Celebrate the Holidays at Amelia Island’s ‘Dickens on Centre’

by Carrie McLaren with 3 comments

This past weekend, our travels took us to Amelia Island, Florida for the inaugural Dickens on Centre holiday celebration in historic Fernandina Beach.

This walking village event is a weekend-long celebration taking place again December 11-13, 2015 – and if you are in the area, you won’t want to miss it.

Celebrate the Holidays at Amelia Island's 'Dickens on Centre' - blog

A Victorian Christmas Celebration

Strolling along historic Centre Street is like taking a step back in time to the 1840s. From the residents dressed in period dresses to the sounds of trolley cars and townsfolk coming in through hidden speakers, it is a magical way to enjoy the holiday festivities.

My girls loved chatting with the ladies outside of the bookstore and Molly couldn’t help but admire their dresses too. I’m sure she was thinking it would be nice for her dress-up adventures at home.

Dickens on Centre - Period Dresses

Strolling carolers singing, there were even folks through the area handing out chestnuts – roasted on an open fire. (Definitely an acquired taste if you’ve never tried them.)

The event also features live entertainment on the main stage. From the reading of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to Christmas songs, choir bells performances and hymns, pull up a seat and soak up the spirit.

Dickens on Centre - Live Entertainment

Shop and Stroll

If you’re like me and haven’t started shopping yet, Centre Street is filled with some great shops to pick up gifts for loved ones. My personal favorite – Fernandina’s Fantastic Fudge. I’d like one of everything,  please.  The Book Loft is another family favorite, especially with Maggie – she’s totally into reading these days.

Dickens on Centre - Wreaths and Street Sign

Special for the Dickens on Centre event is that there are also street vendors – from artists to local foods and activities. Let Dad hang out with the little ones in the Kids Zone – storytelling, arts/crafts and plenty of coloring and get your shopping on!

Kids Activities

Sometimes it is the little things in life – and that was certainly the case for my girls with ‘A Christmas Carol’ movie marathon set up along a side street along Centre. It was fun to see that there were so many different versions, I had no idea! ‘Disney’s A Christmas Carol’, The Flintsones, The Muppets and of course, the original 1938 version too. My girls were mesmerized by it!

Dickens on Centre - Santa and Maggie

And yep – St. Nicholas himself is there too. We found him near the Welcome Center greeting visitors, he also set hours throughout the weekend to greet visitors for official photos too. The one-on-one interaction was priceless and Maggie was very excited to share her wish list.

Experience Dickens on Centre

The magical Dickens on Centre takes place in the heart of Fernandina Beach’s historic district December 11-13. For a look at the schedule of events, go to the official Dickens on Centre web site. Friday night’s festivities begin at 5 p.m. and Saturday the fun begins at 9 a.m.

Dickens on Centre - Christmas Tree

PRO TIP: For an extra treat, hop over to my favorite restaurant 29 South for a bite to eat. It’s just one block off of Centre Street on South 3rd Street – get the coffee and doughnuts for dessert, you won’t be disappointed. Promise.

There is free parking throughout the historic district and the festivities are free too. How’s that for great, holiday fun with your family?

Don’t Miss The Fun in Amelia Island This Christmas!


** My accommodations were provided by the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and Seaside Amelia Inn. Thoughts and opinions here are my own. ** 


  • Laura Gambino

    Want to come visit for Dickens festival. Live in orlando. Any recommendations for hotels other than the ritz?

    • Carrie McLaren

      Hi Laura – Thanks for reading. The dates for the 2018 festival are Dec 7-9. The Hampton Inn & Suites Amelia Island Historic Harborfront would put you right in the heart of the event. Plenty of things to see and do right outside the hotel.

      If you’re looking for beachfront properties, check out the Seaside Amelia Inn – it is a short drive from the Dickens on Centre event. Other properties would be the Comfort Suites, Amelia Island and also the Residence Inn, Amelia Island.

      Have a great time!

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  • Trackback from 4 Relaxing Reasons to Love Seaside Amelia Inn | Carrie on Travel
    Thursday, 10 December, 2015

    […] up to Amelia Island in Northeast Florida for a weekend getaway to experience the holidays and Dickens on Centre festivities. I was especially excited because it was our girls first trip to the […]

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