Fifth Annual Dickens on Centre - December 13-15 in Downtown Fernandina Beach
Northeast Florida's Amelia Island is once again transforming historic Centre Street in downtown Fernandina Beach into a festive Victorian Christmas village for the fifth annual Dickens on Centre (Dec. 13-15), the centerpiece of the island's holiday celebrations. The free event takes visitors back in time to experience Charles Dickens’ early Victorian era Britain, with themed characters and entertainers, festive lights and holiday décor, period vendors, exciting seasonal entertainment, a petting zoo with goats, and tastes of the holidays. New for 2019 is the inaugural Dickens Illuminated Procession, a unique walking lantern parade of glowing holiday cheer. Other returning annual favorites include photos with St. Nick, Tiny Tim’s Kids Zone, the adults-only Dickens After Dark, and the Christmas Wish booth. Downtown restaurants, shops, art galleries and other local businesses will join in the fun, along with period street vendors selling handmade crafts and special holiday treats such as candied nuts, spiced cider and more. All the details can be found at AmeliaIslandChristmas.com.
“Amelia Island offers many events and family festivities throughout the holiday season, and Dickens on Centre has become a treasured tradition for many visitors and locals alike,” said Gil Langley, president and CEO of the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. “In addition to these great events, many of our award-winning inns, hotels and resorts offer special rates and packages, making the holiday season even brighter on Amelia.”
The new Dickens Illuminated Procession will light up downtown Fernandina on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. Participation is free and everyone is invited to join in the parade, carrying something that shines, lights up or glows to reflect good holiday cheer. (For safety, only battery-operated lights and lanterns will be permitted; no open flames or candles. Some vendors will have a limited number of lanterns available for purchase at the start of the parade, but everyone is encouraged to create their own.) Carrying their lights and lanterns, parade-goers will wind their way through the historic district before coming to the waterfront, where they will be greeted with music and merriment.
Dickens on Centre is offering new live entertainment options this year, including the addition of the “2nd Act Stage” to complement the main Wharf Stage and a new “Legend of St. Nick” stage show. Plus, those planning on dressing up in their Dickens era finest can enter the new period piece costume contest.
Dickens After Dark returns after a successful first year on Friday, Dec. 13th and Saturday Dec. 14th. The ticketed event hosted at the Florida House Inn is for adults (21+) and includes one signature cocktail, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. An immersive theatrical experience, be prepared to be entertained with The Mistletones, aerial acrobatics, Twisted Dickens Variety Show and a historic ghost tour led by the Amelia Island Museum of History.
Dickens on Centre is the perfect centerpiece to an assortment of other beloved island holiday events. The annual Amelia Island Museum of History Holiday Home Tour (Dec 6-7) showcases stunning in downtown Fernandina, each decorated for the holidays by a local florist or decorator. Other scheduled events include the annual Lighted Christmas Parade (Dec. 21) on Centre Street in downtown Fernandina Beach.
Also joining the seasonal celebrations is The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, home of the S.S. Amelia, the world’s largest gingerbread pirate ship, which arrives at the resort on Nov. 27 and docks in the lobby until Dec. 29. Along with the ship's arrival on Nov. 27, the 23rd Annual Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Christmas Tree Lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m., with the grand finale of Santa's arrival and spectacular fireworks. The resort offers others holiday activities throughout the month.
The annual tree lighting celebration at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation on Nov. 29 is open to the public and includes festive culinary creations, crafts, live music and entertainment, and of course, a visit from Santa. A portion of proceeds for this event will benefit the Barnabas Center through Omni Hotels & Resorts’ Say Goodnight to Hunger initiative. The Omni celebrates the season all month long with a number of family-friendly activities.
For more information, a complete calendar of events and additional island happenings, hotel packages and more, visit AmeliaIslandChristmas.com.
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