Food and wine. Pairing food and wine (and beer) is an art. And doing so in the Sunshine State is an art unto itself – with choices in glorious abundance. Here are some of the major food and wine events scheduled in the Sunshine State, by region and month.
FORT MYERS SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL – The title says “seafood” and you’ll get an abundance of that, but meat dishes and vegetarian fare will also be served at this three-day event. While enjoying your food, listen to live musical performances by some of Florida’s and the region’s top musical talents in such genres as R&B, jazz, rock, reggae and Caribbean sounds.
Where: On the waterfront in Fort Myers
VISIT LAUDERDALE FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – This fest has expanded to highlight all of Broward County with more than 25 events during festival week. Events include 'Culinary Experiences for Everyone Under the Sun' with Signature Events such as The Grand Tasting and Poolside BBQ Battle, to intimate chef-driven dining experiences and culinary classes/seminars.
Where: Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood
ENGLEWOOD SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL - Feast on fresh seafood and other fare and groove to live music by some of the region’s top talents. Also, explore a marketplace offering arts, crafts, gourmet food items and specialty products.
NAPLES WINTER WINE FESTIVAL – Learn about wine bouquets, finishes and feels from Master Sommeliers (there are only about 200 in the world) in this three-day lineup of a luncheon, an auction, a dinner prepared by some of the world’s greatest chefs and a brunch finale.
CLAMJAM OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA – Seminars, entertainment, arts & crafts, contests and, of course, fresh clams -- top neck, middle neck, little neck, steamers and Venus (if you know your clams). Other seafood, right off the boats of local fishermen, also will be served. Lots of non-seafood fare will be available, too, including BBQ chicken, ribs and goat, pulled pork, hamburgers and hot dogs. Also included: live music, kids games and rides and contests for all age groups.
Where: Cape Coral
PORT ST. LUCIE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL - This two-day family and pet friendly festival has now become the largest and most popular seafood festival on the Treasure Coast.
Where: Port St. Lucie
KEY WEST FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL – Those who have an appreciation for the finer culinary things in life will find plenty to enjoy in this week-long series of events all over town, such as a sunset wine tasting, a trolley tour of Key West’s most beautiful kitchens, a whiskey primer, a shrimp boil, a poolside happy hour with appetizers, a salt and honey tasting and other creative food and drink parties.
Where: Various locations in Key West
UNCORKED: KEY LARGO & ISLAMORADA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – It’s got a long name and it is long on great events spread over 11 days. There are wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, wine dinners, live music, food and wine pairing classes, progressive wine dinners, art and wine shows. The festival highlight is The Grand Tasting on the final day. It’s a multi-sensory experience not to be missed. Area restaurants and wine experts will come together to present samples of their finest cuisine and world-class wines. Live music, celebrity chef appearances and cooking demos combine to serve up a recipe for a spectacular afternoon of tasting and sipping.
Where: Key Largo and Islamorada
FLORIDA KEYS SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – This fest celebrates the Key West community by bringing families and friends together in a joyful and fun environment to sample the local catch. This family-friendly event was created to showcase local seafood and the Keys’ commercial fishing industry by providing the freshest seafood available. Fishermen and women are proud to offer the community and visitors a variety of seafood at reasonable prices.
Where: Key West
STONE CRAB & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – This celebration of the South Florida seafood industry will feature some of Fort Lauderdale’s favorite seafood restaurants as they serve up an array of fresh seafood dishes. Seafood lovers of all ages are welcome to come out rain or shine and enjoy a day of great food, cold drinks, a beer garden, music and more, including the crowd-favorite hermit crab races.
Where: Fort Lauderdale
VERITAGEMIAMI – This epic 3-day food and beverage festival attracts food, wine, beer and spirits aficionados to eat, drink and have a great time. It features three major events – Craft Beer Tasting, Bubbly Brunch and Interactive Dinner – stretching from February through spring. Top chefs along with hundreds of local restaurants and breweries promise palate-pleasing pleasures.
Where: Various locations across Miami
SOUTH FLORIDA GARLIC FEST – It’s called “The Best Stinkin’ Party in Town” and with good reason. This popular food and entertainment event features national act entertainment, a gourmet alley food area with more than 100 garlic-laced menu items (including garlic ice cream!) a large children’s amusement area with rides, arts and craft vendors, a garlic chef cooking competition, the Cloves & Vines Wine Garden and full liquor bars -- all in celebration of the bulbous herb.
Where: Lake Worth
PUNTA GORDA SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL -- Seafood dishes are prepared using indigenous and sustainable seafood from Florida's coastal waters. Plenty of meat dishes and vegetarian food will be served, too. You’ll enjoy a host of fine musicians in the genres of rock, jazz, reggae, R&B and Caribbean sounds.
Where: Punta Gorda
SOUTH BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL – The Food Network and Cooking Channel team up with Food & Wine Magazine for a star-studded event sure to please even the most amateur or sophisticated foodie. Included will be intimate dinners, chef demos, walk-around tastings and late-night parties. Events in Broward County have now been added as part of the CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale series.
Where: Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale
CORAL GABLES FOOD, WINE & SPIRITS FESTIVAL – This is not about little tiny samples, here. We’re talking about very respectable portions from 20 outstanding local restaurants. You have access to an open bar, with more than 200 brands of wine, spirits and craft beer to choose from. Live music, too. And, you also have access to the rest of the Coral Gables Art & Mega Festival.
Where: Coral Gables
BOCA RATON SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL -- Enjoy yummy food cooked fresh on site, including seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. Seafood dishes are prepared using indigenous and sustainable seafood from Florida's coastal waters. Add to your main course with selections from a diverse menu of side dishes. While enjoying your meal, sit back and relax to musical entertainment consisting of live performances by creative and talented musicians from both the local and regional circuit.
Where: Boca Raton
LABELLE SWAMP CABBAGE FESTIVAL -- Sample dishes made with swamp cabbage (also known as hearts of palm), which comes from the state tree, the sabal or cabbage palm. The event includes a parade, motorcycle & car shows, entertainment, a carnival, a 5-K run, a bass tournament, a rodeo, and the "Grasscar" lawnmower race.
JUPITER SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Two days of local fresh seafood, a cornhole tournament, live entertainment, nautical vendors, live entertainment and family-oriented rides.
EVERGLADES CITY 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.
Where: Everglades City
ITALIAN FEAST & CARNIVAL -- On the menu will be all kinds of great Italian food and wine, along with midway rides, games and live music.
FORT LAUDERDALE GREEK FESTIVAL – Celebrate the best of Greek food, music, dancing, and culture. Experience authentic Greek foods and homemade Greek pastries, Greek music, traditional Greek dancing by Palazakia and Kamaria dancers, an indoor marketplace full of vendors and an outdoor area for kids with carnival rides and games.
