Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events scheduled this month in the Sunshine State:
GO FOURTH, AMERICA! – No matter where you are in South Florida on the 4th of July, you’ll be able to find a great fireworks display and other fabulous Independence Day festivities as Americans celebrate the 240th birthday of our great nation. Just use Google for any city and you’ll be all set. All of us at VISITFLORIDA.com wish all of you and yours a happy and safe Fourth of July.
FLORIDA SUPERCON – If you’re a fan of comic books, anime, animation, video games, fantasy, sci-fi and pop culture, don’t miss this four-day event. It’s the largest such gathering in Miami and features celebrity guests, comic book creators, voice actors, industry guests, cosplayers, writers, panels Q&A’s, films & shorts, costume & cosplay contests, vendors, parties and workshops. Among the guests: William Shatner and Walter Koenig, two stars from the original Star Trek series, and Morena Baccarin, star of the hit TV show Gotham.
When: July 1-4
Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach
CIRQUE ELOIZE: CIRKOPOLIS – This action-packed, family-friendly show combines the worlds of circus, dance and theater with inventive stage design, original music and video projections, 11 acrobats, multi-disciplinary artists, jugglers, a contortionist and aerial artists.
When: July 7-31
Where: Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami
INTERNATIONAL HISPANIC THEATRE FESTIVAL OF MIAMI –This long-time event turns 31 this year and will present offerings from Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Spain and the United States. Don’t miss the Teatro Avante world premiere Harbor of Broken Glass, about the 1939 ill-fated voyage of the MS St. Louis, a ship that had 908 Jewish refugees on it but was denied entry in Canada, Cuba and the United States. One of the two remaining survivors will be a guest of honor. The play will be in Spanish but English supertitles will be seen on the front of the stage.
When: July 7-24
Where: Various venues throughout Miami and Key Biscayne
MUSEUM MUSINGS – Summer is a good time to get out the heat and into an air-conditioned museum to see some outstanding exhibits. Here are three:
- Pencil Me In: The Sketches of Mario Sanchez – The celebrated Cuban-American artist worked in a wide variety of mediums, but this exhibit features 70 of his lesser known sketches on unfolded paper grocery bags that offer a look into everyday Key West life. It’s at the Custom House Museum in Key West now through Dec. 31 and is presented by the Key West Art & Historical Society. See kwahs.org
- Just Above Water: Florida Folk Art Exhibit – The fascinating works and lives of thirty-five Florida folk artists is the focus of this exhibit at the Collier County Museum in downtown Naples. It runs through Sept. 31. See colliermuseums.com/exhibits
- LIT – Sixteen internationally recognized contemporary artists use light to bring their creative visions to life. Artwork in this exhibit has been featured in galleries and museums worldwide. It’s at the Cornell Art Museum in Delray Beach and runs through August 28. See oldschoolsquare.org
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 fourth annual affair is a 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
WET-N-WILD WEEKEND AT FLAMINGO GARDENS – If you haven’t been to this amazing attraction this would be the perfect time to go. In addition to seeing the botanical gardens, wildlife sanctuary and the Wray Home Museum, here’s what’s in store: waterslides, water games, crafts, contests, vendor booths and much more – all for a half-price admission.
When: July 16-17
Where: Flamingo Gardens, Davie
HEMINGWAY DAYS – The annual Papa-fest turns 36 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 19-24
Where: Various locations in Key West
SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA – This year, The Bard’s Taming of the Shrew gets the royal treatment at the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival. Enjoy this romantic comedy 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 7-10 and July 14-17
Where: Seabreeze Amphitheatre in Jupiter’s Carlin Park.
MIAMI SALSA CONGRESS – This five-day festival features a unique gathering of the world’s top salsa talent including local and international touring artists, award-winning dancers, world-class dance instructors, top industry DJs and great Latin bands. In its 15th year, MSC is recognized as one of the largest festivals of its kind.
When: July 27-31
Where: Deauville Beach Resort, Miami Beach
32sth 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. There’s a free dive clinic the day before the sub-sea musical festivities.
When: July 8-9
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
CPL T20 CRICKET – Regular cricket games can go on for a long, long time, but that’s not the case at this Caribbean Premier League event. T20 is a much shorter form of cricket and games last only about three hours. It’s an explosive sporting spectacular presented in a unique carnival atmosphere for which the Caribbean is world re-known. As the event poster says, it’s: “Cricket. Played. Louder.”
