thru jan 1, 2017
Now in its fourth year, Deck The Chairs (DTC), a nonprofit 501(c)3, is set to light up downtown Jacksonville Beach with its annual outdoor exhibit of decorated, illuminated lifeguard chairs. The chairs are those of the American Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps., an iconic and historic institution of Jacksonville Beach, and identified by DTC organizer, The Kurtis Group, as an apt way to showcase local businesses, artists and designers, to celebrate the community, and to bring a unique winter holiday experience to Jacksonville Beach. Funds raised support the volunteer lifeguards who have served the area for over one-hundred years.
Having grown from eighteen chairs in its inaugural year, this year forty chairs will be on display in Latham Plaza throughout December. Each chair is sponsored by a local business which is then paired with a regional artist to design their custom chair. Working with a DTC Design Committee, artists use materials as varied as wood, plastics, PVC, vinyl, metal, chicken wire, and (of course) lights to bring the red chairs to life; themed to promote what is “Uniquely Beaches.” The chairs are installed onsite at the end of November and an awards ceremony is set for December 11.
In its short existence, DTC has grown quickly and expanded beyond the illuminated display after dark. In 2015, daytime activities were added, including weekend performances by Players by the Sea youth, a custom inflatable sea shell slide, and a Craft Shoppe. The event has received recognition locally, as a North Florida “Top Ten” holiday event by Visit Jacksonville, and nationally, by People magazine as “A Unique Way to Celebrate the Holidays in Each State (Florida).”
With more than twenty-thousand visitors last year, DTC says that $65,000 was invested into the local economy and local charities benefitted as well: Toys for Tots raised record funds with an on-site event during DTC, and BEAM collected dozens of gifts from under the DTC tree for residents in need.
This year brings a new feature – Community Chairs. These lightweight replicas of the official lifeguard chair have been created for businesses and organizations to display in locations outside of the main DTC exhibit, spreading the cheer even further into the Beaches community.
The lighted lifeguard chair display at Latham Plaza and Seawalk Pavilion in downtown Jacksonville Beach is open every night and free to the public.
Five full weekends of activities include:
Shine Hope & Peace Music and Light Spectacular – premieres December 2 at 6 p.m. Four shows nightly every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (except Christmas) until January 1. Introducing the 30’ pixilated tree with over 10,000 lights programmed to music. The light show also includes light projections spanning the large Sea Walk Pavilion stage.
Players By The Sea Youth Showcase – Elf will be performed by the talented PBTS youth ensemble with shows set for December 10 & 17, at 3 & 4 p.m.
Night of Music & Dance – December 11, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Music, Santa Claus, performances by local dance troupes, food trucks, crafts and chair awards.
For more information contact Kurtis Loftus at (904) 716-3853. Deck The Chairs, Inc. is located at 3948 3rd Street South, #372, Jacksonville Beach. www.deckthechairs.org.