Where: Fort Lauderdale
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.
WELLINGTON BACON & BOURBON FESTIVAL – Two American favorites, bourbon and bacon, are wrapped together in a two-day, palate-pleasing party. Taste an array of bacon and pork-related dishes such as braised pork bellies with tamari, garlic, ginger & chili peppers, and polish it off with bacon ice cream. Try an eclectic selection of bourbon and whiskeys and learn more about the spirits through seminars and tastings.
MARATHON SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – What began as a small gathering in a Publix parking lot has grown to a popular fresh seafood extravaganza drawing more than 20,000 attendees each year. The event is designed to allow Marathon and Middle Keys commercial fishermen and their families (and visitors) to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their labor in the form of fried fresh catches and spiny lobster, raw oysters, stone crab claws and other delicious shellfish and seafood from the warm Keys waters. Also included: live music, more than 200 arts & crafts vendors, raffles and lots of activities for kids.
BOCA BACCHANAL – Guests meet award-winning chefs and vintners while savoring their signature cuisine and wine selections at an open-air event. It features hundreds of wines, by-the-bite specialties prepared by exceptional chefs from South Florida restaurants as well as a beer garden serving craft beer, ales and lagers. Events include Bacchus Beckons, Bubbles & Burgers, Vintner Dinners and the Grand Tasting.
Where: Boca Raton
FORT MYERS BEACH SHRIMP FESTIVAL -- It’s one of the major events of the year for Fort Myers Beach. Besides the delicious “pink gold” shrimp dinners, there is a parade, arts & crafts vendors, a Queen Pageant and a shrimp-eating contest.
Where: Fort Myers Beach
SPECKLED PERCH FESTIVAL – Dating back to 1965, attendees have been enjoying the title-named fish and other good food, local live music, arts and crafts and a parade. The festival is held in collaboration with the Cow Town Rodeo.
MARCO ISLAND SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL -- In addition to a weekend of great music, all your favorite fresh seafood specialties will be available: grouper, crab cakes, stone crab, shrimp, crawdads and chowder to name a few. There is a huge assortment of traditional landlubber favorites, too. Beer and wine will be served to quench your thirst. Also included: live music, more than 60 arts & crafts vendors and a kids zone with a bounce house, slide, rock climbing wall and trampoline.
Where: Marco Island
NAPLES CRAFT BEER FEST -- A wide variety of beers from breweries across the country and the world are available for tasting. To enhance the tasting, many local restaurants are a part of the Fest and will provide food pairings that are designed to specifically match with a particular brew. The chefs will compete to win the People's Choice award for best pairing and there will be a Brewer's Choice award, too. The fest also showcases local musical talent.
RIVERWALK INTERNATIONAL FOOD FESTIVAL -- International music, food and drink!
Where: Fort Lauderdale
COCONUT GROVE FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL -- Don’t miss the wacky, funny Waiters Race where Coconut Grove‘s top servers race to the finish line through a very difficult obstacle course without spilling a drop! Festival guests will enjoy food samplings from Coconut Grove & Miami’s finest restaurants, caterers and bakeries. There will also be chef demonstrations, an automotive showcase, live music from local bands and a kids zone. As a bonus, the festival now includes the Coconut Grove Burger, Beer and BBQ bash.
Where: Coconut Grove
SANIBEL UNCORKED WINE & FOOD FEST -- Enjoy an afternoon of extensive wine and regional craft beer tasting while indulging in Hors d’oeuvres. Discover the secrets of the island’s top chefs while they share their signature creations during cooking demonstrations. Craft beers will also be available. A silent auction with prizes will accompany the tastings and there will be a 50-50 raffle.
Where: Sanibel Island
DEERING SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – This consistently sold-out event is known for its cornucopia of culinary delights, featuring delicious catches from the sea, chef demos and sumptuous fare along Seafood Alley. It’s a day of family fun, dancing and grooving to the tunes of the Bahamian Junkanoo and Virgin Island stilt walkers. The Lil Shrimp Kids Zone provides unlimited play on inflatables, creative activities and a kids-friendly menu. Activities also include a rock-climbing wall, Pelican Skipper boat rides and Artists Lane, featuring paintings, photography, crafts and jewelry, all by local artisans.
DANIA BEACH ARTS & SEAFOOD CELEBRATION – Fresh seafood and other culinary delights from top local restaurants will be served. Also included: A Chef Showcase, beer & wine garden, live music, arts & crafts vendors, live street art performances and lots of activities for kids.
Where: Dania Beach
SWEET CORN FIESTA -- Sunshine yellow, hot and buttery. What’s not to like about freshly harvested sweet corn grown locally in the famous black soil of The Glades Region in The Palm Beaches. Combine the delectable eats with the all-day events of a harvest celebration and you have a family-friendly treat like no other. Live music, lots of summertime foods and kids activities will keep you smiling all day long. There will also be a sweet corn eating challenge and a corn shucking contest.
Where: West Palm Beach
FORT MYERS CRAB & MUSIC FESTIVAL --Crab and shrimp on your list of favorite foods? Love listening to live music? This one is for you. It has more than crab and shrimp: all kinds of seafood, meat dishes and vegetarian meals. Great live music and a marketplace of arts & crafts, gourmet food items and specialty products are also on tap.
Where: River District in downtown Fort Myers
POMPANO BEACH SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Good food for sure, but it doesn’t stop with that. There’s a craft fair, lots of great live music on three stages and a kids zone.
Where: Pompano Beach
REDLANDS BLUES & BARBECUE FESTIVAL -- The Festival features award winning BBQ and incredible blues and country music. Lots of children’s activities including pony rides will be available. A Classic Car and Motorcycle Show will be on site along with live concerts.
PALM BEACH COUNTY SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL -- While enjoying your meal and drinks, listen to the captivating sounds of live musical performances on stage by some of Florida’s and the region’s top musical talents from such genres as R&B, jazz, rock, reggae and Caribbean sounds. There will also be a marketplace of arts & crafts, gourmet food items and specialty products.
STOCK ISLAND SEAFOOD CELEBRATION -- Come enjoy the finest Florida Keys seafood, great craft beers, live music, artists, crafters, music and the island atmosphere that only tiny Stock Island can provide. The Shrimp Road Seafood & Craft Beer Festival is the main event at this fest.
Where: Stock Island
TASTE OF THE BEACH – More than 20 local restaurants will present their dishes and compete for prizes for Best Appetizer, Best Beef Dish, Best Chicken Dish, Best Seafood Dish and Best Dessert.
