Florida Events Calendar

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Whatever your passion, Florida has it. Here are just some of the events scheduled in the Sunshine State:

South Florida | Central Florida | North Florida


SOUTH FLORIDA

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MANGO! – There are two July mango-centric events in SoFla, both guaranteed to please the palate – one on the east coast and one on the west coast. Go to both and see which coast has the better mangos. East coast: Fairchild International Mango Festival. West Coast: Pine Island MangoMania. A variety of mango-related activities will be offered at both, including yummy tastings, recipes, food demonstrations, refreshing mango smoothies, mango trees for sale, pie-eating contests, island-flavored music and children’s activities.
When and where: Respectively, July 11-12, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables and July 18-19, at the German American Club in Cape Coral (the event got so big it had to be moved off Pine Island)
Web: Respectively, fairchildgarden.org and mangomaniafl.net

INTERNATIONAL HISPANIC THEATRE FESTIVAL OF MIAMI – This long-time event turns 30 this year. You’ll be able to see some of the best theater companies from Latin America, Europe and the United States. This year, the IHTF honors Brazil in recognition of its contributions to Latin American Culture.
When: July 9-26
Where: Various venues throughout Miami and Key Biscayne
Web: teatroavante.com

MIAMI SPA MONTH – Dang, it’s hot out there. What better way to chill than to pamper yourself at some of Miami’s world-famous luxury spas – at discount prices, no less. Actually, it’s not one month, it’s two months long!
When: July and August
Where: Various luxury spas throughout Miami-Dade County.
Web: miamispamonth.com

THE KEY LIME FESTIVAL – Who would think that condensed milk, egg yolks and the juice from tiny Key limes could be the basis for such a famously delicious dessert? The third annual event is a yummy celebration of Florida’s official state pie. Includes, of course, pie eating and pie making contests, but also much more: an attempt to make a world-record largest Key Lime pie, the Key Lime Bar Sip & Stroll, a wacky talent show, samplings of Keys-distilled rum flavored with the tangy lime and the Miss Key Lime Pie and L’il Miss Key Lime pageants.
When: July 2-4
Where: Various locations in Key West
Web: keylimefestival.com

SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA – Who doesn’t like a great Dane?  No, not talking four-legged critters here. We’re talking about a two-legged fellow named Hamlet, who gets the royal treatment this year at the Palm Beach Shakespeare festival. Enjoy this tale of madness, melancholy, morality and murder under the stars at a unique beach-side setting. Bring your beach chair, blanket and picnic basket, or enjoy fare from numerous food-truck concessions. Note: a donation of $5 per person is suggested.
When: July 9-12 and July 16-19
Where: Seabreeze Amphitheatre in Jupiter’s Carlin Park.
Web: pbshakespeare.org

31sth ANNUAL UNDERWATER MUSIC FESTIVAL – More than 500 divers went deep last year at this quirky concert for divers and snorkelers that emphasizes reef preservation and is a whole lot of fun. Classic rock is piped in underwater via speakers suspended from boats hovering above the third largest reef in the world. No theme this year, so do your own thing when it comes to costumes. There’s a free dive clinic the day before the sub-sea musical festivities.
When: July 11
Where: Looe Key Reef (about six miles south of Big Pine Key) for the Saturday
concert and the Looe Key Reef Resort for the day-before dive clinic
Web: fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

BUGFEST BY-THE-SEA – Win thousands of dollars by catching big bugs – as in lobsters. It’s timed to coincide with Florida’s two-day lobster mini-season. Also included: bug hunting seminars, a wreck-diving workshop with legendary diver John Chatterton, underwater photo and video contests, a lobster cook-off and much more. If you haven’t yet been to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, this is the perfect time to see this quaint town. Hotels are offering 10 per cent off their already lower summer rates.
When: July 25-31
Where: Lauderdale-By-The-Sea
Web: lbtsevents.com/bugfest-by-the-sea

FUNKSHION SWIM WEEK – It’s a four-day long platform for innovative designers who are emerging on the Miami and international fashion scenes. The designers will show case their latest swim-suit creations at various locations in and around Miami Beach, including four fabulous runways that protrude over the water. There’s almost always a DJ to accompany the shows and don’t miss the dinner parties and after-show parties.
When: July 15-20
Where: Various locations in Miami Beach
Web: funkshion.com

