Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events scheduled this month in the Sunshine State:
KEY WEST LOBSTERFEST – It’s a crustacean celebration for sure, as the Florida Keys lobster season gets under way. Highlights: Thursday night lobster boils, Friday night Duval Crawl, Saturday street fair with lobster-inspired culinary creations and a luscious lobster brunch Sunday.
When: August 11-14
Where: Various locations in Key West
HANG 20 SURF DOG CLASSIC –This where Florida goes to the dogs. In addition to doggie surfing and paddle boarding competitions, there will be three agility shows by the amazing Purina Pro Plan Performance Dog Team, doggie surfing lessons, live bands, a kids zone and good eats.
When: Aug. 27
Where: Carlin Park at Jupiter Beach Civic Center
DINE OUT DOWNTOWN DELRAY RESTAURANT WEEK – Discover the diverse dining scene in downtown Delray Beach in this week-long foodie fest. Enjoy prix fixe lunches and dinners along with special Dine Out deals and a series of creative culinary events & classes throughout the week.
When: Aug. 1-7
Where: Downtown Delray Beach
18th ANNUAL AFRO-CUBAN DANCE FESTIVAL – Groove to Mambos, Rumbas, Congas, Chancletas, Salsas and many more. This exciting, colorful fest has dance workshops with live drumming, a street fair and culminates with a gala performance featuring guest artists and the IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Company. This year’s show-ender is “Ciudad de Orichas” by company director Neri Torres in collaboration with Afro-House singer Frank Oba Lords.
When: Aug. 11-13
Where: Koubeck Center, Miami
SUMMER BUTTERFLY WALKS -- See some extremely rare species as you walk through various habitats with a naturalist guide. If you’re lucky you’ll see a Dina Yellow, a Dingy Purplewing, a Fiery Skipper or an Atala, as well as some of the other 40 rare species at the Deering Estate. Free with estate admission.
When: July 23, Aug. 27 and Sept. 24
Where: Deering Estate, Miami
MONSTER JAM – Get ready for a weekend of glorious destruction as tricked out five-ton trucks such as Grave Digger, Scooby Doo, Gunslinger, Zombie, Carolina Crusher and El Toro Loco go crashing over cars and race against each other for bragging rights. Fun fact: If you are five-foot-six, you are as tall as the tires on these behemoths.
When: Aug. 13-14
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CENTENNIAL – The Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday and the start of its second 100 years. In SoFla, the gems are Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve, the first national preserve to be created in the National Park System.
When: Aug. 25
Where: Various locations in South Florida
WILDLIFE RESCUE EXHIBIT – Learn all about the rescue of animals in the wild in a fun, interactive way. The experience includes mechanical interactives, multimedia exhibits, a video theater, large full-scale graphic panels, specimens and replicas and scientific tools used by rescuers.
When: Through Sept. 5
Where: Museum of Discovery & Science, Fort Lauderdale
LOS TROMPOS -- West Palm Beach always has unique attractions as part of its annual Summer in Paradise series and this year is no exception. Check out Los Trompos, 20 life-size spinning tops that look like mega dreidels. To operate one, two people must rotate the trompos like merry-go-rounds and then climb aboard while they are spinning.
When: Through Aug. 28
Where: Downtown West Palm Beach
VIERNES CULTURALES ARTS & CULTURE FESTIVAL – Come dance, eat, shop, look at art and enjoy a delightful evening in Little Havana. It’s a great event for the whole family. You’ll discover works by local artists and artisans and you can check out historic artworks in the many galleries along Calle Ocho.
When: Aug. 26 and the last Friday of every month
Where: Along SW 8th Street from 13th to 17th Avenues, Miami
CINEMA JUDAICA: THE EPIC CYCLE (1947-71) – Over 100 flamboyant posters and bold advertising materials are displayed in this exhibit that centers on films released in the three decades after WWII that transformed the image of the Jew from embattled to triumphant. Some of the movies: “Samson and Delilah,” “Ben-Hur,” “Judgment at Nuremberg” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
When: Through Oct. 23
Where: Jewish Museum of Florida – FIU, Miami Beach
DANCIN’ IN THE STREETS – Part music festival and part street party, it features five stages, a kids zone and great eats. This year’s headliners are Southern rockers The Outlaws. Attend that show at the Lyric Theater and get free admission to the festival, which includes an eclectic lineup of mostly Florida bands.
