April and May Events in Florida

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

    South Florida | Central Florida | North Florida

    Fire and musicians onstage at Rolling Loud Music Festival in Miami Gardens

    More than 100 acts will perform at Rolling Loud, a three-day festival at Miami Gardens.

    - Rolling Loud

     

    SOUTH FLORIDA 

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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):

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

    ·        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

    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

    VROOOOOOOMS WITH A VIEW! – There are two outstanding air shows in SoFla in May, both guaranteed to thrill:

    ·        The FORT LAUDERDALE AIR SHOW features the United States Navy Blue Angels in their first SoFla appearance in 12 years. Their C-130, affectionately dubbed Fat Albert, opens the show before the six Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets take over, with four-jet and six-jet formations and two solos. Also on tap: the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team, the B-17 Flying Fortress, the GEICO Skytypers, parachute teams and civilian aerobatic acts. Check out the VIP packages, one at the top of the Pelican Grand Beach Resort and one on the beach, but shaded.
    When: May 4-5
    Where Fort Lauderdale Beach
    Web: fortlauderdaleairshow.com

    ·        The HYUNDAI AIR & SEA SHOW will showcase personnel, technology and equipment from all five branches of the U.S. military, as well as police, firefighters and first responder agencies. In addition to military jets soaring overhead and powerboats racing across the water, there will an on-shore musical salute to America’s heroes (Flo Rida is the headliner). The climax will be a star-spangled fireworks extravaganza over the Atlantic Ocean.
    When: May 25-26
    Where: Miami Beach
    Web: usasalute.com

    SUNFEST – Another wildly eclectic lineup is set for this year’s gathering, which again will be one of the largest waterfront music and art festivals in Florida. The musical acts include Keith Urban, OneRepublic, G-Eazy, Diplo, Tears for Fears, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bebe Rexha, Papa Roach, Don Omar, Ludacris, Lil Dicky, Flogging Molly, Garbage, Big Gigantic and the B-52s. As always, music is just the beginning. It’s complemented by eye-catching art, three floating party barges, yummy food and a fireworks show on the final night.
    When:
    May 2-5
    Where:
    Downtown West Palm Beach on the waterfront
    Web:
    SunFest.com

    MAY MUSIC MIX – Can’t get up to SunFest? Well, check out any of these three further-south music fests:

    ·        The headliners at ROLLING LOUD are Migos, Cardi B, Rae Sremmurd, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, Kid Cudi, Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Pump. More than 100 acts will perform at this three-day festival.
    When: May 10-12
    Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
    Web: rollingloud.com

    ·        The KEY WEST SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL features some of America’s foremost performing songwriters, with concerts staged in intimate, audience-friendly settings. Headliners this year include Brad Paisley, Scotty Emerick, Jeffrey Steele and Robert Earl Keen.
    When: May 8-12
    Where: Various locations in Key West
    Web: keywestsongwritersfestival.com

    ·        At the KEY LARGO ORIGINAL MUSIC FESTIVAL songwriters from Nashville and around the United States, as well as top local bands, will perform on multiple stages and a variety of on-the-water venues. Pop, rock, blues, jazz and country music are all represented. Some of the featured performers will be Julie Gribble, 33 Years, Hunter Tynan Davis and Saints & Angels.
    When: May 16-19
    Where: Various locations in Key Largo
    Web: keylargooriginalmusicfest.com

    MOSAIC – Back by popular demand after a successful first year, this program allows you to save on a lot of Palm Beach County’s most popular destinations. For 31 days, visitors can enjoy a mosaic (hence the name) of discounted events, shows and performances throughout the county.
    When:
    May 1-31
    Where:
    Various locations in Palm Beach County
    Web:
    mosaicpbc.com

    PAPIO KINETIC SCULPTURE PARADE – They say that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. If that’s true, the late Key Largo folk artist Stanley Papio was a treasure hunter extraordinaire. Come celebrate his legacy and have a great time in the process. The entire family will enjoy this art-inspired, human-powered parade featuring colorful floats, tricycles with exotically-costumed riders and fantastically decorated bicycles and other moving works of art. There’s an evening after-parade concert on Saturday, with The Wilde Awake featuring Tony Baltimore performing.
    When
    : May 3-5
    Where:
    Key West
    Web:
    papioskineticparade.com

