Holiday Activities Surrounded by History

There is nothing like preserving Jacksonville history - in Gingerbread.

Each year, The Jacksonville Historical Society celebrates their Gingerbread Extravaganza over the holidays. Come enjoy gigantic, creative gingerbread houses built by chefs, bakers, architects, engineers, and many others. These tasty creations will be on display at the Jacksonville Historical Society headquarters, historic Old St. Andrews, immediately across the street from the Vystar Veteran’s Memorial Arena. Vote for your favorite confectionery art from traditional houses to animals and fairy tale themes.

Remember to stop next door and visit the Merrill House. The house is decorated with artifacts from 1903 as if the Merrill family has just left for the day. The interactive tour is very revealing of how the residents lived during the era of President Teddy Roosevelt.

The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society has the Annual Winter Celebration from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Saturday, December 3. This event has become a family tradition for many and is well known for old-fashioned fun for the past 20 years. It is held at the Walter Jones Historical Park, located at 11964 Mandarin Rd.

Activities are planned for the community that will educate, entertain and delight all ages, including horse-drawn hayrides, live music, historical re-enactors (including Civil War re-enactors), nature crafts and old fashioned games.

In honor of the Union steamship Maple Leaf, you will be able to talk with Dr. Keith Holland and other Maple Leaf divers who recovered the Civil War artifacts from the bottom of the St. Johns River. Many of these artifacts are on display in the Mandarin Museum.

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