March and April Events in Florida

    Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events scheduled for February and March in the Sunshine State. Please check individual websites for more details.
     

    South Florida | Central Florida | North Florida

    A huge crowd sways to the music at Rock the Ocean Tortuga Music Festival, held on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

    Rock the Ocean Tortuga Music Festival, held on Fort Lauderdale Beach, is solidified as one of the top music fests in the country and this year’s lineup will only add to its reputation.

    - Rock the Ocean Tortuga Music Festival

     

    SOUTH FLORIDA 

    PASO WINE IN THE SUNSHINE STATE - Raise your glass! 20 wineries from Paso Robles, California travel to south Florida to share their wines. More than 100 wines will be poured by the winemakers themselves, ranging from Albariño to Zinfandel. Culinary bites complement each evening from two of Florida’s finest caterers.
    When: April 10-11
    Where: Miami and West Palm Beach
    Web: www.pasowine.com/events/sunshine-state/

    INTERNATIONAL KINETIC ART EXHIBIT & SYMPOSIUM -- Visitors will see 12 large-scale kinetic sculptures that actually move, powered by solar, water, wind, gravity and human interaction.  Six of the sculptures were created for this exhibition, which occurs every two years. The installations are accessed by an easy-to-walk self-guided tour or scheduled group tours with trained docents.
    When:
    through September
    Where:
    Downtown Boynton Beach
    Web:
    www.IntlKineticArtEvent.org

    DOWNTON ABBEY: THE EXHIBITION – Jonesing for some more Downton Abbey? This traveling exhibit transposes you to post-Edwardian England, where the Downton characters’ fashions and iconic house come to life. You’ll be immersed in the fascinating history, culture and some of the most memorable moments from the show’s six-season run. Sorry, no cast members will be in attendance, but some 50 costumes will be on display. Rooms such as the Crawleys’ glamorous dining room, Mrs. Patmore’s hectic kitchen and Lady Mary’s bedroom, to name a few, have been painstakingly recreated. This is the second stop on the tour, after a successful run in New York City. The New York Times gave the exhibit a great review, saying: “…a cleverly immersive experience mounted with the same exacting care as the show itself.”
    When:
    through at least early April, 2019
    Where:
    Culture Lab at City Place, West Palm Beach
    Web:
    downtonexhibition.com

    HORSING AROUND IN WELLINGTON – Head west of West Palm Beach to Wellington for two outstanding horse-centered multi-month happenings: the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Palm Beach International Polo Season. The former brings together the partnership of horse and rider during the thrills and grace of show jumping and the elegance of dressage. The latter features the best polo players in the world. And, both are as much about the horsey-set lifestyle with many options and side shows to keep you entertained and well-fed.
    When & Where:
    Respectively, Jan. 9-March 31 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and Dec. 30-April 21 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
    Web:
    Respectively, pbiec.coth.com and ipc.coth.com

    FLORIDA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL – Come all ye wenches and knaves and journey back to the 16th century as you step through castle gates and into the days of yore. There are seven themed weekends of fun. Explore the artisans’ village and view live demonstrations of glassblowing, magic, jousting, Irish dancing, archery and more. Feast on hearty food fit for a king and enjoy live performances on stage and in the lanes. The shows feature more than 100 costumed performers, 12 stages and acts from around the world.
    When:
    Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 9-March 24
    Where:
    Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach
    Web:
    ren-fest.com

    NAPLES FLOWER SHOW – The Naples Botanical Garden and Naples Garden Club combine resources to present one of the largest flower shows in Florida. It includes a Garden Market, a variety of educational demonstrations as well the Naples Garden Club’s spectacular juried designs and horticultural exhibits.
    When:
    March 22-23
    Where:
    Naples Botanical Garden
    Web:
    naplesgardenclub.org

    ANNUAL ANTIQUE ENGINE & QUILT SHOW – Antique engines and quilts? At the same show? Affirmative. This year will the 27th iteration of this event, so somebody must be doing something right. A variety of antique engines and beautifully crafted quilts will be featured at this eclectic event. Antique engines will line the Historic Settlement’s shell paths, some of them running as if they were made yesterday. All this and food venders and live music, too.
    When:
    March 16-17
    Where:
    Koreshan State Park, Estero
    Web:
    fortmyers-sanibel.com/events

    ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL -- Party-hearty folks from around the world will once again head to this three-day electronic dance music extravaganza. Some of the headliners are Afrojack, David Guetta, the Chainsmokers, Armin Van Buuren, Marshmello, Louis The Child, Alesso, Adam Beyer, Carl Cox, Deadmau5, Galantis, Griz, Illenium and Odesza.
    When:
    March 29-31
    Where:
    Virginia Key, Miami
    Web:
    ultramusicfestival.com

    THE MIAMI OPEN – It has always been the closest thing to a fifth major championship on the pro tennis circuit and will be again as it moves to a new home this year. The world’s best players will try and wrest the titles away from 2018 winners John Isner and Sloane Stephens. Included in the field: eight past champions, the top-ranked 50 men (including No. 1 Novak Djokovic) and women (led by No. 1 Naomi Osaka) in the world and 19 players who have combined for 109 career Grand Slam titles. Keep your camera or smart phone handy, because celebrities always abound. Food, fashion and entertainment always are a large part of the scene.
    When: March 18-31
    Where: A 13,800 capacity stadium constructed within Hard Rock Stadium, Miami
    Web: miamiopen.com

    COLLIER COUNTY FAIR – All the county-fare staples are included: livestock shows and competitions, arcade games, carnival rides, live music, kids’ activities, and all the cotton candy you could ever want.
    When:
    March 14-24
    Where:
    Collier County Fairgrounds, Naples
    Web:
    colliercountyfair.com

    GOOD EATS (AND DRINKS!) Food and beverage-centric events abound throughout SoFla in March. Here are some that whet our appetite and thirst:

