The first weekend in December is a biggie, folks.
Some of northeast Florida’s oldest and best holiday displays are on tap.
Get the the most wonderful time of year off a rockin’ start and have some fun.
Annual Homestead Holidays – Sun., Dec. 2, Noon-4 p.m. Historic Haile Homestead, 8500 SW Archer Rd., State Rd. 24, Gainesville, Fla. 32608. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Stroll through the 1856 restored plantation home decked out in an array of traditional greenery and Victorian finery. Decorated holidays trees in almost every room. Sip some free hot cider and browse a selection of home-baked goodies and special holiday ornaments. Take a fun step back into the 1800s. 352-336-9096.
Gainesville Youth Chorus Holiday Concert – Sat., Dec. 1, 5-6 p.m. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 100 NE First St., Gainesville, Fla. 32601. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Start your holidays off with the sound of angelic children’s voices in song. 352-372-4721.
Holiday Tree Lighting – Sat., Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m. Thomas Center Spanish Court, 302 NE Sixth Ave., Gainesville, Fla. 32602. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Featuring caroling and holiday music from local artists. Santa will be on hand to visit with the children. Carriage rides available, the 15 minute rides are $6 for adults and $1 for children from 6-9:45 p.m. 352-393-ARTS.
Plaza Ice Palace – Fri., Nov. 30, 4–10 p.m.-Sun., Jan. 6. Bo Diddley Community Plaza, 111 E. University Ave., Gainesville, Fla. 32635. The skating fee for one hour on the ice is $10 per person, including skate rental, or $7 per person for patrons furnishing their own skates.
Sounds of the Season – Sun., Dec. 2, 7 p.m.: Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, University of Florida, 3295 Hull Rd., Gainesville, Fla. 32611. UF Symphony Orchestra will perform an array of holiday songs. 352-392-2787.
9th Annual Parade of Trees – Sat., Dec. 1-Fri., Jan. 4, Spring Park (1 block east of City Hall), 321 Walnut St., Green Cove Springs, Fla. 32043. 904-529-2200.
13th Christmas on Walnut – Sat., Dec. 1. Spring Park, Green Cove Springs, Fla. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Spring Park & City Hall, 321 Walnut St., Green Cove Springs, Fla. 904-529-2200.
45th Annual Green Cove Springs Christmas Parade – Sat., Dec. 1, Noon. Magnolia Ave., Green Cove Springs, Fla. 904-529-2200.
Candy Cane Lane Bazaar & Craft Fair – Sat., Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 7190 US 17 S, Fleming Island, Fla. 32003. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Pick up some last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers and join the fun. Special activities for the kids, photos with Santa. Proceeds to benefits the Sacred Heart Outreach Program serving the needy in Clay county. 904-284-3811, Fax: 904- 529-8845.
Family Fun Night Christmas Party – Sun., Dec, 2, 4-7 p.m. First United Methodist, 500 Walnut St., Green Cove Springs, Fla. 32043. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Food, fun and games. For more information, call 904-284-9700.
“The First Christmas” Lighted Christmas Parade – Sat., Dec. 1, 6 :30 p.m. Downtown Middleburg, Fla., Blanding Blvd. First Baptist to Palmetto. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Presented by the Middleburg Civic Association. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.middleburgcivicassociation.com.
Third Annual Christmas Tour of Homes – Sat., Dec. 1 & Sun., Dec. 2, 1-5 p.m. Town of Orange Park, Fla. Call for details. Admission: $15 per person. Proceeds to benefit BASCA, Inc. 904-541-1742.
7th Annual Jacksonville Antique Radio Club Radio Sale & Swap-Meet – Sun., Dec. 2, Noon-4 p.m. Avonlea Antique Mall, 8101 Philips Hwy. Across from Lowes, Jacksonville, Fla. 32256. Admission: FREE & open to the public. The Jacksonville Antique Radio Club “JARS” will be showing, selling, and talking about antique radios of all types, from the early 1920s battery sets to the transistor models of the 1950s and 60s. There will be radios, vacuum tubes and parts, and radio literature for sale. Verbal appraisals and indentification of radios will be available during the event. 904-636-8785.
13th Annual Winter Celebration in Mandarin – Sat., Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Walter Jones Historical Park, 11964 Mandarin Rd., Jacksonville, Fla. 32223. Admission: FREE & open to the public. The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society once again hosts a special celebration. Activities include: hayrides, music, museum and farmhouse tours, crafts, historic re-enactments, train rides, old-fashioned children’s games, food, and more. For more information, call 904-268-0784 or email email@example.com or visit Facebook.com/mandarinmuseum.
Concert – Fri., Nov. 30, 6 p.m. Milne Auditorium, Edward Waters College, 1658 Kings Rd., Jacksonville, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. “Sing Noel” featring the Edward Wates College Concert Choir. 904-470-8050.
Gingerbread House Extravaganza – Starting Sat., Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Old St. Andrews Church, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville, Fla., 32202. Admission: $5 Adults, $3 Kids. Jacksonville Historical Society Community Holiday Event showcasing edible art in the form of wonderful gingerbread creations. Daily except Sundays. 904-664-0065.