HEMINGWAY DAYS – The annual Papa-fest turns 35 this year and features readings, a museum exhibit of rare Ernest Hemingway memorabilia, a zany Running of the Bulls, a three-day marlin tournament, a short story competition, street fair and, of course, the famous Look-Alike Contest. The great writer spent a lot of time in Key West in the 1930s and each year fans of his work and exuberant lifestyle gather there to party and pay homage to him.
When: July 21-26
Where: Various locations in Key West
Web: fla-keys.com/hemingwaymedia

FILMED IN BROWARD: A REEL CELEBRATION OF CINEMA – As part of Broward County’s 100th birthday celebration, you’ll be able to enjoy many of the movies that were at least partially filmed there. Some of the titles: The Bird Cage, Caddyshack, Presumed Innocent, Body Heat, Where the Boys Are, There’s Something About Mary, Marley and Me and Analyze This.
When: July 9-16
Where: The fabulous Cinema Paradiso in downtown Fort Lauderdale
Web: fliff.com or sunny.org

PALM BEACH SUMMER BEER FEST – Is there anything better than that first sip of an ice cold brewski on a hot summer day? Now that we have your attention, don’t miss this event that features an amazing array of more than 150 craft beers. The hot music will go great with your cold beers.
When: July 25
Where: South Florida Fairgrounds, West Palm Beach
Web: palmbeachfl.com/events

MEL FISHER DAYS – Has it really been 30 years since famed treasure hunter discovered the shipwrecked Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha near Key West? Yup. Fisher fans, past and present crew members, Fisher family members and treasure-hunting enthusiasts will gather to celebrate the discovery. Events include a treasure hunt on land ($5,000 to the winner!), a rockin’ block party on Duval Street, pirate pub crawl and ball, bingo brunch, poker and a dock party.
When: July 9-12
Where: Various locations in Key West
Web: melfisherdays.com

GABLES BIKE TOUR – They are offered the third Sunday of each month, each with a different theme. This one will explore the town’s plazas, pools and fountains. It will end at one of the coolest summertime swimming hole in SoFla, the Venetian Pool. So, bring your bathing suit and cool off after the tour.
When: July 19
Where: Starting at10 a.m. at the Coral Gables Museum in Coral Gables
Web: coralgablesmuseum.org


CENTRAL FLORIDA

THUNDER ON THE RIDGE – This annual event sets Polk County a-glow with the area’s largest fireworks display, including a Guinness World Record number of sparklers lit at once. General admission is free and includes live music, children’s activities, games, arts & crafts vendors, a beer garden and food concessions.
When: July 4
Where: Haines City
Web: hainescity.com/

SHARKCON – Shark! Ease your fears of these saw-toothed beasts by learning more about their fascinating history, psychology, physiology, habits and pop culture significance at the returning SharkCon, a weekend of education and interactive fun honoring the ocean. See displays featuring touch tanks, paddleboard lessons and even mermaids. 
When: July 11, 12
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
Web: shark-con.com/

FIREWORKS AT THE FOUNTAIN – The Orlando Concert Band entertains with patriotic favorites while families enjoy a kids’ activity area with basketball, tennis and more. Grab some BBQ and drinks before settling near the lake to watch a dazzling nighttime fireworks display.
When: July 4
Where: Lake Eola Park, Orlando
Web: cityoforlando.net/fireworks/

The 27TH COOL ART SHOW – This popular, free indoor (read: air-conditioned!) art show returns, filling the St. Petersburg Coliseum with ceramics, jewelry, photography, paintings, sculpture and multimedia works. Food and drinks, including beer and wine, will be for sale.
When: July 18-19
Where: St. Petersburg
Web: pava-artists.org/

MAJOR BEACH SOCCER – More than 100 teams and thousands of spectators flood the white sands of Clearwater Beach to take part in this serious beach soccer competition series. It’s a fun break from the usual beach sports of volleyball and Frisbee and one of five qualifying tournaments leading up to the December national championships.
When: July 10-12
Where: Clearwater Beach
Web: majorbeachsoccer.com/clearwater-beach

A SCI-FI FOURTH OF JULY – Dress up as your favorite sci-fi movie character and hit the streets of Celebration for this quirky, upbeat Independence Day party. Live music provided by colorful bands, artists and artists will lead up to a spectacular fireworks display set to a sci-fi soundtrack.
When: July 4
Where: Downtown Celebration
Web: celebrationtowncenter.com/