    ·        Marco Island Seafood & Music Festival, March 22-24 at Veterans Community Park, Marco Island; marcoislandseafoodandmusicfestival.com

    ·        Wellington Bacon & Bourbon Festival, March 22-24 at the city’s Community Center & Amphitheater, Wellington; baconbourbonfest.com

    ·        Riverwalk Burger Battle, March 29, downtown Fort Lauderdale; goriverwalk.com

    ·        FemAle Brew Fest, March 23, at Huizinga Plaza, Fort Lauderdale; femalebrewfest.com

    TURTLEFEST – This family-friendly event allows visitors to have up-close encounters with threatened and endangered sea turtles, as well as fine art shopping, children’s games and activities, a Global village and live music.
    When:
    March 23
    Where:
    Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach
    Web:
    marinelife.org

    PALM BEACH PRIDE – Palm Beach Pride has a full slate of exceptional live music, merchandise from booth vendors and a great selection of food from many local restaurants.
    When:
    March 30-31
    Where: Bryant Park in Lake Worth
    Web:
     compassglcc.com/pride

    PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW – If you want a boat, need a boat or you like to fantasize about boats, this one’s for you. You’ll see an amazing array of vessels – from Cigarette, Comanche, Super Cat, inflatables, cruisers, runabouts, fishing boats, high performance, bow riders and, of course, 150-foot super yachts. You’ll also find a full lineup of accessories and nautical fashions. It all adds up to one of the top boat shows in the country.
    When:
    March 28-31
    Where:
    Lakeworth Lagoon in downtown West Palm Beach
    Web:
    pbboatshow.com

    SUNCOAST BBQ & BLUEGRASS BASH – If you want mouth-watering chicken, ribs, chili, pork and beef brisket, along with outstanding toe-tapping live bluegrass music, this one will satisfy on all counts.  Much more, too: a kids park, chili cook-off, barbecue cook-off, a cornhole tournament and a sporting clays shooting tournament.
    When: March 29-30
    Where: Venice Airport Festival Grounds, Venice
    Web: suncoastbbqbash.com

    INTERNATIONAL ORCHID FESTIVAL – Choose among more than 10,000 orchid plants from world-wide vendors, explore the wonder of orchids during garden workshops and walking tours and marvel at rare species in the American Orchid Society juried show. Good food and lots of entertainment, too.
    When:
    March 8-10
    Where:
    Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables
    Web:
    fairchildgarden.org

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TENNESSEE WILLIAMS – The great playwright visited the Keys from 1942 until his death in 1983 and you can celebrate his 108th birthday and his life throughout the month of March. Highlights include a series of classic movies adapted from his award-winning plays, artist challenge, stage readings, letters and journals, a film forum and much more.
    When:
    March 4-31
    Where:
    Various locations in Key West
    Web:
    twkw.org

    ART BOCA RATON 2019 – This year’s edition will showcase the work of more than 500 artists represented by 55 leading international galleries exhibiting  contemporary, modern and emerging art, sculpture, photography, works on paper and art installations.
    When:
    March 15-18
    Where:
    International Pavilion of the Palm Beaches and FAU Research Park, Boca Raton.
    Web:
    nextlevelfairs.com/artbocaraton

    MARCH MADNESS, ARTS & CRAFTS VERSION – Here are two arts and craft shows for your calendar:

    ·        Downtown Naples Art Show, March 23-24; naplesart.org

             Coconut Creek Craft Festival, March 30-31; artfestival.com

    MIAMI-DADE COUNTY YOUTH FAIR & EXPOSITION – It’s one of the top fairs/expositions in the country, drawing about 600,000 people each year. Highlights include more than 90 heart-pounding rides, two huge Kiddielands, mouth-watering fair food, livestock and agricultural competitions, pig races, live concerts (Zach Williams and Becky G are the headliners) and the Royal Hanneford Circus.
    When: March 14-April 7, except for March 18-19 and April 1-2
    Where: Fair Expo Center, Miami
    Web: thefair.me/thefair/

    ROCK THE OCEAN TORTUGA MUSIC FESTIVAL – It’s now solidified as one of the top music fests in the country and this year’s lineup will only add to its reputation. Headliners are Kenny Chesney, Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Maren Morris, Flo Rida Delta Rae, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Elle King, Cassaddee Pope, Dustin Lynch, Maddie & Tae, Midland, Michael Franti & Spearhead, David Lee Murphy, Trombone Shorty. New this year is the Next from Nashville Stage, featuring some of the hottest up-and-comers on the country music scene. Don’t forget to check out the VIP packages.
    When: April 12-14
    Where: Fort Lauderdale Beach
    Web: tortugamusicfestival.com

    DELRAY AFFAIR – It’s pedestrians only, so join the throngs who cram 12 city blocks and side streets for all kinds of fun, highlighted by one of the largest arts & crafts festivals in the Southeast (more than 800 vendors!). Also included: concerts, street entertainers, great food (don’t miss the conch fritters) and a family-fun zone featuring 30 arcade games (none involving shooting and violence).
    When: April 12-14
    Where: Downtown Delray Beach on Atlantic Avenue
    Web: delrayaffair.com

    STAY IN MAY FESTIVAL – The fest’s motto is “We’ll Bring the Arts to You” and they do that every year. An array of young and seasoned world class performers from around the globe representing a wide range of musical and dance genres will be on hand again. Cinema, culinary, fashion, art and theater events are also included.
    When: April 24-May 8
    Where: Various locations in the Naples area
    Web: stayinmay.com

    FLORIDA KEYS ISLAND FEST – More than 100 artists and crafters will be on hand at this annual bash, which also features live music and yummy food, including a “Taste of the Island” competition.
    When: April 6-7
    Where: Founder’s Park, mile marker 87 bayside on Plantation Key, Islamorada.
    Web: islamoradachamber.com

