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Sights and Sounds of St. Augustine Featuring Nights of Lights, Cirque du Cabaret and Winter Wonderland

Friday: November 20

Winter Wonderland
Step into a Winter Wonderland at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre for a trip around the ice in the Florida sun on the popular ice skating rink or experience exhilarating speeds while zooming down the Ice Slide. Every night offers horse-drawn carriage rides through an enchanted forest, s’mores on the fire pit, holiday favorites at concession stands and snow – real Snow! Kids can explore the magical Elf Village, ride the “Elf Express” train, and take a trip to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus. There will even be a Bounce House and Veddy Theatre Group presentations of A Time for Everything. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. daily through January 3rd with special hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Admission is free. Tickets for skating and rides range from $2-$10. For more information, call 904.471.1965; or go to www.winterwonderlandflorida.com or e-mail winterwonderland@sjcfl.us.

Friday & Saturday: November 20-21

Cirque du Cabaret at Limelight Theatre
See more than 60 of St. Johns County’s prominent personalities take the stage and lip synch in full costume to creatively-choreographed numbers. Tickets are $85 per person and include a pre-show cocktail party in a circus tent, heavy hors d’oeuvres, open bar, dessert and coffee at intermission and the post-show party. Limelight Theatre is located at 11 Old Mission Avenue in St. Augustine. The pre-show party starts at 7 p.m. For more information and tickets, call 904.825.1164 or visit www.limelight-theatre.org.

HOLIDAY SHOPPES AT PONTE VEDRA BEACH
Get ready for the holidays with a spectacular shopping experience featuring 17 unique vendors offering clothing, accessories, furniture, photography, food and so much more. Presented by the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach, located at 50 Executive Way, this edition of the Holiday Shoppes also offers a gingerbread house workshop, flower arranging demonstrations and a chance to meet Jack Tomason of HGTV’s Dream Homes. The Celebration Dinner takes place at 7 p.m. on Thursday (tickets $100); and the Shoppes are open from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission to the Shoppes is $5. For a complete list of events, contact the Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra Beach at 904.280.0614 or go to www.ccpvb.org.

Saturday: November 21

NIGHTS OF LIGHTS LIGHT-UP! NIGHT
Join St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles and former mayors in the historic Plaza de la Constitucion to “flip the switch” and light up the Nation’s Oldest City for this year’s annual Nights of Lights. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. with a spirited holiday performance by Showtime USA. At 5:30 p.m., the All Star Orchestra will perform in the Plaza’s Gazebo. Then at 6:30 p.m., all attending this festive event will be asked to participate in the countdown to the lighting. For more information, visit www.NightsofLights.com.

MAYOR’S HOLIDAY LIGHTING GALA
Be a part of St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles’ Holiday Lighting Gala. The fun begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Government House at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the Mayor will proceed to the Plaza de la Constitucion, for the Nights of Lights Lighting Ceremony. Following the Lighting Ceremony, the Mayor and Gala participants will be led by a 1740 Color Guard to the Courtyard of the historic Lightner Museum, located at 78 King Street, for dinner catered by Casa Monica Hotel, dancing to the music of The Committee and a silent auction. Tickets are $150 per person with parking provided. All proceeds benefit the St. Francis House Building Fund. For additional information or to purchase tickets, call 904.825.1004.

16th ANNUAL NIGHTS OF LIGHTS CELEBRATION
Enjoy the festive atmosphere in the City of St. Augustine during this 2-month long celebration of the Holiday Season. Millions of tiny white lights will glow along the ancient streets and historic buildings of the Nation’s oldest city through January 31, 2010. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a lighted white candle during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting in St. Augustine reflects the city’s 444-year history while creating a beautiful setting for the exciting events and tours that take place here through the Nights of Lights season. For more information, call 800.653.2489 or visit www.NightsofLights.com.