Where: Fort Myers Beach
KEY LIME FESTIVAL -- You’ll find all kinds of key lime-infused specialties, such as pie, (of course!), gelato, ice cream, marinade, fudge, dips, jelly, candy, cookies, taffy, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Lime-A-Ritas cocktails. Check out the key lime-scented sea salts and soap, too. There will also be family-friendly games, live music and dancing.
Where: Punta Gorda
MIAMI NEW TIMES BREW AT THE ZOO – If you haven’t yet been to Miami’s fantastic zoo, this would be a good time to go. Sample more than 100 kinds of beers from around the world. Live music will entertain you as you have your beer. Beer bites will be available for purchase.
PAIRINGS -- More than a dozen eateries will present their fare at this event, which will also include live music, interactive art stations and, of course, good wine and beer to go with the food.
Where: West Palm Beach
MIAMI RUM RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL – Spend a weekend trying hundreds of fine rums from the Caribbean and beyond at one of the largest rum festival in the world. Learn how rum makes delicious drinks, from island-style Polynesia tiki cocktails to more sophisticated rums best served straight-up or on the rocks. Take notes from the RumXP International Rum Expert Tasting Panel as it judges multiple categories of the drink.
Where: Coral Gables
VENICE SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL -- Enjoy delicious food cooked fresh on site including seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. Seafood dishes are prepared using indigenous and sustainable seafood from Florida's coastal waters. Add to your main course with selections from a diverse menu of side dishes. While enjoying your meal, sit back and relax to musical entertainment consisting of live on stage performances by creative and talented musicians from both the local and regional circuit.
REDLAND SUMMER FRUIT FESTIVAL -- Enjoy seasonal and rare fruits, vendor booths, local wines and yummy foods. Don’t miss the hilarious watermelon-eating contest for kids. Children 11 & under get in free.
KEY LIME FESTIVAL – Head to this mega-celebration of Florida’s official state pie. It includes, of course, pie eating and pie making contests, the Key Lime Bar Sip & Stroll, a wacky talent show, the Key Lime Pie Hop, samplings of Keys-distilled rum flavored with the tangy lime, a scavenger hunt and the Miss Key Lime Pie and L’il Miss Key Lime pageants. A spectacular fireworks display on the fourth helps open the festivities.
Where: Key West
BOCA BURGER BATTLE -- You’ll not only find great burgers, but there will also be an array of tasting stations featuring other gourmet goodies. There also will be a variety of craft beers and outstanding wines.
Where: Boca Raton
PALM BEACH SUMMER BEER FEST --Sample some of the more than 150 available craft beers and choose from an array of outstanding food trucks serving delicious fare that will go great with your cold brewskis.
Where: West Palm Beach
THE MONTH OF THE MANGO – Two fests celebrate the King of Tropical Fruit in July: the International Mango & Tropical Fruit Festival and the MangoMania Tropical Fruit Fair. A variety of mango-centric activities will be offered at all three: yummy tastings, recipes, food demonstrations, refreshing mango smoothies, mango trees for sale, pie-eating contests, island-flavored music, vendors and children’s activities.
Where: Respectively, Coral Gables, Cape Coral.
Web: Respectively, fairchildgarden.org, mangomaniafl.net
KEY WEST LOBSTERFEST – People come from all over the world to fish for lobster at the start of the Florida Keys lobster season, so naturally a kick-off celebration is a must. Known as spiny lobsters, the clawless crustaceans offer sweet and tender meat, delicious served cold with lemon and cocktail sauce or warm with drawn butter, chopped and mixed with mayo for salads and sandwiches and broiled with garlic and tomatoes. If this sounds mouthwatering, hit the Lobsterfest.
Where: Downtown Key West
DINE OUT DOWNTOWN DELRAY RESTAURANT MONTH – Discover the diverse dining scene in downtown Delray Beach in this month-long foodie fest. Enjoy prix fixe lunches and dinners ($40 and under), along with special Dine Out deals. Also included will be a series of creative culinary events and classes throughout the week. Brunch and happy hour specials recently have been added.
Where: Various locations in downtown Delray Beach
KEY WEST BREWFEST – Nearly 200 beers and micro-brews are the big draw, but there is a lot more on tap: beer dinners, beer brunches, happy hour parties, pool parties, late-night parties, seminars and the Signature Tasting event.
Where: Various locations in Key West
BOCA CHAMBER’S WINE & ALL THAT JAZZ – It’s one of Boca’s largest wine tasting festivals, with up to 18 of the city’s best restaurants and brewers participating. More than 100 fine wines will be available. Live music will be played throughout the evening. There is also a VIP room with even higher end wine, food, beer and spirits.
Where: Boca Raton
MIAMI SPICE – It’s not one, but two full months (August and September) of fantastic dining at some 200 restaurants and bistros. Three-course menus will be offered for lunches, brunches and dinners.
FEMALE BREW FEST -- This beer festival is a platform highlighting and featuring female beer experts and brewers, offering an opportunity to learn about and taste the different types of beers brewed by them -- all while listening to the sounds female solo artists and bands. And, yes, men are invited and encouraged to attend.
Where: Dania Beach
FLAVOR PALM BEACH –This month-long event is designed to introduce diners and visitors to the vast array of restaurants throughout Palm Beach County. Each offers a selection of specially priced three-course meals to help guide guests through a gastronomic sampling of great dishes, ranging from steakhouse favorites such as prime rib and truffle-mashed potatoes to lighter ceviche cups and sushi rolls. Just find a restaurant you’d like to try on the website and check out its special Flavor menu.
Where: Various locations in Palm Beach County
BOCA RATON RESTAURANT MONTH – Three-course meals for both dinner and lunch are offered at top Boca restaurants throughout the month.
Where: Boca Raton
TAPA HOP – This pub crawl features trolley transportation to six restaurants that will provide appetizers and small plate items, a.k.a. tapas. Also included will be raffle prizes, grand prizes and a poker run.
Where: Fort Myers Beach
SIZZLE SWFL RESTAURANT WEEK -- It’s actually two weeks long and features specially-curated two-course lunches and three-course dinners Eat your way happy across SW Florida.
Where: Outstanding restaurants in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers, Marco Island and Naples.
BEER! BRATWURST! LIVE MUSIC! BAVARIAN BEAUTIES! MORE BEER! -- It being October, we could only be talking about Oktoberfest. Here are some of the places having celebrations in South Florida this month:
· Lake Worth: americangermanclub.org/oktoberfest
· Cape Coral: capecoraloktoberfest.com
GROVETOBERFEST: MIAMI’S BEER FESTIVAL – It’s one of the largest craft beer fests in Florida. More than 300 great beers from around the country and the world will be there for the tasting. Attendees will vote for their favorite beers in three categories. Also: live music, the Homebrew Pavilion, the Kitchen Lab for beer/food parings, a VIP area and a designated driver program.