When: Aug. 20
Where: Downtown Stuart
Web: facebook.com/stuartdancininthestreets and lyrictheatre.com
TROPICAL HEAT – More than a dozen intriguingly decadent all-male events, ranging from drag shows to themed pool parties and gatherings at island clubs, have made this a world-renowned gay vacation destination.
When: Aug. 11-14
Where: Various locations in Key West
BASQUIAT: THE UNKNOWN NOTEBOOKS – It’s the first major exhibition focused on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s notebooks, filled with poetry fragments, wordplay, sketches and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class and world history.
When: Aug. 12-Oct. 16
Where: Perez Art Museum, Miami
CRAFT BEER BASH – Imagine an entire festival featuring unlimited sampling of 150 first-rate craft brew and cider selections. Combine that with great live music, yummy food stations, all set at a luxury resort in cool air-conditioned comfort and it’s a great way to spend a hot summer day.
When: Aug. 13
Where: PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens
SANDTASTIC WEEKENDS – The Swan and Dolphin resort hotels truck in 100 tons of sand to create two weekends of master sand sculpting demonstrations and classes, DJ dance parties, “Cinema on the Sand” and games. Expect lots of dazzling, Disney-themed sculptures and bring your camera.
When: Aug. 26-28 and Sept. 2-4
Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Lake Buena Vista
EXOTIC BIRD EXPO – Billed at the largest all-exotic bird event in Florida, this expo features and celebrates the many species of parrots, macaws, cockatoos, conures and other exotics, plus gives bird lovers contact with several feed and toy suppliers and other experts in the avian field. Children 10 and under get in free.
When: Aug. 14
Where: Central Florida Fairgrounds, Orlando
80s IN THE PARK– Put on your jelly bracelets, pop your collars and tease your hair high for this epic festival that has now grown to include more than 60 bands from the 1980s, including Quiet Riot, Great White, Kip Winger, Femme Fatale and Cult Revolution. Attend after-parties until 4 a.m. and take your photo with lookalike “celebrities” from your favorite decade.
When: Aug. 25-28
Where: Melbourne Auditorium, Melbourne
TAMPA BAY LOBSTER FESTIVAL – For the third year, fresh Maine lobsters are flown into the Sunshine State, giving Floridians the chance to buy a full 1.25-pound lobster meal, complete with all the traditional New England sides, plus enjoy live music, a full bar and an eclectic vendor display.
When: Aug. 20-21
Where: Kapok Special Events Center, Clearwater
NIGHT IN THE TROPICS – Held every third Friday in August, Night in the Tropics is New Port Richey’s annual Key West-style party features classic cars, live music on two stages, tropical pets and parrots, street performers, food and a beer garden.
When: Aug. 19
Where: Downtown New Port Richey
FLORIDA KIDS AND FAMILY EXPO – Learn about new events, camps, classes products and services all geared toward families and children. In addition to hundreds of vendors, the expo also has indoor play areas, library story times and other activities.
When: Aug. 27-28
Where: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando
CENTRAL AVENUE SOLSTICE KICKOFF PARTY – St. Petersburg’s growing “Edge District” hosts a kickoff party previewing a new, annual celebration of the sun, welcoming both residents and visitors. Held at a brewery with a courtyard, the event will feature live folk music, a video presentation about the district’s events, and of course, beer.
When: Aug. 5
Where: Green Bench Brewing Co., St. Petersburg
NIGHT IN THE ISLANDS – If you haven’t visited Tarpon Springs’ sponge docks, this is the night to do it. Enjoy an authentic Greek meal followed by with live music by Greek bands and Greek dancing in the quaint Greek district of Pinellas County. Get free dance lessons from 6 to 7 p.m.
When: Aug. 6
Where: Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
CANAL STREET CRAFT BEER WALK – Spend a hot, summer afternoon and evening cruising historic Canal Street and popping into various (air-conditioned!) breweries and pubs to sample craft beer. Tickets are $20 and include a six-ounce Canal Street souvenir glass and 12 sampling tickets that can be redeemed at 10 locations in the district.
When: Aug. 6
Where: Downtown New Smyrna Beach
CLEARWATER ISLAND PARTY END OF SUMMER FUNDAY – Hop in a boat, drink frozen cocktails and get wild as fellow partygoers pack the tiny Compass Island and dance to DJ music, splash around in the Gulf and celebrate sunshine, sand and surf.
