Have You Made Your New Year's Eve Plans Yet?

447th Consecutive New Year's Eve Celebration!
(News from the Visitors & Convention Bureau)

 ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Dec. 19) - Looking for a different place to celebrate New Year's Eve? Why not come to Florida's Historic Coast where residents have welcomed the arrival of the New Year more often than any other place in the United States? This will be the 447th consecutive year St. Augustinians have celebrated the passing of the old and the arrival of the New Year.

         All that experience with New Year's Eve revelry makes Florida's Historic Coast the perfect location for saying good-bye to 2011 and hello to 2012. There's something here for anyone looking for a memorable way to start the New Year. For example:

Beach Blast Off 2012: Kick off 2012 in seaside style at this special St. Augustine Beach event! Enjoy a blast of flavor, icy sculptures, and fireworks when several of St. Augustine's favorite restaurants serve up chili for tasting and judging at the Fire and Ice Chili Cook-off from 4 to 10 p.m. After things cool off from the chili - the Fireworks synchronized to music begin at 8:30 p.m. This display will delight visitors and help usher in the New Year! Admission is free. The Beach Blast takes place at the St. Johns County Fishing Pier and Pavilion, 350 A1A Beach Boulevard in St. Augustine Beach. For more information, call 904.829.5681 or visit www.beachblastoff.com

Laughs and BBQ: Start the New Year right with lots of laughs and great Down Home eating when St. Augustine' Limelight Theatre presents a special presentation of Duck Hunter Shoots Angel - the hilarious story of two Southern hunters who believe they have shot down an angel! In keeping with the show's theme, the buffet dinner will feature barbecue with Krispy Kreme donuts for dessert. Tickets for the show and buffet are $50 and may be purchased by calling the box office at 904.825.1164 or online at www.Limelight-Theatre.org. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.  

Fine Dining: Bid farewell to 2011 with an unforgettable New Year's Eve dinner at one of the fine restaurants on Florida's Historic Coast. Explore the exquisite tastes of Italy or take advantage of the Surf & Turf (Lobster and Filet Mignon) dinner at Amici's, 1915 A1A South in St. Augustine. The Surf & Turf special is only $29.. Call 904.461.0102 or go to www.amicistaugustine.com for more information. At the beach, Café Atlantico (647 A1A Beach Boulevard, St. Augustine) offers a special five-course New Year's Eve dinner with an entrée choice of Catch of the Day over Mediterranean ratatouille and cream of plum tomatoes or Beef Wellington with a mushroom,-cognac reduction - all for $75 per person. For reservations, call 904.471.7332 or go to www.cafeatlantico.net . Get a taste of France when Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard shares the award-winning menu he presented in November at the James Beard House in New York City. This special New Year's Eve treat begins with a mise en mouche and climaxes with a pear poached in Beaujolais Nouveau -- all for only $69 per person, plus tip and taxes. Bistro de Leon is located on St. Augustine's Plaza de la Constitucion at 12 Cathedral Place/ Phone: 904.810.2100 or www.bistrodeleon.com For more continental cuisine, enjoy fine dining with a Russian flair a Sara's Crepe Café. From 10 p.m. until 3 a.m., enjoy a three-course pre-fix menu featuring appetizers like blini with caviar, fried potato with mushrooms, and shrimp cocktail followed by entrees including prime rib, Cornish hens in garlic sauce and pasta with fresh basil oil sauce. For the perfect conclusion, there's dessert and champagne. The dinner package is $75. Plus, there is live entertainment throughout the evening! Sara's Crepe Café is located at 100 St. George Street, Suite F in St. Augustine. Call 904.810.5800 or go to www.sarascrepecafe.com . And for the golf fan, there's nothing more memorable than New Year's Eve dinner at the beautiful TPC Sawgrass. From 5-9 p.m. enjoy a delicious a la carte dinner and live music in an unmatched setting. For details and reservations, call 904.453.5105  

Piratical Party: Join the crew of the pirate ship Black Raven as she sails across Matanzas Bay in search of 2012! Great food washed down with the finest brews, plus sea shanties, a Pirate DJ and non-stop partying. The Black Raven casts off from the St. Augustine Marina at 10:15 p.m. Tickets are adults only (21+) $65 per person. For more information and reservations, call 904.826.000 www.BlackRavenAdventures.com

Wine, Food and Carriages Too: Explore the Oldest City's culinary, wine and beer heritage on a series of New Year's Eve walking and carriage tours. Taste the best St. Augustine has to offer on the three-hour Vittles and Vino Carriage Tour. Sample wines and food at one-of-a-kind specialty shops and eateries with transportation provided by a horse-drawn carriage. Tours are priced at $99 per person and depart at 2 p.m. Nights of Lights Wine and Carriage Tours take you on a tour of the spectacular Night of Lights aboard a horse-drawn carriage while indulging in delicious Spanish boutique wines. These one-hour tours are available for $45 per person and depart at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. (Private tours can also be arranged.) Departing at 5 p.m., the Barley and Hops Beer Tours features a walking tour filled with fascinating facts about brewing as well as sampling of outstanding local brews. Tickets are $46 per person. Start the New Year's Eve celebration at 4 p.m. with the Wine About Town tour - a 2.5 hour strolling tour featuring exclusive wine samplings gourmet cheese and fresh baked breads. Tickets are $56 each. For details, reservations and more information about these tours, call 904.325.3911 or visit www.thetastingtours.com


Weekend Events: Candlelight Tour, Winter Wonderland, The Nutcracker Ballet, and more!

