January, February Events in Florida

    Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events scheduled for January and February in the Sunshine State. Please check individual websites for more details.
     

    South Florida | Central Florida | North Florida

    South The Miami Yacht Show 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.

    South The Miami Yacht Show 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.

    - The Miami Yacht Show

     

    SOUTH FLORIDA 

    INTERNATIONAL KINETIC ART EXHIBIT & SYMPOSIUM -- Visitors will see 12 large-scale kinetic sculptures that actually move, powered by solar, water, wind, gravity and human interaction.  Six of the sculptures were created for this exhibition, which occurs every two years. The installations are accessed by an easy-to-walk self-guided tour or scheduled group tours with trained docents.
    When:
    Opening weekend is Feb. 2-3 and the exhibit runs through September
    Where:
    Downtown Boynton Beach
    Web:
    www.IntlKineticArtEvent.org

    DOWNTON ABBEY: THE EXHIBITION – Jonesing for some more Downton Abbey? This traveling exhibit transposes you to post-Edwardian England, where the Downton characters’ fashions and iconic house come to life. You’ll be immersed in the fascinating history, culture and some of the most memorable moments from the show’s six-season run. Sorry, no cast members will be in attendance, but some 50 costumes will be on display. Rooms such as the Crawleys’ glamorous dining room, Mrs. Patmore’s hectic kitchen and Lady Mary’s bedroom, to name a few, have been painstakingly recreated. This is the second stop on the tour, after a successful run in New York City. The New York Times gave the exhibit a great review, saying: “…a cleverly immersive experience mounted with the same exacting care as the show itself.”
    When:
    Nov. 10 through at least early April, 2019
    Where:
    Culture Lab at City Place, West Palm Beach
    Web:
    downtonexhibition.com

    EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY – Save some holiday calories for some SoFla food & drink events this month, including:

    THE LOVE BURN – You’ll have a great time at this off-the-grid event, but when it’s over, there won’t be much proof (other than pictures and memories) that it actually happened. It’s the official regional version of the huge Burning Man arts festival held every year in Nevada.  This year’s theme is “The Lost Island of Taboo” and inventive interactive sculptures will be erected to support that theme. The event adopts such Burning Man principles as self-reliance, gift-giving, self-expression and leaving no trace left behind. With the latter in mind, all the sculptures will be burned down at the end of the event! There’s a lot more, too, including themed camp grounds, circus-like tents, sun salutations, folks wearing great costumes, pop-up live music, performance art and parlor games. No official scheduled bands, no vendors – just people having a good time interacting with each other. Note: If you want to attend, book now because as of press time most of the approximately 3,000 tickets were sold.
    When:
    Jan. 25-27
    Where:
    Virginia Key Beach Park, Miami
    Web:
    TheLoveBurn.com

    UNIQUE FORT LAUDERDEALE ART FAIRS – There are two overlapping events that will give attendees a look at two distinct areas that contribute to the city’s culture and atmosphere:

    ·        During Sistrunk-A-Fair, there will be a number of art events within the Northwest section of the city. Included will be exhibits, performances and films displaying the history of black communities of Broward County. One exhibit, The Beauty of Black Broward, will feature artists of color and their illustrations of the county’s historic black areas and famous people.
    When: Jan. 21-26
    Where: Various locations in North West Fort Lauderdale.
    Web: sistrunkafair.com     

    ·        Art Fort Lauderdale is a four-day curated art fair that transports attendees on a journey along the city’s famed Intracoastal waterways. Take the Water Taxi or private yachts and make stops at multimillion dollar waterfront properties featuring artists and galleries exhibiting various styles that reflect the past, present and the future.
    When: Jan. 24-27
    Where: Intracoastal Waterway, Fort Lauderdale
    Web: artftlauderdale.com

    IT’S TOE-TAPPIN’ TIME -- There is a quintet of eclectic music fests in SoFla in January:

    ·        The Caroline Aiken Band, David Olney The Kennedys, The Ronny Cox Trio and Tom Prasada-Rao are the headliners for the South Florida Folk Festival (Jan. 26-27 at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale). Also included: more than 40 acts on two stages, a jam area for attendees, workshops and a songwriting competition. southfloridafolkfest.net

    ·        The Baygrass Bluegrass Festival (Jan. 18-20 at the Morada Way Arts District and Founders Park in Islamorada) will feature a blend of Oldgrass, Newgrass and the next generation of the genre’s stars. baygrassbluegrass.com

    ·        First a definition: Red Dirt music is loosely classified as Americana, folk, or alt- country, or a combination of some or all of them. Some of the country’s best Red Dirters will be appearing at the Mile O Fest (Jan. 29-Feb. 2 at various locations in Key West). Headliners are The Mavericks, Trampled by Turtles, Turnpike Troubadours and the Randy Rogers Band. mile0Fest.com

    ·        The national headliner at the Annual Bluegrass Jamboree (Jan. 26 at the multi-purpose field of Cultural Park in Cape Coral) is the husband-wife band Nu-Blu. The local headliners will be Swinging Bridge and Blu-Ridg. capecoralhistoricalmuseum.org/BluegrassJamboree

    BOCA BEACH CLEAN-UP – Take a break from your vacation or visit to South Florida to join a dedicated group called 4Ocean and help clean up a segment of beach in Boca Raton. During the event, there will be an education village with environmental conservation organizations from the community making small presentations on how you can help clean up oceans and coastlines.
    When: 
    Jan. 12, 9 a.m.-noon
    Where: 
    Spanish River Park, Boca Raton
    Web: 
    4ocean.com

    SING OUT! CHORALE FESTIVAL – Mexico's music is featured this year. Vox Populi Project, an energetic ensemble from Veracruz, with guest clinician Julio Morales, will promote Mexican popular and folk music through a cappella arrangements. Workshops take place Friday and Saturday.
    When:
    Jan. 19
    Where:
    New Hope Presbyterian Church, Fort Myers
    Web:
    symphonicchorale.org

    70th ANNUAL HOMESTEAD CHAMPIONSHIP RODEO – Grab your cowboy hat, put on your chaps and head over to one of the oldest annual professional sporting events in South Florida. All the exciting competitions are included: bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping and barrel racing. There’s a plethora of family-fun activities, too, including a Little Miss & Mister contest, rodeo bingo, rodeo parade and an after-rodeo dinner dance.
    When:
    Jan.19
    Where:
    Rodeo Arena and other locations in Homestead
    Web:
    homesteadrodeo.com

    SOUTH FLORIDA FAIR – Get ready for 17 days of national concert acts (headliners are The Outlaws, Pat Travers Band, Frankie Ballard, Charlie Aponte, Jordan Davis and Building 429), midway rides, exhibits, amazing livestock shows, auctions, competitions, tons of kids activities and, of course, lots of corn dogs, cotton candy, funnel cake and other tasty fair food.
    When:
    Jan. 18-Feb. 3
    Where:
    South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach
    Web:
    southfloridafair.com

