If you’ve spent any time on Jacksonville Beach you will likely recognize the iconic orange Lifeguard chairs that dot the coastline. Providing a perch for the guardians of the coast these chairs come off the beach each fall for repairs and a fresh coat of paint. The Jacksonville Beach community uses this time to celebrate their own unique holiday tradition and have created an event that fits the community’s personality exactly. Each December, the community decorates lifeguard chairs into different lighted themed sculptures to create awareness for non-profit organizations and ocean preservation. The interactive displays include lights that dance in time to the music and great photo ops for kids and adults alike.
We braved the cold (well, cold for Florida anyway) to experience this exhibit with winds just chilly enough to make us appreciate the face masks (there are positives to this situation) and a wish for hot beverages.
The most impressive display is the sea life sculptures at the back of the exhibit featuring Mr. Octopus and some of his jellyfish friends. This expansive display is a spectacle with the dancing lights, stretching the better part of your average end-zone, with sculptures that both entertain and educate. It is only upon closer inspection that your come to appreciate the cephalopod and his jelly buddies are made up of reclaimed plastic that has been harvested from the beach. Lids from five gallon lubricant pails, water bottles, and the ever present plastic shopping bag make up the tentacles, suction cups and flowing streamers of the sea life.
All in all it was a lovely evening. Free parking is close by and vendors offer hot chocolate and souvenirs to help raise money for local charities. In times of social distancing where we are mostly limited to outdoor activities, Deck the Chairs is a welcome addition to driving around the neighborhood looking at home lighting displays and the live nativity presentations this season has to offer. I would encourage anyone within driving distance to make the trip to Jacksonville Beach to take in the Chairs.
What unique light attractions have you seen in your neck of the woods? Do you have such a gem that might be of interest to a wanderer? If so let us know about it here in the comments.
Until next time, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!
See also Parade of Trees for more holiday fun!