10 Eventful Reasons to Visit Amelia Island
LOCATED IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA, Amelia Island is a charming barrier island that captivates visitors with breathtaking natural beauty, Southern elegance and hospitality, and a collection of upscale accommodations and historical inns. If Amelia Island’s 13 miles of beach and array of outdoor activities haven’t convinced you to book your getaway, here are ten, can’t-miss events for 2017. There's something amazing happening all year on Amelia Island, where events celebrating nature, art, culture and one special crustacean abound. This list will get you anxiously reviewing your calendar for your next opportunity for an Amelia Island getaway!
1. AMELIA ISLAND CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
February 6- April 23, 2017
The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival (AICMF) showcases world-renowned artists performing a variety of music styles in intimate and historic settings on Amelia Island. Celebrating its 16th season, the AICMF has become one of the most prestigious music events of its kind in the Southeast. Headliner violinist Itzhak Perlman kicks off the 2017 series with other musical performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Christiania Trio, Dover Quartet, Valentina Lisitsa and more.
2. AMELIA CONCOURS WEEK
March 8-19, 2017
The annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is one of the top automotive events in the world. “The Amelia” features over 300 rare vehicles from seldom-seen private collections around the world at The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Amelia Concours Week now extends into an 11-day automotive celebration like no other featuring six signature events from March 9-19.
The week includes the Amelia Island Vintage Grand Prix, which recalls the heyday of American road racing, as well as auctions by Bonhams and Gooding & Company, which showcase a curated lineup of cars that complement The Concours and always invites spirited bidding in a setting of southern elegance.
3. KATIE RIDE FOR LIFE
April 22, 2017
The Katie Ride for Life is a premier bicycle touring event catering to cyclists of all abilities. The annual fundraiser is held on beautiful Amelia Island and features routes of 100, 62, 36, and 18 miles plus a fun ride and an off-road ride through Fort Clinch. Created in 2005, the Katie Ride raises awareness for organ donation and supports the Katie Caples Foundation, a nationally recognized organ donor education program.
4. SOUNDS ON CENTRE
First Fridays from April 2017 through October 2017 (except May 5)
Offering the quintessential small-town charm, Sounds On Centre offers a family-friendly street concert in historic downtown Fernandina the first Friday of each month from April through October (minus May during Shrimp Festival). This free concert features a variety of music including blues, oldies, reggae, and big band. Sounds on Centre helps create the feeling of Mayberry on barrier island.
5. ISLE OF EIGHT FLAGS SHRIMP FESTIVAL
May 5-7, 2017
Celebrating its 54th year, the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival lures thousands of visitors to historic downtown Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island to celebrate all things shrimp. The popular event features free admission, a nationally recognized juried fine arts and craft show, antiques, live entertainment, kids activities, contests, pirates and more! Dozens of food vendors serve up the tastiest shrimp you can find prepared every way possible by local non-profit organizations.
6. FISH TO FORK
May 18-May 21, 2017
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort will host the 4th Annual Fish to Fork weekend, May 18-21. Renowned chefs from around the country will showcase their fishing and culinary skills with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful tree canopies as the backdrop. The weekend will offer an unmatched foodie experience with true dock-to-dish specialties, culminating with a final chef showdown on Saturday night with a live vote from event guests.
7. WILD AMELIA NATURE FESTIVAL
May 20-21, 2017
The Wild Amelia Nature Festival invites visitors to experience the wilder side of Amelia Island! Visitors can enjoy numerous guided eco-tours led by area naturalists and park rangers, an EcoExpo feature featuring nature-based vendors and organizations, nature-based activities for children, and much more.
8. AMELIA ISLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL
October 1-10, 2017
The Amelia Island Jazz Festival provides a rich, diverse cultural offering, exposing thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to the sounds, excitement and vitality of great jazz, all in a beautiful island setting. The Festival presents world-class jazz in many styles, including swing, bebop, Dixieland, big band, Latin, and contemporary. During the weeklong festival, held in October each year, music is performed by jazz greats as well as fresh, up-and-coming young talent.
9. PÉTANQUE AMERICA OPEN
November 10-12, 2017
The international community of Pétanque gathers when players compete at the downtown marina, surround by plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops – much like the French Mediterranean coast, where the sport started in 1907. This year’s 11th Annual Pétanque Open returns to Amelia Island for the ninth time, bringing players of all skill levels - from beginners to world champions – together for unmatched, sporting event. The largest pétanque tournament in the United States, this event is free to public spectators.
10. DICKENS ON CENTRE
December 7-10, 2017
Amelia Island transforms historic Centre Street in downtown Fernandina Beach into a 19th century Christmas village for the annual 3rd Dickens on Centre holiday event, December 7-10. Recalling Charles Dickens’ early Victorian era Britain, the event includes horse-drawn carriage rides and period vendors, characters and entertainers, along with festive lights and holiday décor, seasonal entertainment and tastes of the holidays. Dickens on Centre complements the island’s popular Holiday Home Tour (Dec. 1-2), Bed & Breakfast Holiday Cookie Tour (Dec. 9), and many other holiday events.
Situated between Georgia’s Golden Isles and historic St. Augustine, Amelia Island is about a five-house drive from Charlotte, and just 30 minutes from Jacksonville International Airport, with 55 weekly flights from Douglas International Airport. Whether you plan to attend one of Amelia’s festivals or sporting events, or are just looking for a beach getaway, come make memories on enchanting Amelia Island. Plan your vacation today at AmeliaIsland.com.