The mission to unify and uplift Jacksonville through thoughtful wellness activities, community classes and performing art experiences is exemplified in the Unity Plaza annual events schedule for 2015. Partnering with non-profit organizations and sponsors like Orender Unlimited’s Gen W, Women’s Giving Alliance, Early Learning Coalition, The Florida Ballet, St Vincent’s Health, Jax Federal Credit Union and many others will produce experiences which will ignite new and powerful interpersonal and professional connections within the Jacksonville community at large.
Beginning in February, Unity Plaza set the stage with Orender Unlimited’s Gen WOW to found “Community Stewardship Day” – now officially recognized annually as the first Saturday in February by the City of Jacksonville, followed by the formal dedication of a permanent marker honoring the work and birthday of the late J.T. Townsend. The month’s festivities rounded out with Mukti Ball – a dinner and dancing fundraising gala furnished by Conscious Eats with celebrity poetry readings featuring Alan Verlander, Delores Barr Weaver, Melissa Ross and other notables to bring needed awareness and operating support to ReThreaded – working to end the sex trafficking trade in Jacksonville.
Dozens more events will occur at Unity Plaza this year with the planned “Bravo! A Savory Experience for the Senses: Dance, Classical Concert, Gourmet Food & Beer Festival” presented by the Florida Ballet including a concert by the fifty-five piece First Coast Wind Ensemble on March 29 from 4-7pm, Pedal 4 Paws Ride benefitting First Coast No More Homeless Pets with an Urban Core Concert featuring Mama Blue on April 4 from 8:30am – 3pm and the National MS Walk coupled with the new Vintage Florida Music Festival curated by the North Florida Folk Network on April 25 from 9am – 3pm as well as sixteen new community walk/runs throughout the year raising money for some of Duval counties most critical nonprofits.
Embracing the creative culture of Northeast Florida, Unity Plaza will provide events supporting the arts, such as The Green Zone Culture Celebration – a Debut! on April 23 from 5-7pm, the World Arts Film Fest VIP Pre-Opening Soiree on May 14, and the June-teenth Harlem Renaissance Festival kicking off in 2016, celebrating the historic Brooklyn connection to the great Harlem renaissance writers. In addition, Unity Plaza is proud to provide a satellite stage for the acclaimed Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra led by Courtney Lewis on October 2 from 5-7pm.
Accenting the lush summer months, Unity Plaza will feature engaging community events like the National Bike to Work Day Community Picnic on May 15 from 11am-1pm and Bring the Beach to Brooklyn Family Fest and Opening of the Urban Core Waterways, culminating in the Memorial Day Jeans & Jazz Summer Fest and United for Heroes Run and Concert May 24 and 25. The month of July features Post to Post Links II error: No link found for term slug "Teen Music Fest & iRun 5K Walk/Run"on July 11, the Southeast Mobile Eats Festival & Historic Streetcar Line 10k Bike-a-thon benefiting Meals on Wheels on July 25, the Post to Post Links II error: No valid type provided on August 8 immediately preceded by the Post to Post Links II error: No link found for term slug "Early Learning Coalition Birth - 5k Walk/Run" and a Fall Line Fashion Show Benefitting Dignity U Wear and Soles4Souls later in the month.
Fall activities at the urban park and amphitheater will feature a Rise & Shine Fest – Exploring The Science & Simplicity of Transformative Wellness on September 25 and 26, the Pride Food & Music Fest with Bites for Rights and Human Compassion 5k Walk | Run on October 10, In Praise of Music Concert in Honor of Our Veterans on Veteran’s Day itself, November 11, as well as Jaguars Game Pep Rally & Pre-Rally Brunches during home games.
The month of December features thrilling holiday themed events like the St. Vincent’s Health National Day of Listening Community Family Picnic & Music Festival with Live Nativity Scene and the Unity Plaza Holiday Tree Lighting all on November 27, the Hearts for Hope Gala on December 4, the Original Art & Fine Gift Festival and Juried Show with Jingle Bell Family 5k Walk/Run on December 5 and 6, Twelve Days of Christmas Break Craft Ale, Wine & Spirits Holiday Music Festival on December 17 preceded by the Winter Solstice Run for Love Benefitting Patrons of the HeARTs, as well as the week-long Winter Freeze Festival with Community Ice Skating in the Plaza December 26 – 30 preceded by the Dashing Through the Snow 7K Walk/Run on December 31.
Unity Plaza offers a huge range of activities, festivals and athletic events for people of all ages, shapes and sizes, along with special events meant to engage our community’s wide tapestry of diverse citizens and financially benefit critical nonprofit agencies doing the heavy lifting to keep us healthy and happy in Duval County. These events recur annually in order to become new traditions for Jacksonville. Officially opening April 1, 2015 with 365 days of events, we will be poised and ready to greet you. To receive the monthly updates, please email Jennifer Jones at [email protected] Visit unityplaza.org, blog post #52, to view the online roster of scheduled annual activities and look out for our official website also launching on April 1.