    VENICE SHARK’S TOOTH FESTIVAL – Venice is known as the “Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World” because of the millions of shark’s teeth that have washed up on the beaches. Shark memorabilia will be on display and for sale. Also included: kids activities, arts and crafts, live music, a fishing tournament, marine exhibits, a sandcastle contest and great seafood and barbecue. Make some time to head to the beautiful beaches and hunt for your own shark’s teeth.
    When:  April 12-14
    Where: Venice Airport Festival Grounds
    Web: sharkstoothfestival.com

    MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE, HORSE & CATTLE SHOW – If you didn’t get enough of looking at prime livestock at the Youth Fair, this one is for you. It attracts more than 50,000 folks from around the country and the world. It also includes carnival rides, equestrian shows, dog obedience demonstrations, kids activities, a car show and food trucks.
    When: April 12-14
    Where: Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center at Tropical Park, Miami
    Web: miamicattleshow.org

    CONCH REPUBLIC INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION – The Florida Keys didn’t really officially leave the United States back in 1982– or did they? The celebration’s motto is “We seceded where others have failed,” but judge for yourself and have a great time at this 10-day, tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek bash. Events include: a drag race (not cars; remember, this is the Keys!), a wacky bed race, polar plunge, a light-hearted sea battle featuring tall ships and a cruiser car show.
    When: April 19-28
    Where: Various locations in Key West
    Web: fla-keys.com/calendar

    WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT – If it’s plywood head to the Plywood Regatta. If it’s cardboard, check out the Cardboard Boat Regatta. At the former, middle school, high school and college students will build and race boats using hand-tools and a limited set of supplied materials. The latter is open to folks of all ages, but the idea is pretty much the same. Good fun and lots of laughs will be had at both.
    When & Where:
    Respectively, April 6-7 at Whiskey Creek in Dania Beach; April 6 at Four Freedoms Park in Cape Coral.
    Web:
    Respectively, plywoodregatta.org  and capecoralregatta.com

    BEACH POLO WORLD CUP – In Europe, they play polo in the snow, so why not beach polo in SoFla? Players from all over the world will be playing (separately, not together) in a series of high goal matches during the four-day event. There are also offsite events that fuse polo, fashion and luxury. A VIP package includes shaded lounge areas, a full bar and catering.
    When: April 25-28
    Where: The sands of Miami Beach
    Web: miamipolocup.com

    INTERNATIONAL GAY POLO TOURNAMENT – This annual affair brings together some of the best Gay Polo League players and avid spectators to enjoy the matches, elaborate tailgate competition and flowing champagne.
    When:
    April 4-7
    Where: International Polo Club, Wellington
    Web:
    thepalmbeaches.com

    AFRO ROOTS MUSIC FESTIVAL – In its 21st year, this gathering celebrates the evolution of African culture and the role of women in World Music. Highlights include an appearance of Miami Latin-funk band Electric Piquete, a screening of the documentary “Eliades Ochoa: From Cuba to the World,” a concert by Cuban folk act Cortadito and the closing party, featuring the Spam Allstars
    .When: April 18-20
    Where:
    Various locations in Key West
    Web:
    www.fla-keys.com

    BLACK GOLD JUBILEE – This annual festival pays homage to the rich soil (hence, Black Gold) of the Glades Region (consisting of Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay) at the end of the harvest season. Highlights include great food, country music, a parade and a fireworks show.
    When:
    April 6
    Where:
    Torry Island Campground & Marina, Belle Glade
    Web:
    blackgoldjubilee.org

    O, MIAMI POETRY FESTIVAL – This month-long event’s bold mission is to have every person in Miami-Dade County encounter a poem. Mixing traditional readings with innovative poetry-in-public places projects, the festival weaves poetry into the fabric of the existing infrastructure and cultural life. It’s a community-based festival that considers itself a “Miami” festival first and a “poetry” festival second because the poetry is the means to celebrate the city.
    When:
    April 1-30
    Where:
    Various locations throughout Greater Miami and The Beaches
    Web:
    omiami.org

    BARRET-JACKSON AUTO AUCTION – Get in on the bidding or just gawk at mint 1950s beauties, eye-popping exotics, muscle cars and even late models from such automakers as Land Rover, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Beyond the auction block, attend educational symposiums, rub shoulders with celebrity guests and check out the sprawling Exhibitor Marketplace that has top-of-the-line gear, accessories, art, fashion, jewelry and memorabilia.
    When:
    April 11-13
    Where:
    South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center in West Palm Beach
    Web: barrett-jackson.com

    MIAMI BEACH GAY PRIDE – This annual event drew more than 60,000 people last year and features more than 125 LGTB-friendly vendors, exciting celebrities, musical performances, parties, parades, refreshments, food and a family-friendly play area. Consider a VIP package to get more out of the experience.
    When: April 1-7
    Where:
    Ocean Drive, between 5th and 15th Streets, Miami Beach
    Web:
    miamibeachpride.com

    KEY WEST YOGA & WELLNESS FEST – Bring your best downward-facing dog to this three-day wellness-a-thon, which emphasizes mind, body and spirit. You can attend individual events or get a three-day VIP Festival Pass, which will get you into all the happenings and a goodie bag with some mind and body wellness swag.
    When:
    April 5-7
    Where:
    Various locations in Key West
    Web:
    keywestyogaandwellnessfest.com

    THE BLUE WILD OCEAN ADVENTURE EXPO – If you love the ocean and believe that life should be one big adventure, this one is for you.  Experts on just about anything life-on-the-water related will be on hand. Topics include: spearfishing, lobstering, swamp exploration, stand up paddle boarding, adventure travel, surfing, marine art, underwater photography and videography, marine art and scuba diving.
    When:
    April 27-28
    Where:
    Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale
    Web: thebluewild.com

    LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! -- There are two film festivals of note in SoFla in April, one on each coast: the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival and the OUTShine Film Festival. Both feature world premieres, celebrities, parties and much more. (Note: OUTShine is the new name for thee for the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.)
    When & Where:
    Respectively, April 24-28 at various locations on Fort Myers Beach; April 18-28 at various locations throughout Miami and Miami Beach
    Web:
    fmbfilmfest.com, and outshinefilm.com

    HATSUME FAIR – A normally tranquil park will be transformed into a unique Japanese festival that features Taiko drumming, martial arts demonstrations, samurai sword fighting performances, a costume and fashion show contest, arts & crafts, street fair food and plant sales. There are lots of activities for kids, including getting to meet some of their favorite anime, comic book and pop culture characters.
    When:
    April 6-7
    Where:
    Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach
    Web: morikami.org/hatsume

    POMPANO BEACH SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Good food for sure, but it doesn’t stop with that. There’s a craft fair, lots of great live music on three stages and a great kids’ zone. Music headliners this year are The Guess Who, Foghat, Inner Circle and Zach Deputy.
    When: April 26-28
    Where:
    A new location this year: Pompano Beach Community Park & Amphitheater
    Web:
    pompanobeachseafoodfestival.com

    MORE YUMMY FOOD & DRINK HAPPENINGS – Food and wine/beer/spirits centric events abound throughout SoFla in April, many of which also have live music and lots of family-fun entertainment):

    ·        Redland Blues & Barbecue Festival – April 6-7 at Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead. redlandfruitandspice.com

    ·        Boca Bacchanal – April 4-6 at Boca Raton Resort & Club and private residences in Boca Raton. bocabacchanal.com

    ·        South Florida Taco Battle & Craft Beer Fest – April 27 at CB Smith Park in Pembroke Pines. ftltacobattlecraftbeerfest.com

    ·        Las Olas Wine & Food Festival – April 5 on Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale; sunny.org

    ·        Sprung! Spring Beer Festival – April 6 in the Wynwood district of Miami. sprungbeerfest.com

    ·        Brew at the Zoo – April 6 at the Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach. palmbeachzoo.org

    ·        Sweet Corn Fiesta – April 28 at Yesteryear Village on the South Florida Fairground in West Palm Beach. sweetcornfiesta.com

    ·        Taste the Islands Experience – April 24-28, anchored at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and along the New River, Fort Lauderdale. ttiexperience.com

    MIAMI RIVER DAY FESTIVAL – This annual affair celebrates the historic mix-use Miami River’s unique culture and natural environment. Highlights include river boat rides, kayak and paddleboard races, historic re-enactors, kids activities, good food and live music.
    Where:
    Lummus Park Historic District, Miami
    When:
    April 6
    Web:
    miamirivercommission.org

    ORCHID & PLANT FESTIVAL – Plant lovers will have opportunity to vividly experience (and purchase) diverse, colorful and fragrant varieties of orchids, tropical plants and herbs and fruit trees. There’s more, too: garden art, food vendors, cocktails, birds of prey, animals and live music.
    When: 
    April 6-7
    Where: Sawgrass Nature Center, Coral Springs
    Web: 
    sawgrassnaturecenter.org

    THE MAGIC OF ROSES – As they say, every once in a while you have to take some time and smell these beauties. You can do that and also attend seminars on how to grow them.
    When: April 27-28
    Where: 
    The Mounts Botanical Garden, West Palm Beach
    Web: gpbrs.org/events.htm

     

    a couple at Los Vinos de Dali share glasses of wine

    Support the Dali Museum’s mission to delight and educate visitors at this annual fundraiser and highly anticipated festival, Los Vinos de Dali, which features a variety of fine wines, tastings from top area restaurants, cold craft beers, specialty spirits, live music and a silent auction, all on St. Petersburg’s picturesque downtown waterfront.

    - Los Vinos de Dali


    CENTRAL FLORIDA

    36TH ANNUAL VERO BEACH SPRING BOAT SHOW – Don't miss the boat! Boat dealers and suppliers from the area will be displaying their product lines and will have staff available to answer your questions and help you get out on the water. Check out offerings that include everything from standup paddleboards and kayaks, to deck boats and pontoon boats, shallow water skiffs and personal watercraft, to offshore fishing machines and cruisers, marine accessories and services, and nautical goodies. Daily fishing seminars will be offered by Captain Drew Mixon, professional kayak fishing tournament angler for OIBK/Hobie Fishing Team. Food and refreshments will be available. Parking and admission are free.
    When: April 6-7
    Where
    : Riverside Park, Vero Beach
    Web: www.verobeachboatshow.com

    SHRIMPFEST & CRAFT BREW HULLABALOO – Local restaurants, chefs and food trucks compete for the highly coveted “Golden Shrimp Award” at this delicious showdown and festival, which also has vendors serving up non-shrimp dishes such as hamburgers and pizza. The fest also features suds from more than 20 craft and home brewers in a Craft Beer Tasting, and also live music, a car show and a special virtual reality motorcycle simulator.
    When
    : March 15-17
    Where
    : Riverview Park, Sebastian
    Web
    : shrimpfestfl.com

    WATER LANTERN FESTIVAL – Experience the magic of watching 1,000 softly lit lanterns floating and reflecting off water. Entry includes a floating water lantern, a keychain LED flashlight and a marker to design your lantern or write a special message. Sit back and enjoy live bands, or visit the food trucks serving snacks, treats and gourmet dishes.
    When
    : March 16
    Where
    : Orlando Watersports Complex, Orlando
    Web: waterlanternfestival.com/orlando

