By DVI Intern, Je’Nisa Waugh
December is the season of joy here in #DTJax. Celebrate the holidays with good company, sparkly decorations, tasty treats, singing your favorite carols and holiday festivities. Check out some holiday shows to relive past memories and make new ones. Shop small at your favorite local business and get a holiday surprise for a loved one. Turn up some holiday music and enjoy what the holidays have to offer.
Don’t be a grinch, celebrate the season!
Holiday on the River and Dance Series
Nov. 30 – Dec. 22 | Time varies per day
The 2016 Holiday on the River Concert and Dance Series kicks off on Wednesday, November 30 and will continue through Thursday, December 22. Enjoy the holiday season as local schools, churches and dance groups perform in front of the 56-foot tall Christmas Tree in the Courtyard. Performances take place during lunch and in the evenings. Every day offers a different performance so be sure to check them out.
Downtown Dazzle: An Illumination Celebration
Jacksonville Children’s Chorus
Nov. 25 – Dec. 31 | 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus (JCC) is proud to present its second annual downtown holiday celebration by illuminating the outside of its downtown office, located at 225 East Duval Street, with festive lights synchronized to recorded songs of the season performed by JCC. Holiday, Christmas and Hanukkah songs will be broadcast on 94.5 FM radio for onlookers to enjoy.
Each night, 12-minute presentations and synchronized lights designed by Darren Hufty, who along with Miller Electric, bring the building and the downtown block to life.
Jacksonville’s favorite holiday tradition is back and better than ever. Featuring the talents of the Jacksonville Symphony, the Symphony Chorus and guest performers. Enjoy holiday favorites and don’t miss out on Jacksonville’s only indoor snowfall. Gather friends and family to celebrate the holiday season together.
Cars and Coffee Cruise-in
Dec. 10 | 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Automotive Addicts Cars & Coffee Jacksonville, FL is recognized as a monthly automotive cruise-in event, much like a car show only free for show entrants and spectators. Automotive Addicts is Jacksonville’s premier car show for automotive enthusiasts and regularly attracts over 500 vehicles each month welcoming all makes and models of all years. Automotive Addicts Cars & Coffee Jacksonville, FL is held every second Saturday of each month.
The Children’s Christmas Party of Jacksonville
Prime Osborn Convention Center
Dec. 10 | 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Free to Duval County children in need (infant through 12 years old) and their parents, guardians, chaperones. First come, first served. No application or registration required.
Thousands of children along with their parents stand in line (first come, first served) to receive toys and a chance to win a bike. Once the doors open, the children and parents enter a beautifully decorated Party and are greeted by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Each child chooses several toys among electronics, balls, games, musical instruments, preschool learning toys and infant toys. In addition, they receive novelty toys, books and pencils.
The Children’s Christmas Party of Jacksonville is a non-profit charity organization. Their mission is to provide toys to Jacksonville’s children who otherwise might not receive gifts for the holiday. For more information, go to www.ccpoj.org.
Force Fest returns to Hemming Park in Downtown Jacksonville to celebrate the release of the new film ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story. Experience a giant light saber battle, guest stars, cosplayers, artists, live entertainment, interactive activities, prop replicas, music, vendors, food trucks and more!
Dec. 10 | 2 p.m.
The Jacksonville Landing is hosting the 22nd Annual Tuba Christmas, more than 180 tubas join together to play some of your favorite holiday music. A tuba christmas is a music concert held in cities worldwide that celebrates those who play, teach, and compose music for instruments in the tuba family. To learn more about a tuba christmas, read about it here.
HOBNOB for the Holidays
Join HOBNOB for a festive fashion and food experience featuring catwalk displays of seasonal apparel and accessories from some of the best local boutiques in Jacksonville, Florida. Some feature holiday specials include:
- $5 Special Poinsettia and Mimosa drinks by HOBNOB.
- Receive 20% off entree with purchase during the event.
- Complimentary blowouts from DryBar.
Reservations are recommended for outside dining.