    ORCHID PARADISE – This juried show, put on by the Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society, is one of the largest in the country, with more than 10,000 blooming plants on display and for sale. The event also features nearly 30 international vendors, jewelry, raffles, potting and growing supplies and a large display of plants grown by local orchid society members.
    When:
    January 25-27
    Where:
    War Memorial Auditorium, Fort Lauderdale
    Web:
    FLOS.org

    ART DECO WEEKEND – What started out as a small grassroots festival some 40 years ago has turned into one of the largest celebrations of Art Deco architecture and culture in the country.  This year’s version will be even bigger and better with more than 85 events, including art exhibits, concerts, lectures, films, street theater, vendors, parades, antique autos, a variety of culinary offerings and the world-famous Bark Deco Dog Show.
    When:
    Jan.18-20
    Where:
    Along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach
    Web:
    artdecoweekend.com

    HORSING AROUND IN WELLINGTON – Head west of West Palm Beach to Wellington for two outstanding horse-centered multi-month happenings: the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Palm Beach International Polo Season. The former brings together the partnership of horse and rider during the thrills and grace of show jumping and the elegance of dressage. The latter features the best polo players in the world. And, both are as much about the horsey-set lifestyle with many options and side shows to keep you entertained and well-fed.
    When & Where:
    Respectively, Jan. 9-March 31 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and Dec. 30-April 21 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
    Web:
    Respectively, pbiec.coth.com and ipc.coth.com

    DELRAY BEACH FASHION WEEK –It’s not quite a week long, but who’s counting? It’s still an amazing event that showcases local, national and international designs found in the downtown boutiques. It features high energy fashion design events, beauty experiences, in-store designer trunk shows, makeovers, art expositions and the grand finale:  The Fabulous Fashion Show showcasing more than 150 looks from 50 different stores. This year’s theme is “Fashion Never Dies,” inspired by 007 James Bond.
    When:
    Jan. 23-27
    Where:
    Various locations in downtown Delray Beach
    Web:
    downtowndelraybeach.com/fashion-week

    UNCORKED: THE KEY LARGO AND ISLAMORADA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – This 11-day smorgasbord features more than 30 savory events to please just about every palate, with fresh, locally-sourced seafood and international style dishes. It includes wine tastings and dinners, cooking demonstrations, live music and food and wine pairing classes. It all culminates with the Grand Tasting on the final day.
    When:
    Jan. 10-20
    Where:
    Various locations in the Upper Keys
    Web:
    floridakeysuncorked.com

    SPEAKING OF FOOD AND WINE… -- The holidays may be waning, but here are some more eat, drink and be merry happenings (many featuring live music) throughout SoFla in January:

    ·        Coconut Grove Food & Wine Festival: Jan. 26 at Peacock Park in Coconut Grove; coconutgrovefoodandwine.com

    ·        Florida Keys Seafood Festival: Jan. 19-20 at Bayview Park, Key West; floridakeysseafoodfestival.com

    ·        International Chocolate Festival: Jan. 25-27 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, Coral Gables; fairchildgarden.org

    ·        Key West Food & Wine Festival: Jan. 23-27 at various locations in Key West; keywestfoodandwinefestival.com

    ·        Kiss Country Chili Cook-Off: Jan. 26 at C. B. Smith Park, Pembroke Pines. Musical headliners are Brooks & Dunn, supported by Luke Combs, Locash, Rodney Atkins, Tyler rich and Jon Langston; wkis.com

    ·        Mullet Festival: Jan. 26-28 at Stan’s Idle Hour Bar in Goodland; paradisecoast.com/mullet-festival

    ·        Naples Winter Wine Festival: Jan. 25-27 at various locations in Naples; napleswinefestival.com

    ·        Stone Crab & Seafood Festival: Jan. 12 at Esplanade Park in Fort Lauderdale; goriverwalk.com/events

    ARTS & CRAFTS GALORE -- You can’t swing an easel in SoFla in January without running into an outstanding arts or arts & crafts fair. You’ll be able to see (and of course, purchase) works in a variety of media: painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, clay, glass, wood and more. Many of the fairs also feature yummy food and/or live music. Here’s the lineup:

    ·        ArtPalmBeach: Jan. 16-20 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach; nextlevelfairs.com/artpalmbeach

    ·        Art Under the Oaks: Jan. 19 at San Pedro Catholic Church on Plantation Key in Tavernier; artundertheoaks.com

    ·        ArtFest Naples: Jan. 19-20 at Fleischmann Park in Naples; artfestnaples.com

    ·        Art Fest on the Green: Jan. 26-27 at the Wellington Amphitheater in Wellington; wellingtonartsociety.org

    ·        Beaux Arts Festival of Art: Jan. 12-13 on the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables; beauxartsmiami.org

    ·        Boca Fest: Jan. 12-13 at Town Center Mall in Boca Raton; artfestival.com/boca-fest

    ·        Boca Raton Fine Art Show: Jan. 26-27 at Sanborn Square Park in downtown Boca Raton; HotWorks.orgboca-raton-fine-art-show

    ·        Bonita Springs National Art Festival: Jan. 12-13 at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs; artcenterbonita.org/artfest

    ·        Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival: Jan. 12-13 along Cape Coral Parkway in downtown Cape Coral; capecoralfestival.com

    ·        Coral Gables Festival of the Arts: Jan. 26-27 in downtown Coral Gables; coralgablesartfestival.com.

    ·        Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts: Jan. 19-20 in downtown Delray Beach; artfestival.com/festivals/downtown-delray-beach-festival-arts

    ·        Downtown Venice Craft Festival: Jan. 26-27 in downtown Venice; artfestival.com/downtown-venice-craft-festival

    ·        Key West Craft Show: Jan. 26-27 in Key West’s historic Old Town; keywestartcenter.com

    ·       Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show: Jan. 12 at Cambier Park in Naples; naplesartcrafters.com

    ·        Naples New Year’s Art Fair: Jan. 5-6 in downtown Naples; naplesart.org/naples-new-years-art-show

    ·        Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival: Jan. 19-20 along Sullivan Street in Punta Gorda; artfestival.com/Punta-gorda-sullivan-street-craft-festival

    ·        South Motors Fine Arts Festival: Jan. 26-27 at Pinecrest Gardens in Pine Crest; pinecrestgardens.org/fine-arts-festival

    ·        Venice-Nokomis Rotary Club Fine Art & Craft Fair: Jan. 19-20 at Venice Airport Festival Fairgrounds; venicenokomisrotary.org/art-fest

    IT’S FOR THE BIRDS, TIMES TWO – There are two overlapping “birding” events in SoFla in January and you can’t go wrong with either one:

    ·        At the Everglades Birding Festival, you’ll experience the “River of Grass” as you never have before. There are daily trips to the Glades from South Miami to Palm Beach, searching for beautiful and rare birds in ancient moss-covered cypress swamps and marshes. Also included are photo tours and workshops.
    When: Jan. 17-21
    Where: Trips start at the official festival site, The Holiday Inn Express in Davie
    Web: evergladesbirdingfestival.com