Make We Joy: Songs of the Season with the JU Choirs – Thurs., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m. Terry Concert Hall, 2800 University Blvd. North, Jacksonville, Fla. 32211 Admission: FREE & open to the public. Featuring the Jacksonville University Singers, Men’s and Women’s Choirs in a festive and varied program drawn from the centuries of choral music for Advent and Christmas. 904-256-7377.
Salvation Toy Drive at the Symphony – Fri., Nov. 30-Dec. 16. Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 Water St., Jacksonville, Fla. Bring new, unwrapped toys to any holiday performance (Nov. 30, Classical Christmas, Dec. 7-9 Holiday Pops, Dec. 14-16 First Coast Nutcracker). 904-354-5547.
Santa’s Village – Fridays & Saturdays through Dec. 22, 6-9 p.m. 3 Cordova St., St. Augustine, Fla. Admission: $3. Includes crafts, singing, games, movies and Santa. For more information, call 904-824-1606 or redtrains.com.
Springfield Holiday Home Tour – Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 5-9 p.m. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, 101 W 1st St., Jacksonville, Fla. Admission: $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For more information, call 904-633-9308 or springfieldhometour.org.
Florida Market Days & Holiday Party – Sat., Dec. 1 & Sun., Dec. 2, Noon-8 p.m. Florida Agricultural Museum, 7900 Old Kings Rd. Palm Coast, Fla. Admission: $5 donation. Outdoor market featuring handcrafted items presented by the Florida Etsy Street Team. Santa Claus and Mrs. Clause available for photo taking. Toys for Tots collection. Lighting of the Tree. Jolly Trolly rides. Elf Village for the young at heart to create handmade ornaments. Creation Station where the public is invited to sit down and create a card to benefit the ‘Love Letters’ non-profit org. Raffles all day. Contact Rose Fieldhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org. myagmuseum.com
Orange Springs Christmas Parade – Sat., Dec. 1, 4-5 p.m. Orange Springs Real Estate on County Rd. 315 just south of the intersection NE 234 Place Rd., Orange Springs, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Santa will be in the Park (near the end of the parade where SR21 splits from CR315) 5-5:30 p.m. The Park will have its official Christmas lighting at 6 p.m. For Information call, Judy Estes, 352-546-5439 and please leave a message if there is no answer.
Winter Fest 2012 – Sat., Dec. 1, 6 p.m. Downtown Ocala, Citizens Circle, Ocala, Fla.
Admission: FREE & open to the public. Super-packed line-up of awesome talent. Food and drink available for purchase.
6th Annual Holiday Home Tour – Fri., Nov. 30-Sat., Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Fla. Admission: $25 through Nov. 30, then $30 day of tour, reservations required. Beautifully restored vintage homes located in Fernandina Beach’s historic district will be open to the public for the very first time. Trolley service transports guests to each of the homes while costumed carolers hark back to the days of Charles Dickens. Tickets on sale at Amelia Island Museum of History, 233 S. Third Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida, or online at ameliahometours.com/tickets.php. For more information, call 904-261-7378, ext.100.
13th Annual Parade for Paws – Sat., Dec. 1, 11 a.m. Old Railroad Depot, downtown Fernandina Beach, Fla. Admission: $10 per dog. Awards announced immediately after the parade. Nassau Humane Society hosts fun activities before and after the parade. Late registration begins at 10 a.m. Pre-register online at www.nassauhumanesociety.com/events.html, the Second Chance Store 904-321-0022, Redbones Dog Bakery 904-321-0020, or the NHS Dog Park 904-491-1511.
Amelia Community Theatre Open House – Fri., Nov. 30 & Sat., Dec. 1, 1-5:30 p.m. Amelia Community Thatre, 207 Cedar St., Fernandina Beach, Fla. 32034. Admission: FREE & open to the public. View the theater lobby filled with decorated trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses, then take a complimentary tour of the ACT complex to better understand the creation of live theater. More information www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org or through the box office at 904-261-6749.
Amelia Island Christmas Spectacular – Nov. 30 & Sat., Dec. 1, First Baptist Church, 1600 S. Eighth St., Fernandina Beach, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. First Baptist Church will host an elegant night of Christmas music featuring orchestra and choir. Encore performances planned for Dec. 7 and 8. Call 904-261-3617 or visit FBFirst.com for information.
Breakfast with Santa – Sat., Dec. 1, 9-11 a.m. Amelia Community Theatre, 207 Cedar St., Fernandina Beach, Fla. Admission: $20 per person, includes breakfast. Christmas show, a visit and photo with Santa, as well as, silent auction opportunities. Every child receives a gift from Santa. Buy tickets online at www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org, by contacting Shelia at email@example.com, or call 904-261-6749 and leave a message.