    DELRAY DOUBLE DIP – The DELRAY BEACH CRAFT BEER FEST features 150 craft brews and ciders, a wine booth, a DJ and live music, pub bites, a photo booth, beer-centric games and a silent auction. The DOWNTOWN DELRAY BEACH CRAFT FESTIVAL will feature paintings, jewelry, glass work and pottery. You’ll also enjoy a green market with gourmet sauces, handmade soaps and orchids.
    When & Where:
    Respectively, May 10, at the Old Square Pavilion and May 25-26, downtown.
    Web:
    DBCraftBeerFest.org and artfestival.com

    CINCO DE MAYO BRICKELL – It was such a success last year it has been expanded to two days this time around. You’ll enjoy good food and drink, live music, a DJ, Paco the 8-foot tall piñata, live mariachi performances, mechanical chili rides, confetti drops and waterfront lounge areas.
    When:
    May 4-5, on the water in downtown Miami.
    Web:
    CincoDeMayoBrickell.com

    SIZZLE SOUTH BEACH – Since its inception in 2002, it has become one of the most anticipated events for gay men of color in the country, with party seekers convening for a five-day smorgasbord of captivating day-time events and pulsating nightlife.
    When:
    May 23-27
    Where:
    Various Miami Beach locations
    Web
    : sizzlemiami.com

    OUT IN THE TROPICS FESTIVAL – Enjoy a month of performances by provocative local, national and international artists that boldly address issues of gender politics and sexuality. There will be an array of free educational activities, including workshops and lectures.
    When:
    May 24-June 24
    Where:
    Various locations in Miami and Miami Beach
    Web:
    fundarte.us

    ATTENTION, ALL FOODIES AND WINE AND BEER LOVERS -- Don’t even think of counting calories at any of these gatherings. Just go and enjoy:

    ·        At the VENICE SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL, you’ll find a wide array of scrumptious seafood and drinks prepared by local restaurants and a wide variety of musical flavors, too: rock, jazz, steel pan, Caribbean and R&B.
    When: May 3-5
    Where:
    Centennial Park, Venice
    Web: paragonartevents.com

    ·        At TASTE OF THE BEACH, more than 20 restaurants will present their signature dishes and compete for prizes for Best Appetizer, Best Beef Dish, Best Chicken Dish, Best Seafood Dish and Best Dessert.
    When: May 5
    Where: Old San Carlos Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach
    Web: fortmyersbeach.org

    ·        At the KEY LIME FESTIVAL, you’ll find all kinds of key lime-infused specialties, such as pie, (of course!), gelato, ice cream, marinade, fudge, dips, jelly, candy, cookies, taffy, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Lime-A-Ritas cocktails. Check out the key lime-scented sea salts and soap, too. There will also be family-friendly games, live music and dancing.
    When: May 11
    Where: Fisherman’s Village, Punta Gorda
    Web: charlotteharbortravel.com/key-lime-festival

    ·        Sample more than 100 kinds of beer from around the world at the MIAMI NEW TIMES AND ZOO MIAMI BREW AT THE ZOO. Mike Score, former Flock of Seagulls front man, will provide the music and beer bites will be available for purchase.
    When: May 11
    Where: Zoo Miami
    Web: newtimesbrewatthezoo.com

    ·        Kick off the barbecue season at the GRILLIN N CHILLIN BBQ FEST with a choice of spare ribs, southern brisket or mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches. Better still, try all three!
    When: May 18-19
    Where: Peacock Park, Coconut Grove
    Web: grillinnchillin19.eventbrite.com

    ·        Local restaurants will provide delicious fare at the COCONUT GROVE FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL. You’ll enjoy a wide range of regional food, including steaks, burgers, Italian, seafood and Latin cooking. Also included: culinary demonstrations, a Kids Zone, craft beer and live music.
    When: May 25
    Where:
    Regatta Park, Coconut Grove
    Web: coconutgrovefoodandwine.com

    ·        Sample 60 different craft and import brews at the VENICE BREW BASH. There will also be beer on tap and an assortment of food vendors.
    When:
    May 25
    Where:
    Centennial Park, Venice
    Web:
    venicebrewbash.com

    ·        More than a dozen eateries will present their fare at PAIRINGS, which will also include live music, interactive art stations and, of course, good wine and beer to go with the food.
    When: May 30
    Where: Downtown West Palm Beach
    Web: downtownwpb.com/pairings

