FREE SHUTTLES DURING NIGHTS OF LIGHTS
Nov. 19-Dec. 24: On SATURDAYS during Nights of Lights, there are free Park ‘n Ride Shuttles, a free transportation service to and from downtown St. Augustine. Running on a continuous schedule from 1 to 11 p.m., the Park ‘n Ride Shuttle will serve each location approximately every 20 minutes, bringing passengers to the Historic Downtown Parking Facility adjacent to the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center, 10 S. Castillo Dr., from three satellite parking locations (see locations below). To download the Park ‘n Ride Shuttle map, go to www.ParkStAug.com
Park ‘n Ride satellite parking locations
- St. Johns County Administration Building / 500 San Sebastian View (handicap accessible)
- St. Johns County Health Department / 200 San Sebastian View (handicap accessible)
- San Marco Ave. / 301 San Marco Ave.
NIGHTS OF LIGHTS
Nov. 19-Jan. 31: The 23rd Annual Nights of Lights opens on Saturday, Nov. 19 during Light-Up Night, an event that includes live music in the Plaza de la Constitucion, between King Street and Cathedral Place in downtown St. Augustine. The music will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the lighting ceremony will start at 6:30 p.m. Each year, former St. Augustine mayors gather to flip the switch during Light Up Night. The City of St. Augustine’s giant tree in the Plaza is lit first, then all the lights come on surrounding the area. Many families start the holiday season with this tradition — going to dinner downtown and and then watching as the lights are turned on. Nights of Lights, which includes more than 2 million lights on city buildings and businesses, continues through Jan. 31, 2016. Go to nightsoflights.com
VILLA ZORAYDA HOLIDAY TOURS
Dec. 3, Dec. 14, Dec. 17, Dec. 21, Dec. 27, Dec. 30 and Jan. 1: The Villa Zorayda offers Candlelight Tours of the Museum on select dates during the holidays. Over 100 candles illuminate the tours throughout this unusual former home. Lavish Christmas decorations in Zorayda colors of red and gold are everywhere, with a spectacular Christmas tree taking center stage in the interior Court of Lions. The 90-minute tours begin at 6:30 p.m. each night. Tours that include refreshments are $18 for adults; $8 for kids ages 7-12, and free for children ages 4-6. Tours that do NOT include refreshments are $15 for adults and $7 for kids ages 7-12. The Candlelight Tours are not recommended for children 3 and younger. The Villa Zorayda is located at 83 King St., downtown St. Augustine, across from Flagler College. Call 904-829-9887 or go to www.villazorayda.com
HOLLY JOLLY HOLIDAY TROLLEY
Nov. 20-Jan. 2: Hope on the Holly Jolly Holiday Trolley to view the Nights of Lights. The trolleys depart from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 20 through Jan. 2 for a 30- minute tour of the oldest city. Cost is $12.99 for adults, and $5.99 for children ages 6 to 12. Tours leave from the Visitors Information Center, 10 Castillo Drive. Call 904-829-3800 or go to www.trolleytours.com
BIG RED CHRISTMAS TRAIN
Nov. 20-Jan. 5: All aboard Ripley’s Red Trains for an amazing lightseeing tour of the Oldest City, decked out with millions of white lights. All guests get a free pair of magic glasses guaranteed to make holiday magic appear before their very eyes. Go to www.ripleys.com/redtrains for tickets.
COTTON PATCH GOSPEL
Dec. 1-31: Presented in a setting of rural Georgia with country music songs by Harry Chapin, Cotton Patch Gospel is on stage Dec. 1-31 on the Matuza Main Stage at Limelight Theare, 11 Old Mission Ave., uptown St. Augustine. Herod is the governor of Atlanta and, inevitably, Christ is lynched by local thugs — only to rise again. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and on Terrific Tuesday on Dec. 6. Sunday performance is a 2 p.m. matinee. Tickets are $26 for all seats, with $15 tickets for the preview show on Dec. 1 and Terrific Tuesday on Dec. 6. Go to www.limelight-theatre.org or call 904-825-1164.