Where: Coconut Grove
SOUTH BEACH SEAFOOD WEEK & FESTIVAL – Just after the event above ends, head over to this one. You’ll help kick off the Stone Crab season and enjoy a myriad of other seafood yummies prepared by Miami’s top chefs and restaurants. Also: live bands, culinary and mixology demonstrations, a kids zone, health village and VIP hospitality benefits.
Where: Various locations in Miami Beach
GOOD EATS IN NAPLES – The Naples Foodie Camp and the Naples Stone Crab Festival coincide with each other. Foodie Camp is a 10-day event that features chef-led 90-minute cooking classes at top area restaurants. Besides great stone crab claws, the Stone Crab Festival also has live music, art and fun activities for the whole family.
Where: Various locations in Naples
Web: Respectively, FoodieCampNaples.com and stonecrabfestival.org
PUNTA GORDA WINE & JAZZ FESTIVAL – The tastings are a delectable backdrop to performances by outstanding jazz and blues musicians.
Where: Punta Gorda
JOHN OFFERDAHL’S GRIDIRON GRILL-OFF FOOD, WINE & MUSIC FESTIVAL – You like delicious food cooked on the grill? You like premium wine and spirits? You like country music? Want to hang with some Miami Dolphins legends? This one is for you. Celebrity chefs will provide the grilled-to-perfection eats. The musical headliner is always a top country act. Besides Offerdahl, there are always plenty of ex-Dolphin stars on hand.
Where: Pompano Beach
FEAST OF LITTLE ITALY – It’s one of the largest Italian festival in South Florida. Of course, there will be great Italian food and wine, but so much more: live music, art, a bocce pavilion, wine seminars, cooking demos and pizza and lasagna eating contests.
SEED FOOD & WINE WEEK – This gathering doesn’t like to be called a festival. The organizers like to think of it as a movement and a community of passionate people committed to elevating the conversation around plant-based foods, sustainability and the welfare of animals. There will be some 200 exhibitors, about 40 plant-based chefs and 30 or so vegan experts, athletes, authors and celebrities.
Where: Miami and Miami Beach
GRACE JAMAICAN JERK FESTIVAL – You are no jerk if you attend this jerk-a-thon. It features everything jerk: chicken, pork, lobster, corn, patties and even ice cream. It features cooking demonstrations and competitions, with amateur and professional chefs going head to head in a heated competition for cash, bragging rights and the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy. Top chefs demonstrate and let you sample innovative jerk recipes. Lots of live music and exciting games, too.
PERUFEST USA – Enjoy this gastronomical gathering and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Weekend at the same time. In addition to Peruvian and Latin cuisine, you’ll experience a show by international dancers, the “Caballo de Paso” horse show, Quinoa cooking demonstrations, cooking classes for adults and kids and competitions for Best Quinoa-based plate, Best Ceviche, Best Causa and Best Lomo Saltado.
PALM BEACH FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL– This fest brings together an eclectic collection of the world’s award-winning chefs, culinary personalities, authors, winemakers and mixologists to this picturesque island. Also included are specialty cocktail and hors d'oeuvre receptions, five-course dinners with premium wine pairings, kids' cooking classes and the final grand tasting and cooking competition.
Where: Palm Beach
SIESTA BEACH SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL – A variety of seafood, cooked fresh on site, will be available, along with plenty of meat dishes and vegetarian fare. While savoring your meal, relax to some of Florida’s top musical groups and solo acts from genres such as R&B, blues, jazz, rock and Caribbean sounds.
Where: Siesta Key
FELLSMERE FROG LEG FESTIVAL – For a true, down-home, small-town festival experience, look no further than the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, which is exactly what it sounds like: platters of delicious frog legs served with grits, cole slaw and hush puppies. For the squeamish, there’s also the less adventurous gator tail as well as hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, candy apples and other festival food fare.
SARASOTA SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL - Grouper and stone crabs and oysters, oh my! This three-day festival offers fabulous, fresh food as well as live R&B, rock, soul, jazz and Caribbean performances by some of Florida’s top bands. A marketplace brimming with arts, crafts and fine products rounds out the fun.
CENTRAL FLORIDA RUM AND FOOD EXPERIENCE – Rum aficionados, rum collectors or simply rum-curious folks will have a blast at this festival designed to both educate and entertain. The ticket includes rum tastings, unlimited food tastings, cooking and cocktail demonstrations by local chefs and mixologists, as well as live music.
ST. PETE BEER & BACON FESTIVAL – Two indulgent favorites – beer and bacon! – come together in sweet harmony at a beautiful waterfront park. Choose drink samples from more than 100 varieties of craft beer, wine and liquor from local breweries and distilleries while eating your way through more than 60 bacon-heavy dishes offered by national and local BBQ joints and food truck vendors.
Where: St. Petersburg
LAKELAND PIGFEST -- Join the more than 150 competition barbecue teams for a weekend of good eats, good friends and good tunes. Stop by a Pig Bucks booth (located near the entrance and various locations throughout) and exchange your cash for Pig Bucks, the official currency of the Lakeland Pigfest.
FORKS & CORKS WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL – This world class weekend offers a bounty of flavors through vintner events, wine and beer tastings and food sampling from top area restaurants. A charity wine auction and live music are also on the schedule. Spring for the VIP package and get a $150 wine voucher.
PIGZ IN Z’HILLS BBQ & BLUES FESTIVAL – It’s a friendly BBQ competition amidst a steady background of blues music. Also included: a business expo, cornhole tournament, kids zone, the Swine & Shine car show, an aviation showcase and a military history museum.
ENTERPRISE CHILI COOK-OFF – A quaint historic town holds its chili cook-off, offering several types of chili to hungry guests.
ST. PETE BEACH SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL – This three-day festival promises the perfect recipe for a great time, blending delectable seafood creations with outstanding live musical performances and a marketplace of arts, crafts and select fine products.
Where: St. Pete Beach
SEAWORLD SEVEN SEAS FOOD FESTIVAL -- As guests sip and sample their way through the park, they will discover globally-inspired flavors while enjoying local craft beers and culinary marketplaces. The fun goes beyond the food, with live performances from top country, rock and Latin music acts. It usually starts in February and runs through April, but only on weekends.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL – Guests come from near and far to discover not only creative ways to enjoy strawberries, but also to see exhibits of agriculture, commerce, industry, livestock, fine arts, live entertainment, horticulture, and crafts. This 11-day festival sometimes stretches into March.
Where: Plant City
ST. SOPHIA GREEK FESTIVAL -- Come and enjoy a taste of Greek culture, Greek food, and Greek entertainment. A Sweetheart Dance has been added for those who want to enjoy the festival but still want to sneak a little dance with their spouses, boyfriends and girlfriend and partners. OPA!!
