWN FERNANDINA BEACH
Travel back in time December 8 to 11 during the eighth annual Dickens on Centre festival in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. Free to the public, this Victorian holiday festival is sure to enliven your Christmas spirit. Throughout the weekend, feel the spirit of the holiday with Victorian-inspired entertainment on two stages. Families will enjoy a plethora of fun, including Tiny Tim’s Kids Zone, visits with St. Nick, holiday entertainment and shopping, festive food and drink, costumed characters, holiday movies, and plenty of Christmas inspiration.

This year’s entertainment schedule includes many of your favorites! Jason Woods Productions will once again perform his one-man A Christmas Carol on the Main Stage, as well as several performances of The Legend of St. Nick and Alice in a Christmas Wonderland. The festival will also feature Kristen Sparrow Circus’s stilt walkers and jugglers performing throughout the festival, Victorian-era carolers, dance ensembles, musicians, chalk artists, mural artists, and much more.

The Enchanted Village was a huge success last year, and two additional snow globes have been added! Spend a magical hour inside a festively decorated snow globe with friends or loved ones and enjoy your own luxury charcuterie grazing box from Luxe by Les. Be sure to reserve your snow globe experience early as this is sure to sell out.

Dickens After Dark at the Lesesne House is also back and offering a surprise or two. Be sure to dress-to-impress at this 21+ VIP party with food, drinks, and exclusive entertainment from Mama Blue. Tickets will go fast for this unique Dickens experience. For more information, visit www.ameliaisland.com/landing-pages/Dickens-on-Centre.

Animal lovers and fans of holiday cuteness won’t want to miss the Nassau Humane Society’s annual Parade of Paws on December 10 at 11 a.m., where beloved pets are decked out in their holiday best for a festive stroll up Centre Street. Prizes will be awarded for Best Victorian, Most Original, and Looks Most Like Owner, and Top 3 overall. Prizes are provided by Redbones Dog Bakery and Willow Sky. Registration is $20 per animal, with proceeds going to NHS. Look for more information in the Events section of NHS Facebook page.

While you’re out and about on December 10, be sure to stop at the local galleries during Second Saturday Artrageous Artwalk, held 5 to 8 p.m. Participating galleries host art events and open houses during the second Saturday Artrageous Artwalk to showcase their resident artists. Locals and tourists alike can enjoy the various types of art that each gallery has to offer as well as meet the artists. Photography, pottery, copper, metal, fused, as well as stained glass, watercolors, acrylics, oils and batik are just a few of the varied media folks can expect to see.

Welcome the holiday season with a free makeover at Willow Beauty! Their professional makeup artist, Rebecca Major, will be providing free makeovers all day on December 10 to help you create that holiday glam look. Holiday Glam Makeovers are by appointment only. Please call (904) 775-5794 to reserve your spot. Willow Beauty is located at 1881 South 14th Street.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC AND JOY TO THE CHILDREN
Nothing captures the holiday spirit like the sound of beautiful voices singing your favorite carols and holiday songs at Amelia Plantation Chapel. From the ever-popular “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to festive music from Handel’s Messiah and nostalgic favorites like “Deck the Halls” and “Silent Night”, Amelia Island Singers will treat you to a special concert of sacred and secular tunes on December 11 at 3 p.m., and December 12 at 7 p.m. The Amelia Island Singers look forward to welcoming you as they sing music that will warm your heart and fill you with holiday spirit. For more information and tickets, visit www.ameliaislandsingers.com.

“We are happy to announce we will bring Joy to the Children again this year!” says Dawn Grant, president of the organization. “Since 1995, Joy has been able to serve economically disadvantaged children and their families in the Nassau County community. In recent years, we have hosted over 150 children and their families each Christmas Day to provide a celebration that included Christmas dinner and gifts of clothing, bedding, books, school supplies, hygiene products, and toys. The last two years we did curbside Christmas due to Covid, but this year we are extremely excited to be back to our Christmas Day party!”

In addition, there will be live music, crafts, face painting, photo ops, pirates, clowns, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Your donation this year will greatly help in the continued success of this local program, and Joy to the Children is counting on your support. To make a donation or to volunteer, visit their website at www.joytothechildren.org.

On December 17 at 5 p.m., Nanette Autrey’s Traveling Revue of Motown (NATROM) Band will rock the house at Story and Song! The instrumental combo will be performing mostly traditional Christmas music from a familiar perspective, and the singers will present a flavor of musical styles ranging from spirituals to gospel, with an R & B Soul flair. For tickets ($25), visit www.storyandsongarts.company.site/NATROM-Band-presents-a-Soulful-Celebration-of-Christmas-p504577884.

On December 18, the Jewish Community of Amelia Island is celebrating Chanukah with a Chanukah Party! Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts. For location, time, and more information, call Debbie Price at (203) 313-3925 or email her at [email protected].

On December 18 at 5 p.m. in a special holiday show, An Evening of Story and Song with Ryanhood, Ryan Green and Cameron Hood will win you over with their finger-flying guitar solos, vocal harmonies, and crowd-pleasing banter. Tickets are $25 and available by calling (904) 601-2118. Story and Song is located at 1430 Park Ave.

On December 22 and 23, Crescendo Amelia Big Band presents “How the Big Band Stole Christmas”, featuring over 25 world class performers in a classic big band setting including professional singers, entertainers, dancers, and actors. This full theatre production will include all your favorite holiday songs, local celebrity singers, dancing, acting, and a few surprises! “How the Big Band Stole Christmas” will be held at Amelia Community Theatre at 7:30 p.m., located at 207 Cedar Street. For more information and tickets, visit crescendoamelia.com.

ANNUAL SHRIMP DROP AND NEW YEAR’S EVE
Swing into 2023 when the clock strikes midnight in Paris with classic hits like I Love Paris, C’est Si Bon, and more when the Dynamic Les DeMerle Band, featuring vocalist Bonnie Eisele, puts on a spectacular New Year’s Eve show and dinner. “New Year’s Eve in Paris” will be held on December 31 at 5 p.m. at Story and Song. For tickets, visit storyandsongarts.company.site/New-Years-Eve-in-Paris-p502430748.

On December 31, the New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop celebration and fireworks will begin at 5 p.m. with vendors and food. Presented by “Light Up Amelia,” a non-profit community organization, the New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop is not to be missed! For more information and updates
on the event, visit their Facebook page or their website at www.lightupamelia.com.

Visit www.ameliaisland.com for updates on these and other 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. The Barnabas Center, Micah’s Place, Hope House, and many other charities need donations of time and gifts this season. Enjoy the season here on Amelia Island and spread some holiday cheer of your own!