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.
MIAMI BOAT SHOW BIGGIES – There are two in February (both are Feb. 15-19) and you need to see both of them, because each is outstanding in its own right:
- The Miami Yacht Show – This one will showcase more than 500 new and used yachts and a wide array of the latest marine technology and accessories. It also features floating cocktail lounges, great food and live music. A VIP Experience ticket includes a personal concierge. The main part of the show spans more than a mile along the Indian Creek Waterway in Miami Beach, but there will also be a display of super yachts on Watson Island at Island Gardens Deep Harbour Marina. See MiamiYachtShow.com
- Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show – This one has its share of big yachts, too, but also includes powerboats, sailboats and fishing boats (more than 1,300 boats in all), as well as engines and the latest in marine electronics and accessories. The main part of the show is at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin and the secondary location is Strictly Sail Miami at Miamarina at Bayside. See miamiboatshow.com
LAKE WORTH STREET PAINTING FESTIVAL – This annual event is the chalk of the town, for sure. See how the pavement becomes canvas and the street becomes a museum for fine works of art. Lasting only until the next rain drops, these masterpieces (made with environmentally-friendly chalk) are a true beauty to behold. It’s one of the largest street painting festivals in the country and also offers great food, live music and street performers.
When: Feb. 24-25
Where: Downtown Lake Worth
70000 TONS OF METAL – 60 Bands. 4 Days. 1 Luxury Cruise Ship. Only 3,000 tickets. The world’s biggest heavy-metal cruise will be hosted aboard the luxurious Independence of the Seas. In addition to the live acts, you get to meet the bands and attend intimate clinics. But, there’s much more than the music as you go from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Turk and the Turks & Caicos and back: an ice skating rink, gambling (poker, slots and black jack), rock climbing, an all-inclusive fitness center, a surf simulator, full-sized basketball court, a golf simulator, a full-sized boxing ring, great food and a kindergarten area for the kiddies. Party hearty, metal heads!
When: Feb. 1-5
Where: The ship sails from and returns to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
FLORIDA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL – Come all ye wenches and knaves and journey back to the 16th Century as you step through castle gates and into the days of yore. There are seven themed weekends of fun. Explore the artisans’ village and view live demonstrations of glassblowing, magic, jousting, Irish dancing, archery and more. Feast on hearty food fit for a king and enjoy live performances on stage and in the lanes. The shows feature more than 100 costumed performers, 12 stages and acts from around the world.
When: Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 10 through March 25
Where: Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach
BOCA CONCOURS D’ ELEGANCE – Here’s your chance to gawk at some of the most elegant classic cars and motorcycles in the world. There is an opening night airport hangar party, a gala dinner featuring an auction and the finale on Sunday with all the cars and bikes that have been entered into the show on display. Gourmet food and wine will be in abundance at all the events. Tim Allen is this year’s headline comedian and he will join fellow car collector Jay Leno as a celebrity judge.
When: Feb. 23-25
Where: Atlantic Aviation hanger at the Boca Raton Airport on Friday and the Boca Raton Resort & Club for the other events.
THE BROWARD CENTER’S BIG THREESOME – They say three’s a crowd, but this trio of live shows is sure to draw the crowds and they overlap the same weekend, so book early:
- Disaster! – Straight from Broadway, this new musical is set in 1979 and the hottest A-listers in the Big Apple are lining up for the opening of a floating casino and disco. What starts out to be a night of boogie fever succumbs to multiple disasters. As night turns to day, every one struggles to survive – or at least escape the killer rats!
- Florida Grand Opera: Salome – This classic has lost none of its power and this production eerily captures all the depravity of King Herod’s court in ancient Jerusalem. World famous soprano Melody Moore stars as the princess whose provocative dance leads to her own destruction.
- BalletBoyz – One of the most innovative and original modern dance groups, this all-male company of 10 from England will perform two explosive works, Serpent and Fallen. The former is a series of kinetic duets that progress into a seemingly never-ending stream of beautiful movement and the latter is an adrenaline rush driven by industrial strength music.