Where: Winter Haven
TAMPA BAY JEWISH FOOD FESTIVAL -- Shop the vendors, let your kids enjoy the kids zone, listen to the wonderful live music and eat some delicious traditional Jewish food and drinks. Here are just some of the mouthwatering eats that will be available: handmade baked goods, matzo ball & chicken soup from scratch, scrumptious corned beef & pastrami from the famous Carnegie Deli, knishes, noodle kugel, bagels & lox, kosher falafel and hot dogs.
LAKERIDGE WINERY AND VINEYARDS WINE & SEAFOOD FEST – To kick off Florida’s beautiful spring weather, the winery hosts its signature event featuring its own cuvee blanc, chardonnay, ports and other types of wine, as well as beer, soft drinks and a variety of seafood specialties. Complimentary tastings and tours are included.
ST. PETE CRAB & MUSIC FESTIVAL --Crab and shrimp on your list of favorite foods? Love listening to live music? This one is for you. It has more than crab and shrimp: all kinds of seafood, meat dishes and vegetarian meals. Great live music and a marketplace of arts and crafts, gourmet food items and specialty products are also on tap.
Where: St. Petersburg
TAMPA THEATRE WINE FEST – Each year, the theatre has a different movie-themed name (Example: For 2020 it is Cabbyshack). You will taste exceptional wines and delectable food from the area’s finest independent restaurants and have the opportunity to bid on exciting auction items.
DESSERT WARS TAMPA – Hang out at one of Tampa’s coolest marketplace lounge of cafes, counter-service restaurants and bars and sample desserts from some of the best pastry chefs, cooks and bakers in town, all vying for the Dessert Champion title. The event will offer a wide array of sweets from cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, donuts and creative concoctions that don’t fit any of the categories but are tasty nonetheless.
CHOCOLATE & CHEESE FESTIVAL — Sweet and salty? Yes, please. But hold the phone, because this fest isn’t just about eating. There also contests! How quickly can you lick liquid chocolate from a bowl without using your hands? Do you love cheese so much you can identify six different cheeses in a blind tasting? Other than chocolate and cheese vendors, there will be live music, arts and crafts vendors and a kids zone.
Where: Crystal River
FLORIDA CRAFT BREW & WINGFEST – Sample hundreds of delicious craft brews, including rare selections and high quality local home brews. Fill your belly with a variety of chicken wings prepared by local chefs and amateur competitors vying for glory in the wing competition. Bring the family to chill on the lawn and jam to the bands, taking in the sun and fun. If you want a full cup of beer, stroll over to one of four beer trucks.
Where: Vero Beach
GRANT SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – A scrumptious menu of succulent seafood is accompanied by more than 100 crafters and live entertainment. All the seafood is cooked by members of the local community.
Where: Grant City
FLORAL CITY STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL -- There will be plenty of activities for all ages including craft vendors, live entertainment, the Miss Strawberry Pageant, children's activities, and boatloads of fresh strawberries straight from the award-winning Ferris Farms. Don't forget the mouth-watering strawberry shortcake!
Where: Floral City
TAMPA BAY BEER WEEK – Actually, it’s nine days long and once again, with more than 70 local craft beer makers and specialty brews on hand, shows why the Tampa area has become a beer hotbed. Tastings and beer dinners abound.
Where: Various locations in the Tampa area
TASTE OF OVIEDO -- Come enjoy delicious dishes from the best local restaurants while the kids enjoy rides and other activities. With live music, refreshing drinks and mouthwatering food, it's not just fun for the whole family, it's fun for the whole town and visitors.
SHRIMPFEST & CRAFT BREW HULLABALLOO – It’s three days of shrimp, craft brews, live music, vendors and activities for kids. A featured event is a shrimp cook-off that pits restaurants against food trucks. Bring your lawn chairs and spend the day under the oaks listening to music, drinking beer and wine and chowing down on shrimp, hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza. Spend some time at the Space Coast Harley Davidson virtual reality simulator that will be at the event all weekend.
BUSCH GARDENS FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL -- This lengthy fest starts in early March and ends in late April, but it is only held on Saturdays and Sundays. It offers a variety of great food, wine, craft beers, cocktails and entertainment. Some of the biggest musical acts in the country will take the stage Festival Field. All concerts are included with daily ticketed admission to the park.
ORLANDO/KISSIMMEE CUBAN SANDWICH FESTIVAL AND THE TAMPA CUBAN SANDWICH FESTIVAL– Yes, there are two Cuban sandwich festivals in March. An attempt is always made to create the biggest Cuban sandwich in the world. Besides that and yummy individual Cuban sandwiches, there will be other kinds of food, beef, wine, live music and dance performances and lots of activities for kids.
Where: Kissimmee and Tampa
ZOOBREWS @ ZOOTAMPA – Wine lovers will sip bold and decadent wines, beer enthusiasts will savor a variety of craft brews and mixologoists will create innovative cocktails. Foodies can indulge in perfect pairings to match their choice of drink. Guests will encounter amazing wildlife and dance the night away to live music in a lush tropical garden.
COCOA BEACH UNCORKED – This weekend event recognizes the area’s most celebrated chefs, restaurants and breweries while serving up a 180-degree ocean view. It’s your ticket to unwind and wiggle your toes in the sand while enjoying the finest food, craft beers and wine in this popular destination.
Where: Cocoa Beach
FLORIDA WINEFEST & AUCTION -- You are invited to sip and sample some of the world's best wine on the shore of Sarasota Bay, dine and dance in the streets of downtown, savor the flavors of local chefs and raise your bid paddle for some of the best auction lots in the wine business.
SEBRING SODA FESTIVAL – Join in the fizzy family fun at this two-day celebration of carbonation in downtown Sebring. The nostalgic event offers hundreds of craft sodas that you can sample, as well as a classic car show, live entertainment, art and craft vendors, pop-up stores, food options and a kids zone.
BLUEGRASS AND BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL – Blue may become your favorite color after a day at this , which offers live entertainment, vendors, raffles, BBQ and a kids zone.
Where: Avon Park
TAMPA BAY SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL -- Enjoy great food cooked fresh on site including seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. Seafood dishes are prepared using indigenous and sustainable seafood from Florida's coastal waters. Add to your main course with selections from a diverse menu of side dishes. While enjoying your meal, sit back and relax to musical entertainment consisting of live music by creative and talented musicians from both the local and regional circuit.
Where: Tampa Bay
FESTA ITALIANA – Historic Ybor City is known for its Cuban roots thanks to its former cigar-rolling jobs, but the district also likes to honor its Italian culture as well. The Festa Italiana kicks off with a wine party featuring more than 70 wines, as well as Italian antipasti, cuisine and desserts. It ends with the main event, during which dozens of the Tampa Bay area’s top restaurants and catering companies serve delicious dishes and tastings.
