Warm weather draws large crowds to Christmas in Avondale

Jason and Jody Giles with twins Ryan and Gigi, authors of the book, “Too Licky,” about a search to find the “just right” rescue dog.

Jason and Jody Giles with twins Ryan and Gigi, authors of the book, “Too Licky,” about a search to find the “just right” rescue dog.

From one end of the Shoppes of Avondale to the other, the annual Christmas in Avondale event held Dec. 2 was anchored by music.

At the south end, in front of the Avondale Gift Boutique, students from Ortega Elementary School’s Steel Drum Band performed under the direction of Shaun Bennett, music instructor. Three blocks north, students from the Ronan School of Music played to audiences in front of Open Road Bicycles and Le Macaron French Pastries. Also, nestled between Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty and Sherwin-Williams Paint Store, the St. Johns Presbyterian Church choir sang Christmas carols, and dancers from Happy Feet Dance Studio entertained visitors from all over Duval County.

Sponsored by the Shoppes of Avondale Merchants Association for more than three decades, many of the businesses set up tables outside their shops, serving cookies, candy, hot cocoa and other sweet treats during the unseasonably warm event.

In addition to traditional favorites, such as the holiday movie, “Elf,” projected by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty, photos with Santa, pony rides and the Sahara Silk Belly Dancers, annually underwritten by Hooshang Oriental Rugs, new this year were the Jax Dog Café, Letters to Soldiers, a Christmas story reading by the Jacksonville Public Library and a game truck.

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