When: July 28-31
Where: Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Lauderhill
FAB FEASTS FOR FOODIES – Attend any of these and you will walk away singing “Yummy, yummy, yummy, I got love in my tummy:”
- 5th Annual Boca Burger Battle -- As the theme “Backyard BBQ: A Grilling Affair” suggests, you’ll not only find great burgers, but there will also be an array of summer food tasting stations featuring gourmet food items. Quench your thirst with a variety of craft beers and wines. It’s on July 16 in downtown Boca Raton. See bocaburgerbattle.com
- South of Spice – Enjoy a VIP experience and the fare at some of the finest restaurants in the luxurious South of Fifth neighborhood in Miami Beach. Just some of the restaurants: Joe’s Stone Crab, Red, CIBO, Smith & Wollensky, French 27 and Izzy’s. You’ll get to mingle with great chefs and ask them how they work their magic. Also, well-known artists, fashion designers and entertainment will be showcased at multiple venues throughout the evening. The date: July 26. See SouthofSpice.com
- Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest – There’s so much more than the 150 available craft beers, and here’s the food angle: You’ll find an array of outstanding foot trucks serving delicious fare that will go great with your cold brewskis. It’s on July 23 at the South Florida Fair Grounds in West Palm Beach. See palmbeachsummerbeerfest.com
BUGFEST BY-THE-SEA – Win big bucks by catching big bugs – as in lobsters. It’s timed to coincide with Florida’s two-day lobster mini-season. The limit is a fabulous 12 bugs per day and night-diving is permitted. Also included: bug hunting seminars, 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 that has some 30 great restaurants and bars for after-diving eats and fun.
When: July 26-30
FUNKSHION SWIM FASHION WEEK – It’s a five-day long platform for innovative designers who are emerging on the Miami and international fashion scenes. The designers will showcase 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 events and after-show parties.
When: July 13-17
Where: Various locations in Miami Beach
MUCH ADO ABOUT THE MANGO –Two events celebrate the King of Tropical Fruit, one on the east coast and one on the west coast. East coast: 24th Annual International Mango Festival. West Coast: 20th Annual MangoMania Tropical Fruit Fair. A variety of mango-related activities will be offered at both: yummy tastings, recipes, food demonstrations, refreshing mango smoothies, mango trees for sale, pie-eating contests, island-flavored music and children’s activities.
When & Where: Respectively, July 9-10 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables and July 16-17 at the German-American Social Club in Cape Coral.
Web: Respectively, fairchildgarden.org and mangomaniafl.net
MIAMI SPA MONTH – Why they call it Miami Spa Month when it is actually two months long, we do not know. What we do know is that summer is here and what better way to chill than being pampered at some of Miami’s world-famous luxury spas at discount prices.
When: July and August
Where: Various luxury spas throughout Miami-Dade County.
THUNDER ON THE RIDGE – As one of central Florida’s largest and longest-running annual Independence Day events, this live music extravaganza draws thousands to its free festivities, which include children’s activities, games, arts and crafts vendors, a beer garden and food concessions. It also features the area’s largest fireworks display, including a Guinness World Record number of sparklers lighted at once.
When: July 4
Where: Lake Eva Park, Haines City
VANS WARPED TOUR – One of the country’s largest all-ages rock festivals return to Florida, where dozens of popular national and international acts perform on multiple stages before hordes of adoring pre-teen and teenage fans. This year’s fest includes Less Than Jake, Sum 41, Waka Flocka Flame and more. Parents accompanying their kids get in free.
When: July 1-2
Where: Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg; Tinker Field, Orlando
MID FLORIDA SUMMER HOME SHOW– More than 100 home improvement and home decor vendors display their most innovative products and ideas inside the air conditioned Expo Hall. This year’s show also includes a camper and travel expo, as well as the Taste of Plant City event, featuring local bands and food from local restaurants.
When: July 9-10
Where: Strawberry Festival Grounds Expo Hall, Plant City
DUNEDIN ORANGE FESTIVAL – As a nod to the groves and citrus packing industry that once dominated this delightful small city, the Dunedin Orange Festival honors the humble fruit with music, food, a craft beer contest, a Miss Dunedin Orange Queen pageant, a kids fun zone, a beer pong tournament, and of course, free OJ samples.