    FLEET WEEK – This annual Fort Lauderdale event allows visitors to tour active Navy and Coast Guard ships for free. But don’t wait – reservations are necessary and only 12,000 slots are open.  Even if you don’t get to see the ships, who doesn’t like to see a man or a woman in uniform? They will be all around town during the week, so you can personally thank them for their service.
    When:
    April 29-May 6
    Where:
    Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale
    Web:
    browardnavydaysinc.org

    BPM’ONLINE ACCELERATE MIAMI BUSINESS CONFERENCE – You might want to soak up some solid business advice along with the sun if you’re coming to the Miami area in early May. This free two-day gathering will help business and tech leaders explore new and innovative ways to accelerate growth.
    When:
    May 2-3
    Where:
    InterContinental Hotel, Miami
    Web:
    bpmonline.com/accelerate-miami

    FLOWER POWER – At the PUNTA GORDA HIBISCUS FESTIVAL, specialty hibiscus and other exotic plants, trees and organics will be displayed and for sale. Lots of other fun stuff, too: Restored antique cars, Little Miss Hibiscus Pageant, a farmers’ market, live music and a secret garden tour. The REDLAND INTERNATIONAL ORCHID SHOW is one of the largest in the country, featuring more than 50 booths of orchid vendors and educational events and material. You’ll find all kinds of gorgeous orchids and there will be lectures by experts, raffles and international food.
    When & Where:
    Respectively: May 3-5 at City MarketPlace in Punta Gorda and May 17-19 at Fruit and Spice Park in Homestead
    Web:
    Respectively: thehibiscusfestival.com and redlandfruitandspice.com

    GREAT DOCK CANOE RACE – In addition to the traditional themed parade (this year’s theme is “Heroes and Villains”) and canoe race, there are a host of other races: Tippycanoe VIP Sprint, Practically Professionals, Ambitious Amateurs, Next Generation and Truly Tenacious and a stand-up paddle board race.
    When:
    May 11
    Where:
    The Dock at Crayton Cove restaurant, Naples
    Web:
    greatdockcanoeraces.com

    MIAMI WEB FEST – The best web series from around the world will be showcased at this four-day gathering. Attendees will see independently produced shows before they are discovered by big television networks and other media entities. It’s also a chance to party and mingle with the stars of the new digital age at some of the most exclusive hotspots in Miami.
    When:
    May 2-5
    Where:
    Various locations throughout Miami and Miami Beach.
    Web:
    miamiwebfest.com

    a group of people at Orlando Fringe dressed up in costumes

    The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is a 14-day arts festival celebrated as Orlando’s most unique cultural event, offering un-juried, uncensored, and highly talented theatre, music, dance performances and artists of all genres.

    - Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival


    CENTRAL FLORIDA

    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

    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

    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

    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

    SEAGRAPES WINE & FOOD Sip, savor and save some sea life! That’s the idea behind Seagrapes, The Florida Aquarium’s signature annual fundraiser that features more than 100 types of wine and culinary dishes from local chefs and restaurants. Drink, mingle and sample everything from appetizers to desserts while strolling among stingrays, sharks, seahorses and 8,000 other animals and native plants that reside at the Aquarium.
    When:
    May 18
    Where:
    The Florida Aquarium, Tampa
    Web:
    flaquarium.org/seagrapes

    ORMOND BEACH BEER FESTIVAL – More than 30 local breweries will bring their best ales, lagers, stouts and ciders to The Casements, which is the former winter home philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Enjoy some suds in the gardens at this family-friendly event, which will also have food vendors, live music and a kids zone.
    When:
    May 11
    Where:
    The Casements, Ormond Beach
    Web:
    daytonabeach.com/ormond-beach-beer-festival

    SARASOTA VEG FEST – Returning after a successful first year, the Sarasota Veg Fest will once again bring an interesting and engaging variety of speakers, food demonstrations, bands, dance instructors, yoga classes, giveaways and much more to this free, donation-based event. Enter a hula hoop competition, sample vegan and ethnic dishes, learn about factory farming and let the kids try out the rock-climbing wall.
    When:
    May 4
    Where:
    Sarasota Fairgrounds, Sarasota
    Web:
    sarasotavegfest.org

    ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL FRINGE THEATRE FESTIVAL – This 14-day arts festival celebrates its 28th year as “Orlando’s most unique cultural event” offering un-juried, uncensored, and highly talented theatre, music, dance performances and artists of all genres. Kids Fringe for children and families also returns, bringing entertaining performances by Fringe artists, costumed characters, workshops, hands-on art activities.
    When:
    May 14-27
    Where:
    Orlando Repertory Theater, Orlando
    Web:
    orlandofringe.org

