ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – St. Augustine’s annual Nights of Lights begins illuminating the historic city and its coastline on Nov. 21. While the city shines bright, so do its cultural offerings this holiday season. Highlights include the 50th Annual Arts & Craft Festival over Thanksgiving weekend, The Nutcracker with world-renowned dancers, “A December to Remember,” family-friendly holiday events happening for more than a month, and a reimagined Colonial Night Watch. Here is a selection of holiday events from the St. Johns Cultural Council:
Nights of Lights in Black & White
Swing into the holiday season at the first-time event on Historic Aviles Street, the original art district in downtown St. Augustine. The courtyard of the Ximenez-Fatio House will sparkle with lights and live entertainment by Mark Zauss and the Z Street Speakeasy Band. There will be dancing, food and beverages. Location: Ximenez-Fatio House, 20 Aviles St., St. Augustine, 32084. For more information, call (904) 824-8460.
50th Annual Art & Craft Festival
The St. Augustine Art Association presents its outdoor art fair that has become a Thanksgiving weekend tradition, welcoming visitors, art collectors and holiday shoppers for decades. Location: Francis Field, 29 West Castillo Dr., St. Augustine, 32084. For more information, call (904) 824-2310 or visit www.staugustineartfestival.com.
A December to Remember
Nov. 28 – Dec. 20
A month-long series of family-friendly, community-based holiday festivities held at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. This year’s events features two free concerts – The Blind Boys of Alabama on Nov. 29 and Clint Black on Dec. 5, family movie nights, Santa appearances, train rides, nightly snowfall and many other special engagements. For more information, call (904) 209-0367 or visit www.staugustineamphitheatre.com.
Luminary Night at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
The celebration takes place amidst the flickering glow of over 1,500 luminaries spread through the light station grounds. For the little ones there is a tent with holiday crafts, a special petting zoo exhibit from the St. Augustine Aquarium and a visit from Santa. Location: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, 81 Lighthouse Ave., St. Augustine, 32080. For more information, call (904) 829-0745 or visit www.staugustinelighthouse.org.
Small Objects Exhibition
This exhibition features "small objects" created by local artists. All works are priced at $350 or less, just in time to find the perfect holiday gift. Location: Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach, 50 Executive Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, 32092. For more information, call (904) 280-0614 or visitwww.ccpvb.org.
St. Augustine Winter Spectacular
Experience the magic and excitement of the newest holiday production in the nation's oldest city at St. Augustine Winter Spectacular! This original production features different scenes that comprise a family-friendly, entertaining storyline that follows a child’s journey during the holidays. Scenes will feature new and familiar characters within a variety of genres including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, acrobatics, kick line and musical theatre numbers. Location: Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., St. Augustine, 32084. For more information, call (904) 471-4946 or visit www.staugustinewinterspectacular.com.
St. Augustine Colonial Night Watch
Visitors will see re-enactors bring to life the time period from 1739-1785 at the historic Castillo de San Marcos. Florida was hotly contested among the colonial powers in this period. The day will culminate in a torchlight parade starting at 7 p.m. The public is invited to follow along starting at the City Gates. The procession will march to the Government House for a welcome speech, followed by singing of Christmas Carols to ring in the holiday season. Location: Government House Museum, 48 King St., St. Augustine, 32084. For more information, call (904) 501-0391 or visit http://hfm.club/nightwatch.
St. Augustine Orchestra Holiday Concert with Jacksonville Masterworks Chorale
A number of seasonal favorites will be performed and visitors can except to sing-a-long with the chorus and orchestra. Location: evening performance is held in the beautiful Lightner Museum Antique Courtyard, 25 Grenada St., St. Augustine, 32084. For more information, visitwww.staugustineorchestra.org.
Christmas Tableaux based on Choruses from Messiah
The St. Augustine Community Chorus presents their annual holiday performance. Location:Cathedral Basilica, 38 Cathedral Place, St. Augustine, 32084. For more information, call (904) 484-4960 or visit www.staugustinecommunitychorus.org.
Southwest Florida Symphony Holiday Pops presented by the EMMA Concert Association
Hear all of your favorite songs and carols of the season performed by the SWFS. The Southwest Florida Symphony is Fort Myer’s only professional orchestra and one of the oldest on Florida’s gulf coast. Location: Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., St. Augustine, 32084. For more information, call (904) 797-2800 or visit www.emmaconcerts.com.
Saint Augustine Ballet presents The Nutcracker
Saint Augustine Ballet presents their seventh annual production of the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Arionel Vargas, former Principal dancer with English National Ballet and international dance film star, will partner with Marize Fumero, former dancer with the English National Ballet and member of Milwaukee Ballet, to perform the principal roles of Cavalier and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Location: Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., St. Augustine, 32084. For more information, call (904) 824-1746 or visit www.saintaugustineballet.com.
Beach Blast Off in Celebration of New Year’s Eve
Beachfront New Year’s Eve celebration. There is a family fun zone featuring face painting, human hamster balls, mechanical bull, balloon twisting and rock climbing wall. Food vendors, champagne and live entertainment will add to the festivities. The evening concludes with a fireworks display over the Atlantic Ocean. Location: St. Augustine Beach Pier, 32080. For more information, call (904) 669-5670 or visit www.sabevents.com/beach-blast-off.
Event images are readily available. Contact Jennifer Bryant with requests.
For more information about arts, culture and heritage activities on Florida’s Historic Coast and a full calendar of events, log on to the new www.historiccoastculture.com.
For story ideas and additional information for the media, visitwww.historiccoastculture.com/media.
About St. Johns Cultural Council
The St. Johns Cultural Council is a 501© (3) not-for-profit agency. Under agreement with the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, the SJCC provides arts, culture and heritage tourism destination marketing services to the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC). Funding for marketing services comes from a portion of the county’s bed tax. For more information, call (904) 808-7330 or visit www.stjohnsculture.com.