When: Respectively -- Feb. 8-18, Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 8-9
Where: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale
(Note: BalletBoyz also perform on Feb. 10 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay on Feb. 10. See smdcac.org)
COCONUT GROVE ARTS FESTIVAL – Nearly one mile of great art, gourmet eats at the Global Food Village, fun and an eclectic mix of live music. This annual affair will feature the work of 360 of the finest artists and craftsmen in the world. Don’t miss the show within the show: The St. Stephen’s Art Show, featuring the work of more than 150 artists, a children’s area and an international food court.
When: Feb. 17-19
Where: Coconut Grove, Miami
THE PLACE TO BE FOR SPORTS – That would be Palm Beach County in February, for sure. Here’s why:
- The best golfers in the world will go for $6.1 million in prize money and try to rack up early points in the race for the Fed Ex Cup title at The Honda Classic on the Championship course at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Feb. 19-25. The field gets keeps getting stronger each year and this year is no exception, including defending champion Rickie Fowler. thehondaclassic.com
- Do you like the aging-gracefully golfing greats, too? Check out the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Championship at The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Feb. 5-11. It’s the first full-field event of the Champions Tour and includes last year’s winner, Scott McCarron. brrhchampionship.com
- Tennis anyone? The Delray Beach Open is the only place you can see both former and current stars at two back-to-back tournaments: The ATP Champions tour and the ATP World Tour, Feb. 16-25. It’s all happening at the downtown Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center from Feb. 16-25. yellowtennisball.com
- Play Ball! You can check out spring training workouts and attend games of four major league teams in SoFla. The World Series-winning Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals will be at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach from Feb. 23 to March 28. The Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals will be at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter from Feb. 23 to March 25. ballparkpalmbeaches.com and rogerdeanstadium.com
(Note: The Champions Tour golfers will also play in the Chubb Classic at the TwinEagles Club in Naples, Feb. 12-18. See theacegroupclassic.com)
FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS BOCA – This eclectic annual gathering will once again feature the finest in music, dance, film and authors. Among the highlights this year: Legendary American soprano and five-time Grammy winner Kathleen Battle performing Gershwin songs and spirituals; violinist extraordinaire Itzhak Perlman playing with a 10-piece Klezmer band; Bill Murray will team up with distinguished German cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez to present an evening of music and literature with New Worlds; author Richard Haass will discuss his new book ”A World in Disarray,” and 13-time Grammy winner T Bone Burnett will talk about music, film and art with “On the Road with T Bone Burnett: Stories, Music & Movies.” The festival’s closer: “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial “will be shown on a giant LED wall while John Williams Oscar-winning score is performed live by Symphonia Boca Raton.
When: Feb. 23-March 4.
Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater and Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, Boca Raton.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD – Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum and Yum. That’s one “Yum” for each of these five food-centric happenings in February:
- The biggie is known as the “Super Bowl of Foodies.” It’s a two-county (Miami Dade and Broward) extravaganza called – get ready, it’s a mouthful: The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine and Food Festival, which includes the Crave Greater Fort Lauderdale Series. This star-studded affair showcases the talents of famous chefs, culinary personalities and wine and spirit producers. Events include brunches and lunches, grand tastings and demos, seminars, intimate dinners, walk-around tastings and late-night parties. It’s great for people-watching, too, as celebrities abound (such as Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Trisha Yearwood). Suggestion: Book early for all events! It all happens Feb. 21-25 at various locations in both counties. See SoBeWFF.org
- Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival – Along with the great BBQ, you’ll get to sample some 40 bourbons and 60 beers. It includes live music and food/drink seminars. Feb. 10 at the Pembroke Lakes Mall in Pembroke Pines. See beerandbourbon.com
- Everglades Seafood Festival – More than 100 vendors will offer up fresh gulf shrimp, stone crab claws, fried gator and lots more seafood. Also included: live country music, handmade arts & crafts and midway carnival rides. Feb. 9-11 at City Hall on the Circle in Everglades City. See evergladesseafoodfestival.org