    LONGWOOD PIRATE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Seafood lovers and landlubbers alike can enjoy Florida cuisine and refreshing drinks at this family-friendly day packed with music, pirates and a free kid zone that promises a pirate ship, shark ride and maybe even a mermaid or two. Join in the fun by arriving in pirate gear or just people-watch as you enjoy the beautiful Florida spring weather.
    When
    : March 30
    Where
    : Rieter Park, Longwood
    Web
    : longwoodfestival.com

    BLOOM N CHALK FEST – Local, national and international artists create stunning sidewalk art in the form of portraits, black and white vintage, landscapes, abstract and other beautiful works from humble bits of chalk. The event is free and family-friendly, set in the adorable town of Safety Harbor, where guests can stroll the streets, pop into cafes and restaurants and relax in the park in between gazing at the chalk masterpieces.
    When: March 16-17
    Where: Main Street, Safety Harbor
    Web: facebook.com/chalkfest

    WINTER BIRDING ECOTOUR – Embark on a three-hour tour exploring the sandbar of Disappearing Island, where you’ll spot and learn about some of the area’s coolest migratory birds, including Bald Eagles, Greater Yellowlegs, Willets, Ruddy Turnstones, Least Sandpipers, Royal Terns and Black Skimmers. Great for both beginner and novice bird watchers alike.
    When
    : March 21
    Where
    : Marine Discovery Center, New Smyrna Beach
    Web
    : marinediscoverycenter.org

    SEWING & QUILT EXPO – Those who know their way around a needle and thread – or least want to – will love this expo of quilt displays, classes, workshops, vendors selling new sewing and crafting products and a trunk show. Check out the chic fashion show for inspiration and meeting some of the trendsetters – quilting “influencers,” if you will – that keep this traditional hobby fun and fresh.
    When
    : March 14-16
    Where
    : RP Funding Center, Lakeland
    Web
    : sewingexpo.com

    OKEECHOBEE COUNTY FAIR – Smack dab in the middle of the state, the Okeechobee State Fair rolls out a multi-day wonderland of livestock competitions, sideshow and daredevil acts, spinning carnival rides, an exotic animal petting zoo and a crowd-pleasing demolition derby. Take home some baked goods or hand-painted crafts as a souvenir.
    When: March 12-17
    Where: Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center and Fairgrounds, Okeechobee
    Web: okeechobeecountyfair.com

    VENICE BOOK FAIR AND WRITERS FESTIVAL – Budding writers, bibliophiles, established national and local authors and avid readers love this weekend filled with interesting writing workshops, helpful publishing seminars and book signings. This year’s new location allows for more sidewalk vendor tents and is only a few blocks from the local farmer’s market.
    When: March 15-16
    Where: The New Library and West Blalock Park, Venice
    Web: venicebookfair.com

    DAYTONA BIKE WEEK – Dubbed the “World’s Largest Motorcycle Event,” this 10-day event filled with high-octane street festivals, concerts, motorcycle races, bike shows, rallies, manufacturer showcases and much more. The event was established more than seven decades ago and has grown into a crowd of over 500,000 motorcyclists who make it an annual pilgrimage.
    When
    : March 8-17
    Where
    : Daytona Beach area
    Web
    : officialbikeweek.com

    LOS VINOS DE DALI Support the Dali Museum’s mission to delight and educate its visitors at this annual fundraiser and highly anticipated festival, which features a variety of fine wines, tastings from top area restaurants, cold craft beers, specialty spirits, live music and a silent auction, all on St. Petersburg’s picturesque downtown waterfront. Guests may begin their evening by visiting the museum’s latest exhibits, then wine and dine as they bid on travel or health & wellness packages, jewelry, artwork, and dining experiences.
    When
    : April 14
    Where
    : The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
    Web
    : thedali.org

    P1 AQUAX DAYTONA BEACH GRAND PRIX – Known as the fastest growing personal watercraft racing series in the world, the P1 AquaX is returning to Daytona to kick off the 2019 season. This two-day event will showcase both professional and amateur racers traveling from as far as England and Canada to battle it out for the first-place trophy. The Hard Rock Hotel gives the best views of the race course and top-level service with music and fun for all ages
    .When: April 13-14
    Where
    : Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach viewing area
    Web: daytonabeach.com/grand-prix

    ART AMONG THE TREES FESTIVAL – For the seventh year, the DeLeon Springs Community Association hosts its juried art, craft and music festival, featuring live bands playing classic rock and bluegrass, a free kids zone with hands-on activities, a Model A car show and lots of unique artwork on display.
    When
    : April 13
    Where
    : DeLeon Springs
    Web
    : deleonspringscommunityassociation.com

    SUN ‘N FUN INTERNATIONAL FLY-IN & EXPO – Part dazzling air show, part educational forum and part family festival, this Fly-In is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors, aviators, exhibitors, vendors, volunteers and performers to the SUN ‘n FUN campus. Each of the six days is packed with exciting shows, ceremonies and special guests. Highlights include a Blue Angels stunt show and drone light shows and fireworks.
    When
    : April 2-7
    Where: SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus, Lakeland
    Web: flysnf.org

    PIER 60 SUGAR SAND FESTIVAL – World-class sculptors build sugar-sand masterpieces inside a 21,000-square-foot tent in one of Clearwater’s most crowd-pleasing springtime festivals. Families can hone their own sand-crafting skills by attending classes and speed sand demonstrations, then enjoy live entertainment and fireworks.
    When: April 12-28
    Where: Clearwater Beach
    Web: sugarsandfestival.com

    JELLY BEAN FLING – A couple weeks before Easter, kids get the chance to meet the Easter bunny, hunt for eggs, make Easter bonnets and check out the Florida Pioneer Museum while they’re at it. There’ll also be a bounce house, a petting zoo, barrel train rides, face painting and food vendors selling hot dogs, hamburgers and other kid-friendly treats.
    When
    : April 6
    Where
    : Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, Dade City
    Web:
    zephyrhillschamber.org