    ·        The Festival of Birds used to be known as the Southwest Florida Nature Festival and still invites you to explore the local environment through 40 guided field trips to 20 wildlife hot spots. The emphasis, however, has been shifted to our rare fine-feathered friends.
    When:
    Jan. 18-20
    Where:
    Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, Naples
    Web:
    rookerybay.org

    IT’S FOR THE BOATS, TIMES THREE – Check out all the latest models of all kinds of boats and marine accessories at three events throughout SoFla in January: On the east coast there are the Stuart Boat Show and the Island Boat Show & Festival and on the west coast there is the Naples Boat Show.
    When & Where:
    Respectively, Jan. 11-13 along NW Dixie Highway in Stuart; Jan. 11-13 at Hawks Cay Resort in Islamorada, and Jan. 17-20 at the Naples Municipal Airport
    Web:
    Respectively, stuartboatshow.com, islandboatshow.com and paradisecoast.com/naples-boat-show

    NAUTICAL FLEA MARKET – Come to this event for all types of new and used stuff and your search won’t be for naught. More than 200 vendors will be selling boating equipment, fishing gear, nautical antiques and artwork, scuba gear, beach attire, boat shows, jewelry, motors, tackle hard to find parts and manufacturer closeouts.
    When:
    Jan. 19-20
    Where:
    Community Park, Pompano Beach
    Web:
    nauticalfleamarket.net

    BROWARD SHELL SHOW – Thousands of beautiful and unusual shells from around the world will be on display and for sale. Other highlights: competitive displays by dozens of collectors, shell artists showcasing their designs, a shell ID station and shell arts and crafts and jewelry.
    When:
    Jan. 12-13
    Where:
    Emma Lou Olson Civic Center, Pompano Beach
    Web:
    browardshellclub.com

    THE CELTS ARE COMING! THE CELTS ARE COMING! – At the Florida Keys Celtic Festival and the Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival, grab your kilt (or buy one at the event) and enjoy Celtic bands, a children’s glen and Celtic and local food fare and beverages.
    When & Where:
    Respectively, Jan. 11-13 at Marathon Community Park in Marathon (mile marker 49) and Jan. 25-26 at Centennial Park in Fort Myers
    Web:
    celticheritageproductions.com for both events

    THE MIAMI JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL – This 15-day gathering always gets rave reviews and this year will be no exception as some 40 films will be offered. It’s one of the country’s preeminent festivals of its kind.
    When:
    Jan. 10-24
    Where:
    Various theaters in Greater Miami and the Beaches
    Web:
    miamijewishfilmfestival.org

    WE GOT THE BEAT – We sure do. In SoFla, the music never stops. You’re sure to find something up your musical alley here:

    ·        III Points Music & Arts Festival – With more than 100 musical acts performing until 5 a.m. each night, this eclectic fest also includes more than 100,000 square feet of visual arts, films, great food and style. Musical headliners are SZA, A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator, James Blake, Erykah Badu, Beach House, Herbie Hancock, Blood Orange and Pussy Riot.
    When: Feb. 15-17
    Where: The Wynwood Arts District in Miami.
    Web: iiipoints.com

    ·        Coral Head Music Festival – Headliners are Vince Neil, Jackyl, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, Mitch Perry, Lazy Bonez, Art Mulcahy, Caffeine Carl, Fiddle Rock, John Bartus and Jen.
    When: Feb. 16-17
    Where: Marathon Community Park Amphitheater in Marathon.
    Web: coralheadmusicfest.com

    ·        GroundUP Music Festival – Once again, host band Snarky Puppy will play all three nights (with a different lineup each show) and only 1,500 tickets will be sold each for each day, giving concert-goers a more intimate experience. Other headliners: Andrew Bird, David Crosby, Tank and Bangas, Susana Baca and Chris Potter Circuits featuring James Francies & Nate Smith. There are various VIP packages, some including artist meet-and-greets.
    When: Feb. 8-10
    Where: North Beach Bandshell and adjacent stages on Palm Grove Park, Miami Beach.
    Webfestival.groundupmusic.net

    ·        70000 Tons of Metal – 60 Bands. 4 Days. One luxury cruise ship. Only 3,000 tickets. The world’s biggest heavy-metal cruise will be hosted aboard the luxurious Independence of the Seas. 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, 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: Jan. 31- Feb. 4
    Where: Sailing from and returning to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
    Web: 70000tons.com

    ·        Mile 0 Fest Key West – This one features the best in the burgeoning Red Dirt & Americana music scene. Take in the big shows at the state-of-the-art Truman Waterfront Park Ampitheatre or get into a stripped down set at one of the smaller theaters or bars. Headliners include the The Mavericks, Trampled by Turtles, Turnpike Troubadours and the Randy Rogers Band. Also included: golf outings and a fishing derby.
    When: Jan. 29-Feb. 2
    Where: Various locations in Key West.
    Web: mile0fest.com

    ·        The Mega Mix Beer & Music Fest features TKA, Rob Base, Cynthia, Johnny O and Debbie Deb. Tickets also include unlimited craft beer samples, food trucks and interactive lawn games.
    When: Feb. 15
    Where: Magic City Casino in Miami
    Web: magiccitycasion.com

    MIAM BOAT SHOW BIGGIES – There are two in February (both are Feb. 14-18) and you need to see both of them, as each one 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.
    Where:
    Biscayne Bay, downtown Miami
    Web: MiamiYachtShow.com

    ·        Progressive 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-cutting edge marine electronics and accessories.
    Where: Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, Miami
    Web: miamiboatshow.com

    LAKE WORTH STREET PAINTING FESTIVAL – It’s the chalk of the town, so to speak. See how the pavement becomes canvas and the street becomes a museum for fine works of traditional, contemporary and 3D 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. 23-24
    Where:
    Downtown Lake Worth
    Web:
    streetpaintingfestivalinc.org

    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. 9-March 24
    Where:
    Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach
    Web:
    ren-fest.com

    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. About 360 of some of the finest artists and craftsmen in the world will display their work. Don’t miss the show within the show: The St. Stephen’s Art Show, featuring the work of more than 150 other artists. There is also a children’s area and an international food court.
    When:
    Feb. 16-18
    Where:
    Coconut Grove, Miami
    Web:
    cgaf.com

    FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS BOCA – The folks who put together this eclectic lineup of talent always seem to top themselves and this year is no exception. Opening the fest will be Pulitzer Prize winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin discussing her new book, “Leadership in Turbulent Times.” The “force” will be with the festival as “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” gets its Florida premiere on the big screen to live music by The Symphonia, led by Constantine Kitsopolous, playing John Williams’ epic Academy Award-winning score. Other highlights include “Rhapsody in Blue,” an evening of orchestral blockbusters performed by The Symphonia with renowned jazz pianist Shelly Berg; Pink Martini, the wildly popular group described as “The United Nations house band of 1962 meets Lawrence Welk on acid;” An Evening of Classical Russian Ballet featuring stars from the  Russian National Orchestra and the Bolshoi Ballet; Nu Deco Ensemble, an innovative virtuosic and eclectic chamber orchestra designed for the 21st century; and 10-time Grammy winner Arturo Sandoval and his band.  The Authors and Ideas program features Constitutional scholar and author Jeffrey Rosen, PoemJazz with former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, who will read his poetry while accompanied by a small jazz ensemble; and Pulitzer Prize winning writer David Sanger, who will talk about his latest book, “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age.”
    When:
    Feb. 28-March 10
    Where:
    Mizner Park Amphitheater and Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, Boca Raton.
    Web:
    festivalboca.org

