History

History

In 2013, Deck The Chairs was established to fill a void in the Jacksonville Beach winter holiday experience for families. Inspired by the iconic features and sustaining presence of the historic Volunteer Lifeguard chairs, an idea was born to decorate and display the chairs in downtown Jacksonville.

In November, DTC was launched in Latham Plaza with 18 participating business and non-profit chair decorating sponsors. Through broad public support, the event successfully ignited a renewed holiday spirit and brought new funds to support the Volunteer Lifeguards who have served the area for over 100 years.

In 2014, the Deck The Chairs organization was established as a 501 (c)(3) Public Charity and implemented plans developed by Kurtis Creative that included expanding the downtown event space, doubling the number of sponsors and participants, and creating the iconic 24ft DTC Tree, signage and programming.

In 2015, DTC added day time activities that included weekend performances by Players By The Sea youth, a custom inflatable Sea Shell Slide, and Craft Shoppe.

In 2016, the DTC event during December became known as Jacksonville Beach Deck The Chairs (JBDTC) through an agreement with the City of Jacksonville Beach, and introduced Christmas in July, Shine Hope & Peace Light and Music Spectacular, Community Chairs, Holiday Guide as well as an enhanced 30ft Tree festooned with more than 10,000 lights.

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.

Highlights include:

  • Partnered with 14 non-profit organizations and 24 local businesses
  • Launched final build phase that included eight permanent holiday displays
  • Reached 100% of fundraising goal
  • Recognized as a North Florida “Top Ten” holiday event by Visit Jacksonville annually
  • Recognized as “Top 13 Holiday Events in Jax” by Visit Jacksonville
  • Recognized as one of “25 Best Things to Do in Florida for the Holidays” by Coastal Living.
  • Recognized as “…A Unique Way to Celebrate the Holidays in Each State (Florida)” by PEOPLE
  • Recognized as “75 Things to Do This Christmas Season” by Jacksonville Magazine
  • Recognized as one of the “Most Unusual Christmas Traditions” by INSIDER
  • Featured during CBS video segment on Jacksonville during Jacksonville Jaguars vs Colts game.
  • Featured on local broadcasts of River City Live, WJXT, WTLV 12, and WOKV
  • More than $65,000 was invested into the local economy
  • More than 60,000+ visitors experienced the light display during December
  • More than 5,000 visitors attended the Light The Beaches and Night of Music & Dance programs
  • More than 300 Beaches residents directly participated in DTC programming and support
  • Media from outside markets shared the DTC experience with their readers
Major Programs

Christmas in July Art Sale & Auction Fundraiser showcased works of original art and photography featuring lifeguard chairs by local renowned artists and photographers.

CREATE JOY Light Show featured programmed music, dancing lights, and expansive holiday light projections across the Pavilion stage every weekend throughout December.

Night of Music & Dance featured music, Santa Claus, dance performances, food trucks, holiday crafting, kids’ activities, and chair decorating awards.

Community Chairs, lightweight replicas of the official lifeguard chair, were built for business and organizations to decorate and display at locations outside the Jacksonville Beach downtown exhibit.

Holiday Guide provided valuable event information and holiday discounts from sponsors to residents and visitors during the holiday season.

PLAY SPACE presented by The Playgarden by the Sea offering fun, educational activities for kids.

Beaches Go Green Jellyfish Park, a kid-friendly park featuring three 14-foot lighted “jellyfish” metal sculptures, whose tentacles and surrounding “reef” system were built with single-use plastics. Beaches Go Green aims to spread awareness and education about the waste that we produce and how it affects the environment — particularly single-use plastic. www.beachesgogreen.org.

The Children’s Holiday Mural, four holiday-themed banners painted by children, was displayed on the Seawalk Pavilion stage throughout JBDTC 2018.