Callahan “An Old-Fashioned Christmas” Parade – Sat., Dec. 1, 11 a.m. Downtown Callahan, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Arts & crafts show from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on the VyStar Credit Union parking lot. Sponsored by the Greater Nassau County Chamber of Commerce’s. For more information call, 904-879-1441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘No Room at the Inn‘ – Nov. 30 & Sat., Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Memorial United Methodist and the Partin Center, 601 Centre St., Fernandina Beach, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Church. A variety of Nativity scenes on display in the Sanctuary in conjunction with the Holiday Home Tour. Refreshments served and Christmas provided. Accepting donations for the Homeless Coalition in Nassau County.
Sounds of Christmas – Thurs., Nov. 29. Downtown Fernandina Beach, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Carolers dressed in period clothing will fill the air with the sights and sounds of a Victorian Christmas. The Historic Fernandina Business Association is sponsoring a number of other holiday events: Sweet Treats is Dec. 6 – Enjoy snacks while looking for that present that is sure to please. Dec. 13 – Gentlemen’s Night on the Town. Shops will have refreshments and assistance available for picking out the perfect gift. Dec. 20– Desperate Discounts, for last-minute shoppers. For more information, contact the Historic Fernandina Business Assoc., www.downtownfernandinabeach.com/.
Star Books & Ornaments – Sat., Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Art Education Center, 18 N. Second St., Fernandina Beach, Fla. Admission: $65, includes materials. Recycle all those political mailers and make a holiday star. This is the perfect small craft project for stocking stuffers, gift decorations or small gifts – the small stars can be fold-away three-dimensional stars or “wearable” books. The larger star form makes a great scrapbook. Enjoy a relaxing productive day making star ornaments, books and albums. Great workshop for teachers, librarians, scrapbookers and anyone looking for a way to make inexpensive, handmade Christmas gifts or decorations. For information call Eliza Holliday at 904-556-2517 or email email@example.com.
Union Holiday Encampment – Dec. 1-2. Fort Clinch State Park, 2601 Atlantic Ave.
Fernandina Beach, Fla. 32034. Experience a Union Holiday Encampment as volunteers in Civil War-era costumes decorate the fort for Christmas. Volunteers place fresh greenery on the mantle, put up and decorate a period Christmas tree, and portray daily life as it was in the winter of 1864. Ladies string berries and popcorn on the tree while fires burn in the fireplaces, and soldiers answer questions about what it is like to be stationed at Fort Clinch. For details call 904-277-7274, or visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortclinch.
8th Annual St. Johns County Festival of Trees – Fri., Nov. 30. 9 a.m.–9 p.m. St. Johns County Convention Center , 500 S. Legacy Trail, (Located adjacent to the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village), St. Augustine, Fla. 32092. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Event showcasing trees and wreaths decorated and donated by local businesses, organizations, families and friends from the community. Proceeds benefit St. Johns County charities. 904-940-4000.
58th Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade – Sat., Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-Noon. Mission of Nombre de Dios, Castillo Dr., St. Augustine, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Floats, bands, cars, horses and the arrival of Santa. The parade starts on San Marco Ave. at the Mission of Nombre de Dios and winds through the downtown streets of historic St. Augustine. For more information on entering the parade or being a volunteer, call Linda Abbott 904-824-4997.
British Night Watch Concert – Fri., Nov. 30, 8 p.m. Francis Field, 14 W. Castillo Dr., St Augustine, Fla. 32084. Admission: $5, kids under 12 FREE. Traditional recording artists Father, Son and Friends, who travel the country promoting Celtic heritage with humor, stories and music that will have you clapping and singing along. Bring a chair or a blanket. The Tavern Tent will be open with a selection hot and cold beverages for your refreshment. 904-829-5318. www.britishnightwatch.org
British Night Watch Encampment – Sat., Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Francis Field, 14 W. Castillo Dr., St Augustine, Fla. 32084. Admission: $3, kids under 12 FREE with a paying adult. St. Augustine is under British Rule. Experience Colonial Market Days – 18th-century musicians and performers. Period merchants offer their wares, military encampment weapons & artillery demonstrations, colorful British ceremonies, a native camp shows the valuable allies. Witness the duel scenario, woven into the afternoon schedule. This vignette follows an unlucky soldier to the end of his days at the end of a rope. 904-829-5318. www.britishnightwatch.org
British Night Watch Parade | A Grande Illumination – Sat., Dec. 1, 8 p.m. Plaza de la Constitucion, 48 King St., St Augustine, Fla. 32084. Admission: FREE & open to the public. British troops, native allies and townspeople march, candles and lanterns in hand, to the walled City. Be a part of the only Historic Parade on the eastern seaboard that encourages you join in and march. Be in the Plaza by 7 p.m., then after the parade, volleys of joy and caroling in the Plaza. 904-829-5318. www.britishnightwatch.org
A Christmas Carol – Sat., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m. The Pioneer Barn, Fort Menendez, 259 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine, Fla. Admission: $20 Adults, $15 students. Features Jason Woods portraying every character. 904-824-8874.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years, most recently in Texas, is a successful grant writer, knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design and wants to work in the public sector. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org