Florida Events Calendar
Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events scheduled this month in the Sunshine State. Please check individual websites for more details:
GO FOURTH, AMERICA! – No matter where you are in Florida on the 4th of July, you’ll be able to find a great show and other fabulous Independence Day festivities as Americans celebrate the 241st birthday of our 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.
MLB ALL-STAR GAME WEEKEND – The City of Miami will become a first-time host this year for baseball’s Midsummer Classic. The game is at Marlins Park on July 11, but there are four days of activities before that, including a FanFest, the always entertaining Home Run Derby, a celebrity softball game, a night time combination electric 5K run/dance party and a Zumba fitness party. Bring your autograph pad because celebrities always abound.
When: July 7-11
Where: Marlins Park for most of the activities, the Miami Beach Convention Center for the FanFest and Bayfront Park for the 5K and Zumba events.
Web: mlb.com and/or miamiandbeaches.com
FLORIDA SUPERCON – If you’re a fan of comic books, anime, animation, video games, fantasy, sci-fi, and pop culture, this four-day geek-a-thon is for you. It 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 featured guests: Actors Linda Blair, LeVar Burton and Ralph Macchio.
When: July 27-30
Where: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale
THE KEY LIME FESTIVAL – The fifth annual affair is a celebration of Florida’s official state pie. It 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. New this year: The Key Lime Pie Hop. A spectacular fireworks display on the fourth concludes the affair.
When: July 1-4
Where: Various locations in Key West
HEMINGWAY DAYS – The annual Papa-fest turns 37 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, a party commemorating his July 21st birthday and, of course, the famous Look-Alike Contest.
When: July 18-23
Where: Various locations in Key West
OVERTOWN MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL – It’s a full day of non-stop fun, featuring great live music, ethnic cuisine and artists, crafters and jewelers showcasing their work. There’s also a gigantic Youth Zone for the youngsters that includes more live music, arts and crafts, face painting, bounce houses, karaoke and fun fitness activities.
When: July 15
Where: Overtown Business District, Miami
SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA – The Bard’s Love’s Labor’s Lost gets the royal treatment at the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival. Enjoy the play under the stars at a unique beach-side setting. Bring your beach chair, blanket and picnic basket, or enjoy fare from numerous food trucks. Note: It’s officially free, but a donation of $5 per person is suggested.
When: July 6-9 and July 13-16
Where: Seabreeze Amphitheatre in Jupiter’s Carlin Park
MIAMI SALSA CONGRESS – This five-day festival features a 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 16th year, MSC is recognized as one of the largest festivals of its kind. Don’t miss the pool parties, pre-event parties, nightly dance parties, evening galas and dance workshops and showcases.
When: July 26-30
Where: Deauville Beach Resort, Miami Beach
33rd ANNUAL UNDERWATER MUSIC FESTIVAL – Be among the hundreds of divers and snorkelers who go deep each year at this quirky concert that emphasizes reef preservation and also 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.
When: July 8
Where: Looe Key Reef (about six miles south of Big Pine Key)
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL OVO – If you didn’t know it, “Ovo” means “egg” in Portuguese. Cirque’s latest is all about a mysterious egg that appears in the midst of the insects. It depicts a colorful ecosystem teeming with life as the insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. One highlight: an amazing flying act in which a group of scarabs soar high above the stage.
When: July 28-30
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami
EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY IN PALM BEACH COUNTY – Here are two events sure to make for a happy tummy and a quenched thirst:
- 6th 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 tasting stations featuring gourmet food items. There also will be a variety of craft beers and outstanding wines.
When: July 15
Where: Sanborn Square in downtown Boca Raton
- 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.
When: July 22
Where: South Florida Fair Grounds in West Palm Beach
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 25-30
FUNKSHION SWIM FASHION WEEK – It’s a four-day 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 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 20-23
Where: Various locations in Miami Beach
MANGO MADNESS – Two events celebrate the King of Tropical Fruit, one on the east coast and one on the west coast. East coast: 25th Annual International Mango Festival. West Coast: 21st 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: July 1-2 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables and July 15-16 at the German-American Social Club in Cape Coral.
Web: 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 – One of Central Florida’s largest and most longstanding Independence Day celebrations, Thunder on the Ridge once again invites families to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy an amazing fireworks show, as well as live music all afternoon and evening, a beer garden, plenty of food vendors, a cornhole tournament and helicopter sightseeing tours.