- SoLa Rum, Food & Wine Festival – A wide variety of multicultural tapas style food, rum and wine will be served, along with live music and seminars led by mixologists. The VIP package will get you exclusive chef presentations and a three-course meal with food and beverage pairings. Feb. 10 at the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center in Lauderhill. See solarumfoodwinefest.com
- South Florida Garlic Fest – Folks come from near and far to feast on delights ranging from Argentinean garlic BBQ to garlic ice cream and listen to toe-tapping tunes. Musical headliners are The Fabulous Fleetwoods, Hoobastank, Andy Childs and Stick Figure. Feb. 9-11 at John Prince Park in Lake Worth. See thepalmbeaches.com
WE GOT THE BEAT – We sure do. In SoFla, the music never stops. And if you don’t want to hit the high seas for the metal cruise, you’re sure to find something up your musical alley here:
- Coral Head Music Festival – Headliners are the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Rick Derringer, Slaughter and Great White. Feb. 17-18 at the Marathon Community Park Amphitheater in Marathon. See coralheadmusicfest.com
- GroundUP Music Festival – Once again, host band Snarky Puppy will play all three nights and only 1,500 tickets will be sold each for each day, giving concert-goers a more intimate experience. Other headliners: The Wood Brothers, Joshua Redman, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones Trio and Eliades Ochoa of Buena Vista Social Club fame. There are various VIP packages, some including artist meet-and-greets. Feb. 9-11 at the North Beach Bandshell and adjacent stages on Palm Grove Park, Miami Beach. See GroundUPMusic.com
- Mile 0 Fest Key West – This is a first-timer and features the best in the burgeoning Red Dirt & Americana music scene. Take in the big shows at brand-spanking-new Truman Waterfront Park Ampitheatre or get into a stripped down set at one of the smaller theaters or bars. Headliners include the Turnpike Troubadours, Cody Jinks, Pat Green, Wade Bowen and Shooter Jennings. Also included: golf outings and a fishing derby. Feb. 7-10 at various locations in Key West. See mile0fest.com
- Six-time nominated Grammy nominated folk singer John MCutcheon will perform at the Riverwood Activity in Port Charlotte on Feb. 10. See murdockrotary.org/fundraiser
- The Rock 2K Music Festival features 15-minutes-of-famers (well, maybe 30 minutes) from the 1990s: Smash Mouth, Uncle Kracker, Spin Doctors and Fastball. Feb. 24 at the Magic City Casino in Miami. See magiccitycasino.com
ART & CRAFTS GALORE – Can’t make it to the Coconut Grove Arts Festival? Not to worry. There are many other festivals and art happenings throughout SoFla during February. Here are some of them:
- Artigras, Feb. 17-19 at Abacoa in Jupiter. artigras.org
- Art Wynwood, Feb. 15-19 on Biscayne Bay, Miami. artwynwood.com
- ArtFest Fort Myers, Feb. 3-4. artfestfortmyers.com
- Coconut Point Art Festival, Feb. 17-18 in Estero. ArtFestival.com
- Downtown Stuart Art Festival, Feb. 24-25. ArtFestival.com
- Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts, Feb. 3-4. ArtFestival.com
- Lovers Key Arts & Crafts Show, Feb. 24-25 in Fort Myers. floridastateparks.org
- Naples National Art Festival, Feb. 24-25. naplesart.org
- Old Island Days Art Festival, Feb. 24-25 in Key West keywestartcenter.com
- Pigeon Key Art Festival, Feb. 2-3 in Marathon. floridastateparks.org
- South Miami Rotary Art Festival, Feb. 24-25 in South Miami. southmiamiartfest.com
SWAMP CABBAGE FESTIVAL – For 52 years, the authentic Florida town of La Belle just east of Fort Myers has been celebrating swamp cabbage in a down-home festival featuring, among a host of activities, armadillo races, beauty pageants, live music, a fishing tournament and a car show.
When: Feb 24-25
Where: Various locations in La Belle
CALLING ALL ANTIQUERS – Maybe you will find your treasure at one of these:
- The Miami Antiques & Art & Design Show features more than 200 exhibitors from the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America. New this year: a selection of 20th century modern collectibles and furniture. Feb. 2-4 at the Miami Airport Convention Center. See miamiantiquesartdesign.com
- The Original Miami Beach Antique Show will present antiques, art and jewelry collections from more than 600 dealers around the world. Feb. 9-12 at the Miami Fair Expo Center in Miami. See originalmiamibeachantiqueshow.com
- The Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. It includes a lecture series with industry experts offering their extensive knowledge. Specialists such as curators, skinners and conservators will provide an abundance of information and entertainment. Feb. 14-20 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach. See palmbeachshow.com
DEERFIELD BEACH PIONEER DAYS – It’s a three-day celebration of the city’s agricultural roots and features arts & crafts, live concerts, yummy food, a parade with 50 floats and a grand fireworks show finale.