When: July 9
Where: Edgewater Park, Dunedin
LA PETIT FANCY FLEA – One of Florida’s coolest vintage markets returns with lots of antique and shabby chic home furnishings, original artwork, retro signage and garden décor, collectibles, jewelry and more. An added bonus: this market will also display vintage trailers and campers, perfect for traveling this summer.
When: July 23
Where: The Lakeland Center, Lakeland
TAMPA RED WHITE & BLUES FEST– Tampa rings in the July 4th holiday with a Sunday family event featuring jazz and blues by the river, a "Southern hospitality food court" with food trucks serving all-American dishes, a "PatriARTic Bar" where families can enjoy painting, an art display and free American flag-themed face-painting for kids under 12.
When: July 3
Where: Cotanchobee Park, downtown Tampa
WEEKI WACHEE LEGENDARY SIRENS SHOW – Experience a slice of old Florida nostalgia with this Weeki Wachee mermaid reunion. Fin-tailed performers from yesteryear, including mermaids representing the shows from the ‘50s through the ‘70s, put on a memorable underwater show that is part theatre, part history lesson.
When: July 2-4
Where: Weeki Wachee Springs
SUMMER NIGHTS AT BUSCH GARDENS – If the summertime heat is keeping you away from Busch Gardens’ thrill rides, wild animal exhibits and live performances, try going at night. The theme park temporarily extends its hours to 9 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday and midnight on Friday and Saturday, allowing patrons a dazzling view of Tampa at night atop some of the roller coasters and a nightly fireworks show.
When: Nightly in July
Where: Busch Gardens, Tampa
SNOOTY’S 68TH BIRTHDAY BASH AND WILDLIFE FESTIVAL – Celebrate Bradenton’s most famous senior citizen: Snooty, the oldest documented manatee in the world. Held at the South Florida Museum near Snooty’s home, this birthday party features games and art activities (and free cookies!) for children, as well as reduced admission to the museum, planetarium and aquarium all day.
When: July 23
Where: South Florida Museum, downtown Bradenton
GULFPORT’S 4th OF JULY CELEBRATION – If any town knows how to party, it’s Gulfport, and Independence Day is no exception. The holiday begins with a morning fishing derby at the marina and ends with a fun parade and fireworks, with a sand sculpture contest, a kid’s zone play area and arts and crafts festival throughout the daytime.
When: July 4
SHARK-CON –Every question and fear you ever had about one of the ocean’s most feared beasts is addressed at this weekend event devoted to the shark’s fascinating history, psychology, physiology, habits and pop culture significance. The “convention” also teaches kids about conservation and other wonders of the sea through demonstrations, petting tanks and interactive displays.
When: July 9-10
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
MOUNT DORA FREEDOM ON THE WATERFRONT – Mount Dora once again hosts a fun-filled 4th of July party in the beautiful waterside Elizabeth Evans Park, where the city sets up family-friendly carnival games, water slide inflatables, water tables for babies and toddlers, food, and of course, a fireworks show.
When: July 3
Where: Elizabeth Evans Park, Mount Dora
COOL ART SHOW – This juried show features 75 fine artists and craftsmen, including many award winners from other shows throughout the southeast, and lives up to its name in more ways than one. In addition to featuring some of the region’s coolest and most creative work, the show also takes place in the nice, air-conditioned space of the historic Coliseum ballroom.
When: July 16-17
Where: Coliseum, St. Petersburg
ECO FRIENDLY FLORIDA FEST – Learn about homeopathic remedies, organic farming, solar energy, greener ways to build a home and other aspects of sustainability at this four-day event. Kids can also get familiar with recycling and other green initiatives through interactive displays and games, and adults can enjoy classes like morning yoga and meditation, as well as nightly “after-parties.”
When: July 14-17
Where: Hyatt Regency Sarasota
PENSACOLA INTERNATIONAL BILLFISH TOURNAMENT — More than 20,000 anglers are reeled in — hook, line and sinker — for this Gulf Coast tourney featuring high-dollar prizes in various sport-fishing categories. Billed as one of the Gulf’s premier deep sea fishing tourneys, the event has been luring boaters from all over the country for 45 years.
When: June 29 - July 3
Where: Palafox Pier Marina, Pensacola
WICKED PLANTS — Explore more than 100 of the world’s most diabolical botanicals without threatening consequences like intoxication, addiction or dismemberment. Featured plants include the nasty (stinging nettle), the carnivorous (one root of water hemlock can kill a fully grown cow) and the diabolical (Venus fly trap). The exhibit features hands-on demos like sniffing stations, a potions laboratory and computer simulations of the psychotropic side effects from diviner’s sage and tobacco.