ELF JR. THE MUSICAL
Dec. 9-11: Based on the beloved holiday film, Elf Jr. The Musical is a hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy that follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity. Show times are 5 p.m. Dec. 9; 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 10; and 11 a.m. Dec. 11 at Limelight Theatre, 11 Old Mission Ave., uptown St. Augustine. Directed by Madi Mack, students in Limelight’s KidzfACTory program will play popular characters in this holiday play. Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children, available at limelight-theatre.org or by calling 904-825-1164.
A BETHELEM VISIT
Dec. 9-10: Take a walk through the town of Bethlehem and see how it might have looked on the night of Jesus’ birth. Seek out the lowly manger and the Christ Child. Hours are 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9; and 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. at Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church, 4510 Palm Valley Road, Ponte Vedra Beach. A cast of more than 200 people, plus live animals, portray the residents, merchants and craftsmen. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Admission is FREE. Parking is $5 per vehicle at the PGA Tour lot off County Road 210, with FREE shuttles. The church is located 2.5 miles west of A1A. Call 904-285-8225 or go to www.pvpc.com
REGATTA OF LIGHTS
Dec. 10: St. Augustine’s annual Regatta of Lights begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 on Matanzas Bay, sponsored by the St. Augustine Yacht Club. View boats decorated in lights and holiday decor, all parading along the bayfront near the Bridge of Lions. Arrive early to find parking and a spot to watch the parade. Spectators can view the event for FREE. Call 904-824-9725 or go to www.staugustineyachtclub.com
SANTA SUITS ON THE LOOSE 5K
Dec. 10: St. Augustine Youth Services hosts a 5K at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier, 350 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine Beach. The race begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 (6:30 a.m. registration begins). Registration is $30 (after Nov. 1) and $35 the day of the race. The race is professionally timed and scored, and follows a flat 3.1 mile course through St. Augustine Beach neighborhoods. Choice of Santa suit or T-shirt (Santa Suit to first 100 registrants only). Go to www.racesmith.com/races/SantaSuitsOnTheLoose5K.html
FIRST COAST ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW
Dec. 10: The First Coast Arts and Crafts Show will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at Mark Lance National Guard Armory, 190 San Marco Ave., just north of downtown St. Augustine. The event includes handcrafted items, from jewelry and home décor to clothing, candles, artwork, and more. Local food vendors will also participate in the event. FREE admission and parking. Go to www.firstcoastcrafts.com
ST. AUGUSTINE HISTORIC INNS TOUR
Dec. 10-11: “Christmas Through the Years” is the theme of the 2016 St. Augustine Historic Inns tour, taking place from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-11 in 23 bed and breakfast inns in downtown St. Augustine, along with two historic attractions, the Ximenez-Fatio House and the Pena-Peck House. These historic homes will be decked out in holiday finery and each inn will be paired with a local restaurant or culinary partner, with signature treats and samples at each stop. The tour can be navigated by foot or by the Old Town Trolley shuttle along the route. Tickets are $40 and include both days. Go to staugustinebandbtour.com for tickets.
ST. AUGUSTINE COMMUNITY CHORUS HOLIDAY CONCERTS
Dec. 10-11: The St. Augustine Community Chorus will perform “Welcome Yule!” at the Cathedral Basilica, 38 Cathedral Place, downtown St. Augustine. Concert time is 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. Under the direction of Mike Sanflippo, the St. Augustine Community Chorus will be joined this year by the St. Augustine Youth Chorus, which is directed by Kerry Fradley. This year’s program will feature Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” along with some favorite choral arrangements of John Rutter, Mack Wilberg, Gustav Holst, and Rene Clauser. As it does every year, this holiday concert will feature selections from Handel’s Messiah, including the traditional sing-along of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door for adults, and $5 for students and military with ID. Tickets may be purchased at Carter’s Jewelry, Flowers by Shirley, Herbie Wiles Insurance, Southern Horticulture, Sterry Piano, and Cathedral Basilica’s Bell Tower Gift Shop. Tickets also are available online at www.staugustinecommunitychorus.org
ST. AUGUSTINE MAKERS FEST
Dec. 11: The St. Augustine Maker’s Fest will be an all-encompassing entertainment event where food, drink and all types of art are celebrated for one festive day. The first event will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Mark Lance National Armory, 190 San Marco Ave., in uptown St. Augustine. Not only will local artisans showcase their talents and skills, but the community, as well as visitors, can enjoy and purchase these unique works of art. “Makers” are all those who create or produce something of value. Their crafts include anything from baking, jewelry or wood work, mixing essential oils to photography, videography and making music. This event is open to people of all ages. It will include plenty of hands-on activities and demonstrations as well as live musical acts and culinary delights. There will be a $1 per person entrance fee and punch cards will be available for purchase for hands-on craft making and other activities. Go to www.staugustinemakersfest.com for more details.
