Luminaria, Pet Adoptions, An Illuminated Lighthouse: Heres Whats To Do Around The Beaches

Jump-start your seasonal spirit this evening during the official tree lighting ceremony and Holiday Celebration, hosted by the cities of Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and the Beaches Town Center Agency.

From 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, the family event features a bike parade, crafts, live entertainment and photo opportunities with Santa. Visit the Events page at or for complete details.

Luminaria celebration

Northeast Florida residents are invited to light up their walkways and driveways on Saturday, Dec. 18 for a good cause this holiday season. Hosted by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty, Luminaria takes place in Atlantic Beach neighborhoods surrounding the company’s Beaches office.

Luminaria events will also be held in the neighborhoods near Berkshire Hathaway branch offices in Ponte Vedra/Nocatee, St. Augustine/MuraBella and Fleming Island on dates to be announced by local neighborhood associations.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices sells luminaria kits assembled by Pine Castle, a Jacksonville charitable organization that empowers adults with intellectual and developmental differences. Kits are $12 and contain everything to create 12 beautiful luminarias. Additionally, 100 percent of the proceeds from luminaria kit sales will be donated to local charities, including Pine Castle.

Luminaria kits will be available at the following branch office locations beginning Sunday, while supplies last:

  • Beaches/Intercoastal West/Southside — 375-1 Atlantic Blvd., Atlantic Beach, (904) 241-2417

  • Fleming Island/Orange Park — 3535 U.S. Highway 17, Ste. 10, Fleming Island, (904) 269-1716

  • MuraBella at World Golf Village — 196 Capulet Drive, Ste. 3, St. Augustine, (904) 802-0690

  • Ponte Vedra/Nocatee — 333 Village Main St., Ste. 670, Ponte Vedra Beach, (904) 285-1800

  • St. Augustine — 112 Sea Grove Main St., Ste. 210, St. Augustine Beach, (904) 471-6906

Visit for more information or call (904) 296-1906.

Phone calls from Santa

The St. Johns County Parks & Recreation Department is partnering with The North Pole to host the annual Santa Calls, Dec. 7-9. Parents with children age 8 and younger residing in St. Johns County can sign up to receive a free phone call from Santa Claus at their home this Christmas season.

Registration for the program is only offered online through the county website at After creating an account, parents must register each child individually and not a family as a whole. Calls take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call Ashley Brown at (904) 209-0379 or email

‘A Celtic Christmas’

Immerse yourself in “Tomaseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas,” hosted by Beaches Fine Arts Series on Friday, Dec. 10 at St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.

Now in its 26th season of touring nationally, "A Celtic Christmas" recreates the joy and innocence of a night before Christmas. Set in a remote farmhouse in Teampall an Ghleanntáin in western Ireland in the 1950s, you’ll watch as neighboring families gather around the fire to grace the wintry night with traditional Irish Christmas carols, raise the rafters with joyous music, knock sparks off the flagstone floor with traditional dances and fill the night with the laughter of their stories.

The evening also includes an art exhibit by Annelies Dykgraaf.

Admission is free and seating is first come, first served. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Masks are required as protocol of the venue.

The church is located at 465 11th Ave. N. in Jacksonville Beach. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit

Piano concert

Beaches Fine Arts Series and St. Augustine Music Festival present concert pianist María Dolores Gaitán as part of the 1781 Tribute on Saturday, Dec. 11 at Flagler College.

An international collaboration, 1781 Tribute celebrates 240 years of friendship and cooperation between Spain and the United States. This global tour of eight concerts began this summer in Spain and continues this month with appearances in St. Petersburg and Pensacola, culminating in St. Augustine.

Gaitán is renowned in Europe for her energy and interpretive musicality. She was chosen by European Union National Institutes for Culture as a representative of Spanish musical culture in Italy, and has performed throughout Europe. The program will consist of Spanish composers of the ages.

Special guest Nicolás Tovar, five-time Latin Grammy winner and current nominee, will also perform.

Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the free concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the college’s Lewis Auditorium, 14 Granada St., St. Augustine. The city will provide free transportation to the event from a shuttle site at Broudy’s Fine Wine & Spirits, 35 N. Ponce De Leon Blvd.

For more information, visit

Holiday dog adoptions

Help a furry friend find a new home for the holidays on Saturday, Dec. 18, when SAFE Pet Rescue of St. Augustine brings its mobile adoption van to the Ponte Vedra Pet Supermarket store, 880 A1A N.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be lots of fun festivities to enjoy. Take your pet’s picture with Santa, enjoy some live holiday music by a local guitarist, sample tasty treats at the bake sale, browse some crafty items, sip hot cocoa and — best of all — meet and greet our wonderful rescue dogs who hope you will choose one of them to be part of your family this holiday season.

Invite your family, friends and neighbors to these dogs some much needed love while supporting SAFE Pet Rescue in its mission save animals from euthanasia. To learn more, go to

Anita Carroll (left) visits the 2019 Holiday Express train exhibit with family and friends. The popular display returns to the Beaches Branch Library beginning Dec. 18.
Anita Carroll (left) visits the 2019 Holiday Express train exhibit with family and friends. The popular display returns to the Beaches Branch Library beginning Dec. 18.

Holiday trains display

All aboard the Holiday Express Trains, which return to the Beaches Branch Library on Saturday, Dec. 18.

Leading off this year’s opening day will be the Hogwarts Express along with the Polar Express. The Polar Express will be running most days along with other historic trains and/or holiday-oriented trains varying throughout the week. This year’s expanded layout also includes a Polar Express village at one end and an operating carnival at the other end.

The library is located at 600 Third St., Neptune Beach, and the exhibit runs through Friday, Dec. 31. For hours of operation or more information, visit the Locations page at or call (904) 255-2665.

Lighthouse illuminations

Discover 21 uniquely decorated trees, each with a distinct theme, at this special after-hours event at the St. Augustine Lighthouse, which takes place on select days through Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. Visitors may explore the Keepers’ House and grounds illuminated by lights and festive garlands, as well as a sensational view of the lighthouse’s night mark.

Tickets are $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for children ages 12 and under. For more information regarding ticket availability and pricing, visit

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This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Tree lightings, holiday trains, 'A Celtic Christmas' - Beaches area events

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Tree lightings, holiday trains, A Celtic Christmas - Things to do at the Beaches

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Tree lightings, holiday trains, A Celtic Christmas - Things to do at the Beaches