TASTE OF THE BEACHES – Sample seafood, desserts, hot sauces, jams, ice cream, ethnic cuisine and more from local favorite restaurants and caterers serving the beach foodie scene. Buy a $25 drink wristband and taste unlimited beer and wine, too. Proceeds raise funds for the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
When: July 25
Where: Madeira Beach
Web: tampabaybeaches.com/events

SNOOTY’S 67th BIRTHDAY BASH & WILDLIFE FESTIVAL – Florida’s most famous manatee, the oldest living in captivity, continues his golden years with this free birthday party and educational event. Kids can bring their best handcrafted birthday cards for old Snooty, to be entered into a card contest for prizes.
When: July 18
Where: South Florida Museum, Bradenton
Web: southfloridamuseum.org

SYMPHONY UNDER THE STARS – Check out the Brevard Symphony Orchestra and its score of patriotic and pops classics while watching an evening of fireworks under the stars. Turn it into an all-day event by also going to the preceding Red Hot & Boomin’ BBQ at the nearby Cocoa Civic Center, which includes VIP seating for the fireworks.
When: July 4
Where: Cocoa Riverfront Park, Cocoa
Web: brevardsymphony.com/

VANS WARPED TOUR – Teenagers and music fans from all over the state flood the waterfront Vinoy Park to see some of the world’s most popular rock bands, including The Wonder Years, Black Veil Brides and Silverstein. Cool off at the misting station and slip n’ slide if you don’t mind getting wet. 
When: July 3
Where: Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg
Web: vanswarpedtour.com/

SARASOTA IMPROV FESTIVAL – Comedy troupes from all over the country – and some from overseas – bring three days of laughs and performances, including all-female acts, musicals, audience interactive plays and other entertaining displays of off-the-cuff talent. Participants can also buy tickets to workshops and seminars.
When: July 9-11
Where: Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota
Web: floridastudiotheatre.org/sarasota-improv-festival

COKE ZERO 400 – A favorite Independence Day weekend event for decades among NASCAR fans, this Sprint Cup Series stock car race is always filled with thrills and surprises for its thousands of diehard spectators. Be sure to stay for the huge fireworks display after the race.
When: July 5
Where: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach
Web: daytonainternationalspeedway.com

LEESBURG’S 4th of JULY – This small-town, family-focused celebration seems to grow larger every year, filling the day-long schedule with swimming, face painting, games, BBQ, snow cones, stilt walkers, balloon artists, free ice cream, live bands, and of course, elaborate fireworks.
When: July 4
Where: Venetian Gardens, Leesburg
Web: 4thofjuly.leesburgpartnership.com/

DUNEDIN ORANGE FESTIVAL – In a town known for its history of oranges, orange groves and citrus packing, this festival became a natural fit in 2010 and has been held every July in Edgewater Park since. Sample some contest entries in the local restaurant Mojo cook-Off Contest, or try some fruity ice cream, smoothies and juice blends.
When: July 11
Where: Dunedin
Web: dunedinorangefestival.com/


NORTH FLORIDA

SCALLOP SEASON — Skip the seafood market; harvesting bay scallops is more like a fun-filled treasure hunt than hard work. All you need is a saltwater fishing license, snorkel, mask and dive flag — all readily available from local outfitters. Scallops love making their home amid the gorgeous grass beds of the Florida Aquatic Preserve. Once you find a cache, drop the dive flag and start collecting.  
When: June 27 - mid-September
Where: St. Joseph’s Bay
Web: visitgulf.com/scalloping

THE LURE OF THE OCEAN: ORIGINAL WORKS BY GUY HARVEY — Long before Guy Harvey T-shirts were sold at your local sports superstores, the former marine biologist’s gift for capturing aquatic wildlife in watercolor, oil or acrylic paintings was the only way to appreciate his artistic talent. This special exhibit features original paintings, watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings. Also includes interactive areas within the galleries and a Guy Harvey-themed photo booth.
When: July 1 - Aug. 9
Where: Pensacola Museum of Art
Web: pensacolamuseum.org

TURTLE TALKS — The Apalachicola National Estuaries Research Reserve (ANERR) staff has been monitoring more than 200 loggerhead sea turtle nests annually on St. George and St. Vincent Islands for almost 30 years. Learn from experts during this lecture series that addresses the nesting habits of turtles, identification and protection of these nests and how you can help. Sea turtle nesting season begins in May and extends through October.  
When: July 1, 8 15, 22, 29
Where: Apalachicola National Estuaries Research Reserve
Web: dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/apalachicola