When: Aug. 27
Where: Compass Island, Clearwater
PLANT CITY STRAWBERRY CLASSIC CAR SHOW – In its 19th year, this classic car show is still going strong, with this month’s show highlighting older, classic and antique trucks, as well as other classic cars and motorcycles. Cruise the streets and pop into downtown’s shops and restaurants, which stay open for evening hours to accommodate patrons.
When: Aug. 20
Where: McCall Park, Plant City
ARCADIA FARMER’S MARKET – You’d be hard-pressed to find better and fresher Florida-grown produce than at this true farmer’s market, where actual farmers from DeSoto and surrounding rural counties bring their seasonal produce, produce, arts, crafts, woodworking, quilts, plants and other wares to sell.
When: Aug. 6
Where: Downtown Arcadia
TAMPA BAY COMIC CON – The Tampa Bay area’s most well-known and long-running geek-fest returns with everything you’d expect at weekend devoted to comic book junkies: cosplay, celebrity guests, toys and graphic novels, an electronic gaming arena, a kids play zone and more. This year’s guest lineup includes Walking Dead and Game of Thrones stars, as well as several comic book creators.
When: Aug. 5-7
Where: Tampa Convention Center, downtown Tampa
SARASOTA SLAM – Highly skilled inshore and offshore anglers compete for cash in the quest to catch the heaviest snapper, trout and “wildcard fish.” There’s a category for Jr. Anglers and a dockside BBQ and party for competitors and guests, as well as several vendors displaying the latest and greatest in sport fishing.
When: Aug. 5-6
Where: Marina Jack, Sarasota
FLORIDA WEDDING EXPO – Brides-to-be and wedding planners can shop at this expo for just about anything and everything to make the perfect day complete: gowns, tuxes, cakes, hair and makeup services, creative and unique decorations, flowers and more. Enter to win one of 100-plus giveaways, including honeymoon packages and other wedding services.
When: Aug. 7
Where: Rosen Plaza, Orlando
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS TRAINING CAMP — Jags fans have their fingers crossed that wresting the AFC South from the dominant Indianapolis Colts lies in the hands of the dynamic offensive duo of Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson. Not only will fantasy team owners also be able to catch a glimpse of secondary touchdown machine Allen Hurns, but they’ll finally see the University of Florida’s Dante Fowler in action after an injury put his rookie season on ice. Fans must RSVP to attend the practices, which are free, through the team’s website. New this year, will be two days of practice with the Jameis Winston-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
When: July 29-31, Aug. 2- 5, 8-9, 17-18
Where: Everbank Field practice fields, Jacksonville
WATER WAYS — Bring the kids to learn how, with two exhibits, our environment is impacted by water. The Smithsonian Institute’s Water/Ways educates visitors on how to share and protect this natural resource. On a more local level, Alachua County is home to a large collection of Florida’s natural waterways. At the High Springs Community Rivers & Springs Exhibit learn how these different sources affect life daily.
When: July 16 - Aug. 31
Where: High Springs Museum
OH SO SWEET CLASSES — Walking through the door at Sweet Pete’s will fulfill modern-day, Willy-Wonka-inspired fantasies. Shop around, but you’ll truly satisfy your individual sweet-tooth craving during one of their “make your own” classes. Class topics include the always popular Chocolate Bar Your Way to the Candy and Cocktails (adults only!). This summer’s featured class is Soda Pop Shop in which participants learn how to create flavored sodas and take home a few bottles as well.
When: Aug. 1-31
Where: Sweet Pete’s, Jacksonville
13TH ANNUAL KINGFISH SHOOTOUT — May the odds be ever in your favor during the annual Kingfish Shootout, especially with the winning angler taking home the $5,000 prize for reeling in the largest Kingfish. The $16,500 prize purse also rewards Youth Angler (16 years or younger), Lady Angler and largest Spanish mackerel.
When: August 5-7
Where: C-Quarters Marina, Carrabelle
46TH ANNUAL WAUSAU POSSUM FESTIVAL & FUNDAY — This tribute to the possum, which thrives in the Central Panhandle, also features down-home family fun like hog callin’, rooster crowin’ or cow lowin’ contests. There’s also a crosscut sawing contest, a pancake breakfast, 5K “Possum Trot” and a square dance. Of course, it wouldn’t be the annual festival without the crowning of the king and queen, and honestly, the possum is just one of many stars at this “real Florida” fest.