CANDLELIGHT NIGHT PRAYER
Experience Candlelight Night Prayer, or Compline, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine – a great addition to the Nights of Lights Light Up! event. St. Augustine’s Schola Cantoraem under the direction of Mary Jane Ballou, will be included. The liturgical service will begin at 8:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend. For more information, call 904.824.2806

FUN & GAMES AT MARINELAND
Take the entire family for a fun-filled day with games and more at Marineland’s Dolphin Conservation Center. Radio Disney’s AM 990 Road Crew will provide music and entertainment. Kid-friendly food, beverages, games, crafts, educational activities, entertainment, and of course DOLPHINS, will complete this afternoon of family fun. Admission to Marineland is free all day. Special activities are from 3 to 5 p.m. Marineland is located approximately 15 miles south of St. Augustine at 9600 Oceanshore Blvd.(A1A). For more information call 904.471.1111, or visit www.marineland.net.

BETTY GRIFFIN BENEFIT CONCERT
Hear world-renowned classical guitarist Stephen Robinson in a special benefit concert for the Betty Griffin House. Robinson has been heralded by the New York Times for his “effortless virtuosity” and has appeared as a guest soloist with the Boston Pops and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, 36 Sevilla Street, St. Augustine. Donations of $10-$20 per person are welcomed at the door. All proceeds will benefit Betty Griffin House which provides emergency shelter to abused women, men and their minor children. For more information, call 904.471.9638

BOOK SIGNING AT ST. PHOTIOS SHRINE
Meet author Harvey Alexander Smith! His new novel, Danger Beyond the Reef, is an action-adventure-drama about two Greek-American families in Florida. Smith with be at the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine, 41 St. George Street, St. Augustine from 2 – 4 p.m. For more information, call 904.829.8205.

Saturday & Sunday: November 21-22

PGA TOUR Golf Academy Open House at world golf village
Enjoy a day of golf instruction, fun events and special offers at the PGA TOUR Golf Academy at World Golf Village. Open to the public, attendees can benefit from free instruction between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. including full swing, putting and short game clinics. Clinics will begin at the top of each hour throughout both days. Participants also can receive major discounts on all TOUR Academy Instructional and club-fitting programs. For more information, call 904.940.3600. The PGA TOUR Golf Academy is located at World Golf Village, at Exit 323 off I-95 in St. Augustine.

Sunday: November 22

SCARECROW CREATIONS
Create your own scarecrow from free straw and supplies provided by Vilano Town Center businesses. Bring your own scarecrow attire – all of the creations will be photographed and entered in a contest with a grand prize winner to be announced on November 29. Scarecrows can be crafted from noon to 4 p.m. each Sunday in November at the Sunday Market at the Vilano Beach Pier. The Market features fresh produce, refreshments, music and art. For more information, call 904.540.8797 or go to: www.TheSundayMarket.com.

HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS TROLLY TOURS
Explore St. Augustine’s famous Nights of Lights in the cozy comfort. Caroling, hot apple cider and homemade cookies add to the magic; and guests receive complimentary magical viewing glasses – all the way from Santa’s workshop. Handcrafted by Santa’s elves exclusively for the tour, these amazing glasses will enhance the twinkle and glimmer of the lights. Tours depart continuously between 6 and 8 p.m. through January 31 from the St. Augustine Visitors Information Center located at Castillo Drive and San Marco Avenue. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children. For more information, call 904.829.3800.

NOTE:St. Johns County residents with a valid ID are always admitted free of charge to Government House Museum, the Lightner Museum, the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum, the Fountain of Youth, the Ximenez-Fatio House, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, the Spanish Military Hospital Museum and the Father Miguel O’Reilly Museum. The daily tours and wine tastings at the San Sebastian Winery are free to everyone. Also, admission is free to everyone at the Authentic Old Drug Store, Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Photios Chapel, the Peña-Peck House and the Father Miguel O’Reilly Museum. (donations are welcomed).

For more information on events and activities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.Getaway4Florida.com or call 1.800.653.2489.

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