Holiday entertainment begins this weekend

St. Augustine Visitors and Convention Bureau Communications Director Jay Humphreys informed Historic City News reporters that holiday entertainment begins this weekend along with early opportunities to make a dent in this year’s shopping list.

Friday: November 18

CANNON UNVEILING AT THE LIGHTHOUSE

See history come to life when marine archaeologists from the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum unveil a cannon recovered earlier this summer from a shipwreck found off the St. Augustine coast. This rare cannon was covered in concretion from the shipwreck site that has already produced five cauldrons, a gentleman’s pocket pistol and a ship’s bell. The unveiling event starts at 6 p.m. with beer, wine and sangria being served. The unveiling is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in the courtyard of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, located at 81 Lighthouse Avenue. There is a recommended donation of $20 per person. For more information about the Cannon Unveiling, contact the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum at (904) 829-0745

Friday and Saturday: November 18 & 19

HOLIDAY SHOPPES

Get some extraordinary one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach, 50 Executive Way. The Cultural Center will be transformed into a mini-mall with 18 handpicked boutiques from all over the country brimming with unique gift ideas for the whole family. Admission is $5. The times are Friday 9 a.m. to 5p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 904.280.0614.

Saturday and Sunday: November 19 & 20

ST. AUGUSTINE MARATHON WEEKEND
Put on your running shoes and participate in a foot race that suites your running level. On Saturday there will be a 10K run at 7 a.m.; a Family 5K Run at 7:15 a.m.; and the St. Augustine’s Kids Race at 9:30 a.m. Then on Sunday at 6:05 a.m., the starter’s pistol will fire for the St. Augustine Full Marathon & Half Marathon. The Marathon course will be USATF-certified. Each run takes place at various locations between St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach. A special awards presentation will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. at the City Marina. For more information and registration, call 305.716.1111.

MID-MORNING KAYAK TOUR

Grab breakfast and then head to downtown St. Augustine for an amazing 10am-12pm kayak trip! A great way to see the salt marsh up close and discover the treasures it beholds. Recent sightings include dolphins and bald eagles! Call St. Augustine Eco Tours at 904-377-7245 for reservations. $40/adult, $35 ages 6-12.

Saturday: November 19

CRUISE TO FORT MATANZAS
Go on a spectacular boating experience AND get FREE coffee and bagels courtesy of Everything Bagel on this special 9 a.m. to noon cruise from the Vilano Boat Ramp. USCG-certified captain takes passengers on an interesting tour to Fort Matanzas. Book individually at $30 per person, reservations required. Call Captain Mike at 352.246.3836.

SCENIC A1A 72-MILE GARAGE SALE

Discover the scenic beauty of A1A while shopping at group garage sales from Ponte Vedra to Flagler Beach. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., this 72-mile stretch of scenic, seaside highway will have huge garage sales at 10 designated stops along the way. Plus, you can tour the culture and history of the highway via a special cell phone tour. Sponsored by the Friends of A1A. For more information, call 904.425.8055 or 540.0402.

TOLOMATO CEMETERY TOURS

Come explore the historic markers at the oldest cemetery in Florida. The self-guided and docent led tours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Tolomato Cemetery is located on Cordova Street, the site of an earlier Franciscan Indian mission in St Augustine. Burials officially ceased in 1884. Visits are free of charge, but visitors are encouraged to offer a donation. All money goes to the preservation and restoration of the cemetery.

LA ASAMBLEA DE LA COSECHA / THE HARVEST MUSTER

Head over to the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum to experience a 16th-century Spanish Florida heritage event. There will be portrayals of the daily life, displays of foods and cooking demonstrations of early colonial Florida, and examples of Spanish colonial clothing, crafts, nautical arts, medicine, and weapons on display. It all takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mission of Nombre de Dios, located on San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine Admission to the Event and to the Museum is free of charge to the public. For more information, call 1-877-352-4478.

