By Carrie McLaren
Arts, crafts, great food, nature and more. That’s exactly what you’ll find at one of Gainesville’s many festivals.
Located right off Interstate 75, Gainesville offers events for all interests. And, while you’re there, take a stroll through the University of Florida campus.
Here’s a look at six of Gainesville’s top festivals:
1. Spring Garden Festival
The Spring Garden Festival is the area’s premiere horticulture event, home to almost 200 booths featuring plants, landscape displays, garden accessories, arts and crafts and educational exhibits. At this Gainesville festival, the children’s area allows little ones to design garden hats, create floral arrangements and pot their own plants.
2. Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival
The Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival features fine art from artists around the country with pieces available for purchase. The Art Jungle space allows children to be inspired and create their own artwork. Dancers and musicians perform throughout the weekend with the festival closing with a concert on Saturday evening.
Experience the Butterfly Fest – image courtesy of Visit Gainesville
3. Butterfly Fest
Held at the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Butterfly Fest allows families to celebrate backyard wildlife and learn, too. The festival’s Pollinator Parade highlights the importance of pollinators to surrounding habitats. Take part in one of the many workshops during the festival and don’t miss the butterfly release.
4. Florida Bat Festival
Just in time for Halloween, the Florida Bat Festival takes place at the Lubee Bat Conservancy. This festival lets families tour the grounds, usually not open to the public, to learn about this species. Admission is free. See giant fruit bats and purchase ‘batty’ merchandise to remember this exciting day.
5. Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival
Celebrate the cooler weather and fall leaves at the Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival. All along Chokola Boulevard visitors can explore arts/crafts vendors, artists and musicians from across the southeast. An old-style auction takes place during this Gainesville festival featuring goods from neighboring vendors.
6. Downtown Festival & Art Show
Stroll through Downtown Gainesville and take in one of the many musical performances and browse the local artwork for sale at the Downtown Festival & Art Show. The Imagination Station kids area lets little ones create their own masterpieces, enjoy puppet shows and of course, get their faces painted.
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