    GULFPORT SPRINGFEST – Part garden show and part fantasyland, the Springfest draws visitors from all walks of life to its beer garden, costume contest, live bands, crafts vendors, plant and flower tents and BBQ trucks. Creative souls can enter the Faerie House & Gnome Home competition, a display of tiny dwellings for tiny creatures. Visitors are encouraged to join in the spirit by donning wings, Renaissance flair or any imagination-inspired attire.
    When
    : April 27-28
    Where
    : Clymer Park, Gulfport
    Web
    : facebook.com/GulfportSpringfest          

    PINELLAS PEPPER FEST – If you can stand the heat, this spicy little fest is for you. The Pinellas Pepper Fest once again brings the region’s hottest peppers and sauces to one place for tasters to test their palate stamina. Amateur salsa and hot sauce makers get to try out their recipes on judges while brave souls enter the pepper eating contest and Spicy Lolly Lick-A-Thon.
    When
    : April 27-28
    Where
    : England Brothers Bandshell Park, Pinellas Park
    Web
    : pinellaspepperfest.webs.com

    BROOKSVILLE BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL – Celebrate the peak season of Central Florida blueberries with live bands, fun activities and a walk down “Blueberry Lane,” where you’ll find blueberry pies, blueberry cheesecake, blueberry shortcake, blueberry jam, blueberry honey, blueberry plants, and of course, cartons of fresh blueberries to take home.
    When
    : April 27-28
    Where
    : Downtown Brooksville
    Web
    : brooksvilleblueberryfestival.com

    FESTA ITALIANA – Devoted to preserving Ybor City’s rich Italian roots, Festa Italiana kicks off the weekend with Italian Heritage Day with a bocce invitational tournament, cooking demos, a food tent, and a vino competition. Then on Sunday, sample from more than 80 varieties of wine at WineFest of Italy at the Italian Club of Tampa, where you can also taste Italian dishes and bid on more than 100 items at a silent auction.
    When
    : April 6-7
    Where: Ybor City, Tampa
    Web
    : italiandaytampa.com

    STRINGBREAK MUSIC FESTIVAL – Bluegrass, zydeco, rock and jam bands are the focal point of this rugged, outdoors-y music festival, but the real draw is the beautiful Nature Coast setting and the primitive campgrounds where music fans and families (dogs are welcome too!) can settle in for a few days, meet new friends around the campfire and enjoy the tunes and company.
    When
    : April 11-14
    Where
    : Sertoma Ranch, Brooksville
    Web
    : lindentertainment.com/stringbreak

    TAMPA BAY CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL – Experience the rich and colorful cultures of the Caribbean, including steel pan drumming and Haitian, Puerto Rican and Dominican dance performances. Live reggae and jazz bands will entertain, with DJs spinning Caribbean popular tunes in between sets. However, the real showstopper is the cuisine: spiced, fragrant and tasty meat dishes served with tasty sides from the islands.
    When
    : April 20
    Where
    : Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
    Web
    : tampabaycaribbeancarnival.com

    people line up for ribs at St. Augustine’s Rhythm & Ribs Festival

    At St. Augustine’s Rhythm & Ribs Festival, you can kiss a pig, groove to three days of live music and fulfill all your BBQ cravings with award-winning eats from seven regional and national barbecue champions.

    - Rhythm & Ribs Festival

     

    NORTH FLORIDA

    HITS OCALA WINTER CIRCUIT — The horse country capital of Florida gears up for three months of tournaments and gives away $4 million in prize money to best the hunter/jumper jockeys during the winter season. The HITS Post Time Farm has more than 450 acres, 100 permanent turn-out paddocks and 30 permanent bars for training. The season kicks off with the Ocala January Classic ($75 thousand in prize money) and ends with the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on March 24.
    When:
    Jan. 15 – March 24
    Where:
    HITS Post Time Farm, Ocala
    Web:
    hitsshows.com/ocala

    VEGFESTS — Take your vegan lifestyle to the next level or use this vegan fest to make the first steps toward adjusting your diet.

    • Ocala Veg Fest (March 24, Ocala): Ocala’s inaugural event intends to be a zero waste event that extols a plant-based diet to both vegans and non-vegans. The event has a lineup of speakers as well as vegan food and lifestyle vendors selling everything from donuts to natural oat soaps. ocalavegfest.org

    THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP — After a dozen years of being THE tournament on the PGA Tour in May, THE PLAYERS returns to its March home as a precursor for The Masters. The move means everyone can enjoy the week free of May’s sweltering heat, the course will be played predominantly on rye grass instead of bermuda and the winner will be the first to hoist the tournament’s new trophy designed by Tiffany & Co. (Check out the video on how it was designed and created on the THE PLAYERS site, below.) What won’t change? The best of the best will be aiming to take home a chunk of the record $12.5 million purse, the famed 17th island green will break or make champions and it will be a weeklong outdoor cocktail party to remember.
    When:
    March 12-17
    Where:
    TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra
    Web:
    theplayers.com

    IN THE GARDEN — Gainesville’s ode to spring features  a celebration of blooms at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.