LIFE IN THE CREEK: SALT MARSHES OF FORT MOSE

Take a guided walk through the marshes and learn about natural communities, wildlife, plant identification and historical uses of the creek by the inhabitants of Fort Mose in the 1700s. The walk takes place at Fort Mose Historic State Park, located off US 1 north at 15 Fort Mose Trail in St. Augustine. The cost of the program starts at 1 p.m. and is included in the $2.00 per person entrance fee to the park’s visitor center. Children, six years old and under, are free. Participants should plan to bring water, insect repellent and wear appropriate footwear. Binoculars are recommended but not required. For more information, call 904-823-2232

FLAGLER CREATES

Support the artists and craftsmen at Flagler College during this afternoon of festivities on the lawn of Flagler College Campus. Students, staff, alumni and Flagler College families will display and offer for sale sell their creations, which include artwork, jewelry, sewn items, knitted accessories, clothing, accessories and photography. The sale takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Flagler College West Lawn at the corner of Sevilla and Valencia streets in St. Augustine.

BANDFEST

See some of the area’s hottest bands and soloists when Friends of St. Augustine Amphitheatre present Bandfest from 12:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the amphitheatre. Penguin Teeth Band, Will Pearsall, Rob Peck, Smokin Mirrors, Anthony Wild and the Suspects are just a few of the featured performers. Tickets are available at the door and through Ticket Master and are priced at $15 for adults and $10 for students. Half for the proceeds will be donated to St. Johns County schools. For more information, call 904.471.4113.
KIDS ROCK THE NATION AT ST. AUGUSTINE AMPHITHEATRE

Enjoy this all-day musical event from 12:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre featuring some of the area’s hottest bands and soloists and spotlighting the talent of Kids Rock the Nation Foundation award recipients. The Kids Rock the Nation Foundation, led by musician Anthony Wild of Palm Coast, promotes self-esteem through musical performance by recognizing and rewarding potential musical talent in kids nine to sixteen years old. Half of the proceeds will be donated to St. Johns County schools to provide opportunities for students to see and experience live performances. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students 18 and under. Children under five will be admitted free. The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is located at 1340 A1A in St. Augustine. For more information, call 904.471.4113.

MAYOR’S HOLIDAY LIGHTING GALA

Be a part of St. Augustine Mayor’s Holiday Lighting Gala. The fun begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the Government House at 5:30p.m. At 6:30 p.m., from the King’s Balcony, the Mayor will welcome the crowds in the Plaza de la Constitucion, for the Nights of Lights Lighting Ceremony. Following the Lighting Ceremony, Gala participants will be led by a 1740 Color Guard to the Courtyard of the historic Lightner Museum, located at 78 King Street, for dinner catered by Casa Monica Hotel, dancing to the music of The Committee and a silent auction. Tickets are $150 per person. All proceeds benefit the St. Francis House Transitional Housing Project. For additional information or to purchase tickets, call 904.825.1004.

18th ANNUAL NIGHTS OF LIGHTS CELEBRATION

More than three million tiny white lights will glow along the ancient streets and historic buildings of the Nation’s oldest city when the 18th Annual Nights of Lights celebration sparkles to life. The festivities begin in the Plaza at 4 p.m. with performances by Showtime USA and the All Star Orchestra. The lighting ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m.. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a lighted white candle during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting in St. Augustine reflects the city’s 447-year history while creating a beautiful setting for the holidays through January 31. For more information, 800.653.2489.

NIGHTS OF LIGHTS LIGHT UP NIGHT ABOARD VICTORY III

Hop aboard the Victory III Scenic Cruise at the St. Augustine Marina to watch the city come to light during the 18th annual lighting of St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights. Boarding is at 6 p.m. aboard the Victory III located at St. Augustine Municipal Marina, 111 Avenida Menendez, just south of the Bridge of Lions. Tickets are $17.76 (includes tax) for all ages and include free hot cocoa and cookies. For additional information call 904.824.1806 ext 210 or visit www.scenic-cruise.com

