Walter Jones Historical Park
December 3, 2022 from 11 AM – 4 PM

This year marks the 21st year that Mandarin Museum & Historical Society has hosted Winter Celebration in Walter Jones Historical Park! After a two-year absence due to COVID restrictions, we are happy to be back!

This annual free event has become a family tradition for many and is well known for opportunities to learn about some exciting local history, enjoy good music, connect with local non-profit organizations, authors, and artists, and just have some plain old-fashioned fun. And we are hoping that copies of our new book, Images of America: Mandarin will arrive in time.

Admission to Winter Celebration is free, but the train ride and s’mores do have a donation request to cover the expenses.

Parking is available across the street thanks to our wonderful neighbors, Mandarin Presbyterian Church. Cross at the bridge only and with the assistance of volunteers from the Rotary Club of Mandarin. Please DO NOT park along the road.

We ask that you bring canned food items for the Mandarin Presbyterian Church Food Pantry and leave them in the container provided at the bridge. The church not only allows our visitors to park in their lot, but they distribute food to local families every Tuesday.

🍊 All historic buildings in the park will be open, including: the 1875 Webb/Jones Farmhouse (will be decorated by the Mandarin Garden Club), 1898 St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children, 1876 barn, and the 1892 Losco Winery. The Mandarin Museum will not yet be reopened by December due to interior renovation.

🍊 The museum gift shop will be stocked with unique holiday gift ideas. Books and art prints are on sale by local authors and local artists. Also, this is the only place anywhere to buy Mandarin history ornaments, the “historic places” blanket, and the special Mandarin Frogs and Sea Turtles. The new annual ornament this year is Loretto Elementary School.

🍊 Music Schedule

  • 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Old Time traditional music jam (tentative)
  • 1:00 – 2:30 PM: acoustic music, near the farmhouse

🍊 Book signings with Mandarin book authors

  • 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Susan Ford will be in front of the museum with Images of America: Mandarin (if it arrives in time) and beautiful handmade jewelry, also by Susan, will be available at her table. All proceeds of her book and jewelry will benefit MMHS.
  • 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM: David Gaslin (children’s books)
  • TBA: Greg Estevez (Edisto books)

🍊 More events throughout the Walter Jones Historical Park:

  • Historic reenactors: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Maj. William Webb, Edith Mary Jones, and Frank Losco! Also Union and Confederate soldiers with an encampment of period tents, weapons, and uniforms of the common foot soldier; Union Naval display; Golden Teacup Society (Civil War-era civilian women)
  • Representatives of Jacksonville Gullah Geechee Nation CDC will be sharing the area’s rich African-American heritage
  • Meet the Maple Leaf divers
  • Santa and Mrs. Claus in the farmhouse
  • New this year: a trackless train running through the park, reminding us of the old Mandarin “Little Train”
  • Demonstrations of weaving and quilting
  • First Coast Plein Aire Painters will be painting throughout the park
  • Nature crafts and rock painting for kids
  • Old fashioned children’s games
  • The famous tiny yellow antique car
  • S’mores
  • Public services information: Mandarin Libraries; City of Jacksonville Parks, Recreation, and Community Services
  • Other non-profits sharing information and opportunities: Mandarin Garden Club; UF Extension Office; Mandarin Community Club; Greenscape of Jacksonville; Education First; St. Johns Riverkeeper; Rotary Club of Mandarin; Historical Society of Orange Park
  • Food vendors: Chunky Tomato; The Poppin Box; Top Down Shaved Ice
  • First Aid tent will be provided

Thank you to the 75 or so dedicated MMHS and non-profit volunteers who will be here this day to welcome you, tell you stories, and provide fun and educational things for your family to do. We could not do this celebration without them!

Thanks to the Rotary Club of Mandarin for providing extra volunteers, to the Mandarin Garden Club for their beautiful period decorations at the farmhouse, and to Minuteman Press for printing our maps.


Highlights from past Winter Celebrations

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