    • Spring Garden Festival (March 23-24, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens): Although the theme for the 2019 festival hasn’t been announced yet, previous visitors know that Gainesville’s biggest horticultural event of the year includes about 150 vendors selling plants, flowers, landscape accessories, art and food. Also includes live entertainment, kids activities and live auctions. kanapaha.org

    SUWANNEE VALLEY QUILT FESTIVAL — Celebrate National Quilt Day with inspiration provided by more than 400 intricate fabric works of art created by quilting groups and individuals throughout the state. View these treasures while exploring Trenton’s historic downtown during the 13th annual event, which is Florida’s largest outdoor quilt festival. The quilts will be on display in stores and town buildings, inside and out. Also, make time for sewing demos on paper piecing, embroidery, children’s dresses and needlework.
    When:
    March 16
    Where:
    Trenton
    Web:
    trentonquiltfestival.com

    DOWN HOME STREET FESTIVAL — Head to Bonifay for a relaxed event that mixes community pride with fun and family. Preceding the festival are the Miss Trailblazer Pageant (Feb. 16) and the Trailblazer Trot 5K (March 9). In keeping with the down home theme, there will be games, crafts and family-friendly live entertainment throughout the day, as well as a chance to see the pageant winners and car show.
    When:
    March 16
    Where:
    Bonifay
    Web:
    downhomestreetfestival.com

    MARCH MADNESS BASKETBALL — It’s the greatest week of the men’s basketball season: 68 teams, 52 games, 9 tournament sites. Usually the NCAA spreads the love gifting cities with tournament games that are evenly distributed around the country. This year, Jacksonville feels more like an outlier with most of the host sites in the North. The eight teams coming to the First Coast are still unknown but during the 2015 games in Jacksonville, the fans saw buzzer beaters, cheered on an unlikely Cinderella and watched a perennial powerhouse continue its march to the Final Four. Yes, anything is possible.
    When:
    March 21, 23
    Where:
    Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
    Web:
    jaxarena.com/madness

    CARRABELLE CULTURE CRAWL — Go on a self-guided shop hop through Carrabelle’s historic downtown along the banks of the Carrabelle River. The event includes stops in 20 galleries, museums, shops and restaurants. Some venues will be serving refreshments and raffling off door prizes.
    When:
    March 24
    Where:
    Carrabelle
    Web:
    floridasforgottencoast.com/culture-crawl

    SPRINGTIME TALLAHASSEE — What began as a small-town celebration to promote Tallahassee’s beauty has turned into two days of entertainment marking it’s 51st anniversary this year. Friday night’s music festival featuring headliner Chris Janson (“Buy Me a Boat” and “Drunk Girl”) with openers Highway 85 and Tyler Reeve.The party gets started Saturday morning with the Grand Parade featuring New Orleans-style krewes with more than 100 decorated floats, marching bands and more. Don’t forget to bring your reusable shopping bag for Jubilee in the Park with more than 200 art, craft and food vendors.
    When:
    March 29-30
    Where:
    Kleman Plaza, Tallahassee
    Web:
    springtimetallahassee.com

    CEDAR KEY ARTS FESTIVAL — For 55 years, historic Cedar Key has watched it’s festival gain stature in the fine arts community with a juried art show giving away $18,000 in prizes from it’s beautiful Gulf Coast setting. While checking out the paintings, jewelry, ceramics and photography for sale, festival goers can also indulge in homemade treats and fresh seafood from local vendors.
    When:
    March 30-31
    Where:
    Cedar Key
    Web:
    cedarkeyartsfestival.com

    BARLEYBRINE: OYSTER & CRAFT BEER WEEKEND — A sister event to Pensacola’s fall Peat & Pearls (think scotch and oysters), Barleybrine celebrates all things stout, briny and swashbuckling. The event lineup includes the Hairy Man Hootenanny at Perfect Plan Brewing Co., which will feature a pop-up barbershop, beard and mustache competition, drink specials and live music. The Grand Tasting is all about beer and oysters, the oyster prepared by the city’s best local chefs, the beer list curated from some a selection of top American craft brewers.
    When:
    April 4-6
    Where:
    Pensacola
    Web:
    barleybrine-oyster-craft-beer.com

    SUWANNEE RIVER PADDLING FESTIVAL — Catch a glimpse of lazy gators, clear blue water springs or turtles sunning themselves along two of North Florida’s scenic river ecosystems – the Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers. The three-day fest, now in its seventh year, offers paddlers a chance to explore both rivers during guided tours in eight to 12-mile sections. Explorers can buy a full weekend festival package, which includes two nights of camping at Suwannee River State Park, meals and more. Includes live entertainment, an evening ghost tour through nearby ruins, and preservation speakers. Register in advance because the paddling tours tend to sell out.
    When:
    April 5-7
    Where:
    Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak
    Web:
    paddleflorida.org

    RHYTHM & RIBS FESTIVAL — Kiss a pig, groove to three days of live music and fulfill all your BBQ cravings with award-winning eats from seven regional and national barbecue champions. While the meats draw thousands, the live music keeps toes tapping and hips swaying. The 80’s hair metal tribute band Papercutt (Friday), the Sublime tribute group Badfish (Saturday) and Southern rockers Jaybone and Them Vagabonds (Sunday) will keep the party going all weekend. Includes kids games, rides and arts and crafts vendors.
    When:
    April 5-7
    Where:
    Francis Field, St. Augustine
    Web:
    rhythmandribs.net

    BRADFORD COUNTY STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL — Bradford County’s roadside stands along Highway 301 tout their berries as “the sweetest strawberries this side of heaven.” North Florida fans know their small size yields big flavor and makes them perfect for pies and jams. Held at the peak of the growing season, the 21st annual event attracts families for a weekend of laser tag, train rides, live music, arts and crafts vendors and, of course, strawberry shortcake.
    When:
    April 6-7
    Where:
    Starke
    Web:
    bradfordcountystrawberryfestival.com

    WINE & DINE — Sip and savor during one of these vino-themed events:

    • Sandestin Wine Festival (April 11-14, Destin): Treat yourself to gourmet wine dinners, brunch on the beach, yoga and mimosas or a seafood and champagne voyage during the 33rd annual event. Of course, the main event is Friday and Saturday’s Grand Tasting showcasing more than 500 domestic and international wines and bite-sized appetizers prepared by top local chefs. sandestinwinefestival.com
    • South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival (April 25-28, Miramar Beach): With more than 800 wines, the excitement to get in start tasting has seasoned attendees lining up early waiting for their opportunity to get a glimpse at the festival guide and create a plan of attack during the Grand Tasting. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of water and appetizers to mix in between tastes. Other experiences during the event include the Craft Beer & Spirits Jam and the Destin Wine Charity Auction. sowalwine.com