THE LIVES AND WIVES OF HENRY FLAGLER AT RAINTREE RESTAURANT

The Raintree Restaurant and the same production team that brought you “Murder in the Olde City”, are proud to present the public debut of “The Lives and Wives of Henry Flagler”, in a limited run just before the holidays begin. This dinner theatre experience will be staged AT Raintree Restaurant, located at 102 San Marco avenue in St. Augustine. Authored by Candace B. Fleming, a longtime St. Augustine resident and graduate of Flagler College, the play features Margaret Kaler, Dianne Jacoby, Darlene Jacobs, and Robert Gill. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $39.95 per person. For more information, call 904.824.7211

HOLLY JOLLY TROLLEY NIGHTS OF LIGHTS TOUR

Explore St. Augustine’s famous Nights of Lights in the cozy comfort of the Holly Jolly Trolleys. Guests of all ages delight at the festive glittering lights throughout St. Augustine’s historic area while enjoying caroling, hot apple cider and homemade cookies. Each guest will receive complimentary magical viewing glasses that will enhance the twinkle and glimmer of the lights. And, children and adults alike will get the chance to meet Santa during the tour. Tours are nightly through December 31 and take place between 6 and 8 p.m., departing from the St. Augustine Visitors Information Center, located at 11 W. Castillo Drive in St. Augustine. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children. For more information, call 904.829.3800.

ST. AUGUSTINE GOLD TOURS NIGHTS OF LIGHTS

Tour the dazzling display of lights in comfort and style with just 7 passengers on all electric silent shuttle bus with individual seat restraints. All tours are $7 (inclusive of 3D glasses) starting and finishing at the Old Drug Store car park on Orange Street where the kids can meet Santa.

Tours take place each night, except Tuesday from 5 till 10 p.m. For more information, call 904.325.0547

COMPLINE BY CANDLELIGHT

Add something special to the Nights of Lights lighting ceremonies by attending Compline by Candlelight at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. More popularly known as Night Prayer, it is the Church’s final liturgical service of any given day. The Schola Cantorae of the Cathedral will provide music for the liturgy. The chanting of music and the beautiful Cathedral lit by candles provide an unforgettable holiday experience. Compline by Candlelight begins at 8:30 p.m. For more information, call 904.824.2806.

PRIVATE NIGHTS OF LIGHTS TOUR CHARTERS

Plan a private tour of the Nights of Lights for your large group. Old Town Trolley Tours offers a special 40-minute tour for groups of 20 or more. Tours are available in advance every night except Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Private tour rates are $9 for adults and $4 for children. Tours depart from the Visitor Information Center, located at 11 W Castillo Drive in St. Augustine. For more information, call 904.829.3800.

Sunday: November 20

PRANCER’S PUTT-PUTT

Stop by Ripley’s Bayfront Golf at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina for a round of golf with Prancer and his friend. Bayfront Golf will be transformed into a mini-North Pole through the holidays. Bayfront Golf’s Prancer’s Putt-Putt golf is open through January 2 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Regular prices are $4.50 for adults and $3.50 for children, or just $1 per person when purchased with tickets for Santa’s Big Red Christmas Train tours. Bayfront Golf is located at 11 Avenida Menendez ion St. Augustine’s Bayfront. For more information, call 904-824-1606.

SANTA’S BIG RED CHRISTMAS TRAIN

Come ride Santa’s Big Red Christmas Train this Ho-Ho-Holiday Season! Get into the holiday spirit as our Big Red Trains transport you through our magical city to view the Nights of Lights celebration nightly through January 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 -9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $7 for adults ages 12 and over and $3 for children ages 3-1. Ticket includes complimentary magical glasses that make the light displays extra amazing. December 2nd through 24th tours include stops at Santa’s Village and Prancer’s Putt-Putt for only $1 each! 904.824.1606

NOTE: St. Johns County residents with a valid ID are always admitted free of charge to the Lightner Museum, the Fountain of Youth (special events excluded), the Ximenez-Fatio House, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, and the Spanish Military Hospital Museum. The daily tours and wine tastings at the San Sebastian Winery are free to everyone. Also, admission is free to everyone at the Authentic Old Drug Store, Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Photios Chapel, the Pena-Peck House, the Father Miguel O’Reilly Museum and the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum.

For more information on events and activities, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com or call 1.800.653.2489.
Jay Humphreys, Communications Director
St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau
29 Old Mission Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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