In 2013, Deck The Chairs (DTC) was established to fill a void in the Jacksonville Beach winter holiday experience for residents and visitors to the area. Inspired by the historic Volunteer Life Saving Corps and their iconic chairs, an idea was born to decorate and display the chairs in downtown Jacksonville Beach.
DTC’s first exhibit in Latham Plaza was organized by the founder Kurtis Loftus and 18 local business partners. Through broad public support, the event successfully ignited a renewed holiday spirit and helped raise funds to support the Volunteer Lifeguards. Watch a short video setting up the first Deck The Chairs. Thank you Kirsten DeSanto for the work.
In 2014, the Deck The Chairs received its non-profit status. That year, the DTC Board committed to doubling exhibit space with the City of Jax Beach and immediately established partnerships with local trades and custom fabricators like Artistic Contractors. A small, but active DTC worked to sharpen mission while and continue its work to create a family-friendly, holiday experience the Beaches could be proud to call their own. DTC added concessions and brought in additional community volunteers to assist with stage programming. That year the DTC event tripled in attendance and captured regional attention.
In 2015, DTC included daytime activities that included weekend performances by Players By The Sea youth, a custom inflatable Sea Shell Slide, and Craft Shoppe. The lifeguard chair exhibit grew to 36 decorating partners and People Magazine placed the display on their web site as one of America’s Most Unique Holiday Celebrations.
In 2016, DTC signed a five-year agreement with the City of Jax Beach to continue producing the Free event in the Seawalk Pavilion/Latham Plaza downtown park space. Organizers also launched a mid-year fundraiser introducing Christmas in July. Event highlights included a new holiday tree designed to play a nightly music and light show, portable Community Chairs for business outside the park space, and a full-color Holiday Guide.
In 2017, JBDTC featured the Jax Beach Winter Arts Market showcasing local artists and craftsmen, PLAY SPACE presented by The Playgarden by the Sea offering fun, educational activities for kids, the CREATE JOY Light Show, more than 40 decorated lifeguard chairs, and Lifeguard Station tours.
In 2018, JBDTC debuted the Beaches Go Green Jellyfish Park, welcomed new sponsors such as K9s for Warriors, Jacksonville Jaguars, American Legion, Circle K and First Coast News, expanded concessions, the CREATE JOY Light Show, first ever public Christmas Eve service, and, hosted the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Pep Rallies.
“Thanks to a dedicated DTC Board, generous supporters and caring volunteers, we’ve been able to positively impact millions of lives with our creatively inspired holiday spirit.”
– Kurtis Loftus, Founder
See our history in photos and explore scenes from DTC over the years.