When: July 1 - Jan. 15
Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville
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: July 1 - mid-September
Where: St. Joseph’s Bay
JACKSONIAN GUARD COLORS CEREMONY — Celebrate the historic moment when Pensacola officially became part of the United States under Andrew Jackson. After Memorial Day, students ages 12 to 21, appear in period uniforms circa 1821 and perform a military salute, play drug and fife music and lower the replica 23-star flag that originally flew over the plaza.
When: July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Where: Plaza Ferdinand, Pensacola
SMOKE ON THE COAST: BBQ AND FIREWORKS FESTIVAL — Kick off the holiday weekend with a little smoke and some sizzle. Fifteen 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, stilt walkers and a whole lot of boom during the fireworks extravaganza.
When: July 3
Where: Destin Commons
WEWAHITCHKA SEARCH & RESCUE 4TH OF JULY FESTIVAL — Give in to your patriotic fervor and celebrate America with a day of traditional family fun featuring street dance parties, live music, fried foods, artisan market, kid’s zone and fireworks. To this mélange, add a touch of whimsy provided by Chad Gainey, a professional chainsaw sculpture artist, who will create three masterpieces throughout the day.
When: July 4
Where: Lake Alice Park, Wewahitchka
FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION — Attend what’s dubbed “The Largest Small Town Fireworks Display in America.” Whether that’s true is not the point, because this annual event draws more than 30,000 people to Alachua. The day’s festivities include a kid’s play area, spray park, bingo, live music and fireworks.
When: July 4
Where: Hal Brady Recreation Complex, Alachua
4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION — If the small community celebrations in Alachua or Wewahitchka are not for you, then lose yourself amid the crowd during Jacksonville’s celebration. The Bold City, the largest city by landmass in the country, features a fireworks extravaganza that will appeal to anyone who loves their red, white and boom reflecting off the waves from a waterfront venue. Multiple barges fire off hundreds of fireworks in a riot of color amid the city’s best-known bridges that span the St. Johns River.
When: July 4
Where: downtown Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach
NASHVILLE SONGWRITERS FLORIDA SUNSHINE TOUR — It’s MTV’s “Storytellers” series, only it’s live! Learn the meaning behind the songs from some of the Nashville music scene’s hottest writing talent. Includes performance and fan meet-and-greet.
When: July 6
Where: Harborwalk Village, Destin
SWAMP STOMP MUSIC FESTIVAL — Spread your blanket under the Spanish moss dripping from the dense live oak canopy for a 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 zip line adventure.
When: July 9
Where: Tallahassee Museum, Tallahassee
RED, WHITE AND BLUES WEEK, 2016 PENSACOLA BEACH AIR SHOW — 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 13) and a Blues’ practice flight (July 14).
When: July 13-16
Where: Pensacola Beach
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. 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 18-23
Where: Jim King Park & Boat Ramp at Sister Creek, Jacksonville
CIRCUS SUMMER CAMP — Earn parent-of-the-summer props in your neighborhood when you send your child to master not-so-basic skills like the intricate art of the aerial sling, juggling, plate spinning, clowning and gymnastic theater. Wait, they don’t offer this program for adults? Of course, there will be a circus performance at the camp’s conclusion.
When: July 20-22
Where: Aerial Dance, Panama City
ELVIS 60TH ANNIVERSARY BASH — At age 21, Elvis wiggled his hips into the hearts of First Coast in a series of sold-out shows at the Florida Theatre. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of those landmark concerts, which had teens lined up around the block, the Theatre is bringing in world-class Elvis impersonators Mike Albert (“Vegas Elvis”) and Scot Bruce (“Young Elvis”) to hypnotize crowds anew.
When: July 30
Where: Florida Theatre, Jacksonville
JAXCOT — Jacksonville’s food trucks are offering up a version of the Epcot around-the-globe culinary experience. Bring your appetite and prepare for a culinary feast from 40 food trucks with each one offering up a highly specialized menu of global eats from one U.S. region or country. Also features vegan or gluten-free options, “Kids Around the World” fun zone and live music.
When: July 30
Where: Seawalk Pavilion, Jacksonville 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.