When: July 4
Where: Lake Eva Park, Haines City
COKE ZERO 400 – Known for its exciting close races and dazzling fireworks shows, this NASCAR Cup Series Stock Car race is one of the most well attended summer events of the year. Country music star Tyler Farr will provide the pre-race entertainment along with several other fun fan activities and pageantry. Bring your RV, tents, inflatable pools and coolers of cold beer for an extra memorable weekend.
When: July 1
Where: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach
INDIALANTIC CRAFT FESTIVAL – Held in a beautiful oceanfront park in the small community of Indialantic, this craft fest welcomes all to its gallery-style booths filled with gems and jewelry, sculptures, photography, pottery, paintings, ceramics and other gifts and artwork for sale. Meet the artists and feel free to bring leashed pets along for the stroll.
When: July 8-9
Where: Nance Park, Indialantic/Melbourne
TAMPA BAY ETSY CREW CRAFT PARTY – If you’re in the market for unique gifts, quirky artwork, embroidered tea towels, handmade jewelry and headbands, fun greeting cards and other original items, look no further than this craft party, which will also feature demonstrations and do-it-yourself pointers inside this air-conditioned, historic building.
When: July 9
Where: Coliseum, St. Petersburg
BALDWIN PARK FIRST FRIDAY – Check out this kid- and pet-friendly nighttime sidewalk festival filled with dozens of local artisans and crafters displaying their art while guests stroll through the heart of the small community of Baldwin Park. Learn about local businesses, including health and fitness organizations, beauty salons, clothing boutiques, non-profits and other Central Florida services while you shop.
When: July 7
Where: Baldwin Park, Orlando
ANTIQUE FAIR OF ARCADIA – Over the years, Arcadia has earned a reputation as an antique hunter’s heaven, with its tiny downtown packed with shops carrying high-quality collectors’ items and memorabilia galore. Every fourth Saturday, folks from all over the state and beyond show up in droves to snag amazing finds and catch great deals at the various vendors who set up tables and tents along the streets. Pro tip: Get there bright and early!
When: July 22
Where: Downtown Arcadia
LEESBURG FOOD TRUCK-N-FLICK NIGHT – One of Leesburg’s most beloved monthly community events, the city’s Food Trick-N-Flick Night is a fun combo of a family-friendly movie under the stars in the downtown square and an array of gourmet dishes and novelty foods served by an assortment of food trucks. Check out the classic car show, listen to live entertainment and be sure to bring comfy blankets and chairs for the flick.
When: July 8
Where: Town Square, downtown Leesburg
SHARK CON – Sharks are intelligent. And fascinating. And mostly harmless. Not convinced? Go to Shark Con, a fun, interactive and educational two-day event dedication to ocean life conservation, marine research, and of course, sharks. Dip your hands in touch tanks sponsored by aquariums and research labs from around the Gulf Coast region, test your balance at a paddleboard clinic, dig for sharks’ teeth and take your photo with mermaids.
When: July 8-9
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
MOUNT DORA FREEDOM ON THE WATERFRONT & PARADE – The quaint little city of Mount Dora kicks off Independence Day with an evening of live country music by Buddy Jewell, kids’ activities and a brilliant fireworks show at sundown. The next morning, line up along the streets of downtown to catch a patriotic parade honoring the holiday with marching bands, festive floats and other fun frills.
When: July 3-4
Where: Elizabeth Evans Park and downtown Mount Dora
FLORIDA BIG BUCK EXPO – Amateur and ace hunters alike won’t want to miss this expo featuring turkey and deer hunting seminars, Outdoor Channel hunting celebrities, vendors selling the latest and greatest in equipment and products, all-ages target practice, deer scoring pointers, chainsaw carving demonstrations, primitive weapons displays, door prizes and more.
When: July 7-9
Where: Lakeland Center, Lakeland
AMAZING JOHNATHAN AT THE TAMPA IMPROV – With a comedy career spanning 35 years and worldwide recognition for his bizarre humor and unscripted antics, the Amazing Johnathan needs little introduction for those who know and love stand-up. After spending 13 years as a Las Vegas entertainer, he disappeared from the scene to take care of health problems, but now he’s back and touring select cities around the country, including Tampa. Buy your tickets early as this will surely be a sellout show.
When: July 28-30
Where: Tampa Improve, North Tampa
SALUTE TO SUMMER – Central Florida’s cutest small town celebrates summer with this week of various sales, promotions and other events held at downtown Wauchula businesses, capped off by a Friday night movie in the park and a huge community garage sale on Saturday.