FLORIDA WINEFEST AND AUCTION – The highlight of this four-day fundraising event is undoubtedly the massive amounts of food served by various area restaurants and banquet halls. But there is more, too: a street party featuring seafood and meat dishes, a lunch tasting, a brunch tasting and several wine tastings, including the final soiree, Wine on the Water.
BERN’S WINE FEST – You have eight days to indulge in all your wildest culinary and wine fantasies. It was created to allow unique food and wine experiences with the area's most talented culinary teams complemented by the best wines from around the world.
TASTE OF WINTER PARK – More than 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, bakers, caterers and confectioners will offer their fare at this event. All-inclusive tickets include samples of signature dishes, beverages and desserts.
Where: Winter Park
TASTE @ THE STRAZ – This gathering of food groupies and craft beer brewers used to be known as the Best of Tampa Bay. It may have a new name, but the same great time will be had by attendees. It’s an evening of all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink fun, with three stages of live music. There will be full open bars and more than 50 of the best local restaurants represented.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH WINE & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – It features a large selection of wines from California’s Napa and Sonoma regions, as well as international vintages. Participants will discover new wines and an array of gourmet food. The fest showcases some 250 wines with food pairings from top area chefs.
Where: New Smyrna Beach
TAMPA BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL -- Every year, Keel and Curley Winery and Keel Farms celebrate the Spring Blueberry Harvest with two days of fun for the whole family. The fest serves up live music, a kids area, u-pick ’em blueberries, wine tasting, food vendors and crafts vendors.
Where: Plant City
ST. ARMANDS SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL -- Enjoy delicious food cooked fresh on-site including seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. Seafood dishes are prepared using indigenous and sustainable seafood from Florida's coastal waters. Add to your main course with selections from a diverse menu of side dishes. While enjoying your meal, sit back and relax to musical entertainment consisting of live performances by creative and talented musicians from both the local and regional circuit.
TAMPA BAY MARGARITA FESTIVAL – This fest includes a wide variety of margaritas, a lineup of top bands and a huge fireworks show to end the night. All margaritas are handcrafted with fresh ingredients by professional bartenders. Also included will be great food options, shopping and games.
FOOD & WINE ON THE PINE -- This island event will showcase the best wine, art, food and music the area has to offer. Enjoy an upscale culinary event that highlights 25 of the area’s locally owned restaurants. Pair your choices with a variety of over 30 wines and craft beers. There are various art attractions planned throughout the day, including a juried art show with 30 local fine artists showcasing a variety of mediums. Bring your little ones to enjoy a children’s art and activity area. Actors will be amongst the crowds, dressed in period costumes telling the tales of Anna Maria Island’s history. There will be musical performances all day long in different genres with something for everyone to enjoy.
Where: Anna Maria Island
TAMPA RIVERFEST -- Events include a full concert line-up, Wiener Dog Derby, Gasparilla Stand-up Paddle board Invasion, Tampa Bay Pride Band, TacoFest, beer bars, margarita bar, Taste of the Riverwalk and Hillsborough County School kid performances. Additionally, many of the venues, museums, bars, and restaurants along the Riverwalk have special activities that day.
CHIEFLAND WATERMELON FESTIVAL – Delicious watermelon is the main draw but other activities include a parade, seed-spitting contest, biggest (in pounds) watermelon contest, the selection of the festival queen, a watermelon auction, arts & crafts and lots of children’s activities.
DUNEDIN ORANGE FESTIVAL – In a town known for its history of oranges, orange groves and citrus packing, this festival became a natural fit in 2010 and has been going strong ever since. Sample some contest entries in the local restaurant Mojo Cook-Off Contest, or try some fruity ice cream, smoothies and juice blends.
EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – If it’s at Walt Disney World, you know it’s going to be magical. Here, you’ll “dine around the world” with tasting events and enjoy big-name entertainment, plus culinary demonstrations and seminars on mixology, beverages and cheeses. It usually starts in late August or early September and runs through almost the end of November.
I LIKE IT HOT! FESTIVAL – If you like it hot – we’re talking mouth-burning, tear-jerking, forehead-sweating spicy – you’ll likely meet your match at this event. The toughest of palates, as well as those who like it considerably milder, can try hundreds of gourmet and novelty foods, including beef jerky, sauces, salsas, jellies, rubs, lollipops and straight-up raw hot peppers.
CEDAR KEY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL - The historic fishing town celebrates the area’s fishing heritage, offering two days of fantastic food, a parade, more than 100 arts and crafts exhibitors, live music on a clam boat stage in the beachside park and loads more of family fun.
Where: Cedar Key
CENTRAL FLORIDA FALL HARVEST & PEANUT FESTIVAL – Truly Florida’s nuttiest event, Levy County’s peanut festival features all manner and preparations of this prized legume crop. Try peanuts boiled, fried, roasted, mashed into butter, mixed into cookies and cakes, dumped into stews and even fashioned into arts and crafts. Stick around for the crowing of the Little Peanut Baby, King and Queen.
TAILGATE TASTE TEST -- Some of the top restaurants in the Tampa Bay area will be cooking up the best tailgate food including, sliders, chicken, barbeque and small plates. There is also a corn hole tournament, live music and football games will be shown on huge LED video screens.
SARASOTA OKTOBERFEST – Okay, it’s not Germany, but you might not know the difference. There will be lively music and dancers, mouthwatering food, huge pints of beer and arts & crafts vendors. Re the food: The fare includes, among others, smoked sausages, roasted meats, sauerkraut, cabbage and pretzels.
PIG JIG -- What began as a back-yard barbecue has turned into a large festival with great food, live music, beer, wine and games.
CENTRAL FLORIDA VEG FEST – This vegetarian festival touts itself as one of the biggest and best in the country, drawing hundreds of food and product vendors and presenters from around the world. Bring your dog, pet a pig, take a yoga class and sample creative and delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes.
SAVOR ST. PETE FESTIVAL – It’s a palate-pleasing, star-studded weekend showcasing the talents of renowned wine and spirits producers, brew masters, chefs and culinary personalities. The Best Chef competition features culinary professionals from the area’s best and most popular restaurants vying to out-cook each other.
Where: St. Petersburg
NEWS-JOURNAL’S FOOD, WINE & BREW FESTIVAL – This festival, on the banks of a scenic intracoastal waterway in Downtown Daytona Beach, starts with a beer dinner and includes food samples from the best local restaurants along with 100 craft beers and 30 wines from around the country. Enjoy the sports bar with college football games, live entertainment and a cigar lounge.
Where: Daytona Beach
PEPPER CHILI COOK OFF – Fire up your taste buds! The event includes chili-dog eating contests for both kids and adults, which bring new meaning to the word “messy.”