Friday and Saturday: December 16 & 17
Explore the beautiful Villa Zorayda, decorated for the Holiday season, featuring a Christmas tree in the "Court of Lions", decorated in the Villa's traditional red and gold and a beautiful crèche nativity scene that that has been a Villa tradition since the 1930s.  On Friday at 6 p.m., enjoy refreshments of cookies and punch. Candles are aglow throughout the museum as the docent led candlelight tour begins at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, enjoy refreshments at 5:30 and tour at 6 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for children 7 -12, children 4 -6 are free (not recommended for children under 3).  Villa Zorayda is located at 83 King Street in St. Augustine. Reservations are suggested. For more information, visit www.villaZoryada.com or call 904.829.9887.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: December 16-18
Bring the whole family to enjoy St. Augustine's Winter Wonderland which features a real ice skating rink, ice slide, Elf Express train rides, The Elf Village, sleigh rides and SNOW!  There are even scheduled visits from Santa.  Adults are welcome to relax and enjoy refreshments in the Igloo Lounge (21 and up only). St. Augustine Amphitheatre is located at 1340 A1A St. Augustine. Hours are November 26 through December 16, Monday through Friday 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 10 p.m..; and December 17 through January 1 from 2 to 10 p.m. daily except Christmas Day (5 - 10 p.m.) and New Year's Eve (noon to 5 p.m.) Admission is free with activity participation fees.   For more information, call 904.209.0367 or visit www.WinterWonderlandFlorida.com.

Bring the children along to enjoy this delightful traditional holiday ballet. The performances will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Performances are at the Flagler College Auditorium, located at 14 Granada Street in St. Augustine. Tickets are $20, $25 and $30. For more information, visit www.saintaugustineballet.com or call 904-810-5670.

Stop in to the St. Augustine Art Association Gallery to view artistic impressions at one of the Association's most popular shows that exhibits celebrates the sights and structures, beaches and byways, flora and fauna that make Florida fantastic. The show runs through December 30. The gallery is located at 22 Marine Street in St. Augustine. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 904.824.2310 or visit www.staaa.org.  

Board the beautiful Schooner Freedom for a sailing adventure that includes a gorgeous sunset and the Oldest City aglow in Nights of Lights splendor.  The schooner departs daily at 4:15 p.m. from the St. Augustine City Marina.  Soda, beer, wine and blankets are provided -- passengers are more that welcome to bring a picnic basket or a thermos of hot chocolate.  Tickets for the two-hour tour are $45 per adult; kids 2-12 are $35 each; children under 2 sail free.  For reservations, call 90.810.1010.  
Enjoy this family-friendly performance about two bumbling duck hunters in the Alabama swamp manage to shoot an angel and are then pursued by the tabloid media. This hilarious tale interweaves a love story, race relations, and cultural stereotypes as the chase to find the angel builds to a crescendo. Performance times through December 30 are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. All performances take place at the Limelight Theatre, located at 11 Old Mission Avenue in St. Augustine. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and $20 for students and military. For more information, call 904.825.1164 or visit www.limelight-theatre.org.   
Saturday:  December 17
Join Santa in the dunes just north of the St. Augustine Beach Pier for a tremendous holiday photo opportunity. Sponsored by the St. Augustine Lifesaving Association, it's a great way to feature the whole family, including the pets, in a memorable photo with Santa in a beach setting. A 5x7 photo in a holiday folder is only $10 - or you can bring your own camera and get each pose for $5. All proceeds benefit the county's lifeguard service. Photos will be taken from 9 a.m. to noon today.  Access via Pope Road. 904.484.4514  

Grab breakfast and then depart from downtown St. Augustine for an amazing 10 a.m.-noon kayak adventure. Great way to see the salt marsh up close and discover the treasures it holds. Call 904.377-7245 for reservations. Special holiday prices - $35/adult; $30 ages 6-12. www.staugustineecotours.com
Visit A Day in the Colonial Market in the St. Augustine Colonial Spanish Quarter located at 29 St. George Street. Take a step back in time and browse the wares of artisans who will be demonstrating and selling colonial crafts. There will also be food, music and theatre troupes recreating life in a colonial Spanish market. The Market is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and just a short walk from the Visitors Information Center and The Downtown Parking facility. For more information, call 904-825-6830.

Celebrate Christmas 16th Century style. From 7 to 9 p.m. Alondra, La Compañía de Santiago, Theater with a Mission, and Los Compañeros de la Cocina, will be presenting Christmas music and customs of 16th-century St. Augustine and colonial Spanish Florida at the Mission Nombre de Dios on San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine. Admission is free. For more information, call 1-877-352-4478 or visithttp://www.FloridaLivingHistory.org or http://www.missionandshrine.org.  