When: Feb. 16-18
Where: Downtown Deerfield Beach
BAKLAVA BACCHANALIA – Not one, not two, but count ’em, three Greek festivals are set for SoFla in February. Pick one and immerse yourself in all things Greek: food, drink, music, dance, clothing and so much more, including carnival rides and other activities for the kids. It’s the perfect time to come out and say “yassou” (hello) to people who are an important part of our communities.
When & Where: St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Naples, Feb. 9-11; St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale, Feb. 8-11, and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Myers, Feb. 16-18
Web: Respectively – paradisecoast.com, fortlauderdalegreekfestival.org and greekfestfortmyers.com
EDISON FESTIVAL OF LIGHT – Thomas Edison wintered in Fort Myers from 1885 until his death in 1931 and this fest pays homage to the great inventor. Highlights include: the Thomas Alva Edison Science & Inventors Fair, Strolling Flower Show, Antique Car Show, Thomas Edison Birthday Party, Crafts on the River & Vintage Market, Grand Parade, Classic Car Show and the don’t-miss-it Mutt Strutt.
When: Feb. 10-18
Where: Various locations in Fort Myers
PRIDE FORT LAUDERDALE – The festival includes great entertainment, local and national exhibitors and a food court, but so much more: a family area, sporting area, History of Pride area, a Senior Chill Zone, a Sober Zone and a new VIP area.
When: Feb. 11
Where: Fort Lauderdale Beach
SEMINOLE TRIBAL FAIR & POW WOW – It’s a family affair at the 47th annual celebration of Native American arts and culture. Highlights include wildlife shows, alligator wrestling, Native American dancing (for fun and competition), arts and crafts, drum circle, Seminole clothing contest and more. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band is the headlining musical act.
When: Feb. 9-11
Where: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood
KITE DAY FESTIVAL AT HAULOVER PARK – So popular, it has been expanded to two days. The sky over Miami Beach will be ablaze with a marvelous array of colors and figures from hundreds of kites of all sizes and shapes. People of all ages are encouraged to come out fly their own kites, make their own kites for free or purchase an already-made kite – or just come to watch the show.
When: Feb. 17-18
Where: Haulover Park, Miami Beach
POLYNESIAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL – Itching to do the hula? Now’s your chance and you just might win the big contest. And much more, too: An authentic Polynesian show, fire & knife dancers, hula dancers and a hula contest, island music, ukulele exhibition, South Pacific arts and crafts, a kids corner and, of course, mouth-watering island food and a Tiki bar.
When: Feb. 25-26
Where: Jaco Pastorius Park, Oakland Park
CIVIL WARS DAYS HERITAGE FESTIVAL – Experience colorful Civil War reenactments, the roar of cannon fire and uniformed Yankee and Rebel soldiers, while learning about Key West’s past.
When: Feb. 2-4
Where: Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West
FLORIDA STATE FAIR – Good, old-fashioned, indulgent fun takes over the state fairgrounds, filled with all of the spinning, whirling rides, racing pigs, Elvis impersonators, BMX biking and K-9 shows and country music stars. Adventurous eaters will love the deep fried delicacies and something called the “Southern Catfish Sundae.”
When: Feb. 8-19
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
FLAMINGO FESTIVAL – Sunken Gardens’ young flamingo flock turns two ears old! Stroll through the beautiful foliage, listen to live music and check out the birds while sipping wine or beer available for purchase, or let the little ones participate in kids’ activities sponsored by the children’s museum next door. Wear pink for $1 off admission.
When: Feb. 25
Where: Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg
THE FLORIDA BLUEGRASS CLASSIC – Bring your camping gear and settle in for a week of bluegrass and country music, square dancing, arts and crafts booths, workshops, games, raffles, food tents, a classic car show and other fun activities for all ages. The show will feature 12 bands including headliners TG Sheppard and Nothin Fancy.
When: Feb. 20-25
PARADE OF NATIONS HORSE CELEBRATION – The Parade of Nations honors and welcomes Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping riders from all over the world, followed by a Celebration of the Horse presentation of the 30-plus horse breeds showcasing the diversity of the Ocala, dubbed the “Horse Capital of the World.” The grand finale will be a visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales sweeping through the downtown square.
