Visitors to Amelia Island, Florida will find plenty of exciting and entertaining options beyond its beautiful beaches. At just 13 miles long, the tiny barrier island offers a surprisingly busy event calendar packed with shows, concerts, festivals, and adventures. Named for Princess Amelia, daughter of George II of Great Britain, Amelia Island is rich in history and tradition and offers a wide variety of family-friendly events to make every visit a memorable one. Upcoming events on Amelia Island include:
50th Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival – Fernandina Beach, Florida
May 3-5 2013
For half a century, this small crustacean has caused a big sensation in historic downtown Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, where thousands of visitors happily strand themselves for this annual tradition. The popular event celebrates the “Year of the Golden Shrimp” with a nationally-recognized juried fine arts and crafts show, antiques, live entertainment, kids’ activities, contests, pirates, free admission and 25 food booths serving up the tastiest shrimp you can find, prepared every way possible by local non-profit organizations. For more information, go to www.shrimpfestival.com or call toll free (866) 426-3542.
Wild Amelia Nature Festival – Amelia Island, Florida
May 17-19 2013
The 2013 Wild Amelia Nature Festival invites residents and visitors to experience the wild side of Amelia Island. Visitors can enjoy numerous nature tours led by area naturalists and Park Rangers, nature photography workshops taught by local professionals, a nature-based green business expo, The “Kids Niche” nature-based activities for children, critters from the Jacksonville Zoo and more. For tickets or additional information, call (904) 251-0016 or visit www.wildamelia.com.
Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival – Amelia Island, Florida
May 11-June 2 2013
The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival will once again showcase world-class artists performing classical music in intimate and historic settings on Amelia Island. The festival is dedicated to bringing a wide variety of chamber music at the highest level. The 2013 festival will feature an incredible line-up, including Hotlanta Dixieland Jazz, Linden String Quartet, Zuill Bailey, Robert McDuffie and more. For ticket details and additional information, call (904) 261-1779 or visit www.aicmf.com.
National Marina Day and Annual Boat Show – Fernandina Harbor Marina, Florida
On National Marina Day, the Fernandina Harbor Marina will present its Annual Boat Show, free of charge. The event is perfect for all ages and will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information can be found at www.fhmarina.com
Great Southern Tailgate Cook-Off: Amelia Island, Florida
The 4th Annual Great Southern Tailgate Cook-Off will fire up again on August 23 and 24 on Amelia Island, Florida. Barbeque cooking teams from across the country will compete for cash and prizes, and, of course, bragging rights. The event is held at Main Beach on Amelia Island, where the beach meats the brisket. Visit www.gstailgatecookoff.com for more information.
2013 Amelia Island Jazz Festival: Amelia Island, Florida
The Amelia Island Jazz Festival will once again light up the island with a week-long series of events celebrating the diverse all-American art form of jazz. Under the creative direction of renowned jazz drummer and bandleader Les DeMerle, the 2013 festival will feature world-class jazz artists in a wide variety of styles, including Contemporary, Bebop, Smooth Jazz, Big Band, Latin, Blues, Dixieland and more. Past headliners include David Sanborn, Spyro Gyra, David Benoit, Ramsey Lewis and Buckwheat Zydeco. Performances will take place at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation and several other charming venues around the island. For more information, call (904) 504-4772 or visit www.ameliaislandjazzfestival.com.
Petanque America Open: Amelia Island, Florida
At the largest petanque (“pay-tonk”) tournament in the USA, visitors can join close to 300 petanque players on Amelia Island as they compete in this simplified version of an older outdoor bowling game. The goal is to toss or roll a number of hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden target ball. Players take turns and the team that ends up nearest to the target ball when all balls are played, wins. In 2012, the Petanque American Open included 256 players from 20 US States and 11 countries, including three prior world champions from France and Belgium. For more information, visit www.petanque-america-open.net.
Holiday Cookie Tour of Inns: Amelia Island, Florida
The Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast Association invites the public to enjoy its annual open-house and self-guided walking tour of inns, just in time for the 2013 holiday season. Tour guests will get a new set of decorating ideas this year because some inns will be decked out in their Christmas finery, while others will offer inspiration for Thanksgiving décor. The event will take place this year on Saturday, November 23 from noon to 5 p.m. Visitors will tour some of the most impressive buildings on the island, sample a signature cookie from each inn, and be entertained with history, complimentary carriage and trolley rides between stops, and collect heirloom recipes along the way. Inquire about special packages available for Tour weekend at your favorite inn. For more information, call (904) 277-2328 or visit ameliaislandinns.com.
Holiday Home Tour in Historic Fernandina Beach: Amelia Island, Florida
Tour several of Amelia Island’s loveliest, private homes in Fernandina Beach’s historic district during the Amelia Island Museum of History’s seventh annual celebration of the holiday season. For more information, visit www.ameliahometours.com.