HOLIDAY POPS BY SOUTHWEST FLORIDA SYMPHONY
Dec. 15: Following last season’s celebrated Holiday Pops performance, the Southwest Florida Symphony returns to St. Augustine with Music Director and Conductor Kir Kabaretti, who came to Southwest Florida from the Santa Barbara Symphony in California, where he also serves as music and artistic director. Mr. Kabaretti has earned an impressive reputation across continents. As Fort Myers’ only professional symphony and the oldest symphony orchestra in Southwest Florida, the Southwest Florida Symphony enters its 55th season this year, having made its debut as a community orchestra in April 1961. Tickets are $40 per seat; $5 for students with ID and children. Go to www.emmaconcerts.com or call 904-797-2800.
ST. AUGUSTINE COMMUNITY BAND HOLIDAY CONCERT
Dec. 16: The first Holiday Concert by the Saint Augustine Community Band will take place from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16 at Pacetti Bay Middle School, 245 Meadowlark Lane, St. Augustine, in the World Golf Village area. The group has grown to 70 members within the first year and continues to grow. The band is welcoming in the new year with some of the finest holidays selections including: Joy Revisited by Frank Ticheli, A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson, O Magnum Mysterium by H. Robert Reynolds, Hanukkah, Festival of Lights by Rowe, Instant Concert by Harold Walters, and Irving Berlin Christmas by Warren Barker, Auld Lang Syne by Mannheim Steamroller’s Chip Davis and Robert Longfield, It’s Christmas by Warren Barker and more. Tickets are available at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for ages 13-18 with school ID, and FREE admission for children 12 and younger. Go to www.staugband.org for more details.
LOS POSADAS CANDLE-LIT PROCESSION
Dec. 17: Florida Living History, Inc. will present a new heritage event for the holiday season called Las Posadas del Viejo San Agustín. Based on a 400-year-old Spanish colonial Christmas celebration, the event will feature a candle-lit procession through the nation’s oldest city for from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 along Saint George Street. The Las Posadas procession is based on Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem on the first Christmas Eve (“posadas” is Spanish for “lodgings”). The procession will form at 6:30 p.m. by the City Gate at the north end of St. George Street, and will proceed down the street, ending in front of Government House, where Florida Living History’s Theater with a Mission group, directed by Dr. Ben Gunter, will present a centuries-old scene from Lope de Vega’s Cristo Nuestro Bien.
Dec. 17-18: See student and professional ballet dancers on stage in this holiday classic! This spectacular holiday show features mischievous mice, dancing dolls, sparkling snowflakes, elegant costumes, custom-designed scenery, and magic that will charm the entire family. The Nutcracker is staged each year by the St. Augustine Ballet, a non-profit community ballet organization that presents professional quality ballet to St. Augustine and surrounding communities. Performances are 1:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17-18 in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., downtown St. Augustine. Tickets are available at www.tututix.com/saintaugustineballet or 855-222-2849.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE LIVE RADIO PLAY
Dec. 22: “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the beloved American holiday classic, will come to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful night. “We wanted to offer something which allowed families to gather together once all the shopping and the running around have commenced,” said Ian Mairs, Director of Apex Theatre Studio. “The live radio format and 1940s setting will transport the audience back to another time and place. The play’s message has resonated for over 75 years because it is timeless,” Mairs added. The cast features alumnae from the Apex Theatre Studio’s Summer Musical Theater program (founded in 2013) who are currently enrolled in some of the most prestigious theater programs in the country including Florida State University, University of Florida and New York University. Part of the proceeds will go towards Apex Theatre Studio’s “Raise the Mic” campaign to raise funds for a wireless sound system for the company. Tickets are $25. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begin at 8 p.m. Go to pvconcerthall.com