    CANADAFEST – If you aren’t familiar with the city of Hollywood and its eclectic and wonderful beach-side Broadwalk and all that both have to offer, now would be the time. Canadians (mostly from the Quebec area) have been coming to Hollywood in the winter for a long time, so it was only natural that such a festival would be born. Now in its 36th year, it features 100 kiosks providing the sights, sounds, gastronomy and general ambience of the festival.
    When:
    Feb. 8-10
    Where:
    Hollywood Beach Broadwalk
    Web:
    canadafest.com

    FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD – Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum and Yum. That’s one “Yum” for each of these 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. Suggestion: Book early for all events!
    When: Feb. 20-24
    Where:
    Various locations in both counties
    Web:
    SoBeWFF.org

    ·        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.
    When:
    Feb. 8-10
    Where:
    City Hall on the Circle in Everglades City
    Web:
    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.
    When:
    Feb. 17
    Where:
    Lauderhill Performing Arts Center in Lauderhill.
    Web:
    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 Steel Pulse, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Fabulous Fleetwoods, El Dub and the Brothers United Band.
    When:
    Feb. 9-10
    Where:
    John Prince Park in Lake Worth.
    Web:
    garlicfestfl.com

    ·        Boca Raton Seafood & Music Festival – You’ll enjoy seafood dishes prepared by local restaurants, enjoy a variety of fine products in the Village Marketplace  and be entertained by local and regional performers in such genres as R&B, jazz, classical, calypso, reggae, Latin and Caribbean
    When:
    Feb. 8-10
    Where:
    Mizner Park, Boca Raton
    Web:
    paragonfestivals.com

    ·        Italian Feast & Carnival – On the menu will be all kinds of great Italian food and wine, along with midway rides, games and live music.
    When:
    Feb. 21-24
    Where:
    Venice Airport & Convention grounds
    Web:
    italianamericanclubofvenice.com

    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. This year, car enthusiast Jay Leno doubles up as both the headline entertainer for the Saturday gala party and the celebrity judge.
    When:
    Feb. 22-24
    Where:
    Atlantic Aviation hanger at the Boca Raton Airport on Friday and the Boca Raton Resort & Club for the other events.
    Web:
    BocaCDE.com

    SOUTHWEST FLORIDA BURROWING OWL FESTIVAL – A whole lot of folks give a hoot about this well-attended gathering in Cape Coral, which is home to the largest known population of this threatened species. It’s a family-fun filled event with educational exhibits and live owls, bus tours to local owl burrows and much more, including live music, food vendors and arts & crafts activities for kids.
    When:
    Feb. 23
    Where:
    Rotary Park Environmental Center, Cape Coral
    Web:
    ccfriendsofwildlife.org

    THE PLACE TO BE FOR SPORTS – That would be Palm Beach County in February, for sure. Here’s why:

    ·        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.
    When:
    Feb. 15-24.
    Where:
    Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center, downtown Delray Beach
    Web:
    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 play at the FIFTTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach from Feb. 23 to March 24. The Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals will play at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter from Feb. 23 to March 23. fitteamballpark.com and rogerdeanstadium.com

    ·        The best golfers in the world will go for $6.8 million in prize money and try to rack up early points in the race for the Fed Ex Cup title at The Honda Classic. The field keeps getting better every year and this year is no exception, including defending champion Justin Thomas.
    When:
    Feb. 23-March 3
    Where:
    Championship course at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens
    Web:
    thehondaclassic.com

    ·        Do you like the aging-gracefully golfing greats, too?  Check out the Oasis Championship. It’s the first full-field event of the Champions Tour and includes last year’s winner, Mark Calcavecchia.
    When:
    Feb. 4-10
    Where:
    The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Feb. 4-10.
    Web:
    oasischampionship.com
    (Editor’s Note: The Champions Tour golfers also will play in the Chubb Classic at the Classics Country Club at Lely Resort in Naples, Feb. 11-17.  theacegroupclassic.com)

    GAY8 FESTIVAL – It’s one of the largest Hispanic LGBTQ festivals in the country and more than 60,000 people are expected to attend. It will include activism, art, dance, and a film festival but the street party is the main event.
    When:
    Feb. 17
    Where:
    Calle Ocho and the surrounding area, Miami
    Web:
    gay8festival.com

    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 VIP area.
    When:
    Feb. 24
    Where:
    Fort Lauderdale Beach
    Web:
    pridefortlauderdale.org

    BIG DOINGS IN BONITA SPRINGS – Use either of these two events to get acquainted with this small but lovely southwest Florida city known for its beautiful beaches and parks:

    ·        The Bonita Springs International Film Festival will present about 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers and actors, along with great opening and closing night parties.
    When:
    Feb. 21-24
    Where:
    Various locations in Bonita Springs
    Web: artcenterbonita.org/biff/

    ·        You can enjoy unlimited three-ounce samples of some of the best craft beers, hard ciders and meads at the Bonita Brew Fest. Also included will be a variety of food trucks and live music. Book early because only 1,500 general admission tickets and 150 VIP tickets will be sold.
    When:
    Feb. 2
    Where:
    Riverside Park, Bonita Springs
    Web:
    bonitabrewfest.com

    PALM BEACH MARINE FLEA MARKET & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – This must be the place if you want rods, reels, lures, boating apparel, nautical décor and jewelry, taxidermy, diving equipment, marine artifacts and antique collectibles and maps. A steady supply of fresh sea food will be sure to please the palate.
    When:
    Feb. 16-17
    Where:
    South Florida Fairground, West Palm Beach
    Web:
    flnauticalfleamarket.com

    ARTS & 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. 16-18 at Abacoa in Jupiter. artigras.org

    ·        Art Wynwood, Feb. 14-18 on Biscayne Bay, Miami. artwynwood.com

    ·        ArtFest Fort Myers, Feb. 2-3 along the water downtown. artfestfortmyers.com

    ·        Coconut Point Mall Art Festival, Feb. 16-17 in Estero. ArtFestival.com

    ·        Downtown Stuart Art Festival, Feb. 23-24. ArtFestival.com

    ·        Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts, Feb. 2-3 on SE Dixie Highway. ArtFestival.com

    ·        Naples National Art Festival, Feb. 23-24 at Cambier Park. naplesart.org

    ·        Old Island Days Art Festival, Feb. 23-24 in downtown Key West. keywestartcenter.com

    ·        Pigeon Key Art Festival, Feb. 2-3 at Marathon Community Park. pigeonkeyartfestival.com

    ·        Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair, Feb. 16-17 at the Sanibel Community House. sanibelartfair.com

