Download a PDF of this News Release
Contact: Barbara Golden
St. Augustine, Fla. (November 29, 2023) – With millions of twinkle lights illuminating the cityscape, people flock worldwide to take in the splendor of the holiday season on Florida’s Historic Coast. And while the 30th Annual Nights of Lights festival is not to be missed, there’s more magic going on in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches this winter. A myriad of activities like parades, festivals, live performances and celebrations take center stage at some of the most unique and intimate venues around.
Saturday morning, December 2, marks the 66th Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade. This time-honored event is a traditional, family-friendly parade with floats, horses, carriages, cars, and even Santa! The parade begins at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission of Nombre de Dios, proceeds south through downtown and finishes behind the Visitors Center. After the parade, grab a photo with Santa at the Plaza de la Constitución. Head back to the Plaza the following evening on Sunday, December 3, for a free community concert at the Gazebo with One Accord.
Beginning December 2, holiday visitors can venture over the Usina Bridge to the oceanside hamlet of Vilano Beach for an entire month of festive activities. Hit up the Vilano Holiday Village to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, post your letter to the North Pole, and enjoy live performances. It all begins with the tree lighting on Saturday, December 2. The following Saturday, December 9, has a book fair extravaganza with special guest Carol Aebersold, author of the popular “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.” The fun continues on Saturday, December 16, with an artisan market featuring a live performance by pianist Jeremy Weinglass. The month-long festivities cap off with an awe-inspiring Cirque Adventure: Elf Christmas, an aerial and acrobatic show set to popular holiday tunes.
Join the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center (LMCC) on December 8 for an evening of joyful celebration at their Holiday Soiree. Enjoy food, fun, and live performances from vocalist Terry Graham, pianist Donna Zerbato, and folk guitarist David Reed. This annual fete serves as a fundraiser for the LMCC, an African-American history museum in the historic Lincolnville neighborhood of St. Augustine dedicated to preserving 450 years of the African-American experience. Tickets may be purchased here.
When Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed on the shores of St. Augustine in September of 1565, his mission’s priest conducted what was to be the first parish mass in the New World. Today, a small mission chapel stands in honor of Our Lady of La Leche. Visitors are invited Saturday, December 16, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. to “Noches de Navidad” and Las Posadas. It features a live Nativity, Eucharistic Adoration, cookies, hot cocoa, and a 16th-century Spanish procession of “Las Posadas” (the Inns) presented by the Historic Florida Militia.
Welcome the holiday season with a traditional choral performance featuring fresh interpretations of holiday classics. On December 1, the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall welcomes the Chamber Singers, Osprey Treble, and Coro Profundo ensemble groups with guest instrumentalists for “A Choral Christmas” with the UNF Choirs. Their rousing renditions will have guests singing along with their favorite tunes. For those who prefer to pair their music with art, the Cathedral Basilica in historic St. Augustine offers free classical concerts during the popular First Friday Art Walk, hosted on Friday, December 1. Performances are from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and there is a free-will offering.
The St. Augustine Community Chorus can always be counted on for fun and festive holiday cheer. The jubilant singers are offering two performances in December. The first, Christmas Joy, is an exuberant celebration of community through music with the theme of ‘toward a more perfect peace.’ Showtimes are Saturday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 10 at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica in downtown St. Augustine. Then, on Sunday, December 13, the choir performs its annual rendition of Handel’s The Messiah. This moving work is performed as a sing-a-long. Join in on Sunday, December 17 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Memorial Lutheran Church.
St. Augustine’s Community Orchestra provides the Sounds of the Season at beautiful Kelly Farms on Saturday, December 17. With orchestral arrangements of timeless holiday classics like “Sleigh Ride,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Carol of the Bells,” and the rich wood interior of the barn space, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a “White Christmas” fairytale.
The Ponte Vedra Concert Hall is pleased to welcome famed contemporary jazz guitarist Peter White for A Peter White Christmas 20th Anniversary, featuring Mindi Abair and Vincent Ingala. World-renowned for his acoustic guitar skills, White’s 20th Anniversary of this eagerly-anticipated holiday tour welcomes saxophonist Mindi Abair and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Ingala. The performance begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6. Tickets are limited and may be purchased here while supplies last.
The Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College is practically bursting with holiday cheer this December as they play host to various seasonal performances. It kicks off Saturday, December 9, and Sunday, December 10, with the St. Augustine Winter Spectacular. This family-friendly production follows the story of a young girl’s journey home for the holidays. It’s followed on Tuesday, December 12, with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops Concert, presented by the Emma Concert Association.
The St. Augustine Ballet’s annual performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition. Offered the weekend of Friday, December 15 through Sunday, December 17 the classic story of Clara and her journey into the Land of Snow with the Nutcracker Prince is performed by professional and student dancers from across the region. Christmas Fantastique is a modern interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s beloved The Nutcracker, fusing classical ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and other modern dance and music to create a new interpretation of the timeless work. Created and performed by Zoika's Dance School, shows are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, December 20 and Thursday, December 21.
December performances at the Lewis Auditorium wrap up with the First Coast Opera’s presentation of Puccini’s La Bohème. It’s the story of love among young artists in 1830s Paris and is widely recognized as the world’s most popular opera. Performances are Saturday, December 30, and Sunday, December 31, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
A foundation in the local community theater scene, the Limelight Theater presents Erin Vogel’s “The Trouble with Traditions: A Holiday Detour.” It follows the story of the Novak family, who has a decades-long Christmas tradition of having dinner on Christmas Eve. When Richard Novak finds out his family plans on skipping this year for a theatre play, he becomes desperate to keep their tradition alive. The show runs Thursday, December 7 through December 17.
The St. Augustine Amphitheater is welcoming two different holiday experiences. The first is a free movie night on December 15, where guests can enjoy a showing of the modern classic, “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell as the indomitably cheery Buddy. A donation of a non-perishable food item is requested. Then radio takes center stage with a live radio performance of the holiday favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” An ensemble of actors from Apex Theater Studios will portray a multitude of characters, bringing to life George Bailey, Mary Hatch, Mr. Potter, and more. It begins at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 18 at The Backyard Stage at The Amp.
Enjoy the magic of storytelling at Deck the Halls with Holiday Stories at The Waterworks. Talented performers will delight children and adults with stories, songs, dancing, and plenty of cookies. Featuring Debra Weller, known as "Mrs. Sunshine Santa Claus," Natalie Beltrami, David Fussell, and Chris Kastle. Held at the historic Waterworks building on Sunday, December 17 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Florida’s Historic Coast is bursting with holiday cheer. No matter how you celebrate the holiday season, there’s an event for you. Find out what the magic of the season is all about in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches. Images to accompany the story are available here.
Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra Beach, and 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches. For more information, call 1.800.653.2489 or go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com. Check us out on social media Instagram @FloridasHistoricCoast @ViajaStAugustine, Facebook.com/OfficialStAugustine and Facebook.com/ViajaStAugustine and Twitter @FlHistoricCoast