FLORIDA’S GLOBAL KITCHEN — The Sunshine State is melting pot of ethnic cuisines — Spanish, African, Native American, British, Cuban, Caribbean and more — and this special exhibit features the recipes, artifacts and stories that highlight this diversity. The museum also recreated author Majorie Kinnan Rawlings’ (The Yearling) kitchen. Rawlings is known for introducing the country to Florida cracker cooking (rustic, inexpensive dishes that highlighted local meats and produce)  in “Cross Creek Cookery.” Special events in July include: Cross Creek Cookery and World War II (July 16) and Marmalade Cooking Demonstration & Home Food Preservation History (July 30).
When: July 1-30
Where: Matheson History Museum, Gainesville
Web: mathesonmuseum.org/events.html

AMERICANA UNDER THE STARS — It’s BYOB, lawn chair and companions for Topsail Hill State Park’s salute to traditional Americana music: think folk, jazz and blues. The concert series mainly features acts that represent Florida or the downhome beat of the South. Under poor weather, the concert is moved to the park’s clubhouse.
When: July 2, 4, 9, 16, 23, 30
Where: Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach
Web: luckymudmusic.com

SMOKE ON THE COAST BBQ AND FIREWORKS FESTIVAL — Kick off the holiday weekend with a little smoke and some sizzle. Twenty restaurants and local BBQ masters will use their best culinary tricks and secret sauce recipes to win your heart … and vote. Also includes live music, kids’ activities, street performers and a whole lot of boom during the fireworks extravaganza.
When: July 3
Where: Destin Commons
Web: smoke-on-the-coast-bbq-and-fireworks

SAN AGUSTIN’S ROWING CHALLENGE — Cheer on competitive teams rowing chalupas along the city’s historic waterfront. No, they are not rowing boats that resemble the edible Mexican snack made famous by Taco Bell. This is a different kind of chalupa — the long boat that Spaniards used to navigate the waters around St. Augustine in the 16th century.
When: July 4
Where: Bayfront in St. Augustine between the Castillo and Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine
Web: staugmaritimeheritage.org

RED, WHITE AND DEEP BLUE CELEBRATION — Go gourmet for the Fourth with whiskey BBQ split chicken, pork belly with smoked jalapeño relish, fresh-from-the-boat shrimp and the can’t-eat-just-one dessert bar at the Ritz. After dinner, sink into your favorite seat for fireworks along the beachfront. Also includes children’s activities and live music. Reservations required.
When: July 4
Where: Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Web: ritzcarlton.com

STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR  — Billed as the biggest fireworks display on the Gulf Coast, PCB kicks off the evening with a patriotic performance by the Panama City POPS Orchestra (7:30 p.m.). The fireworks begin at 9 p.m.
When: July 4
Where: Aaron Bessant Park, Panama City Beach
Web: visitpanamacitybeach.com

STARS & STRIPES AT SEASIDE — Embrace your flag-waving, patriotic fervor for a full day of America the Beautiful activities that begins with the annual July 4th parade along State Road 30A and concludes with a concert by the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and fireworks under the stars.
When: July 4
Where: State Road 30A and the Seaside Amphitheater, Seaside
Web: seasidefl.com

PENSACOLA BEACH AIR SHOW: RED, WHITE AND BLUES — Catch the world-famous Blue Angels’ daredevil tricks and incredible aerial acrobatics on their home turf. Although the annual Pensacola Beach Air Show features other high-flying acts,, the Blues are the stars. Leading into the show are other Blues-centric events, like Blues Angel Music Blues on the Bay Concert Series featuring the Knee Deep Band (July 5), Breakfast with the Blues (July 8) and a Blues’ practice flight (July 9).
When: July 10-11
Where: Pensacola Beach
Web: visitpensacolabeach.com/events

SWAMP STOMP MUSIC FESTIVAL — Spread your blanket under the Spanish moss dripping from the dense live oak canopy for one night of acoustic music by Southern singer/songwriters. Kids can explore the museum’s 52-acre park along Lake Bradford either at ground-level along the boardwalk and trails or from the treetops on the zipline adventure.
When: July 11
Where: Tallahassee Museum
Web: tallahasseemuseum.org