    ·        South Miami Rotary Art Festival, Feb. 23-24 in downtown South Miami. southmiamiartfest.com

    SWAMP CABBAGE FESTIVAL – For 53 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, a rodeo, beauty pageants, live music, a fishing tournament and a car show.
    When:
    Feb 23-24
    Where:
    Various locations in La Belle
    Web:
    labelleswampcabbagefestival.org

    PALM BEACH JEWELRY, ART & ANTIQUE SHOW – One of the largest shows 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.
    When:
    Feb. 13-19
    Where:
    Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.
    Web:
    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. 15-17
    Where:
    Downtown Deerfield Beach
    Web:
    deerfield-beach.com/Pioneer-Days

    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. 8-10; St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale, Feb. 7-10, and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Myers, Feb. 22-24
    Web:
    Respectively – stkatherine.net, 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. 9-18
    Where:
    Various locations in Fort Myers
    Web:
    edisonfestival.org

    SEMINOLE TRIBAL FAIR & POW WOW – It’s a family affair at the 48th annual celebration of Native American arts and culture. Highlights include wildlife shows, alligator wrestling, Native American dancing (for fun and competition), arts and crafts, a drum circle, Seminole clothing contest and more.
    When:
    Feb. 8-10
    Where:
    Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood
    Web:
    semtribefairandpowwow.com

    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. 23-24
    Where:
    Jaco Pastorius Park, Oakland Park
    Web:
    polynesiancultureassociation.com

    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. 1-3
    Where:
    Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West
    Web:
    floridastateparks.org/civil-war-heritage-days

     

    The St. Pete Beach Seafood & Music Festival  highlights and celebrates seafood dishes made with fresh, local and sustainable ocean resources from the Florida Gulf Coast. Sample crab claws, shrimp burgers and grouper dishes prepared by local chefs and wash it down with a variety of beer, wine and soft drinks, all while enjoying breezy island music, reggae, blues and other genres designed to keep the good vibes going all weekend.

    The St. Pete Beach Seafood & Music Festival highlights and celebrates seafood dishes made with fresh, local and sustainable ocean resources from the Florida Gulf Coast. Sample crab claws, shrimp burgers and grouper dishes prepared by local chefs and wash it down with a variety of beer, wine and soft drinks, all while enjoying breezy island music, reggae, blues and other genres designed to keep the good vibes going all weekend.

    - St. Pete Beach Seafood & Music Festival


    CENTRAL FLORIDA

    "CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR!" HOLIDAY HOME TOUR - Elaborate, elegant, over-the-top designer Christmas decorations in one of Florida's most historic mansions. The 1886 "Gilded Age" Victorian Stetson Mansion has been recently been listed as one of the "Top 10 Things to do in Florida" by Tripadvisor. Reservations required.
    When: Nov. 15 to Jan. 15.
    Where: Stetson Mansion, 1031 Camphor Ln, DeLand, FL 32720
    Web: stetsonmansion.com/

    TAMPA BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL – Leading up to the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival offers a lineup of fun, informative and networking events, including a music fest with food vendors and children’s activities at downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Waterfront park, a fitness boot camp, a business breakfast, a golf tournament, a gospel night, a 5K walk/run and more.
    When
    : Jan. 10-20
    Where
    : Tampa
    Web
    : tampablackheritage.org

    SPACE COAST SEASHELL FESTIVAL – Fascination with seashells is shared by collectors all over the world, and this specials seashell show – in its 39th year! – is a beautiful display of some of the most unusual and rare marine gems and shells found around the globe. Admission is free and shells are sold for as little as 50 cents and as much as $50 and up.
    When
    : Jan 19-20
    Where
    : Eau Gallie Civic Center, Melbourne
    Web: spacecoasteventcalendar.com/seashell-festival

    CENTRAL FLORIDA RUM & FOOD EXPERIENCE – Rum lovers and aficionados get to sample sweet, fruity or smoky elixirs distilled both locally and afar at this fun little fest showcasing all types of flavors. Guests can enjoy tasting sips or full cocktails while noshing on dishes from various regional and national restaurants such as Duke’s Brewhouse, Hooters, Carters BBQ, Café Roti, Fred’s Southern Kitchen and more.
    When
    : Jan. 12
    Where: RP Funding Center, Lakeland
    Web
    : rumandfood.com

    CENTRAL FLORIDA SCOTTISH HIGHLAND GAMES – Let the centuries-old Gaelic traditions begin! This cultural, family-friendly weekend blends old games with new, featuring archery competitions, stone throws, Border Collie sheep-herding demonstrations, authentic cultural dance routines, a scones and shortbread contest, kids’ games and lots and lots of bagpipes.
    When
    : Jan. 19-20
    Where
    : Central Winds Park, Winter Springs
    Web
    : flascot.com

    ZORA! FESTIVAL – Held in her hometown just north of Orlando, famed storyteller Zora Neale Hurston and her groundbreaking works are honored in this weeklong celebration of public talks, museum exhibitions, theatrical productions, arts education programming and a three-day Outdoor Festival of the Arts. The fest has something for both the young and old and offers insight into African-American history and culture that you likely won’t find anywhere else.
    When: Jan. 26-Feb. 3
    Where: Historic Eatonville
    Web: zorafestival.org

    FLORIDA MANATEE FESTIVAL – Relax and enjoy one of the great outdoor wonders of Florida – the majestic manatee, a creature known for its love of the natural warm springs of Crystal River – while tasting local seafood, taking a boat tour, lounging in the beer garden, hitting the Kids Zone, checking out unique crafts and artwork and soaking in the sunshine.
    When
    : Jan. 19-20
    Where
    : Downtown Crystal River
    Web
    : gomanateefest.com

    MANATEE COUNTY FAIR – Since launching its first fair in 1916, the Manatee County Fair has come a long way, bringing the latest in carnival rides, country music stars, gourmet food, arts and crafts and other fun events to its usual array of agricultural competitions. Check out the whip-popping contest, the dairy fitting and grooming contest and the pig races.
    When
    : Jan. 17-27
    Where
    : Palmetto
    Web
    : manateecountyfair.com

    BREVARD RENAISSANCE FAIR – History meets fantasy in this 16th century time-travel adventure, complete with live armored jousting, sheep tossing, dancing gypsies and smoked turkey legs as big as your head. Each weekend has a different theme – fantasy, pirate or Highland – and there are 70 shows daily with various types of revelry, food and fun.
    When
    : Jan. 19-29, Jan. 26-27 & Feb. 1-3
    Where
    : Wickham Park, Melbourne
    Web
    : brevardrenaissancefair.com

    ANNUAL KUMQUAT FESTIVAL – A true taste of Old Florida, the annual Kumquat Festival draws tens of thousands of visitors and families to quaint Dade City to celebrate the citrus family’s most adorable little fruit. Sample kumquat pie, kumquat cookies, smoothies, ice cream, marmalade, and even kumquat salsa while checking out antique cars, shopping for arts and crafts and enjoying live music.
    When
    : Jan. 26
    Where
    : Historic Dade City
    Web
    : dadecitychamber.org/kumquat-festival

