This Week in St. Johns County

This Week in St. Johns County

Monday – Sunday: December 29 – January 4

Dressing of the Palms in Vilano Beach
The third annual Dressing of the Palms along Vilano Beach features palm trees decorated in holiday finery – A Celebration of Coastal Living. The trees showcase creative talents of residents, artists, businesses, clubs, schools, and organizations. Prizes for the best decorated palms will be awarded December 6 at the first Saturday Vilano Beach Sunset Celebration. Vilano Beach Main St., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 910-8386 or visit www.vilanobeachfl.com.

The First City through the Eyes of the Masters
This 450th Commemorative exhibition features St. Augustine-themed works from perhaps the best collection of Florida painters in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This includes the work of Frank Henry Shapleigh, who wintered at Henry Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel from 1886 to 1887 and was the hotel’s resident artist from 1889 to 1892. The exhibition is uniquely displayed in a then and now format. Each early St. Augustine painting is accompanied by a current photograph of the exact same location and perspective for visitors to explore how America’s first city has changed throughout history. The exhibition also features a walking tour brochure that provides locations, descriptions and distances to all of the St. Augustine historical sites depicted in the exhibition’s artwork. Free admission. Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Located at the St. Augustine Visitors Information Center, 10 West Castillo Dr. StAugustine-450.com

Lightner Museum Exhibition of Felix F. de Crano Paintings
This major exhibition features more than 30 local scenes, landscapes and portraits by Felix F. de Crano, arguably the most sophisticated and versatile artist in Henry Flagler’s colony of St. Augustine painters. This never before seen by the public compilation of 19th century oil and watercolor paintings is a colorful reminder of the splendor of St. Augustine’s Gilded Age. The museum is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Admission is: $10 adults; $6 active duty military with ID; $5 college student with ID; $5 ages 12-18; free for children under 12 (with adult). Located at 75 King St., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 824-2874 or visit www.lightnermuseum.org.

World Golf IMAX Theatre – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Tickets are Adults/$13; Military, Senior & Student/$12; Children E-tix/$10. Visit the website for showtimes at www.worldgolfimax.com or call (904) 940-4123. Located at One World Golf Place, St. Augustine.

Spanish El Galeon “Andalucia” in St. Augustine
The full-sized replica of a 16th century Spanish ship, El Galeon is open for tours at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. Named Andalucia, it is an exact replica of the famous galleons that played such an important role in the creation and maintenance of the Spanish Empire. It is similar to the galleon that brought Pedro Menendez to Florida where he founded St. Augustine in 1565. The ship is available for tours from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily. Admission to El Galeon is $15 for adults; $10 for children 5-12 and free for those younger than 5. Veterans and St. Johns County residents receive a $2 discount per ticket. Located at 111 Avenida Menendez. Call (904) 824-1606 or visit www.elgaleon.org.

Nights of Lights
During Nights of Lights, nearly three million tiny white lights bring the glow of holiday magic to St. Augustine – from the ground to the rooftops. Selected by National Geographic in 2011 and 2012 as one of the ten best holiday lighting displays in the world. Holiday music, the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree and an exciting countdown add to the splendor of the lighting of this dazzling holiday light display. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting reflects the city’s 449-year history and illuminates the beautiful setting for lasting holiday memories. The lights are displayed through February 1. www.floridashistoriccoast.com/nights

Nights of Lights Tours
There are numerous special Nights of Lights Tours offered through the Holiday Season. Special Trolley and Train tours, food tours, carriage rides, history tours, helicopter tours, electric car tours and more – all providing brilliant adventures to enhance the St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights experience. Nights of Lights Tours

Ongoing Special Tours
For a complete list of Nights of Lights, eco/kayak, food, history, and other tours taking place on Florida’s Historic Coast this week, visit things-to-do/sightseeing tours.

Monday – Friday: December 29 – January 2

Undisclosed: Photographs from the Hidden Lightner Exhibition
For the past two years, photographer Theresa Segal has explored the historic Lightner Museum’s restricted fourth floor: 44 small rooms that were the servants quarters of the Alcazar Hotel, but now make up “the best attic in the world,” says Segal. This new exhibition features a selection of 20 of her photographs that chronicle the museum’s hidden, stored collections. Regular museum admission is $10 adults; $6 for active duty military; $5 college student and youth ages 12-18; under 12 are free. Located at 75 King St., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 824-2874 or visit www.lightnermuseum.org.

