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Events and Festivals

Did you know that Amelia Island is named on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Islands – United States, as well as Conde Nast’s Best Islands in the U.S.? It’s clear that Amelia Island is a southern jewel and must-visit destination, but it may surprise our avid beachgoers that our beautiful island has a lot happening apart from the sunny seashore. Here are some Amelia Island events that occur throughout the year. Visit the listed websites to check for the latest news and proposed dates.

Spring

March: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

Automobile aficionados from all over the world travel to Amelia Island for the highly-publicized Concours Week, which features rare and vintage vehicle auctions, driving experiences, and high style for the committed car connoisseur.

April: Amelia Island Wellness Festival

Continue your personal health journey at this educational and inspirational wellness festival. TripAdvisor once dubbed Amelia Island one of the Most Blissful Destinations and at this multi-day event, you can refresh your mind, body, and soul with acclaimed names in yoga, meditation, and fitness. Yoga beside the ocean at sunrise? Count us in!

April - October: Sounds on Centre

Produced by The Historic Fernandina Business Association, this free concert series is on First Fridays from April through October, including a special Thursday event in early May following the Shrimp Festival Parade. Bring a lawn/beach chair, a refreshing beverage, and set up on Centre Street downtown to listen to some great musicians and bands.

May: Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

Come out with all the locals to celebrate Amelia Island’s history as the “Home of the Modern Shrimping Industry.” Always the first weekend in May, the ever growing Shrimp Festival takes place in the Historic Downtown of Fernandina Beach, the streets lined with vendors selling their unique art and crafts and cooking great food, plus exciting entertainment, a pageant, and a Kids Fun Zone.

May: Fish to Fork

Foodies will want to make sure they come hungry to Amelia Island Plantation’s annual Fish to Fork experience. The weekend offers exclusive culinary programming, with authentic dock-to-dish specials in an interactive atmosphere. The resort hosts renowned chefs from across the nation to present their fishing and culinary skills. A final chef showdown will take place Saturday night with a live vote from event guests! To learn more about Fish to Fork, checkout this feature in The Washington Post covering the 2017 Fish to Fork weekend.

May: Wild Amelia Nature Festival

Have you ever been left breathless by one of our island’s natural wonders? Amelia Island is 2.5 miles across at its widest point and 13 miles long, and it’s almost totally surrounded by preserved lands. This means wildlife is abundant and our ecosystems are rich in activity. This is what the Wild Amelia Nature Festival celebrates with ecotours, wildlife exhibits, conservation exhibits, kids activities, silent auction and foot-stomping music.

Summer

July: Independence Day Fireworks

Make your Independence Day plans on Amelia Island! With multiple fireworks shows, visitors can easily make their way to a celebration at sundown. The Fireworks Display in Downtown Fernandina Beach is around 9:30 p.m. and attendees can usually find vendors and live music beginning at 6 p.m. Then there are the favorite fireworks shows on our beaches, those professionally produced by the Ritz-Carlton and Amelia Island Plantation resorts, and the individual shows by private citizens.

Fall

September: Racquet War Tennis Tournament

Adult tennis fanatics are invited to challenge themselves every year at on the Racquet War Tennis Tournament hosted at Amelia Island Plantation resort. All levels from 2.5-5.0 are welcomed and do participate, which officials say create the perfect environment for those interested in the highest competition.

October: Amelia Island Jazz Festival

The Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival was founded in 2001 and distributes proceeds toward a scholarship program funding college educations for aspiring jazz musicians. The festival works to provide a diverse jazz offering to the Amelia Island area, with styles including big band, Latin, swing, bebop, Dixieland and contemporary. During the week-long festival, the music is performed by jazz greats as well as new rising young talent. Performances are staged in several venues like the Fernandina Beach Golf Club, Story & Song Bookstore, The Sandbar & Kitchen, The Lakeside at Amelia Island, and the Plantation. The goal of the festival is to help preserve the American art form Jazz by “increasing the exposure and awareness of the music genre to the general public.”