    GASPARILLA CHILDREN’S PARADE & PIRATE FEST – Tampa’s famous pirate-themed shenanigans return, filling Tampa Bay with boats, the street with floats and several miles of revelry in the form of partyers, music, strewn beads and other fun. The children’s parade is on the 19th followed by the elaborate and wild Pirate Fest the following Saturday, when the world’s only fully-rigged pirate ship, the Jose Gasparilla, will magically appear at the south end of Hillsborough Bay. 
    When
    : Jan. 19 & 26
    Where
    : Tampa
    Web
    : gasparillapiratefest.com

    YEEHAW MUSIC FEST – Enjoy Florida’s cooler outdoor weather, bring your camping gear and dance along to bluegrass, folk and country music by Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Summer Brooke & Mountain Faith, Scattered Grass and other great bands. Jam with other musicians, play bingo, attend music workshops or just relax.
    When
    : Jan. 15-20
    Where
    : Okeechobee
    Web
    : facebook.com/yeehawmusicfest

    4OCEAN DAYTONA BEACH CLEANUP – As a way to preserve and cherish one of Florida’s most precious assets, hundreds of people of all ages turn out for this wide-reaching volunteer beach cleanup, which includes a day of strolling along Daytona Beach as well as a pop-up shop selling shirts and bracelets and an “education village.” Hemp bags and gloves are provided and all ages are welcome.
    When
    : Jan. 26
    Where
    : Daytona Beach
    Web
    : facebook.com/daytona-beach-cleanup

    FLORIDA FOOD & BREWS FESTIVAL – This newly established festival features the finest that the Tampa Bay region and other parts of Florida have to offer: delicious dishes and desserts from local restaurants and food trucks, craft beer, musicians, stand-up comedians, handmade clothing and gifts and other fun goodies.
    When
    : Feb. 23-24
    Where
    : England Brothers Park, Pinellas Park
    Web
    : foodandbrewsfestival.com

    ST. PETE BEACH SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL – St. Pete Beach brings back this festival that highlights and celebrates seafood dishes made with fresh, local and sustainable ocean resources from the Florida Gulf Coast. Sample crab claws, shrimp burgers and grouper dishes prepared by local chefs and wash it down with a variety of beer, wine and soft drinks, all while enjoying breezy island music, reggae, blues and other genres designed to keep the good vibes going all weekend.
    When
    : Feb. 1-3
    Where
    : Cory Avenue, St. Pete Beach
    Web
    : seafoodfestivals.com/St.PeteBeach

    RIDE POVERTY OUT OF TOWN – Join other cyclists in a community fundraising ride filled with ocean views and historical sites such as the McLarty Treasure Museum – the site of the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet wreck – as well as stops in Melbourne Beach and Sebastian Inlet Surf & Sport Shop. Participants may choose a route of either 40 miles or a 100-mile full century, ending the day with a splash party cool-down.
    When
    : Feb. 23
    Where
    : Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway, Vero Beach
    Web
    : upirc.org/ride-poverty-out-of-town

    GARDENFEST! – An 18-year-tradition, Gardenfest! celebrates the beauty of outdoor gardens and plants by bringing in more than 85 vendors selling Florida native plants, herbs, succulents and more, as well as outdoor lighting and garden accessories. Stay for the lectures and demonstrations to hone your skills or relax under the oaks with a plate of food from one of the Vero Beach favorites.
    When
    : Feb. 2-3
    Where
    : Riverside Park, Vero Beach
    Web
    : gardenclubofirc.org/Gardenfest

    ZEPHYRHILLS SNOWBIRD PALOOZA – Billed as “not your ordinary Senior Expo,” this fair caters to our seasonal residents and retirees interested in not only free health checks but in the fun, games, raffles, Elvis impersonators and lively music to go along with it. Come hungry and be a taste-tester in the pie and chili cookoffs. 
    When: Feb. 2
    Where: Zephyr Park, Zephyrhills
    Web: facebook.com/zephrhills

    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 and country music stars. Plan accordingly to check out dog and human stunt shows, the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, alligator wrestling or a Chinese troupe of acrobats. Hungry? The deep-fried butter hits the spot.
    When
    : Feb. 7-18
    Where
    : Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
    Web
    : floridastatefair.com

    CELTIC FAMILY JAMBOREE – Folksy, fun and family-friendly, the Celtic Family Jamboree draws campers, musicians and other guests to the Sertoma Youth Ranch campsite where all ages can enjoy Celtic bands, Highland games, sheepdog herding demos and a workshops covering everything from Irish dance to the pennywhistle. Bring a covered dish to share for the Friday potluck.
    When
    : Feb. 8-9
    Where
    : Sertoma Youth Ranch, Brooksville
    Web
    : celticheritageproductions.com

    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. 16-23
    Where
    : Wauchula
    Web
    : hardeecountyfair.org

    LEESBURG MARDI GRAS – The streets of this small city become alive with a family-friendly version of New Orleans Mardi Gras, including a pet parade, a kids’ parade, brass bands, jugglers, stilt walkers, fire eaters and lots of messy fair food. Hit the corner of 4th and Market Street for rock bands, beer and Bourbon Street-style fun.
    When
    : Feb. 16
    Where
    : Historic Downtown Leesburg
    Web
    : leesburgpartnership.com/mardigras

    BEER, BOURBON & BBQ FESTIVAL – This touring fest has grown to become one of Tampa’s favorite events, bringing a day of beer, music, cigar, and barbeque – lots and lots of barbecue – to one of downtown’s finest waterfront parks. Admission comes with a sampling glass so you can try up to 40 types of bourbon and 60 kinds of beer, while BBQ vendors serve up their best fare. There’s also a gaming area with giant Jenga, trike races and cornhole.
    When
    : Feb. 16
    Where
    : Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Tampa
    Web
    : beerandbourbon.com/tampa

    WINTER AUTOFEST – This three-day showcase designed for automotive enthusiasts combines a swap meet, classic car sale, collector car show and auction with events for the entire family, as well as a free cruise-in. This year, the event organizer tops its cap to the aeronautical side of SUN ‘n FUN, providing helicopter rides and more air-themed fun.
    When
    : Feb. 22-24
    Where
    : SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus, Lakeland
    Web
    : flysnf.org/carlisle

    HAINES CITY RIBS ON THE RIDGE – The sweet smells of smokers fill the air and pit masters serve up platters of fall-off-the-bone meat at this Florida BBQ Association-sanctioned competition, bringing professional and backyard teams from across the region to compete for cash and bragging rights to the best BBQ in town. Beer, wine and other food vendors are on available, plus live music all weekend.
    When
    : Feb. 22-23
    Where
    : Lake Eva Park, Haines City
    Web
    : hainescity.com/Ribs-on-the-Ridge

     

    Swish, sip and spit your way through more than 100 Spanish-only wines while saying “salud” to St. Augustine’s Spanish roots at the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting.

    Swish, sip and spit your way through more than 100 Spanish-only wines while saying “salud” to St. Augustine’s Spanish roots at the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting.

