Make your plans for celebrating the holidays in our neighborhood
Light poles and parking lots are aglow with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Christmas music provides the perfect backdrop to an afternoon of shopping and dining. And all around the county, there are festivals, performances and ceremonies to celebrate the holidays.
Here is a sampling of what’s going on:
Vintage Market Days Friday-through-Sunday
Vintage Market Days is an upscale vintage-inspired market featuring original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor, outdoor furnishings, yummy food, and so much more ahead of Christmas.
We are pleased to invite you to join us for our event, “Pile on the Merry,” Friday-through-Sunday at the Clay County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be a full sensory shopping experience, with 100-plus of the most-curated vendors from the area and from all across the country. Cost: $10 on Friday. $5 on Saturday/Sunday. Kids 12 and under: FREE.
Christmas on Walnut Street Festival Saturday
The Annual Christmas on Walnut Street Festival is held on the first Saturday of December. There are many food and craft vendors, a kids’ zone, and live entertainment. The downtown event runs from 3-9 p.m.
The Afternoon begins with a visit from Santa at his workshop (organized by the GCS Elks Lodge No. 1892) in the Spring Park pool pavilion where he spends a few hours hearing all the kids’ wish lists.
The day concludes with a one-mile Jingle Bell Fun Run organized by the Clay Striders and a beautiful night Christmas Parade organized by the Green Cove Springs Business League, right down U.S. Highway 17. This city-wide Christmas tradition is something you don’t want to miss!
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Saturday
Also known as “A visit from St. Nicholas,” Clemente Clarke Moore’s iconic poem about a family that’s settling down to sleep when the father is disturbed by noises on the lawn outside. Looking out the window, the father sees St. Nicholas in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. After landing his sleigh on the roof, Saint Nicholas enters the house down the chimney, carrying a sack of toys. The father watches his visitor fill the stockings hanging by the fireplace will be read on Saturday from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Clay County Agriculture Fairgrounds.
There is no charge and children will be treated to cookies, hot cocoa and a visit from Santa Claus.
Tree lightings and parades
The Town of Orange Park will turn the lights on its Christmas tree on Sunday from 5-6 p.m. at Town Hall. There is no charge and cookies and hot chocolate will be served.
Green Cove Springs
Green Cove Springs will throw its Christmas parade, considered one of the largest in Northeast Florida, on Saturday from 6-7:30 p.m. Residents are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and cushions and on either side of U.S. Highway 17 between the corners of Idlewild Avenue and Ferris Street to watch marching bands, lighted floats, car clubs and other organizations.
The Middleburg Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11, at 6:30 p.m. The parade will start at Omega Park on County Road 218 and proceed east on C.R. 218 to Pine Tree Lane.
Spring Park in Green Cove Springs will be decorated with 160 trees by families, organizations, or local businesses, and many are dedicated to loved ones, groups and families. The Tree Parade will be open until10 p.m. nightly until Dec. 31.
Keystone Heights Holiday Extravaganza
Join the City of Keystone Heights for their first Holiday Extravaganza from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. This event, called “There’s Place Like Home,’ will include everything from food trucks, vendors, live music, a Christmas parade, holiday movie.
Events include: Vendors/food trucks from 10 a.m.to 6 p.m.; live music featuring Rhythmic Reaction performing on the Rotary Circle from 10-11 a.m.; live music featuring Quintessential Sax on the Rotary Circle at 3 p.m.; live concert featuring Stephen Quinn at Keystone Beach from 4-5 p.m.; the Kiwanis Christmas Parade along Pecan Street at Lawrence Boulevard and through town at 6 p.m.; Christmas cartoons at Keystone Beach at 7:30 p.m.; and the feature film, The Santa Claus, at Keystone Beach at 8 p.m.
Clarke House Park Hometown
The Town of Orange Park and The Historical Society of Orange Park team up to bring you an old-fashioned holiday celebration. This event features a shopping village, hayrides through our decorated trail of lights, live entertainment, Clarke House tours, photos with Santa and more! It may even snow. Admission and many activities are free. This even will be open Dec. 10-11 from 5-11 p.m. at Clarke House Park, 1039 Kingsley Ave.
‘Elf the Musical’
If you love the cult classic “Elf”, do we have a treat for you this Christmas! Elf the Musical at 1860 Town Center Blvd. on Fleming Island will debut at the Island Theater from Dec. 10-19. Tickets are on sale now for the Broadway musical at theislandtheater.com/elf-tickets.
Florida Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker,’ Dec. 10-12
Whether you’re seeing it again or for the first time, The Florida Ballet’s Nutcracker will capture your imagination and transport you to a magical world of swirling snowflakes, waltzing flowers and sweet angels. From the captivating dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to the iconic snow scene, this enchanting classical ballet – set to the beloved music of Tchaikovsky – continues to enthrall audiences of all ages.
There are four shows scheduled for the Thrasher-Horne Center on the St. Johns River State College campus at 283 College Dr. in Orange Park.
Join us at one of the four show performances – 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 12.
For tickets, visit thcenter.org.
Carols in the Park, Dec. 16
Grab your lawn chair and blanket and join us for a city-wide Christmas caroling in the park from 7-8:30 p.m. Come and listen or better yet, join in. All choirs, both church and school choirs are encouraged to join in as well as individuals. Have an instrument? Bring it.
It’s sure to be a festive and fun time with your friends and family.
The event is sponsored by CalaVida, and for more information, call (904) 284-2931.
Wreaths Across America, Dec. 18
Clay County will be home to three Wreaths Across America events. The annual program is held on National Wreaths Across America Day, with a mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,500 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
Sponsors and volunteers are encouraged.
The three local observances will start at noon at: Hardage-Giddens Holly Hill Memorial Park, 3601 Old Jennings Road, Middleburg; Keystone Heights Memorial Gardens, 7304 State Highway 100; and, at Jacksonville Memory Gardens, 111 Blanding Blvd., Orange Park.
J.P. Hall Children’s Christmas Party, Dec. 18
The 2021 J. P. Hall Christmas Party will be held on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Clay County Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are located at 2497 State Road 16 in Green Cove Springs. It will be a drive thru event again this year. There is no preregistration or sign-up process to attend but children must be in the car to receive gifts. There is no paperwork required to attend.
We will also have bikes available, and they will be given out on a first come, first served basis. This is the 40th anniversary of the J.P. Hall Christmas Party and we are thrilled to be able to provide a Christmas for so many Clay County children.