    ORANGE BLOSSOM JAMBOREE – Dozens of Florida bands, ranging from funk to country to hard rock, jam in this four-day event held on a sprawling campsite. Spend a day or roll up in your RV and spend the whole long weekend listening to original and cover tunes and eating BBQ, vegan dishes and other concessions. Headliners this year include Uncle John’s Band, The Heavy Pets and Roosevelt Collier Trio.
    When: May 18-21
    Where: Sertoma Ranch, Brooksville
    Web: orangeblossomjamboree.com

    KING’S BAY FEST – This two-day, pirate-themed celebration has a pirate ship and village, craft beer, food trucks, arts & crafts, live bands, a treasure scavenger hunt and a kids zone with face painting, bungee jumping and a life-sized hamster ball. Try out your grilling skills in the wing master competition, or just bring your appetite and be a taste-tester.
    When:
    May 18-19
    Where:
    King’s Bay Park, Crystal River
    Web:
    kingsbayfest.com

    SUNSET MUSIC FESTIVAL – National and international DJs and dance music artists create a crush of electronic music fans, dancing the night away in glow-in-the-dark clothing and jewelry. The two-day show rocks the stadium with techno, disco, house, trap, bass and trance music. Artists this year include Decadon, Fisher, 12th Planet and Bonnie X Clyde.
    When:
    May 25-26
    Where:
    Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
    Web:
    smftampa.com                                                            

    DAYTONA BEACH BANDSHELL CONCERTS – You know Florida summer is finally here when the Daytona Beach Bandshell fires up its fun and free concert series, which begins Memorial Day weekend and runs through the end of September. Check out a wide variety of genres and tribute bands right along Daytona’s beautiful coastline as dusk turns to night and stick around on Saturdays for a spectacular fireworks show at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier.
    When:
    May 24-26 and every weekend through the end of September
    Where:
    Daytona Beach
    Web:
    daytonabeach.com/bandshell-concerts

    BEER ‘MERICA – What could be more ‘Merican than a craft beer-happy, dog-friendly lakeside party with BBQ trucks, bands, games, a benefit raffle and more? Beer ‘Merica draws thousands to sample more than 100 kinds of brew and play in the park. Come dressed in your most patriotic attire for the chance to win your favorite beer for a whole year.
    When:
    May 18
    Where:
    Gaston Edwards Park, Orlando
    Web: beermericaorlando.com

    MAYFAIRE BY-THE-LAKE – What started as a small crafts fair on the lawn of the Lakeland Public Library, Mayfaire has now grown into one of the largest and oldest outdoor art festivals in central Florida and was on “Sunshine Artist” magazine’s prestigious “Best 200 Art Shows” the past two years, mainly due to the beauty and convenience of the location, a wide variety of artists, tons of kids art activities and delicious and eclectic food vendors.
    When:
    May 11-12
    Where:
    Lake Morton, downtown Lakeland
    Web:
    mayfairebythelake.org

    TAMPA MARGARITA AND MUSIC FESTIVAL – One of Tampa’s most popular weekend festivals returns with even more varieties of margaritas ranging from traditional salt-rimmed to exotic fruit-infused flavors and creative spins on the classic Mexican cocktail. Enjoy live music from R&B star Nelly, play games, collect giveaways or splurge for a VIP ticket and enjoy lounge seating, tequila tastings, special access and other extras.
    When:
    May 25
    Where:
    Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Tampa
    Web:
    tampamargaritafest.com

    ST. JOHNS RIVER FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS – More than 125 regionally and nationally accredited fine artists and craftsmen line the charming brick streets of downtown Sanford, bringing paintings, pottery, sculpture, woodworking, photography, jewelry, blown glass and more. Enjoy hand-crafted food at the Culinary Arts Court and see live artist demonstrations.
    When:
    May 4-5
    Where:
    Historic downtown Sanford
    Web:
    stjohnsriverartfest.com

     

    a Clyde Butcher photo in black and white, of a tree in water

    The Appleton Art Museum in Ocala is featuring a stunning exhibit featuring the work of Clyde Butcher, heralded as the Ansel Adams of Florida outdoor photography.