STONE CRAB JAM – Celebrate the season of one of Florida’s most sustainable seafood treats, harvested from the tough-shelled, regenerating claws of the stone crab. Along with vendors selling crab, there will also be everything from hot dogs to pizza to snow cones, plus locally made art, clothing and crafts. Register for the corn hole tournament to win cash prizes, or dance along to any of the six bands on three stages.
Where: Downtown Crystal River
TAMPA BAY VEG FEST – Vegans and non-vegans alike can enjoy free samples of animal-free dishes at this ever-growing and award-winning fest. It features various grocers, products and eco-friendly organizations from around the Tampa Bay area and also has yoga classes, cooking demonstrations, live music, activities for kids and on-site rescue animal adoptions.
Where: Downtown Tampa
YANKEETOWN ARTS, CRAFTS & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Celebrate the area’s history and local catch. In addition to delicious fresh local seafood, there will be other food vendors, live entertainment, an arts & crafts show, children’s games and the Blessing of the Fleet on the Withlacoochee River.
SAFETY HARBOR WINE FESTIVAL – Enjoy an exciting night of wine, live entertainment on multiple stages, great food and arts & crafts vendors.
Where: Safety Harbor
TAMPA GREEK FESTIVAL – It’s one of Hillsborough County’s oldest cultural celebrations. Satisfy your craving for lamb, gyros, herb lemon chicken and many more delicious authentic Greek dishes. Don’t miss the sweets, such as Baklava, Kourambiedes and Koulourakia. Attendees can enjoy live music and dancing, strolling the Grand Hall, indulging in the inventive spirits at the Opa! Party Tent and discovering market treasures.
HOMOSASSA ARTS, CRAFTS AND SEAFOOD FESTIVAL -- Homosassa has been home to many commercial fishermen with its spring-fed river and has been a nationally known sport fishing and recreation area since the mid-1800s. The art show is judged and non-judged with exhibitors from all over the country. Vendors from the community provide their seafood and other specialties. Whether it's fried catfish, gator tail or conch fritters, you will find it all and more in the food court.
CASSELBERRY FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – Attendees will enjoy a culinary cuisine tasting, wine sampling, a silent auction and live music.
WALT DISNEY WORLD WINE & FOOD CLASSIC – Come for a day or the weekend to sample wines from around the world and savor culinary artistry from pastries to pasta. There are 11 seminars on such subjects as wines, cocktails, beer, pasta-making, cheese pairing or the fine art of sushi and sake.
Where: Lake Buena Vista
WHISKEY TAMPA FOX TROT – It celebrates women who have helped propel the whiskey industry forward. Enjoy several nights of seated tastings, dinners and classes. It ends with the Grand Tasting, where you can sample more than 200 hand-crafted whiskeys.
ORLANDO BEER FESTIVAL – Sample craft and premium beers from area breweries and around the world. Wine tasting, interactive games, tasty eats and live music keep the party going.
ART, CRAFT & WINE FESTIVAL – More than 150 artists and craftsmen sell original artwork and gifts in beautiful Cranes Roost Park. Guests can also stop by the various wine tents and taste a wide variety of reds, whites, champagnes and roses as a part of the event’s Wine Stroll.
Where: Altamonte Springs
COQUINA BEACH SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL – Enjoy fresh food cooked on site, and not just seafood. Plenty of meat dishes, vegetarian and desserts will be served. While eating, you’ll enjoy lots of good live music: rock, reggae, jazz, R&B and Caribbean Sounds.
AMELIA ISLAND RESTAURANT WEEK – At one of Florida’s prettiest islands, spend a week dining at some of the 30-plus participating restaurants – from Cuban fare to seafood and pub-style dishes – offering a prix-fixe menu. It also includes mixology tours in which you can stroll among watering holes in historic downtown Fernandina Beach and sample craft cocktails, meet the bartenders and mingle with the Island’s friendly locals.
Where: Amelia Island
TALLAHASSEE BEER FESTIVAL -- Enjoy unlimited samples of 200 different beers, ales, ciders, seltzers and meads from 60 plus brewers & breweries. Food will also be available and a cornhole tournament will be held.
FIDDLER CRAB FESTIVAL – The small, inedible fiddler crab is a mere backdrop to this festival featuring the Swampwater Cook-Off, in which both amateur and professional chefs toil and boil from sunrise until lunchtime on their secret recipe soups, stews (particularly Brunswick) and chili. In the meantime, festival goers can nosh on seafood, BBQ, kettle corn and funnel cakes.
THE SANDESTIN GUMBO FESTIVAL – Chefs from all over the Gulf Coast put their own spin on gumbo, whether made with dark or light roux, different types of meat and a range of flavors and spices. Get a wristband and a “taster’s guide” and sample a wide variety of gumbo as you vote for the People’s Choice winner.
30A WINE FESTIVAL– About a dozen vineyards and wineries from all over the country as well as a handful of local restaurants feature their best fare during an elegant, three-day tasting event. It is a showcase of premiere wine producers and local culinary favorites. It features a Friday night gathering, "Bourbon, Beer, and Butts", Saturday wine tasting seminars, a walkabout and grand tasting, band party at nightfall, and Sunday's exclusive event, "Fruits de Mer & Sancerre" complete with croquet tournament (appropriate croquet attire encouraged).
Where: Alys Beach
RIVERSIDE CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL – Experience live music while sampling more than 100 local and national craft beers and enjoying delicious food from the top area food trucks.
FOOD TRUCK & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL — Attendees can sip and sample their way through a variety of local food truck specialties as well as a variety of craft beers. More than 20 craft breweries (most from Florida) will pour their favorites. Food truck offerings will be varied and international in flavor.
Where: Panama City Beach
ST. AUGUSTINE LIONS SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – For more than three decades, this seafood festival has been a favorite among Floridians, drawing tens of thousands every year. And it’s no wonder; with a handful of refundable tokens, you can fill up on everything from seafood quesadillas to rockfish strips to alligator skewers. For dessert, try the chocolate key lime pie or fried candy bars. Also included: 100 arts & craft exhibitors, lots of kids activities and a wide variety of live music.
Where: St. Augustine
UNwineD – Partnering with Southern Living magazine, UNwineD is a weekend of amazing craft beer, wine and spirits from around the world. You can also sample creations from many of Northwest Florida’s renowned chefs. This award-winning event includes an elegant garden party and grand tasting where guests can mix and mingle while enjoying hors d’oeuvre, cocktails and live music.