    - St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival

     

    NORTH FLORIDA

    FIRST CITY LIGHTS FESTIVAL — Shop, dine and experience Pensacola’s nightlife under a canopy of 400,000 twinkling fairy lights draped on trees and the historic downtown buildings. Visitors can experience the light display by foot, Segway, horse and carriage, pedi-cab or on the Winterfest trolley.
    When
    : Nov. 23 - Jan. 31
    Where:
    Pensacola
    Web:
    visitpensacola.com/first-city-lights-festival

    VENARDOS CIRCUS — Kevin Venardos, once the youngest ringmaster in Barnum & Bailey’s history, has reinvented the circus to match modern interests (For example, there are no animal performers, only human.). The self-proclaimed “Little Circus That Could” has one ring and brings Broadway to the Big Top, or in their case Modest Top, combining musical theater with an array of death-defying feats.
    When:
    Dec. 19 – Feb. 27
    Where:
    St. Augustine Amphiteatre
    Web:
    venardoscircus.com

    FLORIDA MUSEUM 40TH COLLECTORS DAY — Do you have a unique collection or want to talk with someone else about how to get started? Opportunity is knocking! Each year, more than 100 collectors register to be on site during the museum’s annual event. Previous years collections on display have included stereoviews, signed baseballs, Native American musical instruments, records, antique microscopes, Coca-Cola products, classic cars and spatulas.
    When:
    Jan. 12
    Where:
    Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville
    Web:
    floridamuseum.ufl.edu

    HITS OCALA WINTER CIRCUIT — The horse country capital of Florida gears up for three months of tournaments and gives away $4 million in prize money to best the hunter/jumper jockeys during the winter season. The HITS Post Time Farm has more than 450 acres, 100 permanent turn-out paddocks and 30 permanent bars for training. The season kicks off with the Ocala January Classic ($75 thousand in prize money) and ends with the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on March 24.
    When:
    Jan. 15 – March 24
    Where:
    HITS Post Time Farm, Ocala
    Web:
    hitsshows.com/ocala

    APALACHICOLA OYSTER COOK-OFF — How do you like your oysters? Buttery, garlicky, lemony, cheesy and chargrilled in the half shell or bacon-wrapped and smoked? Leaf through your recipe collection and enter your favorite dish in Apalachicola Oyster Cook-Off (applications are due January 11). Not much or a chef or bivavle lover? No worries, the annual event serves up smoked mullet, hamburgers and hot dogs to pair with local brews. Also includes an oyster-related silent auction, dance performances, kids activities, live music and the Half-Shell Hustle, a 5.5K fun run.
    When:
    Jan. 18-19
    Where:
    Apalachicola Riverfront Park
    Web:
    oystercookoff.com

    ST. AUGUSTINE FILM FESTIVAL — Cinephiles will have a full slate of entertainment and will have to pick and choose wisely between showings of more than 30 independent films that span the world in various genres from comedy to documentary. Films will be screened on five screens at three different venues all within walking distance. Individual tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door or purchase the All Films Pass. The All Access Pass includes entrance to all screenings and to the filmmaker parties.
    When:
    Jan. 18-21
    Where:
    St. Augustine
    Web:
    staugfilmfest.com

    30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL — The trio of headliners for the 10th annual festival are led by Americana singer/songwriter Jason Isbell, who wrote the “Maybe This Time” for Bradley Cooper’s character in “A Star Is Born,” which received extra air play in the film’s trailer. Rounding out the trio are Americana star Brandi Carlile (“The Story”) and a 50-year rock veteran with four #1 hits, Felix Cavaliere, who will also be appearing with his full band and horn section. More than 100 artists will perform in 25 different venues including Steve Earle, Suzy Bogguss, Amanada Shires (Jason Isbell’s wife – Hope for guest appearances at each other’s shows, they’re magic together in Isbell’s “Cover Me Up”), Shawn Mullins, The War and Treaty, Randy Foster and more.
    When:
    Jan. 18-21
    Where:
    various venues along Hwy 30A near South Walton
    Web:
    30asongwritersfestival.com

    AMELIA ISLAND RESTAURANT WEEK — Explore Amelia Island and Fernandina’s award-winning dining scene with prix-fixe lunch or dinners at 30 local restaurants. The menus (which can be viewed online) will be priced at $12 for lunch and either $21, $31 or $41 for dinner. Two culinary highlights include the Tribute to Coastal Treasures four-course dinner with wine reception at the Ritz Carlton-Amelia Island that kicks off the week and the closing dinner that Omni Amelia Island.
    When:
    Jan. 18-27
    Where:
    Fernandina and Amelia Island
    Web:
    ameliaisland.com/restaurant-week

    FLORIDA CHAUTAUQUA ASSEMBLY — A four-day educational program geared toward family with keynote speakers, breakout sessions and evening and dinner performances related to this year’s theme, “A Journey into Main Street America.” This year’s assembly will talk about the economic changes in America and the new movement to bring business back to historic downtowns and communities. The keynote speaker is Patrice Frey, President and CEO of Main Street America.
    When:
    Jan. 24-27
    Where:
    DeFuniak Springs
    Web:
    floridachautauquaassembly.org

    TALLAHASSEE BEER FESTIVAL — Have a friend you want to introduce to the craft beer scene? Or, are you looking to sample some of the harder to find brews from around the country? This inaugural event brings together some of the best of the best of the sunshine state’s breweries and also some of the heavy hitters on the national scene. Florida craft breweries include 3 Daughters (St. Petersburg), First Magnitude (Gainesville), Veterans United (Jacksonville) and Cigar City (Tampa). National brewers pouring include Green Man and Highland (Asheville, N.C.), Rogue Ales (Oregon), Breckenridge (Colorado), Goose Island (Chicago) and Kona (Hawaii).
    When:
    Jan. 26
    Where:
    The Pavilion at The Centre of Tallahassee
    Web:
    tlhbeerfestival.com           

    FIELD DAY MUSIC FEST — Tailgating season is over but don’t put those chairs away yet. You’ll want them to save your seat for a day of live music, food trucks, games and more. The Vegabonds (new southern rock), The Mulligan Brothers (bluegrass/folk) and Slow Low Crow (country rock) will be performing. Don’t forget to take a break from the show and explore the gardens’ six miles of trails throughout the day.
    When:
    Jan. 26
    Where:
    Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
    Web:
    fielddaytallahassee.com

    CRACKER VILLAGE TOUR — Learn about what life was like for the first Florida crackers in Florida’s piney woods. The state park has a collection of replica building representing a 1890s settlement that includes a cabin and outbuildings such as a barn, smokehouse, pantry and outhouse. During the tour, the building will be open and a “blacksmith” might be at work.
    When:
    Jan. 26
    Where:
    Silver Springs State Park, Ocala
    Web:
    floridastateparks.org/events/cracker-village-tour

    CHANGEVILLE MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL — The creators of this Gainesville festival had lofty goals for the inaugural event in 2016. They wanted to connect artists, storytellers, comedians and movement builders who promote social change with their artistry and passion. Four years later, the fest has its owns podcast and a varied lineup that includes the Iranian-American comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh, the Miami bilingual Latin fusion band Locos Por Juana and the Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia, who has popularized New Orleans hip hop.
    When:
    Feb. 7-8
    Where:
    Gainesville
    Web:
    changeville.us

    CRAPPIE 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. Also includes a kids fishing rodeo.
    When:
    Feb. 8-9
    Where:
    Lake Talquin, Gadsden
    Web:
    crappiemasters.net

    WORLD VIEW — Embrace and explore different cultures and food at these fests.

