Offbeat and Oddball: Events with Attitude

By: Lauren Tjaden

Let loose and enjoy these wild and crazy events

Your fun-meter will overflow with these wacky, wonderful Florida festivities.

Anything that Floats Race

Key Largo

Every August,  this event promises family-friendly fun. Patch together a homemade vessel, grab your oars and then keep your fingers crossed that it floats! Suggested building materials include cardboard, wood, duct tape and outdoor furniture.

The Great Grove Bed Race

Coconut Grove

If you feel the need for speed – or a super-sized serving of laughs – roll over to this Miami neighborhood on Labor Day weekend for mattress mayhem. Teams of five clatter down the village streets aside and atop decked-out beds, competing for theme and décor, as well as speed. With a Family Pajama Party, Pajama Pub Crawl and Pit Row Parade featuring celebrity judges, it’s anything but a snooze.

Flora-Bama Lounge’s Interstate Mullet Toss

Perdido Key

Ever had a yen to fling fish at a target? Then, this contest is guaranteed to tickle your fins. The fishy festival, held the last weekend of April, features a weekend-long party full of activities, music and food. Keep your eyes peeled: “Celebrity tossers” have been known to crash the event.

Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Festival


Flags shudder in the wind, cannons explode and pirates swarm in a flotilla of more than 1,000 watercraft. You can experience the thrill of the spectacle the last Saturday of every January. The swashbuckling festivities include a pirate ship invasion, a pirate parade and a street festival. Young buccaneers will treasure the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, held the second-to-last Saturday each January.

Swamp Buggy Races


Held every January, March and October, the muddy madness features wheeled buggies, ranging from standard Jeeps with snorkels to giant monsters with NASCAR racing engines, tackling the Mile O’ Mud track. Cheer for your favorites as they splash, splatter and slide; gasp when they almost disappear in the quagmire; and soak up traditions like the Swamp Buggy Queen’s Annual Mudbath.

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