When: Feb. 17
Where: Downtown Ocala
FARM FESTIVAL & QUILT SHOW – A Central Florida tradition for nearly three decades, the annual Farm Festival & Quilt Show returns with its impressive draft horse pull, can grinding and syrup making demonstrations, BBQ, live music, kids’ activities and a beautiful display of quilts and clothing, plus plenty of quilting supplies and quilts for sale.
When: Feb. 3-4
Where: Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, Dade City
ST. PETERSBURG FINE ART FESTIVAL – Returning for its fifth year to beautiful Straub Park, this art fest features original artwork by more than 120 artists from across the country. Peruse thousands of pieces of artwork in the mediums of painting, photography, sculpture, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, ceramics, woodworking, mixed-media, fiber art, metalwork and more.
When: Feb. 24-25
Where: South Straub Park, St. Petesrburg
HARDEE COUNTY FAIR – Experience a true-to-its-roots, down-home county fair set in rural Wauchula, where the whole family can enjoy petting farms, livestock exhibitions, midway rides and games and delicious fair food treats. Don’t miss the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show and the Miss Hardee County pageants, as well as the many arts and crafts vendors and folks selling homemade goods.
When: Feb. 17-24
RANCH DAYS – Bring your walking shoes to explore the vast expanse of Little Everglades Ranch, which will have a weekend-long celebration that includes bands, birds of prey shoes, swamp buggy rides, an arts and crafts “trading post,” a petting farm, face painting and a round-up of food vendors serving BBQ, Mexican and Cajun cuisine, frozen treats and drinks. Roll out a picnic blanket and enjoy the surrounding wilderness at the ranch.
When: Feb. 10-11
Where: Little Everglades Ranch, Dade City
STRAWBERRY CLUSTER DOG SHOW – Dog lovers, check out this four-day indoor conformation and obedience competition at Sun ‘n’ Fun. This year, the Lakeland Winter Haven Kennel Club joins forces with the Fort Myers Dog Club to showcase every breed from tiny Yorkies to Great Danes. Admission is free and vendors will be on site selling toys, treats, clothing, leashes, beds and bath products for your pooch.
When: Feb. 16-19
Where: Sun ‘N Fun Expo Campus, Lakeland
ST. PETERSBURG FRENCH FRY FESTIVAL – Pets, kids and fast food lovers are welcome to sample various French fry-inspired dishes served by local gourmet food trucks, plus enjoy live music at the beautiful waterside Albert Whitted Park, located right across from the Dali Museum, and let the kids play on the playground while you enjoy an adult beverage or take part in the fun, giant, bubble-like Knocker Ball.
When: Feb. 16
Where: Albert Whitted Park, St. Petersburg
THE LIGHTS FEST – Take part in the breathtakingly pretty lantern release into the night sky using biodegradable, eco-friendly, personalized floating sky lamps. Leading up to the timed release, guests of all ages can enjoy music, dancing, food, artists’ tents and kids’ activities such as bounce houses and face painting. The lantern launch is weather permitting and will be coordinated with the local fire officials.
When: Feb. 24
Where: Dade City
BLACK ARTS AND FILM FESTIVAL – Returning for its third year, the Black Arts and Film Festival features 40 local and national artists reflecting art from the African diaspora. Enjoy African drumming and dancing, a Nomad Art Bus with children’s activities, a free book giveaway hosted by Keep St. Pete Lit and independent films showing at Bria's Coffee Shop inside Skyway Marina Mall.
When: Feb. 24
Where: Skyway Marina District, St. Petersburg
IN THE GARDEN — As photography became more mainstream, it transitioned from portraiture to recording landscapes and everyday moments. The photos in this special exhibit span more than a century and were curated from the George Eastman Museum in New York. Each celebrates our relationship with gardens whether they are used as a beautiful sanctuary like Versailles in France or simply as a source of food. Making this exhibit even more timely is that the Cummer is raising funds to help restore its own gardens, which are on the National Register of Historic Places, to their pre-Hurricane Irma beauty. The lower tier of the museum’s formal gardens was submerged underwater for more than 24 hours when the St. Johns River flooded its banks after last year’s hurricane. There is a lineup of special events from teas to a classical music concert tied to this exhibit.