35TH ANNUAL GREATER JACKSONVILLE KINGFISH TOURNAMENT — Grab your rod and enjoy one of the coolest outdoor locales in July as you cruise along the coast during the granddaddy of all fishing contests in Jacksonville. More than 300 boats and 20,000 spectators participate in the five-day tournament that also features a contest for future anglers under 16 years old. The weigh-in each day is the hotspot for photos, but festival goers also enjoy the Food Festival, live entertainment and Boatique.
When: July 13-18
Where: Jim King Park & Boat Ramp at Sister Creek, Jacksonville
Web: kingfishtournament.com

TRIVIA NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM — When it’s hot outside, we Floridians take shelter inside. Hallelujah for AC! Skip the sports bar trivia night for a more refined, yet no less competitive evening in the state capitol. With it being July, the night’s theme is, of course, patriotic, and contestants will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks while hoping to be the final victor. Call 850-487-1902 to register your team (4 members allowed). Individual entrants and spectators allowed.
When: July 16
Where: Florida Historic Capitol Museum, Tallahassee
Web: flhistoriccapitol.gov/

FIESTA DE SAN FERMIN EN PENSACOLA — Pensacola’s tongue-in-cheek and far less hazardous salute to Spain’s annual running of the bulls includes women roller-derby destroyers wielding wiffle ball bats along the two-mile route. Runners are required to wear a white shirt, white pants and a red neckerchief. Seriously.
When: July 16-18
Where: Seville Quarters, Pensacola
Web: sevillequarter.com/events/2015-running-bulls

If you have an event you’d like to be considered for inclusion in this monthly feature, please forward information at least 30 days in advance of the event’s date to one of our correspondents:

South Florida
danorman32@gmail.com

Central Florida
emily.nipps@gmail.com

North Florida
jendecamp@gmail.com

Our mission is to support and promote Florida tourism throughout the state. Because of the heavy volume of requests for listings, not all submissions can be included in our calendar each month.



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48 comments
Jemma Ryan
Jemma Ryan January 7, 2015 10:28 AM
Hi I work for Eglin Air Force Base here in FL and we are trying to get some brochures to show the troops when they come in looking for vacations with their families. If this is a possibility please email me. Thank you.

Answer:

Thanks for your request.

The VISIT FLORIDA Magazine (and state maps) can be ordered in bulk, for free, at http://visitflorida.org/tools-resources/order-maps-and-publications/

Hope the troops have fun in Florida!

Hi,
I'm wanting to take a single woman vacation in FL. where I'll be safe and have time on the beach, also maybe meet other single persons..companionship , maybe tours , I want transportation provided for 5 to 7 days in Aug and or Sept. I live in Central MO. I would fly out of St Louis. Just a get away!! I'm in my early 60's..
Hi Deborah,
Thanks for reaching out.
There are so many places that you can go! First, here's some basic info about Florida beaches to help you choose your destination and find one that sounds like you.
- Gulf of Mexico Beaches will tend to have white sand and calmer waters that are great for young children or for those timid about the water.
- Atlantic Beaches tend to have golden brown sand and waves for surfing and other fun.
- The Florida Keys offer superb scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing, but are not renowned for their beaches, with the exception of beautiful Bahia Honda. Many of the Florida Keys' beaches are manmade, or are just a layer of sand over a sliver of limestone.
- The north is almost always cooler than south, something to remember in both summer and winter. To find out the average temperature of a destination, just look at the top of VISIT FLORIDA's home page. You'll find a place to enter the city's name plus the month.
Next, you should figure out the general vibe you're looking for. Do you want a big city? A charming little town with shopping and cafes? A beach where you see almost nobody else? Someplace upscale? Someplace old-fashioned? Do you like miniature golf and T-shirt shops, or do you hate them? Florida features beaches on both coasts in all these varieties.
You could stay in some really walkable cities if you'd like, ones with trolley service or both, like Hollywood Beach (http://www.visithollywoodfl.org/). I'm thinking that might be really fun for you. It's got a three-mile paved walkway right on the beach where you can grab a bite, rent a bike, shop, and it has little resorts there too. It also has a beach theatre with nightly free concerts, and I'm thinking it would be so easy to meet people there.
Beautiful Siesta Key (charming town, white sand beaches, http://www.visitsarasota.org/) is walkable and has a trolley, and St. Augustine (historic, cool, busy and touristy, http://www.floridashistoriccoast.com/) is very foot friendly. Follow the links for more info about each area from their visitors' services.
But you can go on a tour too. Just figure out the area you want to go to and then do a search for "group tours." Or write back to me and I'll find a couple for you to choose from.
See you soon!
Lauren
Lauren Tjaden
VISIT FLORIDA Beaches and Adventure Insider