When: July 10-15
Where: Main Street, downtown Wauchula
BREVARD HOME & GARDEN EXPO – Whether you’re a new home owner or in the home improvement business, this expo will leave you brimming with new ideas – both small and grand scale – for house upgrades. Chat with exhibitors covering everything from plumbing and flooring to solar panels and cleaning products while also getting gardening tips, mortgage and insurance referrals, furniture deals and anything else home- and property-related.
When: July 22-23
Where: Melbourne Auditorium, Melbourne
RED, WHITE & BARK PET FESTIVAL – American pet lovers, unite! This dog-centric fest is devoted to animals of all shapes and sizes, with vendors selling everything from food to grooming products to kennels as well as food trucks selling delicious treats for humans. Check out some pet rescue groups if you’re in the market for a new furry family member, or let your pup run around in the Doggie Fun Zone.
When: July 1
VANS WARPED TOUR – The Vans Warped Tour makes its annual stop in the beautiful waterfront Vinoy Park, drawing thousands of young fans to the edge of downtown for several hours of some of alternative rock music’s hottest bands. This year’s lineup includes Attila, Bowling for Soup, CKY, Barb Wire Dolls, The Fantastic Plastics, and dozens more.
When: July 1
Where: Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg
TAMPA BAY COMIC CON – Florida’s comic book, video game and anime fans look forward to this all year, planning their stunning cosplay looks for months. Tampa Bay Comic Con is a fun, geeky, family-friendly spectacle of characters, Hollywood stars, comic book authors and illustrators. Buy new toys and games to add to the collection or get photos and autographs from celebrities such as Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale and 1960s “Star Trek” actress Nichelle Nichols.
When: July 28-30
Where: Tampa Convention Center, downtown Tampa
DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM: 40 YEARS OF FIRSTS — When the Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 there were 30 students. Within four months, almost 800 kids were arriving for classes at the school which set out to prove that African Americans could become classical dancers. This exhibit explores the ballet’s company social and artistic impact through 165 rare costumes, set pieces, historical photographs, tour posters, video excerpts and sketches.
When: through July 31
Where: Ritz Theatre and Museum, Jacksonville
SUMMER MOVIES IN THE PARK — With drive-in movie theaters almost a thing of the past, it’s become oh-so-retro to gather the family, picnic blankets and beach chairs and enjoy movies under the stars in the summer. Movies take place in the gathering area of the Uptown Station town center-style mall. The family-friendly lineup includes “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Finding Dory,” the live action “Beauty and the Beast,” “Sing” and “Monster Trucks.”
When: June 17, July 1, 15, 29, Aug. 5
Where: Uptown Station, Fort Walton Beach
NIGHT AT THE ZOO — People aren’t the only ones who find the dog days of Florida too hot to move. Beat the heat and check out the zoo’s animals in a different light during four themed evening extravaganzas featuring live music, animal encounters, keeper talks, food trucks, a cash bars and a bounce house. Each night is themed: rockabilly and swing lessons (June 23), big hair and bigger shoulder pads to salute the 80s (July 14), a Hawaiian-inspired luau with fire dancers (July 28) and a back-to-school bash featuring the Navy Southeast Jazz Band (Aug. 11).
When: June 23, July 14 and 28, Aug. 11
Where: Jacksonville Zoo
RIPLEY’S SUPERHERO SUMMER — Does your child cruise around the house in Spidey pajamas and carry Thor’s magic hammer? Do you grab new releases of graphic novels on the first day? Do you have steady rotation of comic con costumes? You can’t wear the same one twice, right? If so, then head to Ripley’s Believe It or Not this summer during their Marvel superhero meet-and-greets. The character appearances are included with paid admission.
When: Panama City Beach: Spiderman (June 27), Thor (July 18), Hulk (Aug. 1). St. Augustine: Spiderman (July 1), Thor (July 15), Hulk (July 29)
Where: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, Panama City Beach and St. Augustine
Web: ripleys.com/panamacitybeach, ripleys.com/staugustine
FREEDOM FEST ON THE SANTA FE RIVER — Rock out on the river with five straight days of live music featuring more than 20 bands during the RV resort's annual salute to the Fourth. Featured musical acts include Soul Circus Cowboys, Big SMO, the Applebutter Express Band and the LACS. A fireworks show closes out the party on July 4. Other entertainment includes river tubing, pontoon boat bar, daisy dukes contents, karaoke, hottest pickup truck contest and drum circles.