When: Feb. 2 - April 22
Where: Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville
GERTRUDE MORGAN — The self-taught African-American artist, preacher, musician and poet received critical acclaim for her folk art paintings which use biblical themes to express her religious beliefs. The former street preacher’s varied collection combines vivid mixed media colors painted on whatever available materials she had on hand. The exhibit’s 25 paintings are on loan from the Montague Collection of African-American History.
When: through Feb. 28
Where: FAMU Meek-Eaton Black Archives, Tallahassee
CRAPPIE FISHING TOURNAMENT — In fishing, good luck can be as important as skill which means that anyone has a chance to reel in the big one at this two-day event. The tournament, part of the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters tournament trail, is both a national qualifier and the final leg for the Florida State Championship. The tournament is open to the public. Registration and the rules meeting is on Feb. 1. Also includes a kids fishing rodeo on Saturday.
When: Feb. 2-3
Where: Lake Talquin with the weigh in at Ingram’s Marina, Quincy
NIGHT PROWL — Experience a guided night tour along Florida Wildlife Trail while trying to spot all the nocturnal animals that call the museum home. Get ready for one special up close encounter!
When: Feb. 3
Where: Tallahassee Museum
8TH ANNUAL FLORIDA EARTHSKILLS GATHERING — Think you can start a fire using only friction? Can you tell the difference between edible and medicinal plants? What about making your own didgeridoo? This annual gathering brings together skilled instructors, community elders, families, farmers and musicians to teach and learn select earthskills. The gathering has a village-like atmosphere and each day begins with a community breakfast and a conch is blown to signal the start and end of workshop sessions. Topics for the adult workshops include essential survival skills, crafting techniques like wood working and more. There is also a youth educational and entertainment component that varies based on age from toddlers to teenagers. Camping during the event is permitted.
When: Feb. 7-11
Where: Little Orange Creek Nature Park, Hawthorne
FLIGHT TO FREEDOM — Before there was the Underground Railroad heading north, slaves fled plantation life in the Carolinas and Georgia and headed south in search of freedom in the town of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa, currently known as Fort Mose. Each year, during Black History Month, the state park and the Fort Mose Historical Society take guests on a walk along the Freedom Trail and recount stories of these journeys.
When: Feb. 8-10
Where: Fort Most Historic State Park, St. Augustine
MARDI GRAS PARADES — it’s a bead-lovers extravaganza with four days of Mardi Gras parties and parades for Emerald Coast area revelers. Elaborate floats and outlandish costumes will lead the Florida-style pageantry. It kicks off with the Krewe of Lafitte’s Illuminated Night Parade (Feb. 9), continues with Pensacola’s Grand Mardi Gras Parade (Feb. 10), the Krewe of Wrecks Mardi Gras Parade (Feb. 11) and Destin Harbor’s 9th Annual Mardi Gras Parade at HarborWalk Village (Feb. 10). If you’re looking for an option that doesn’t include parade floats and haphazardly flung beads, check out HarborWalk’s Fat Tuesday Street Party and 2nd Annual Mardi Paws Costume Contest (Feb. 13).
When: Feb. 9-10, 13
Where: Pensacola and Destin
Web: kreweoflafitte.com, pensacolamardigras.com, pensacolabeachmardigras.com, https://www.emeraldgrande.com
MARDI GRAS BARKUS PARADE — Instead of parade featuring pirates tossing beads, you’ll be entertained by our favorite four-legged friends decked out in eye patches, beads and more. Led by the Mystic Krewe of Salty Barkers, the theme for the 8th annual extravaganza is BourBone Street Blues. All are invited to be a part of the festivities by outfitting you and your dog. And because it’s Florida, decked out bicycles and golf carts also welcome in the parade. As per tradition, the parade’s queen and king will feature two shelter dogs looking for their “furever” home. Includes live music, artisans and food.
When: Feb. 10
MADE IN ST. AUGUSTINE, A HAND-CRAFTED FESTIVAL — With tourists and Floridians both embracing the shop small trend, the city of St. Augustine is showcasing its local artisans, crafters, chefs, brewers, distillers and mixologists in an open air, market-like atmosphere. Sample signature dishes from the city’s best chefs and fresh brewed coffee while filling your shopping bag with exclusive handmade goods. Don’t forget to attend one of the workshops and leave with your own handmade creation. Also includes a kids’ crafting area and live music.