When: Aug. 6
CLEAR BOTTOM KAYAK TOURS — When the dog days of summer take hold, Floridians have two choices: air conditioning or water! Enjoy the Gulf Coast breeze while you paddle your clear-bottom kayak over the artificial reef along Navarre Beach. Your tour will be led by certified reef monitors who will speak about the reef and its inhabitants.
When: Aug. 6, 20
Where: Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center
FESTIVAL OF THE CHARIOTS BHATKI YOGA FESTIVAL — Festival of the Chariots, or Ratha Yatra, originated in India as a celebration of the invitation to the Lord of the Universe to enter festivalgoers’ hearts. The Jax Beach festival features the traditional cultural parade to get participants in the right spiritual state for the Bhakti Yoga classes on two stages. Bhakti Yoga is centered on love and devotion.
When: Aug. 13
Where: Jacksonville Beach
OWL PROWL — Take a ranger-led hike through the state park to experience how owls act in their natural habitat. Also includes a short lecture that explores how owls have adapted to their habitat to thrive. Bug spray and flashlights are recommended.
When: Aug. 13
Where: Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs
3RD ANNUAL TALLAHASSEE SOUTHERN EXTREME RAM RODEO — No guts, no glory for the brave contestants in this two-day competition. They’ll be holding onto their broken-in Stetsons during these events: bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bare bronc riding and barrel riding.
When: August 19-20
Where: Cross Creek Place, Tallahassee
TRIATHALON — Bask in the beauty of the Emerald Coast when you join more than 700 participants for a half-mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico, 20-mile bicycle ride along the coast and 4-mile run through Sandestin’s beachfront community.
When: Aug. 20
PENSACOLA COMIC CONVENTION — This convention proves geeky, sci-fi love has no borders as fanboys and fangirls of seemingly diverse groups like MMA and horror movies or paranormal and NBA enthusiasts can coexist under one roof. Top celebrities scheduled this year include NBA legend Dennis Rodman, Jeremy Palko (“The Walking Dead” and “Vampire Diaries”), Adrian Paul (“Highlander”), Larry Nemecek (Star Trek), and Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers). Also includes a live ghost investigation at the haunted Victorian Inn with the Tennessee Wraith Chasers of “Ghost Asylum.” Of course, no comic con would be complete without a costume competition, so start planning your duds now.
When: August 20-21
Where: Pensacola Interstate Fair Grounds Expo Hall
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE — It’s a centennial celebration for all of our national parks, which includes St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos. For the fort’s big birthday bash enjoy free admission.
When: Aug. 25
Where: Castillo San Marcos, St. Augustine
BLUES, BREWS & BBQ — This can’t miss oh-so-Southern trio will feature some of Jacksonville best craft beer, smokin’ BBQ and sultry musicians. Veterans United and Bold City will be on tap with longtime local fave Mojo and newbie the Bearded Pig serving up pulled pork and tender brisket. Mama Blue and Smokestack will provide the tunes.
When: Aug. 26
Where: Florida Theatre, Jacksonville
GRAPE HARVEST FESTIVAL — Channel your inner Lucille Ball. Kick off your shoes. Let down your hair. And squish some grapes. The grape stomp is just one part of the wine festival, which opens up 45 acres of muscadine grapes to visitors. Other activities include a 5K vineyard run, grape and wine sampling, pick-your-own-grapes and kids zone.
When: Aug. 26
Where: FAMU Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research, Tallahassee
SING OUT LOUD FESTIVAL — Start practicing your vocal scales to prep for more than 90 local, national and international touring acts showcasing their talent in venues throughout St. Johns County. The music festival concludes with the grand finale featuring Brandi Carlile, the Indigo Girls, Booker T Jones and the Travelin’ McCourys. Yes, fan participation is mandatory.
When: Aug. 26-27, 31, Sept. 2-3, 9-10
Where: various venues, Ponte Vedra to St. Augustine Beach
If you have an event you’d like to be considered for inclusion in this monthly feature, please forward information at least six weeks in advance of the event’s date to one of our correspondents:
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.
For a month-by-month list of Florida events, check out our Florida Yearly Events Calendar.