Jax Beach 'Deck The Chairs' Opens Saturday While Fernandina Beach Cancels Events

Nov 20, 2020

Two Northeast Florida beach cities are taking different approaches to the holidays.

Fernandina Beach's City Commission voted Tuesday to cancel its holiday events, including the annual Christmas parade and traditional New Year's Eve Shrimp Drop, as the Fernandina Beach News-Leader first reported. 

"Nobody wants to cancel these events. Everybody wants to have a holiday. But, what is the wise thing to do to protect our loved ones, protect our neighbors, protect our relatives? And the wise thing to do, from every infectious disease expert that I have read or watched, said, 'Do not share air,'" said Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Mike Lednovich.

Lednovich said he directed traffic at past events and remembers how crowded they were.

"People are jammed in there," he said. "The Christmas parade is not a good idea."

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To the south in Duval County, the beaches are moving forward with their annual events and displays. The largest annual holiday display in Jacksonville Beach opens Saturday, Nov. 21. Deck the Chairs will run every night from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., through January 1 at the Seawalk Pavilion.

This year's will feature 40 decorated lifeguard chairs. Deck the Chairs is a nonprofit that focuses on children's arts and arts programming with its six-week long holiday lights and music display that includes weekend kids' activities.

Here's more information on Deck the Chairs. At the time of this story's publication, the official website made no mention of mask or social distancing recommendations or requirements. The Deck the Chairs Facebook page is also being updated. 

Up the road  - as WJCT News has previously reported - the cities of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach and the Beaches Town Center will be holding a holiday tree lighting celebration on December 5 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the community. The actual tree lighting will be at 6 p.m.

Atlantic and Neptune beaches are asking everyone to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

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