Witness twilight time in colonial St. Augustine as soldiers guarding the town are dismissed for the night, and their replacements arrive to take over guarding Government House. The commander of the new watch puts the replacement soldiers through a rigorous drill before they take over their posts. The retiring soldiers are ordered to clear their weapons with the command of "Disparen!" The resounding blast of musket fire assures 18th century St. Augustine that the changing of the guard has taken place and the town is safe for the night. This traditional Spanish military parade travels along St. George Street from City Gates at 5:30 p.m. The Changing of the Guard takes place at 6 p.m. in front of St. Augustine's Government House at the Plaza de la Constitucion. The event is free. For more information, call 904.808.1999.   
Sunday: December 18
Go on a one-of-a-kind photo safari through Guana Reserve's rich and varied natural resources. Led by expert local photographers, this three-hour tour is designed for advanced beginner and intermediate photographers who are ready to discover new places and new skills.  From 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Sundays learn more during the photo walk about the techniques they use to capture nature at its best:  Proper camera settings, composition, macro photography, landscape photography, HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, and post-processing software tips. Cost is $69 per person with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Friends of the GTM Reserve.  There is a $3/per vehicle parking fee.  Space is limited. The GTM Research Reserve is located at 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082, (904) 823-4500 ort www.photosherpas.com   
Get fresh produce, arts, crafts, jewelry, delicious lunch selections and family fun at downtown St. Augustine's new Lincolnville Farmer's Market.  Open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- turn south on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and follow it to the market behind the Galimore Center.  



The St. Francis Inn is on Sunday's tour and we are teamed with Meehan's Irish Pub.  In addition, Lily and her soldier have agreed to "appear" that day as part of the "Ghosts of Christmas Past" theme!

Tour St. Augustine's historic Bed and Breakfast Inns, all decorated in Holiday finery. This year's tour theme is "Ghosts of Christmas Past" This year the innkeepers invite tour guests to peek into the past and learn about the sentimental stories or supernatural secrets that have inhabited their historic homes for decades, many for 100 years or more.   In addition to being able to enjoy each Inn's dazzling Christmas season displays, tour participants will be able to enjoy taste treats throughout the Holiday Tour: Each Inn unites with one of St. Augustine's leading restaurants and confectioners, who serve complimentary samples. The tour takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. each day; half of the inns welcome visitors on Saturday, and half on Sunday. Tickets are $25. After November 20, tickets are $35. Proceeds from the Holiday Tour will benefit the St. Augustine Record "Empty Stocking Fund".http://www.staugustinebandbtour.com/.



Friday: 2nd December 2011

4:00 PM Opening Ceremony – "Traitors to the Crown" 
The British Night Watch Opening Ceremony will showcase the zeal and loyalty of the Garrison in 1776 St. Augustine, when upon receiving news of the Declaration of Independence, townsfolk gathered to declare their featly to George III and to protest by hoisting effigies of John Hancock and Sam Adams, which were then paraded in the Plaza.  Join our assembly in the Plaza to hear the news of the rebellious countrymen in northern colonies.  Redcoats will be on alert to quell any dissention from the crowd. Join  us in the Plaza to experience a colonial mob firsthand!

Saturday: 3rd December 2011

9:00 – British Encampment opens to the public.
Venue: Various locations in Francis Field, west of the Parking Garage
ALL DAY: The Market Square Comes to Life!
Venue: Francis Field, west of the Parking Garage
Description: The Market Square will interpret a busy Market Day in Colonial St. Augustine, with professional entertainers such as Signora Bella, whose shows captivate audiences throughout the country;  numerous authentic Sutlers working to help the soldiers spend their pay; various musicians performing on 18th Century instruments;  The Recruiting Sergeant; And numerous Historians and Performers mingling with the visitors both as historical personas, and interpreters to answer questions.

7:30 PM – Fife & Drum Corps Appetizer Concert
Venue: St. George St. at the Plaza
7:00 P.M. Candles for a donation
Venue: Lawn of the Basilica Cathedral
Description: Participants will have candles for modest sale for those that desire to carry a light in the Parade
7:30 P.M. – Head to the Plaza to get a good viewing place for the British Night Watch Parade
8:00  P.M. – 9:00 P.M. The Grande Illumination~British Night Watch Parade
Venue: The Plaza, Government House, St. George Street & back to the Plaza
Description: The only Public Participation Parade outside of Mardi Gras! Follow the troops with candles and lanterns as they close the town for the evening in a festive manner for the Holidays.
After the parade- Caroling in the Plaza
Sunday: 4th December 2011
9:30 AM-18th Century Anglican stack the Drum Church Service
Venue: British Encampment, Francis Field
Description: An actual Church Service, performed by an Anglican Priest. Following historic sermons and prayer books, be prepared to experience religion in the late 18th century.