Holiday Events: 15 Tons Of Snow, Tree Lighting Will Highlight Wednesday Art Walk

Dec 4, 2018

There’s a 100 percent chance of snow Wednesday evening in downtown Jacksonville’s Hemming Park.

There will be snow in Hemming Park during the December Art Walk.
Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Some 15 tons of the white stuff will be in the park as a section is transformed into a North Pole play area for the evening's December Art Walk. Free 3-D snowflake glasses will be given out while supplies last, and City Councilman President Aaron Bowan will be lighting the annual Christmas Tree at 6:30 p.m.

Entertainment will include the Jacksonville Symphony brass quintet and the Scott Jones School of Dance, plus a poetry reading by Miracle Jones. As part of this month’s “Spirit of Giving" theme, a variety of area nonprofits will also be on hand to talk about their missions. 

Art Walk related events will be held across downtown, including a holiday concert and dance series at the Jacksonville Landing. Art Walk runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at a variety of locations. See the Art Walk map

And Art Walk isn't the only event getting in the holiday spirit this month. Here’s a sampling of several others:

Dec. 4: Nocatee Hanukkah Splash Party - The St. Johns Jewish community will gather for a community-wide Hanukkah celebration at the Nocatee Splash Water Park on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m., the third night of the eight-day holiday. Participants will sing and dance to Hanukkah-themed music as well as enjoy traditional Hanukkah foods, including latkes and sufganiyot.  

The gathering, organized by Chabad of St. Johns County, will feature a Hanukkah-themed light show followed by a glowing menorah lighting ceremony and helicopter gelt drop in which thousands of chocolate Hanukkah coins, known in Yiddish as gelt, will rain down from a helicopter hovering over the water park, taking the festivities to new heights.

The distribution of gelt is a more than 2,000-year-old custom designed to reward children for exemplary behavior, as well as educate them to give charity.

Dec. 6 - Hemming Park’s Second Annual “Totally Lit Hanukkah Party - The very next night the downtown festivities continue at the park with a celebration of Hanukkah and its related traditions.

Live music, storytelling, crafts, dreidel games, a menorah lighting and more is scheduled.  Gili's Kitchen Catering and Bakery will have Jerusalem mix, falafel burgers, latkes and sufganiyot at available for purchase. The DuBow Preschool will be performing; menorah lighting at 6:15.

Dec. 7- Jan 5 (with some breaks): ZOOLights - The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ annuual holiday extravanga is back starting this weekend. This year ZOOLights is debuting the Jingle Bell Jukebox Revenue to help celebrate the holiday spirit, featuring festive songs performed by local artists. The performances will take place on the Great Lawn with nightly shows. In addition to the lights and hot chocolate a full slate of activities is planned. ZOOLights runs from December 7-9 and 14- January 5 (closed Christmas Day.) Admission is $8 for members and $10 for non-members with additional information available here.

Until Dec. 28: Gingerbread Extravaganza - The annual favorite, featuring elaborate gingerbread houses put together by chefs, architects, clinary students and families, runs through through Dec. 28, except on Sundays, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Jacksonville Historical Scoeity fundraiser is being held inside the Old St. Andrews Church, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. Admission is $10 for adults and $3 for kids.  Additional information is available here.

Until Jan. 1: Deck The Chairs – Jacksonville Beach is lit up with beach-inspired holiday themes through January first with 40 decorated chairs and light shows. Additional information

Until Feb. 3: St. Augustine Nights of Lights – Downtown St. Augustine is lit with white lights strung from trees in the Plaza de la Constitucion. The lights are up through Feb. 3, along with an extensive list of holiday events throughout the downtown area. A free shuttle runs from two parking locations north of downtown to the Visitor Information Center during peak times.  Additional information.

24/7 Holiday Music - Tired of the same old 20 or Christmas songs? WJCT Electro Lounge host David Luckin has curated more than 800 holiday classics for WJCT’s “pop-up” holiday HD Radio channel.

The 24-hour station features a wide range of holiday classics that brings together a variety of genres.

HD Radio is standard on many newer automobiles as well as many newer home receivers. You’ll find the holiday classics channel at 89.9 FM HD4.

WJCT’s other HD Radio stations are 89.9 FM HD1, Relax at 89.9 FM HD3 and classical music at 89.9 FM HD2.

If you don't have a HD Radio receiver yet you can learn more here.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.