    WORD OF (SOUTH) — The festival’s founders consider music a bridge to literature, which makes it a natural next step to explore the relationship between the written and sung word at this three-day event celebrating the work of authors and musicians. Performances will take place on seven stages and include authors like Gilbert King (“Devil in the Grove”) and Robert Olen Butler (“A Good Scent from Strange Mountain”) and musicians like The Deer (Texas folk music) and Minton Sparks. The fifth annual fest also features a robust lineup of kids programming at The Story Fort with music, readings and arts and crafts projects.
    When:
    April 12-14
    Where: Cascades Park, Tallahassee
    Web:
    wordofsouthfestival.com

    COWBOY DAYS — Experience living history with a bang. At Broken Horn Ranch, you’ll get a chance to be on the sidelines of live Old West-style gun fights, meet the town marshal, banter with a band of rugged outlaws and explore life on the Western Frontier about 150 years ago. The annual celebration opens the ranch and museum to the public for a living history demos and more.
    When:
    April 13-14
    Where:
    Broken Horn Ranch, Marianna
    Web: visitjacksoncountyfla.com/cowboy-days

    FLORIDA BIRDING AND PHOTO FEST— Amateur and professional shutterbugs will have the opportunity to choose from more than 110 events, including field workshops, classroom sessions and night action photography over five days around historic St. Augustine. In addition to an amazing lineup of speakers, budding photographers can sign up for nature tours (both land and sea) or submit their best Florida photo in the annual contest.
    When:
    April 24-28
    Where:
    Celebration Hall at St. Anastasia, St. Augustine
    Web:
    floridasbirdingandphotofest.com

    38TH ANNUAL DOWN HOME DAYS FESTIVAL: Take a fun-filled day trip to one of the “Best Little Towns in Florida” where live oaks drip with Spanish moss and one of the city’s claim for notoriety was that it was along the escape route for the Confederate Secretary of War, John C. Breckenridge. The community’s signature annual event features a themed parade, arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment, kids activities and food vendors.
    When:
    April 25-27
    Where:
    Madison, various venues
    Website:  madisonfl.org

    SANDJAM FEST — Panama City Beach rocks out during Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam and last year’s inaugural SandJam Fest brought 20,000 music lovers to the beach for a weekend of alternative rock acts. The 2019 headliners are Kings of Leon, Third Eye Blind and Young and the Giant. Cold War Kid, Blackberry Smoke and JJ Grey and Mofro are three of the other acts that will be kicking it on one of the show’s two stages, eliminating the lag between performances.
    When:
    April 26-28
    Where:
    M.B. Miller County Pier, Panama City Beach
    Web:
    sandjamfest.com

    MUSICAL ECHOES NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE FESTIVAL — Let the haunting strains of the Native American flute melodies tell a story. The annual festival, held in Fort Walton Beach since 2001, features a lineup of renowned Native American flutists, singers and dancers that span the different North American tribes. Festivalgoers also can learn how to play or make a Native American-style flute. Includes Native American artisans, demos and seminars.
    When:
    April 26-28
    Where:
    Fort Walton Beach Landing
    Web:
    musicalechoes.org

    PARROT HEAD RENDEVOUS — There will not be changes in latitude for the annual Parrot Head Rendevous, with Parrot Head Nation again returning to PCB’s gorgeous emerald gulf waters. Those living the chill life will be able to compete or cheer on participants in the Jello Shot or Boat Drink Contests, break out their wackiest head gear and bury their toes in the sand while listening to live music from more than 13 Trop Rock acts including Jimmy and the Parrots, Greg Dillard, JD Edge, and BeatleBeat.
    When:
    April 26-28
    Where:
    Sharky’s Beach Front Restaurant & Tiki Bar, Panama City Beach
    Web: rendezvous2019.myevent.com

    PENSACOLA CRAWFISH FESTIVAL — Feast on all things crawfish when Pensacola’s Cordova Crawfish Company serves up 16,000 pounds of the crustaceans for festival eats such as boudin balls, etouffee and gumbo. True crawfish fans can double down on their love for the delicacy by participating in the 13th annual Cat Country 98.7 Crawfish Eating Contest. Also includes live regional music like Louisiana swamp pop, Cajun, blues and zydeco.
    When:
    April 26-29
    Where:
    Vince Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park
    Web:
    fiestapensacola.org/crawfish-festival

    OPENING OF THE BEACHES — Even in North Florida summer weather descends in April while other states are still thawing out after the long winter, which makes the Jacksonville beaches annual celebration timely. It kicks off with the 43rd Annual Sandcastle Contest that is open to the public (pre-registration is 4/2 through 4/26) and has a set two-hour time limit to build masterpieces before judging begins. Sunday’s festivities include the 73rd Annual Opening of the Beaches Parade complete with decorated floats, military vehicles and classic cars.
    When:
    April 27-28
    Where:
    Jacksonville Beach
    Web:
    jacksonvillebeach.org

    PIONEER DAYS FESTIVAL — Stroll the tree-lined streets in the antique capital of North Florida during the 43rd annual celebration, which includes an arts and crafts market, live old-timey music like Barbershop and Sweet Adeline Quartets, historical reenactments and the Kids Korral with pony rides and petting zoo. The festival highlight is always the Heritage Village where artisans and craftsmen demo skills from the state’s pioneer and Native American history.
    When:
    April 27-28
    Where:
    High Springs
    Web: highspringschamber.com

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