When: Feb. 11
Where: Francis Field, St. Augustine
AMELIA ISLAND BOOK FESTIVAL — Get writing tips from authors and start adding titles to your summer reading list at this three-day event which features an Author Face-Off Dinner Gala and a writer’s workshop with best-selling author Steve Berry, whose Cotton Malone international espionage series spans 12 books with The Bishop’s Pawn (Book 13) arriving in bookstores (or appearing on your e-reader) in March. Berry, the festival’s honorary chairman, will moderate New York Times best-selling authors Lee Child, Karin Slaughter, Jennifer Armentrout and Sherri Rinker in the Face-Off exchange. Also includes an author expo, author presentations, book signings and smaller ticketed events.
When: Feb. 15-17
Where: various venues, Amelia Island
14TH ANNUAL PALATKA BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL — More than 15 musical acts in three days round out the lineup for one of the state’s can’t-miss tributes to Bluegrass. Headliners include festival favorites Rhonda Vincent and the Rage (Thursday), Dailey & Vincent (Saturday) The Earls of Leicester (Sunday). Dailey & Vincent and The Earls of Leicester are each playing one 90-minute show. All the other acts will play two shows.
When: Feb. 15-17
Where: Rodeheaver Boys’ Ranch, Palatka
CRESCENDO! SINFONIA GULF COAST — Destin is host to three of the best wine annual wine events in Northwest Florida. Crescendo! Is the new player in the region’s vinter/culinary lineup for 2018. The two-part charity event includes an exclusive Vinter’s Dinner on Friday and a lunch/auction/live entertainment shindig on Sunday. The dinner pairs wineries like Aloft by Mondavi, Blackbird Vineyards and Silver Trident with locals chefs creating a multi-course menu to pair specifically with each wine. The dinners will be hosted in homes and venues around the Destin area. The Main Event, as Sunday’s lunch is called, is a sit-down affair with hors d’oeuvres, a full lunch, musical guests and vinter and spirit tastings.
When: Feb. 16 and 18
Where: various venues around Destin
BATTLE OF OLUSTEE REENACTMENT AND 40TH ANNUAL OLUSTEE FESTIVAL — More than 25,000 visitors arrive in Lake City for two-days of live music and the annual Civil War battle reenanctment. The Olustee Festival is Friday and Saturday and features arts and crafts vendors, parade, memorial service and youth pageants. Then, head to the historic battlefield on Saturday and Sunday for the Reenactment of the Battle of Olustee, the site of Florida’s largest battle of the Civil War. Some of the other events associated with the reenactment include medical demonstrations, artillery night firing, an old-fashioned barn dance, parade and ladies tea.
When: Feb. 16-18
Where: Olustee Battlefield State Park (reenactment), downtown Lake City (festival)
Web: olusteefestival.com, battleofolustee.org
WUFFSTOCK FESTIVAL — The swinging ‘60s live again during the annual WuffStock Parade of Paws. Yes, you and your pooch are invited to dress up and cruise a 1-mile stretch along Marion Street while competing for prizes. We totally hope there’s a best pet/owner twinsie category. But the parade is not the only highlight of the fest. The day kicks off with a timed 5K Fun Run open to both humans and dogs and is followed by the Columbia County Doxie Derby. The Derby features a series of races for Dachshunds only and concludes with the National Dachshund Races Florida Circuit Champion Race. (The winner goes to the national championship in Ohio.) Throughout the day, there will be dog competitions, a K9 Team Challenge, a chance to fall in love with adoptable dogs from animal rescue organizations and plenty of food.
When: Feb. 24
Where: Darby Pavilion, Lake City
10TH ANNUAL FIDDLER CRAB FESTIVAL — Enjoy a weekend along the Big Bend that exudes Southern fun and hospitality. Pick a winner during the festival-favorite Fiddler Crab races, take a boat tour along the winding Steinhatchee River, dance to live music all day during the Suwannee River Jam, compete in a fishing tournament and chow down on lots of great eats. New this year, wannabe boat owners will be able to look for their dream craft during a two-day boat show.
When: Feb. 16-18
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