By Courtney Hoston | email@example.com
Photo courtesy of www.nightsoflights.com
National Geographic chose St. Augustine’s annual Nights of Lights celebration in 2011 and 2012 as one of the ten best holiday lighting displays in the world. Every year the celebration brings over 8,000 people to St. Augustine and creates a sense of Christmas magic in downtown St. Augustine.
What the National Geographic doesn’t know is that St. Augustine has more holiday magic to offer than people could ever imagine. With events ranging from parades to Santa themed 5Ks and ballets to beach parties, St. Augustine offers various holiday themed events to bring the magic to the entire city.
Planning on spending your holiday season in St. Augustine? Here is a list of the top 10 holiday events in St. Augustine to help you experience your own holiday magic:
10) Limelight Theatre’s production of The Game’s Afoot
In this Christmas holiday themed murder mystery set in December 1936, Broadway star William Gillette invites fellow cast members for a weekend in his Connecticut castle. When one of Gillette’s guests is murdered, Gillette must embark on a hunt to find the killer among them. The Game’s Afoot will run Dec. 13- Jan. 5. Student admission is $20.
9) Santa Suits on the Loose 5K
Interested in staying in shape and giving back this holiday season? Channel your inner St. Nick and enter the Santa Suits on the Loose 5K on Saturday, Dec. 14. All proceeds will benefit St. Augustine Youth Services, a local therapeutic house for young boys.
8) Navidad en el Viejo San AgustÃn: Christmas in Old St. Augustine
Learn about Christmas of 16th century St. Augustine through traditional customs and Christmas music. The heritage event will take place on Dec. 21 from 6-9p.m. at Mission Nombre de Dios. Admission is free.
7) St. Augustine Beach Surf Illumination
Celebrate the seasonal lighting of A1A Beach Boulevard with this annual event at Pier Park on Dec. 7 from 4-7pm. The even includes the ceremonial lighting of the, food from local restaurants and local arts and crafts vendors.
6) Beach Blast Off 2014
Welcome in 2014 beachside with St. Augustine Beach’s annual New Years’ Blast Off. The Blass Off includes ice sculptures, a firework display and coincides with St. Augustine’s Fire and Ice Chili Cook-off. Admission for the Beach Blast Off is free.
5) St. Augustine Ballet presents The Nutcracker
The St. Augustine Ballet presents the classic Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker. The production features professional dancers and local performers. The Nutcracker will be showing on Dec. 21-Dec. 22 in the Lewis Auditorium. Tickets start at $25.
4) Dinner & A Movie: “It’s A Wonderful Life”
Sponsored by Community First Credit Union, St. Augustine’s “December to Remember” features various holiday themed events for the community. On Dec. 21 the St. Augustine Amphitheatre will offer dinner and host a viewing of “It’s A Wonderful Life” for free. The movie stars at 7:00pm with Snow in the Plaza happening after the movie.
3) Chili Cook-off & Double Feature: “Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer & Elf”
As a part of “December to Remember” on Dec. 14 the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on will host the St. Augustine Fire Department Chili Cook-off at 2pm. Following the Chili Cook-off “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and Elf will be shown. Admission to the event is free.
2) 59th Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade
St. Augustine’s Annual Christmas Parade features unique floats, marching bands, horses and Santa. The parade will be held on Dec. 7 and kicks off at 10am, beginning by the Mission of Nombre de Dios and ending behind the Visitors Center.
1) 20th Annual Nights of Lights
The Nights of Lights features various events and experiences for guests including: special Nights of Lights boat tours, Luminary Nights at the Lighthouse, Candlelight tours of Vila Zorayda and the Old Town Arts & Crafts show. The Nights of Lights celebration runs through Feb. 2. Admission to events varies.