2015 Holiday Roundup


Get a jump start on celebrating the holidays! The Recorder’s Holiday Roundup is full of ideas on how you can celebrate the season this year. The listing includes events from all over the First Coast featuring annual traditions and a few new ones too. Happy (almost) holidays!

Surf Illumination

The 2015 Surf Illumination is Friday, Nov. 20 from 4-7 p.m. at the Saint Johns County Pier Park, 350 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine. The event will include live music, kids activities, a visit from Santa, and the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree by Mayor Andrea Samuels at sunset. There will also be local vendors on site selling holiday gifts. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.thecivicassociation.org.

Handel’s Messiah

The Island Chamber singers present Handel’s “Christmas Messiah” at Amelia Plantation Chapel Friday, Nov. 20 from 7-9 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22 from 3-5 p.m. Amelia Plantation Chapel is located at 36 Bowman Road, Fernandina Beach. Advance tickets are $15; at the door tickets are $20. Children and college students are admitted free. For more information, call (904) 277-4414 or visit www.ameliachapel.com.

Nights of Lights in Black & White

The courtyard of the Ximenez-Fatio House will be decorated with lights and feature live entertainment by Mark Zauss and the Z Street Speakeasy Band on Saturday, Nov. 21. The Ximenez-Fatio House is located at 20 Aviles St., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 824-8460.

Christmas at Downton

Do you love “Downton Abbey” or simply enjoy making your home festive for the holidays? Cathy and Marilyn, members of the Las Adelfas Circle of the Garden Club of St. Augustine, are returning to the Ponte Vedra Library, Saturday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. to show you how to use food and flowers to spruce up your home with “Downton Abbey” as the inspiration.
For even more ideas, the Garden Club of St. Augustine also hosts the annual holiday Tour of Homes in St. Augustine. If you wish, buy raffle tickets from the Friends of the Library at this program to win the arrangements the Sisterhood creates. Proceeds from the raffle help to sponsor this program. Anyone who attends in “Downton Abbey”-inspired attire will receive a free raffle ticket. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Library.
The library is located at 101 Library Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach.

Nutcracker Tea Party

Christ Church’s annual Nutcracker Tea Party is Sunday, Nov. 22 from 4-6 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, 200 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach. The program will include excerpts from the 20th annual Nutcracker Ballet Performance on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. at UNF’s Lazzara Theatre.
The cost for the Nutcracker Tea is $25; the event is a sell-out each year. Tickets for the 20th annual Nutcracker ballet are also $25. Tickets for either event are available for purchase online at www.missfeliciasdance.com. For more information, call (904) 923-0604.

Chanukah Story and Craft Hour

Chanukah Story and Craft Hour, presented by Books a Million and Chabad @ the Beaches, takes place Sunday, Nov. 22 at 3 p.m. at Books a Million in Jacksonville Beach. The event will include books, crafts, raffles, dreidels and fun! Books a Million is located at 738 Marsh Landing Parkway in Jacksonville Beach. For more information, call (904) 285-1588 or email info@chabadbeaches.com. A full listing of Chabad @the Beaches Chanukah events is available online at www.chabadbeaches.com.

Ripley’s Big Red Train & Winter Carnival

Hop aboard one of Ripley’s Red Trains for a “lightseeing” tour of the St. Augustine Night of Lights displays around the city. Guests will receive a free pair of glasses to enhance their light-viewing experience. New this year; no-wait VIP tickets are available on Friday and Saturday nights that include a free carousel ride. VIP guests can reserve a time for the train tour and skip the lines.

Additionally, Night of Lights ticket holders can play a round of Prancer’s Putt-Putt mini golf for a $1 from Nov. 22-Jan. 5. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ripleys.com/redtrains.

Ripley’s Winter Carnival will be open Friday and Saturday nights from Nov. 27 through Dec. 19. The carnival features carousel rides, carnival games and free activities including family movies, visits with Santa, state shows, balloon art, popcorn and snow.

Gingerbread Unveiling at One Ocean

The 2015 Annual Gingerbread unveiling at One Ocean Resort & Spa will take place Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Come see the giant gingerbread display unveiled - each year the theme is kept under wraps until the unveiling.
The Jacksonville Children’s Choir will perform followed by warm cookies and cider. Guests are also encouraged to bring canned vegetables, boxed stuffing or instant potatoes to benefit The Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation’s Blessings In a Backpack: Hope for the Holidays. One Ocean is located at 1 Ocean Blvd., Atlantic Beach. For more information, call (904) 249-7402.

S.S. Amelia Gingerbread Pirate Ship

The S.S. Amelia Gingerbread Pirate Ship will be on display in the lobby at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island beginning Wednesday, Nov. 25. Billed as the “World’s Largest Gingerbread Pirate Ship,” the display includes chocolate sculpted pirates. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is located at 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Fernandina Beach.

The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island Christmas Tree Lighting

The 19th annual Christmas Tree Lighting is Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the Courtyard. Festivities include holiday cookies, hot chocolate and entertainment by local community groups and Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival Brass Quintet. The festivities will conclude with Santa’s arrival and a fireworks display. The event is a YMCA fundraiser to benefit the scholarship program for area families in need. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is located at 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Fernandina Beach. For more information visit www.theritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland or call 904-277-1100.

Thanksgiving Bash at Pete’s Bar

The tradition continues. Join thousands as they celebrate Thanksgiving Neptune Beach-style at the annual Pete’s Bar Thanksgiving Bash Thursday, Nov. 26 beginning at 9 a.m. The party takes place on the street outside the bar. Pete’s Bar is located at 117 First St. N., Neptune Beach. For more information, call (904) 249-9158.

Turkey Trot Family Race

The Turkey Trot Family Race takes place Thanksgiving morning starting at the Mickler’s Landing parking lot, located at South Ponte Vedra Boulevard. All proceeds from the race will benefit the YMCA’s Safety Around Water Program. For more information, call (904) 543-9622 or visit www.firstcoastymca.org to register online.