    - Clyde Butcher

     

    NORTH FLORIDA

    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

    AMERICA’S EVERGLADES: THROUGH THE EYES OF CLYDE BUTCHER — Clyde Butcher, the Ansel Adams of Florida outdoor photography, has been exploring the Everglades National Park’s changing ecosystem for more than 25 years in stunning large-scale black and white photography. The 35 photos chosen for this exhibit capture rare species, cypress trees and sawgrass prairies in desolate locales rarely seen in person. 
    When:
    through May 26
    Where:
    Appleton Art Museum, Ocala
    Web:
    appletonmuseum.org

    GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING —
    Spit-shine the chrome on that Chevy, detail your Harley or take the hardtop off your Wrangler then flip a coin to pick which fest appeals to you most.

    • THUNDER BEACH SPRING MOTORCYCLE RALLY: Panama City’s biannual event bills itself as the “most biker-friendly motorcycle rally in the U.S.” Events include Poker Runs, the Miss Thunder Beach pageant, bike parade and custom bike shows.
      When: May 1-5
      Where:
      Panama City
      Web: thunderbeachproductions.com

      EMERALD COAST BIKE FEST:
      Sponsored by the Emerald Coast Harley-Davidson store, the event has many of the same features like a charity poker runs, the Miss Emerald Bike Fest Bikini Contest, live music and a classic car show.
      When: May 2-5
      Where
      : Fort Walton Beach
      Web:
      emeraldcoastbikefest.com

    • BURNING UP THE BEACHES: Meet companion gearheads showing off their favorite getaway vehicle in the heart of Destin. Includes car cruises, a street party, a Classic Pin-Up Girl Contest and Valve Cover Racing.
      When: May 2-4
      Where:
      Destin
      Web:
      burningupthebeaches.com

    • JEEP BEACH JAM: More than 2,000 jeeps, in all makes and models, from 17 states are expected to invade Panama City Beach for the fourth annual beach party. There JBJ Topless for Turtles Beach Krawl gets top billing but there also will a new obstacle course with rocks, tires and mounds of dirt plus the SuperJeep Challenge, Off-Road Intercoastal Trail Excursions and more.
      When: May 14-18
      Where:
      Panama City Beach
      Web
      : jeepbeachjam.com

    ISLE OF EIGHT FLAGS SHRIMP FESTIVAL — It definitely wasn’t one flag to rule them all, as the furthest northeast community in Florida saluted eight nations, including the Confederate States of America for a brief time. But this weekend street party, now in its 56th year, isn’t really a celebration of its past, but its present and how the shrimping industry plays a major role. So prepare yourself to feast on locally caught shrimp, shop the arts and crafts vendors and kick it to a variety of live entertainment. The event also includes a Shrimp Run, beard contest, pirate invasions, blessing of the fleet and awards for dressed-to-the-nines shrimp boats.
    When:
    May 3-5
    Where:
    Fernandina
    Web:
    shrimpfestival.com

    GAMBLE ROGERS MUSIC FESTIVAL — Named after the man who kickstarted the renaissance of folk music with his own downhome authenticity and storytelling, the 24th annual fest honors the “modern troubadour” of Florida folk music. The weekend event features more than 30 performances split on three stages and culminates with the annual “I Remember Gamble Contest.” Sunday’s contest, with cast prizes, is free to enter and performed songs and stories must have been either written or performed by Gamble Rogers or written about Gamble Rogers. 
    When:
    May 3-5
    Where:
    St. Augustine
    Web:
    gamblerogersfest.org

    SEASIDE DANCE FESTIVAL — World-renowned dance talent invades the small Panhandle community of seaside for two days of free performance artistry led David Robertson, a performer and New York Dance Project Artistic Director. The weekend celebration includes the screening of a family-friendly dance movie as well as two days of dance from genres as varied as contemporary and hip hop or tap and jazz.
    When:
    May 3-5
    Where:
    Seaside
    Web:
    visitsouthwalton.com/seaside-dance-festival

    FORGOTTEN COAST EN PLEIN AIR: AMERICA’S GREAT PAINT-OUT — Hurricane Michael left a trail of devastation along the Panhandle’s Forgotten Coast, especially in the beachfront communities of Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe. The 14th annual event hopes to focus on the why the plain painting genre is important not only to the art world, but to how the process can contribute to a region’s resiliency. This year, artists, lecturers and teachers will focus on how the natural environment can recover after Hurricane Michael’s impact. Always an event highlight, the organizers have expanded the one-on-one coaching stations to seven location including Apalachicola and Mexico Beach.
    When:
    May 3-12
    Where:
    various venues
    Web:
    forgottencoastculturalcoalition.org