Come celebrate the season with an evening of caroling and music for all ages. Free cookies and hot chocolate and community caroling in the Unity plaza. Make a night of it and make reservations at HOBNOB or Brixx for a family holiday dinner.
Bring the kids out to Unity Plaza for a morning with Santa and stay for a special Santa Brunch to enjoy as a family. Free holiday pancakes for the kids, with regular menu purchase for the adults. There will also be special holiday drinks for the adults to enjoy.
Mark your calendar for a fantastic New Year’s Eve and be ready to dress to impress. HOBNOB will be offering a $75 three course dinner, a special VIP lounge with open bar and hor d’oeuvres, fireworks and champagne toasting at midnight and much more. Seat will fill quickly so make sure to make reservations today.
Check out unityplaza.org for more details.
The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of Country hits – including the Country-Pop chart-topper “Elvira,” as well as “Bobbie Sue,” “Dream On,” “Thank God For Kids,” “American Made,” “I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes,” “Fancy Free,” “Gonna Take A Lot Of River“ and many others.
With timeless hits and holiday classics like “White Christmas” and “Jingle Bells” mixed with some very poignant newer songs like “Getting Ready for A Baby’”and “Mary Did You Know,” this two hour holiday show is a favorite with fans. Get your tickets today!
Efficiency Arts is a consortium of film industry professionals. This contest partners with businesses located on Bay Street to promote art and film in the Downtown Entertainment District, The Elbow. A fun competition with a holiday theme for teams of actors, writers, directors and editors. Join all the teams at Bay St. Bar and Grill for the viewing party on December 21!
Jaxsons Night Market
Dec. 15 | 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
It’s the final Jaxsons Night Market of the year. To end the year, there will be a fashion and food truck takeover. In the heart of #DTJax at Hemming Park come shop, eat and celebrate what makes Jaxsons so unique. There will be artisanal food producers, fashion vendors, tons of food trucks, craft beer and live music
Come shop local, eat local and celebrate what makes us uniquely Jaxsons including Jacksonville makers, artisanal food producers, fashion vendors, food trucks, craft beer and live music.
Debuted last year to rave critical and fan reviews, and based on TSO’s multi-platinum DVD and long running PBS fundraiser, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” follows the journey of a runaway who breaks into an abandoned vaudeville theater on December 24th. The rock opera features such enduring fan-favorites as “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” “O’ Come All Ye Faithful,” “Good King Joy,” “Christmas Canon,” “Music Box Blues,” “Promises To Keep,” and “This Christmas Day.”
First ACT, the nonprofit Florida Theatre’s young professional networking group, presents the film The Polar Express, to benefit Feeding Northeast Florida. The 2004 animated firm, starring Tom Hanks in six different roles, is the story of a young bot on a magical adventure to the North Pole. Traveling on the Polar Express, he learns about friendship, bravery and the spirit of Christmas. Come early and have your picture taken with Santa and enjoy free hot chocolate!
Holidays in Hemming: Winter Village
Dec. 17 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Come out to this family-friendly holiday event by Hemming Park, Sweet Pete’s Candy and Fun4FirstCoastKids.com Winter Village. Children will enjoy train rides, face painting, a snow zone, scrumptious sweets, wintery crafts, ornament decorating, photos with Santa inside Sweet Pete’s Candy, holiday story time, live music by the Crescendo Amelia Big Band, local food trucks and more. Check out the classic holiday markets and stock up on gifts and toys from different local small businesses.
Shop Small Crawl
Dec. 17 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Take advantage of great deals before the holidays! Monroe Galleries, Magnificat Cafe, Chamblin’s Uptown and Bark Downtown will have specials going on and fun events for the kiddos to stay busy while the parents SHOP! Monroe Galleries will be making ornaments, The Magnificat Cafe will have cookie decorating, and Chamblin’s Uptown will read stories. So come Downtown and Shop Till You Drop! Hemming Park will be having a big event for the family at the same time, rumor has it there may be SNOW!
