Category Archives: Festivals & Events

Jacksonville Fair

There’s something for everyone at the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair and Expo.  Livestock shows, exhibits, concerts, food and midway rides all offer family friendly entertainment.

Midway at the Jacksonville Fair

Midway at the Jacksonville Fair

Midway rides offer thrills and chills

Midway rides offer thrills and chills

The Fair runs through November 15th and is located in the sports complex downtown at the fairgrounds adjacent to Everbank football stadium.

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival this weekend

Each year, the first weekend in May brings the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, birthplace of the modern shrimping industry.  Did you know that more than 80% of the Florida Atlantic shrimp is still harvested in the water here?

Enjoy arts and crafts, food, entertainment, and of course, plenty of shrimp.  The activity is downtown along historic Center Street, and admission is free.

Easter Weekend Events

There are many exciting activities going on in the First Coast area this weekend.  Here are two of my favorites:

Mandarin Art Festival,  Saturday and Sunday  10:00 – 5:00 on the Mandarin Community Club grounds at 12447 Mandarin Road

This year marks the 46th Mandarin Art festival, and I think I have attended almost all of them.  Classical guitarist Don Thomas will be back this year playing acoustic tunes under the oak trees.  Enjoy food, vendors from all over the country, family activities and great camaraderie!

There will also be Mandarin themed items available for purchase.  Here is a picture of the t-shirt design by artist Julie Fetzer:

Mandarin Art Festival t-shirt

Manatees Rule by Julie Fetzer

St. Augustine Easter Parade,  Sunday 3:00-4:00 downtown St. Augustine

What’s not to love about a parade in our nation’s oldest city!  See bands, clowns, horses and, of course, the Easter Bunny.  The parade begins at Mission Nombre de Dios and proceeds down San Marco Street and Cathedral Place.

The ‘Nina’ and ‘Pinta’ at Fernandina Beach, Florida

Last weekend, visitors to Fernandina Beach, FL were treated to tours of two replica ships given by the Columbus Foundation.  Here are some interesting facts and pictures from the event:

Both of the replica ships were built in Brazil by a group of master builders using design and construction techniques dating back to the 15th century.

Construction began on the Nina in 1988.  The Pinta was built 16 years later to accompany the Nina on her tours.  The replica ships have no home port because they are on tour 11 months a year.

The Pinta is the larger ship at 85′; the Nina is 65′ in length.  The ships are black because they were coated in pine tar, a natural water resistant.  They have auxiliary power to use when traveling between destinations, but can sail when there is a strong aft wind and a big body of water.

 

The crew are volunteers from all over America, and the Columbus Foundation is always looking for more!  You may apply online at thenina.com.

The Pinta returned home from the 1st Voyage and disappeared from history.  The Nina accompanied Christopher Columbus on the 2nd Voyage, and Columbus chose her as his flagship for his voyage to Cuba.  She was the only vessel to survive a 1495 hurricane in West Indies, and returned to Spain in 1496.

There are no plans at present to build a replica of the Santa Maria, as she would be too big to make it through the waterways where the other ships travel.  Also, it appears Christopher Columbus did not like her and called her slow and clumsy.

Fernandina Harbor is located at the base of historic Centre Street.   After leaving Fernandina, these ships will travel to Savannah.

 

Seafood & Sailboats this Weekend

Bridge of LionsSeafood and Sailboats will grace Florida’s First Coast this weekend.  In St. Augustine, there is the Lions Seafood Festival Friday through Sunday.  There’s an Arts and Crafts Village, live entertainment, and lots of seafood.

In Fernandina, visitors can tour not one, but two replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships.  The Nina, and her larger sister, the Pinta   will be docked at the base of Centre Street through Monday.

Celebrate our Community History in March

Two events in March honor two very special women who contributed to our communities.  Come enjoy the festivities and (hopefully) our much-awaited spring weather while learning more about our area history.

Saturday, March 15th – Carrie Clark Day  

Our neighbors across the river in Clay County have invited us to join them in the Carrie Clark Day festivities this year.  The Clarks were one of the early families in Clay County and were very active in the community.  Their home and surrounding land was later purchased by the town of Orange Park and now serves as a community park.  Come enjoy music, games, crafts, food, and a tour of the Clark house.

Sunday, March 16th – Miss Aggie Day

Stop by the Old Mandarin Store and Post Office (corner of Mandarin Rd and Brady Rd) between 12:00 and 4:00 pm  for a Moon Pie and RC Cola.  Miss Agnes Jones served as Postmistress and owner of this historical building from 1911 to 1964.  Each year, there is an award given to a contemporary woman honoring her contribution to our community.  This year’s Miss Aggie Award will be presented to Linda Levin, Executive Director of ElderSource.  The Ancient Oaks Arts and Farmers Market will also be open.

Gingerbread Extravaganza

A Gingerbread Extravaganza was recently held at the former St Andrews Church, now home to the Jacksonville Historical Society.  Here are some pictures of the event:

Historical St Andrews ChurchGingerbread Extravaganza

 

 

 

 

 

The meticulous detail given to each home was so impressive.  One of my favorites was a rendition of the former home of author Harriet Beecher Stowe, created by the Mandarin Historical Society.  This historical building is now the home of the Mandarin Community Club.  Note the Mandarin orange trees in the yard!

Gingerbread House

Cat Show this Weekend

Cat ShowFlorida Sun Cats is hosting a cat show this weekend,  January 17 – 19 at the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk downtown.  More than 200 cats will be competing in 7 rings.   A cat show offers a wonderful opportunity to see and learn about many different breeds.  There are Bengals,  Sphinx, Ragdolls, Persians, Siamese, and more. There’s even a special category for  housecats!

Cat Show in Jacksonville, Florida

Lucas has brought his cat all the way from South Carolina to be in the show.

Vendors will have booths with cat-related items for sale.  And if all these kitties make you want to add a new member to your family, Lucky Cat Adoptions will be on hand with homeless cats and kittens seeking forever homes.

 

Hours are from 4:00 to 9:00 pm Friday and 9:00 am to 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday.  Admission is $6 for adults, and $5 for seniors, children and military. More information and photos are at FloridaSunCats.org.

Find a Fall Festival Near You

November is such a beautiful month to enjoy a fall festival in Jacksonville, Mandarin and St Johns!  While other places further North are having their first snow storms and leaves have long since fallen, we are just beginning to enjoy our fall weather.

SJDR CarnivalThese pictures were taken yesterday at San Juan del Rio Church in St. Johns.  To find a festival near you, just look around; there are signs everywhere at churches, schools and community clubs.

SJDR Carnival2

More upcoming events:

  • Fall Festival and Chili Cook-off  November 23, 11:00am-3:00pm, at the Riverplace Shopping Center in Mandarin
  • Mandarin Community Club Open House  November 17, 12:00-4:00pm
  • San Marco Art Festival, November 16-17, 10:00am-5:00pm, on San Marco Boulevard
  • And, of course, the Greater Jacksonville Fair at the downtown Fairgrounds, November 6-17

Foto Friday – Mega Adoption Event

Mega-adoption

Volunteers and workers with the coalition of animal rescue organizations make last minute preparations prior to the opening of the Exhibition Hall at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds to the public.

Last weekend, 1003 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies found their new, forever homes at the largest ever adoption event in the country.  The Mega-Adoption was sponsored by PetSmart Charities, First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Jacksonville Animal Care & Protective Services, the Jacksonville Humane Society, and other organizations throughout in First Coast – all working together towards our goal of becoming a no-kill city.

If you missed this event, there are still wonderful pets that need loving homes, and the Humane Society is extending the special $25 adoption fee.