Where: Panama City Beach
FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL -- Dating back to 1930s, this 10-day fest attracts some 500,000 each year and takes place in one of Florida’s most important winter strawberry growing regions that stretches across 8,000 acres. There are sweet treats galore, where you can nibble on anything from strawberry shortcake and chocolate-dipped strawberries to strawberry pizza and strawberry burgers. The fest showcases a Strawberry Festival Queen in addition to live entertainment, rides, arts & crafts vendors and livestock exhibits. Top musical acts from all genres are included. For example the 2020 event includes Reba McEntire, Oakridge Boys, Patti LaBelle and Lynyrd Skynyrd. This event sometimes starts in February and ends in March.
Where: Plant City
GASTROFEST – The folks in Northeast Florida wanted to showcase its burgeoning culinary scene, so hence the birth of this eclectic festival. It has everything from fine dining to food trucks, microbrews to local cookbooks and vegan fare to local beef, just to name a few. Also included; live music and a kids zone.
TEQUILA AND TACO FESTIVAL: Originally started as an in-restaurant event pairing outlandish tacos with fine tequilas, this festival features a competition for “Best Taco on The Emerald Coast” with a $2,500 top prize.
Where: Miramar Beach
RHYTHM AND RIBS FESTIVAL – R & R – No, it’s not rest and relaxation. Anything but. This three-day fest features mouth-watering barbecue, live music and lots of children’s activities.
Where: St. Augustine
ISLE OF EIGHT FLAGS SHRIMP FESTIVAL – Amelia Island’s “Isle of Eight Flags” story is a long and complicated one, involving bloody battles and a clash of cultures, but the main take away from it all is that the island’s deep-water harbors contain shrimp. Lots of shrimp. This festival honors Florida’s shrimping industry by serving the little guys up hot, cold, fried, on skewers, in gumbo and chopped into salads. There’s also an ice cream eating contest for the brave and brain-freeze immune. There will be 300 arts & crafters, 50 antique dealers, 25 kid zone activities and live music on two stages.
Where: Fernandina Beach
SOUTH WALTON BEACHES FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – Wash down fine cheeses, olives, sushi, oysters, charcuterie and chocolates with a selection of more than 800 wines. This jam-packed weekend of events is spread among several resorts, wine shops and other venues where people can smell and taste different reds, whites and champagnes, sample craft beer and try creative and unusual wine and cheese pairings.
Where: South Walton
BRADFORD COUNTY STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL – In addition to all the fresh strawberries and lots of homemade strawberry goodies, the fest includes a car show and craft vendors.
SANDESTIN WINE VESTIVAL -- Take part in Sandestin wine tastings showcasing more than 800 domestic and international wines. Wine novices are able to learn more about wines and sample from a comprehensive selection including the finest appellations from all major producing countries in all varieties, styles and price ranges. Wine aficionados enjoy meeting winemakers, asking questions and acquiring hard-to-get selections. Good food should accompany good wine and plenty of that will be available, too.
WELLBORN BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL – This event includes a blueberry bake-off, pancake breakfast, talent contest, arts & crafts, and entertainment.
PANHANDLE WATERMELON FESTIVAL – You’ll enjoy great food and entertainment at this fest. Activities include a seed spitting contest, watermelon auction, car show, art show, horseshoe tournament, live country music and street fair.
WILD BLACKBERRY FESTIVAL — Explore three of the state’s meandering rivers — the Suwannee, Withlacoochee and Alapaha — either on foot or by boat, then head to downtown Jasper for the festival that features blackberry pancakes, cobblers, jams and jellies, as well as live music, family activities and craft vendors.
WAUSAU POSSUM FESTIVAL – Possum stew is the main food dish, but there is a whole lot of fun to be had at this fest: Possum King & Queen contest, live music (country, bluegrass and gospel), arts & crafts vendors, the Possum Parade, horseshoe pitching, sack races, hog calling, rooster crowing and cow lowing.
GREEK FESTIVAL – There’s a lot more than just great Greek food and pastries: live music, dancers, a silent auction and arts & craft booths.
Where: Fort Walton Beach
FLORIDA SCALLOP, MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL – Fried scallop plates will be available at the festival and you can take frozen scallops home. The event also includes live music, arts and crafts vendors, educational exhibits and a kids zone.
Where: Port St. Joe
PENSACOLA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – It’s one of Northwest Florida’s longest running festivals and you can expect lots of great Gulf-to-table dishes, like fried mullet and shrimp and grits from the city’s top restaurants. Also included will be live music, cooking demonstrations and an array of family-friendly activities like face painting and arts & crafts.
Where: Downtown Pensacola
SOUTHERN PINES BLUES & BBQ FESTIVAL — Get slathered and sauced and enjoy a break from all thing merry and bright at this event, which pairs downhome BBQ with soulful blues. Come hungry, the People’s Choice category features more than 35 different pulled pork recipes. Participants will be vying for bragging rights and thousands of dollars in prize money. It also includes$10,000 in prize money. It also features arts & crafts vendors, an antique car show a kids play area and live music.
PANAMA CITY BEACH OKTOBERFEST – You might think you are in Munich when you are under the massive 150-foot by 50-foot big tent. Outside there are two beer gardens. Pair your German or locally-brewed beer with brats (famous or smoked), meterwurst or hotdogs (with or without sauerkraut). Don’t miss the giant pretzels with beer-infused cheese. The fest also includes live music, dancers and lots of activities for kids.
Where: Panama City Beach
TALLAHASSEE GREEK FOOD FESTIVAL – Florida’s Greek population brings a lot of great things to the Sunshine State, not the least of which is delicious Mediterranean cuisine such as gyros, spanakopita, baklava, moussaka, Greek salad and anise-infused ouzo.
TASTE OF THE BEACH – This festival is filled with chefs’ challenges, team cook-offs, tastings, a dining tent, restaurants’ signature dishes and a kids area. There is also a progressive VIP Dinner, where attendees will be transported to four of the area’s best restaurants. If you haven’t seen the beautiful white sandy beaches and the lush green waters of Pensacola Beach, this would be a good time to go.
Where: Pensacola Beach
LOBSTER FESTIVAL & TOURNAMENT -- This week-long celebration offers live music, contests and lots of Florida lobster. With huge local lobsters on the weigh-in scales, fresh lobster prepared every mouth-watering way you can imagine, and the Schooners Sand Sculpting Contest, it is a huge event that draws thousands of divers and lobster fans from all over the Southeast.
Where: Panama City Beach
SEEING RED WINE FESTIVAL – The four days of festivities include reserve wine tastings, dinners and a brunch with featured guest winemakers. Several of Seaside’s well-known restaurants showcase how their farm-to-fork and gulf-to-table offerings pair beautifully with the featured red wines. And, yes, whites and roses also will be available.
RIVERSIDE WINEFEST –Some 300 wines will be available at this fest, which also includes food vendors, live entertainment and shopping.
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