Yappy Hour Christmas “Paw”ty
The Jacksonville Landing
Dec. 18 | 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
B.Y.O.D (bring your own dog) and join us for the final Yappy Hour of the 2016 Season!! There will be live entertainment, free prizes, cash giveaways, drinks specials and more.
The Landing Courtyard will be decorated up for the holiday season with Christmas Trees and ornaments-a-plenty. Have your pooch’s picture taken with Santa and find out who will be named Santa’s Little Helper.
If you want to show off your pup to everyone you can send in a Christmas photo and watch it rotate on the 14-foot jumbotron in the Courtyard during Yappy Hour!
This celebrated Charles Jones adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is rich with thrilling ensemble music, alive with color and movement, and is created to tell this great and enduring tale in a manner that people of all ages will enjoy.
Woven throughout this classic tale are beautiful new arrangements and moving renditions of holiday songs such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Wassail Wassail”, “Good Christian Men Rejoice”, “Away in a Manger”, “Greensleeves”, “The Boar’s Head Carol” and many more. Featuring a cast of 23 performers, live musicians, and Broadway-style scenery and costumes, audiences cherish this sumptuous holiday classic.
First airing in 1964, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer has become a beloved Christmas classic – capturing the hearts and wonder of generations of fans. Now, more than 50 years later, something magical is happening as the beloved classic soars off the screen and onto the stage. All of your favorite characters from the original TV special including, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, the Misfit Toys and, of course, Rudolph, come to life in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical.
Noche de Parranda
Dec. 23 | 7 p.m.
Celebrate the season at this cultural event hosted by the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce. The Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was created to improve and expand the relationship between large and small businesses, while interacting and having knowledge of each other’s products and services. They expand their member’s business opportunities to other counties in Florida and nationwide. They create better and new ways to bring together the businesses and the community in Jacksonville Florida.
MOCA Jacksonville provides half-day and full-day sessions for kindergarten through fifth-grade students during winter break. Experienced art educators teach a variety of media and skills while providing the contemporary art history context for each project.
MOCA also offers daily Middle School Winter Art Camp classes for ages 11-15 to help students build their portfolios for designated arts middle and high school auditions.
For more information and class descriptions check out mocajacksonville.unf.edu
Murray & Peter proudly present a must see holiday spectacular with your favorite contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race (Logo TV). Super Fan packages are also available in the first 2 rows with a first-in-line meet and greet pass, official autographed tour poster and laminate with lanyard. This is an all-ages show. The holidays were never this naughty!
Light Boat Parade
Dec. 30 | 7 p.m.
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without the Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade. Each year, thousands of people line the banks of the St. Johns River to celebrate the holiday season. Seafarers and landlubbers of all ages are sure to be dazzled by Jacksonville’s largest lighted boat parade. The night is capped off by a dazzling fireworks display featuring the famous sparkling waterfalls on the bridges of the St. Johns River.
TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. University of Kentucky
Dec. 31 | 11 a.m.
Cost: Get tickets here
The TaxSlayer Bowl is truly more than a football game. December 27 through January 2 provides a week full of parties, activities and attractions for fans of all ages. All of the excitement comes to a end at EverBank Field as one of America’s most exciting bowl games gets underway. For a full schedule and more information on parking can be found at taxslayerbowl.com
After the TaxSlayer Bowl, enjoy a free outdoor concert! New Year’s Eve Bowl Bash will take place in The Elbow Jam with the stage located at the intersection of Ocean and Forsyth streets. The concert will kick off at 4:00 p.m. and include performances by Brothers Osborne, Brett Young, Maggie Rose, Tyler Hammond, Jordan Davis, Josh Phillips, Lockhart and DJ E.L.
NYE Bowl Bash VIP Area Tickets which include complimentary beer, wine and soda, are available at NYEbowlbash.com. Fans and locals can come Downtown to ring in 2017 with the New Year’s Eve Bowl Bash and fireworks along the St. Johns River. For more information on TaxSlayer Bowl weekend events or to purchase tickets, visit TaxSlayerBowl.com.