    ROMANZA FESTIVALE OF THE ARTS — St. Augustine’s 10-day salute to the arts, culture, cuisine and heritage with more than 75 events, many of them free. Hot tickets include the Cuban classical pianist Juana Zayas (May 3), Unidos en la Musica (a Latin American Festival on May 4), the regional dance talent showcase Kaleidoscope of Dance (May 8), plus a Cinco de Mayo evening with Caribeno Tropical and Mariachi Garibaldi. 
    When:
    May 3-12
    Where:
    various venues, St. Augustine
    Web:
    romanzafestivale.com

    HOE CAKE THROWDOWN & BOURBON BASH — Southerners know hoe cakes as golden goodness, or pancakes made from corn. Pair them with bourbon, a celebrity chef cook-off, live music and more.
    When:
    May 4
    Where:
    De Luna Winery, Pensacola
    Web:
    visitpensacola.com/hoecake-throwdown

    35TH ANNUAL WINDSOR ZUCCHINI FESTIVAL — Florida fests celebrate everything garlic, possum, earthworms, blueberries, honey so a daylong event honoring the zucchini in Windsor, which bills itself at the “Zucchini Capital of the World,” seems normal. And, yet, it’s no longer plentifully harvested in Windsor. Today, the event is a fundraiser for the city’s Fire-Rescue Squad and celebrates the veggie with tongue-in-cheek fun like a zucchini carving contest, a Duke of Zuke and Zuqueenie Pageant and unusual treats like zucchini-flavored cornbread and ice cream.
    When:
    May 11
    Where:
    Windsor
    Web:
    windsor-z-news.org/html

    ST. AUGUSTINE CRAFT BREWERS’ FESTIVAL — The oldest city in the Sunshine State is jumping on the craft brew train by holding its first festival featuring beer from more than 25 North Florida breweries. Featured breweries joining St. Augustine favorites like Old Coast Ales and Ancient City Brewing include Infinite Ale Works (Tallahassee), Reve Brewing Company (Atlantic Beach), Rockpit Brewing (Orlando) and Aardwolf Brewing Company (Jacksonville). Also includes live music, food truck, distillery and wine tastings and a kids zone.
    When:
    May 11
    Where:
    Fountain of Youth Archeological Park, St. Augustine
    Web:
    stabrewersfest.com

    ARTSQUEST — Go shopping for your next favorite treasure from more than 150 artists at the 31st annual juried Fine Art and Craft Festival. Media on display include ceramics, glass, jewelry, pastels, digital art, sculpture, photography, olis and more. Also includes live music and the ImagiNation kids zone.
    When:
    May 11-12
    Where:
    Grand Boulevard Town Center, Santa Rosa Beach
    Web:
    culturalartsalliance.com/fine-arts-festival

    LONGLEAF WRITER’S CONFERENCE — Gather inspiration from the sunny beaches of Seaside (where “The Truman Show” was filmed) for the next great Florida novel or poetic ode to the South at the weeklong conference. Participants will benefit from a week of workshops, one-day seminars, the chance to meet with agents and participate in school outreach events. Authors Rebecca Makkai (“The Borrower”) and Brian Turner (“My Life in a Foreign Country”) will join other faculty, agents and special guests.
    When:
    May 11-18
    Where:
    Seaside
    Web:
    longleafwritersconference.com

    WILD AMELIA NATURE FESTIVAL — Amelia Island’s ecosystem is home to seven sites on the Great Florida Birding Trail and more than 1,500 acres of barrier islands, a greenway, sand dunes and maritime hammock. The festival uses programs like the Sea Turtle Release and tours like the Bat Trek and Marsh Kayak Ecotour to explain why it’s necessary to conserve these areas. In addition, the Eco-Expo includes 27 conservation-minded exhibitors.
    When:
    May 17-19
    Where:
    Amelia Island
    Web:
    wildamelia.org/Nature-Festival

    JACKSONVILLE JAZZ FESTIVAL — A winning piece from Super Bowl LIII is headed to the First Coast and it has nothing to do with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gladys Knight, who slayed with her gorgeous rendition of the national anthem, will headline the 2019 event with Brian Culbertson. Other performers include Monty Alexander, Ledisi, Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective, and The Noel Freidline Quartet with Maria Howell. The city’s largest free music festival has three days of live music on three stages and includes the Jacksonville Jazz Piano competition featuring the world’s top jazz pianists.
    When:
    May 23-26
    Where:
    Jacksonville
    Web:
    jacksonvillejazzfest.com

     

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