When: June 30 - July 4
Where: Ellie Ray’s RV Resort
FORGOTTEN COAST SEA TURTLE FESTIVAL — Get educated on the importance of the sea turtle’s habitat at the second annual celebration for our coastal creatures. The Florida Conservancy and Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Center have turned this into a hands-on event that includes marine life touch tanks and educational displays. There will also be live music, sidewalk chalk contest, art vendors, food and giveaways.
When: July 2
Where: Village Drive and George Core Park, Port St. Joe
INDEPENDENCE DAY EVE CELEBRATION — Already have grand plans for July 4th? Then head to Apalachicola for their annual celebration on July 3. The best fireworks show on the Forgotten Coast is launched from a barge on the river and is set to a patriotic soundtrack. Leading up to the pyrotechnic spectacular is a parade, ice cream social, veteran’s tribute, kid’s activities and a concert by Johnny & the Love Seats featuring lead singer Johnny Hayes, who recently competed on NBC’s The Voice.
When: July 3
Where: Riverfront Park, Apalachicola
ALL-AMERICAN FOURTH — Celebrate the long holiday weekend with baseball and back-to-back evenings with fireworks. The Miami Marlins minor leagues affiliate in Jacksonville, the Jumbo Shrimp, have a fantastic minor league experience and fireworks will conclude their July 3 home stand against the Mobile BayBears. Head back downtown the next evening to experience a breathtaking display of fireworks exploding over the city’s bridges and the St. Johns River.
When: July 3-4
Where: Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and along the St. Johns River
RED, WHITE AND BLUES WEEK — 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 fireworks (July 4) plus other Blues-centric events, like Breakfast with the Blues (July 5) and a Blues’ practice flights both before (July 11-12) and after the airshow (July 11-12, 18). The Blues are scheduled to perform around 2 p.m. on July 8.
When: July 4-8
Where: Pensacola Beach
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 zipline adventure.
When: July 8
Where: Tallahassee Museum
SALA REGIONAL LIFEGUARD COMPETITION — You won’t find The Rock or Zac Efron protecting the Atlantic Coast when Jacksonville Beach hosts hundreds of lifeguards at the South Atlantic Lifesaving Association regional competition. You also won’t see teams running in slow motion down the beach a la Baywatch. This is fast-paced, hard-nosed competition with bragging rights at stake. Events include paddle board rescue, landline, Ironman and more.
When: July 12-13
Where: Jacksonville Beach
FLORIDA’S FIRST HIGHWAYMEN — Just mention the Florida Highwaymen and natives will recall not brigands but Florida’s beauty, captured on canvas in vivid colors by a group of 26 African-American artists who were prolific painters during the 1950s to 1980s. This exhibit celebrates the works of three of the earliest painters, Alfred Hair, James Gibson and Harold Newton. The opening reception is July 14.
When: July 14 - Sept. 23
Where: Gadsden Art Center, Quincy
GREATER JACKSONVILLE KINGFISH TOURNAMENT AND FESTIVAL — 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 will participate in the 37th annual five-day tournament that also features an offshore contest for junior anglers. The weigh-in each day is the hotspot for photos, but festival goers can also enjoy the food festival, live entertainment and Boatique.
When: July 17-22
Where: Jim King Park & Boat Ramp at Sister Creek, Jacksonville
ICHETUCKNEE SUNRISE PADDLE — Enjoy a lazy paddle along the Ichetucknee before the river takes on the appearance of a rainbow with hundreds of tubers out for a sun-drenched float downstream. You’ll wake with the birds because this canoe tour launches as close to sunrise as possible. The tour starts at the north entrance and concludes at the farthest southern take-out. Transportation is provided back to the north entrance and flashlights are recommended at launch.
When: July 19
Where: Fort White
FLOWERS AND TEA AT HIGHCLERE CASTLE — To build excitement for the Lightner Museum’s fall special exhibit, Dressing Downton, the museum is having tea. Yes, save the date because there will be 36 original costumes from the hit PBS show, “Downton Abbey,” arriving at the museum in October. But while you’re waiting to ooh and awe over one of Mary’s fancy frocks, you can learn to make floral arrangements similar to what would have been seen in the manor house. High tea will be served after the demonstration.
When: July 23
Where: Lightner Museum, St. Augustine
SCALLOP SEASON — 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. The FWC made changes to scallop season in 2017 and pushed back the start to late July in Gulf County.
When: July 25 - Sept. 10
Where: St. Joseph’s Bay and Gulf County
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.