Monday – Saturday:  December 29 – January 3

Oldest Wooden School House: A Traditional Menorcan Christmas
Celebrate a Traditional Menorcan Christmas at The Oldest Wooden School House. Located in what was known as the Menorcan Quarter of historic St. Augustine, the School House dates back to the 1700s. The Menorcans are the foundation of St. Augustine as a living, viable city. Stop in to see the beautiful museum and garden lit by the soft glow of the Nights of Lights as well as a traditional Christmas tree and decor. Winter hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday – Thursday & 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday as well as the week of December 23 – January 3. Admission is $4.95 for adults; $3.95 for children ages 6 -12, under 6 free. Located at 14 St. George St., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 824-0192 or visit www.oldestwoodenschoolhouse.com.

Wednesday:  December  31

Farmer’s Arts and Crafts Market
Farmer’s Market located at the oceanside St. Johns County Pier Park featuring selections of fresh produce, plants, baked goods, fine art, jewelry and more! Open 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. rain or shine. Located at 350 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine Beach. Call (904) 347-8007, for more information.

Lightner Museum Curator Tours
Lightner Museum curator provides a themed interactive tour designed to give participants an opportunity to see acquisitions in operation rather than just as static displays. The tour, which is included in admission, takes place at 10 a.m. on the second floor of Lightner Museum. Regular admission is $10 adults; $6 for active duty military; $5 college student and youth ages 12-18; under 12 are free. Located at 75 King St., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 824-2874 or visit www.lightnermuseum.org.

Beach Blast-Off 2015
Kick off 2015 in seaside style at this special St. Augustine Beach event! Voted the Best Family New Year’s Event in Florida, Beach Blast Off features great food, lots of live music, ice sculptures, an exciting Kids’ Zone – and fireworks! The event is 4-10 p.m. with The Fire and Ice Chili Cook-off — a regional qualifier for the World Chili Cook-off Championships —  from 5 – 6 p.m. Taste and vote for your favorite! At 8:30 p.m., a huge fireworks show ushers in the New Year! Admission is free. Located at 350 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine Beach. For more information, call (904) 501-4556 or visit www.beachblastoff.com.

Flagler College New Year’s Eve Gala
Ring in the New Year and celebrate 126 years of the Hotel Ponce de Leon with an evening of historic elegance – dining and dancing the night away. Flagler College’s New Year’s Eve Gala takes place in the Ponce de Leon Dining Hall from 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. Black tie attire. The evening will include cocktail hour, dinner and dessert buffets, open bar, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $200 per person and benefit the Flagler College Scholarship Fund. Located at 74 King St., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 829-6481 or visit www.flagler.edu.

Thursday: January 1

First Day Hike: Beach Clean-Up at Anastasia State Park
Ring in the New Year at Anastasia State Park and join the First Day Hike Beach Clean-Up from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. There are 4 miles of beach which are home to important wildlife, such as the endangered Anastasia Island Beach Mouse and shorebirds. Trash bags provided. Suggested items to bring are comfortable walking shoes, water, a hat, sunscreen, and gloves. Please RSVP to Brittany McDermott at (904) 461-2035. Pre-register for free park entry for this event. Otherwise regular park entry fees apply: $4/single-occupant vehicle, $8/vehicle with 2-8 occupants, or $2/bicyclist. This event is weather permitting and subject to cancellation. Located at 300 Anastasia Park Rd., St. Augustine. Call (904) 461-2033 or visit www.floridastateparks.org/anastasia.

Thursday – Sunday: January 1 – 4

Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical at Limelight Theatre
Based on the movie of the same name, Miracle on 34th Street The Musical features a book and score by Meredith Wilson. The story takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City and follows the impact a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa has on a child. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $25; $22 seniors; $20 student and military. Located at 11 Old Mission Ave., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 825-1164 or visit www.limelight-theatre.org.

Friday: January 2 

First Friday Art Walk
From 5 – 9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, the Art Galleries of St. Augustine feature new exhibits, refreshments and live music at more than 20 galleries. The event is held rain or shine inside the member galleries and is a free, self-guided walking tour (tour maps available at participating galleries). Plus, free Art Walk Trolleys and Trains provided by St. Augustine Sightseeing Trains and Old Town Trolleys, provide free transportation throughout downtown for the art walk. For more information, call 832-779-2781 or visit www.floridashistoriccoast.com.

Meet The Treasure Hunters
From 6 – 8 p.m., The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum hosts Mark Anthony, a treasure diver and collector known worldwide and founder of St. Augustine’s ‘Treasures by Mark Anthony’. To have an item appraised by Anthony, send a photo of it along with a brief description to tracy@thepiratementmuseum.com in advance. The event is free. Located at 12 S. Castillo Dr., St. Augustine. For more information, call 877-467-5863 or visit www.thepiratemuseum.com.