October: ZOOMA Amelia Island Race

It's no surprise to us that ZOOMA Amelia Island is the most popular in the national ZOOMA race series. For three years running (no pun intended), it’s been voted a BibRave Top 20 Half Marathon! Register to run the Half Marathon, 12K, Lighthouse Loop 5K or the Seaside Challenge. Let your legs carry you through the courses set in the historic downtown, the oldest lighthouse in Florida and shady, picturesque Fort Clinch.

October: 8 Flags Car Show

Another annual car show? That’s right! Car enthusiasts can make another trip to our enchanted island seven months after Concours each year to enjoy a lineup of restored antiques and modern era limited editions. Show entrants travel significant distances to participate and judging takes place in several categories, including Best of Show and People's Choice.  Centre Street, between 8th Street and Front Street

October: Florida vs Georgia Weekend

Football fans love to visit Amelia Island for one of the Southeast’s largest football traditions — the Georgia Bulldogs battling the Florida Gators. The two teams duke it out on the TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville for bragging rights on the border. Enjoy a full weekend of activities when you come stay on Amelia Island for the game. TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville

November: Right Whale Festival

One of our island’s most unique events is it’s Right Whale Festival, a family friendly, educational weekend celebrating the annual return of endangered North Atlantic right whales to the warm coastal waters off northeast Florida and south Georgia. This is the time the whales begin giving birth to and nursing their young. Sadly, there are only 400 North Atlantic right whales remaining, so this event helps raise awareness of the threats to right whales and how we can help in their recovery. There will be a morning beach clean-up and beach 5k run/1 mile walk. Exhibits will focus on marine conservation and education, water recreation and sports, boating and fishing and other outdoor activities. Vendors will also be selling ocean-themed gifts, fine art, photography and crafts. Kids can look forward to the passport program, a right whale obstacle course and bounce house. Main Beach Park

November: Pétanque Tournament

The Amelia Island Open International Pétanque Tournament is regarded as a global gathering that proudly brings together players from around the world for competition, local food vendors, and a small stage with live music next to the beautiful Fernandina Harbor. Bring your kids to introduce them to this fun game, and make memories spotting the sailboats docked nearby. Downtown Marina, Parking Lots C & D

Holiday/Winter

December: Lighted Christmas Parade

Let’s light up the night with holiday spirit! The Lighted Christmas Parade on Centre Street in downtown Fernandina Beach features a marching band, dancers, walkers, cars and floats decorated with Christmas lights — and Santa Claus, of course! This event is sponsored by America's Youth, Inc. Starts at Central Park going down Ash Street, then turns to Centre St.

December: Dickens on Centre

Travel back in time with the Dickens on Centre festival in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach! The Victorian inspired holiday festival presents costumed characters, themed activities and performances, visits from Saint Nick, and a variety of vendors selling seasonal gifts. Inspired by Charles Dickens’ novella, “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens on Centre transforms downtown Fernandina into a classic English village, sure to enliven your Christmas spirit. Centre Street, Fernandina Beach

December: New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop

New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate the past year and get excited for the new year ahead! Setting off fireworks on New Year's Eve is believed to have ancient roots, beginning in China. The Shrimp Drop in Fernandina Beach is a quaint family event with vendors, live music, food, kids’ games, dancing, fireworks and much more! Marina Parking Lots A and B (on either side of Brett's Water Cafe)

January: TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

Typically on the first weekend of the New Year, Jacksonville welcomes football fans to cheer on their teams in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. Combine the game day thrill with a couple days of island relaxation afterwards!

January - April: Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

Renowned musical virtuosos showcase their talent on Amelia Island’s stages in special concerts and experiences for the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. Past artists include Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Joshua Bell, Chick Corea, Bela Fleck, Chris Thile, Emanuel Ax, Wynton Marsalis, and Anne-Sophie Mutter. 2021 will be the festival’s 20th season.

February: Amelia Island Book Festival

The written word gets our full focus at this literary event crawling with writers, readers, and aspiring readers! For about two decades, the Amelia Island Book Festival has connected students, authors, publishers and books for lifelong learning. The three-day event takes pride in awarding budding writers scholarships and supporting authors with prizes.
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