Amiro Art & Found Displays “Celebrate the Human Form and Mother Nature”
As part of St. Augustine’s Art Walk from 5 – 9 p.m., Amiro Art & Found hosts Estella Fransbergen sculpts torsos in both clay and raku firing and wax for bronze castings. The Gallery is open Thursday-Monday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays until 7 p.m. Located at 9C Aviles St., St. Augustine. Call (904) 824-8460 or visit www.amiroartandfound.com.

Friday – Sunday: January 2 – 4

St. Augustine Art Association’s Fantastic Florida!
First Friday Art Walk grand opening reception for the St. Augustine Art Association’s Fantastic Florida! The show runs through February 1 and celebrates the sights and structures, beaches, and byways, flora and fauna, history and happenings that are uniquely Florida. The gallery reception is 5 – 9 p.m. on the 2nd. The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday noon – 4 p.m. and Sunday 2 – 5 p.m. Admission is free. Located at 22 Marine St. St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 824-2310 or visit www.floridashistoriccoast.com.

Saturday:  January 3

Old City Farmers’ Market
Features locally grown fresh produce, baked goods, plants and more. Located at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 1340 A1A, St. Augustine. Open 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (904) 471-3733.

GTM Research Reserve Guided Cultural Hike
The first Saturday of each month at 8:30 a.m. features a Guided Cultural Hike that focuses on the Guana Peninsula’s 5,000 years of human history. This 1.5 mile guided walking tour departs from the Trailhead Pavilion located just west of the Guana Dam. The programs are free. There is a $3 parking fee. Located at 505 Guana River Rd., Ponte Vedra Beach. For more information, call (904) 823-4500 or visit gtmnerr.org.

Bring It On 2015 5K Trail Run and Hike
Get 2015 off to a fun and athletic start on the Bring It On 2015 5K Trail Run and Hike on a paved course through the woods and roads of Nocatee. This event benefits Special Olympics of St. Johns and Duval County and includes a long-sleeved shirt and medal for all runners. Plus, there’s an awards celebration after the race.  The hike is one-mile in distance and is not timed — it’s all for fun. The 5K run is out and back through Nocatee. Awards given in numerous categories and age groups. Day of race registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and is $40 for the run and $30 for the hike ($35 and $25 for online registration through 4 p.m. Jan. 2). The race begins at 10 a.m. from the intersection of Village Lake Drive and Town Plaza Avenue (directly behind Publix at 120 Marketside Ave., Ponte Vedra). specialolympicsflorida.org/duval/news-events

Living History Day at Fort Matanzas
From 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., authentically clad reenactors demonstrate Spanish cannons at this fortress that guarded the southern approach to St. Augustine. Admission is free including the ferry ride to and from Rattlesnake Island. Fort Matanzas National Monument is located at 8635 A1A, approximately 15 miles south of St. Augustine. Call (904) 471-0116 or visit www.nps.gov.

Fountain of Youth: Cherokee History Presentations
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., native Cherokee historians describe how their people interacted with the local Timucua for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. The presentations take place in the living history village of Seloy at the Fountain of Youth Park.  Park admission is $12 Adults, $11 seniors, $8 Children 6 – 12 applies (local discount available). Located at 11 Magnolia Ave., St. Augustine. For more information, call (904) 829-3168 or visit www.fountainofyouthflorida.com.

Vilano Beach Sunset Celebration
A celebration of a spectacular sunset across the bay featuring dozens of market vendors, live music, local arts and crafts and more at the Vilano Pier on the Intracoastal Waterway. Activities are from 3 p.m. – dusk. Admission is free. Located at 260 Vilano Rd., St. Augustine. Call (904) 540-0402 or visit www.vilanobeachfl.com.

Sunday: January 4

Sunset/Moonrise at St. Augustine Lighthouse
Enjoy the sunset and moonrise from the top of the Lighthouse! The $30 admission includes a champagne toast, provided by San Sebastian Winery, hors d’oeuvres from The Reef and an informative overview of the history of the St. Augustine Light Station. Located at 81 Lighthouse Ave., St. Augustine. Call (904) 829-0745 or visit www.staugustinelighthouse.org.

NOTE: St. Johns County residents with a valid ID are always admitted free of charge to the Oldest House, the Lightner Museum, the Ximenez-Fatio House, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, City Walks History Mystery Murder Evening Tour, and the Hotel Ponce de Leon Legacy Tours at Flagler College. The daily tours and wine tastings at the San Sebastian Winery and St. Augustine Distillery are free to everyone. Also, admission is free to everyone at the Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Photios Chapel, the Pena-Peck House, the Father Miguel O’Reilly Museum and the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum (donations are welcomed). Many other local attractions offer discounted admissions to St. Johns County residents with valid ID.

For more information on events and activities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, visit the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.floridashistoriccoast.com or call 1-800-653-2489.