    ·         World of Nations (Feb. 23-24, Jacksonville): Jacksonville’s annual cultural celebration moves from May to February for 2019. Attendees are encouraged to show off their cultural heritage by dressing up in old attire. International arts, cuisine and music from a diverse selection of countries will be on display. World-of-Nations.net
    ·         2nd Annual World Culture Festival (Feb. 9, Tallahassee): Celebrate Tallahassee’s diverse collection of culture and faiths at the second annual event. The family-friendly event will feature dance performances, live entertainment and food. wcftally.com

    SANDESTIN GUMBO FESTIVAL — Do you have gumbo running through your veins? The Panhandle’s Emerald Coast celebrates all things New Orleans (see also Mardi Gras parades) at the 30th annual event. A Seafood Boil gets the party going on Friday. Arrive hungry and eat your way from table to table seeking out which entrant will get your vote for People’s Choice during Saturday’s Gumbo-Off. This year, local bars and restaurants will also be seeking the over-21 vote in the “Best Bloody Mary at The Beach” competition. Also includes live music from Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe and family activities.
    When:
    Feb. 15-16
    Where:
    Village of Baytowne Wharf, Miramar Beach
    Web:
    sandestingumbofestival.com

    ST. AUGUSTINE SPANISH WINE FESTIVAL — Swish, sip and spit your way through more than 100 Spanish-only wines while saying “salud” to St. Augustine’s Spanish roots at the Grand Tasting. The annual fest has undergone many changes, including adding a Wine and Dine featuring food truck cuisine, but the biggest is its move from September to February. Still on the schedule is the Cava Reception and Dinner which features a Spanish-inspired courses paired with Spanish wines.
    When:
    Feb. 15-17
    Where:
    St. Augustine
    Web:
    spanishwinefestival.com

    11TH 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 great eats. New in 2019, a “King Crab” trophy will be awarded to the best-decorated golf cart, boat or float during the annual parade. Audience participation is one of the judging criteria so be ready to cheer on the entrants.
    When:
    Feb. 15-17
    Where:
    Steinhatchee
    Web:
    steinhatcheechamber.com/fiddler-crab-festival

    BATTLE OF OLUSTEE REENACTMENT AND 41ST ANNUAL OLUSTEE FESTIVAL — More than 25,000 visitors arrive in Lake City for two-days of live music and the annual Civil War battle reenactment. 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. 15-17
    Where:
    Olustee Battlefield State Park (reenactment), downtown Lake City (festival)
    Web:
    https://www.olusteefestival.com/ and http://battleofolustee.org/

    ST. AUGUSTINE CIVIL RIGHTS & BLACK HERITAGE WALKING TOUR — St. Augustine has played a role in the Sunshine State’s African-American experience from the arrival of the first African settlers (who were explorers and soldiers with Pedro Menendez, not slaves) to Martin Luther King Jr.’s arrest in the city for attempting to eat at a whites-only establishment in 1964. The 90-minute tour includes 10 different stops significant to the city’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.
    When:
    Feb. 16
    Where:
    St. Augustine
    Web:
    staugustineblackheritagetours.com

    BRAINQUILITY MUSIC FESTIVAL — This fest brings together funk, jazz and global fusion musicians for two days of camping, more than 20 live music acts on two stages. This year’s lineup includes the groove-based improv artists Lotus, funk and dance chart-topper Opiuo and the bluesy rock duo Boombox. Includes food and drink vendors.
    When:
    Feb. 16-17
    Where:
    The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak
    Web:
    brainquilityfest.com

    ST. ANDREWS MARDI GRAS 2019 — Yes, the show must go on. The hosting Krewe of St. Andrews lost four of their 10 floats when their den was damaged by Hurricane Michael. But they buckled down and rebuilt the damaged floats and continued planning for the one city’s biggest parties of the year. Saturday’s parades are the fest’s main events and feature more than 30 floats and New Orleans-style music. Other events include the Kids and Pets Parade and Masker Parade. There will also be two days of live music, a kids zone and food vendors.
    When:
    Feb. 22-23
    Where:
    Historic St. Andrews neighborhood, Panama City
    Web:
    standrewsmardigras.com

    PENSACON — This convention proves geeky, sci-fi love has no borders as fanboys and girls of seemingly diverse groups like MMA, horror movies, gaming and paranormal enthusiasts can coexist under one roof. The fest will host two reunions featuring stars from “Indiana Jones” (Karen Allen, Julian Glover, Paul Freeman and Wolf Kahler) and “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” (Austin St. John, Paul Freeman and Peta-Marie Rixon). No comic con would be complete without a costume competition, so start planning what you’ll be wearing now. Also includes a Short Film Festival.
    When:
    Feb. 22-24
    Where:
    Pensacola Bay Center
    Web:
    pensacon.com

    STONE AGE AND PRIMITIVE ARTS FESTIVAL — The 12th annual event allows visitors to get hands-on experience living in the past by learning former survival skills like flint knapping, deer-hide tanning and projectile-point fastening. Learn how to make your own bow and arrow and then sign up to compete in the primitive archery competition. While there, take time to explore the parks 543 acres along the Gulf Coast, which includes rivers and creeks and nature trails for hiking. Birders will be on the lookout for the rare red-cockaded woodpecker.
    When:
    Feb. 22-24
    Where:
    Ochlockonee River State Park, Sopchoppy
    Web:
    knapfest.com

    NORTHEAST FLORIDA SCOTTISH HIGHLAND GAMES & FESTIVAL — Experience a “Wee bit o’ Scotland” in North Florida during the annual Highland Games. Throw your hat in the ring and compete in feats of strength (22 pound Hammer Throw, 56 pounds Weight Throw, Caber Toss or Tug of War) or artistic competitions (Band and Solo Bag Piping, Fiddle or Highland Dance). The festival is all things Scottish, include Gaelic demos, a Tartan Museum, traditional music and food. New for 2019 is not just one, but two Guinness Beer Tents.
    When:
    Feb. 23
    Where:
    Clay County Fairgrounds, Green Cove Springs
    Web:
    neflgames.com

    MARDI GRAS BARKUS PARADE — Instead of a 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, this year’s theme is “Furry Tails Do Come True.” All are invited to be a part of the festivities by outfitting you and, more important,  your dog. And because it’s Florida, decked-out bicycles and golf carts also are welcome in the parade. As per tradition, the parade’s queen and king will feature two shelter dogs looking for a “furever” home. Includes live music, artisans and food.
    When:
    Feb. 23
    Where:
    Apalachicola
    Web:
    floridasforgottencoast.com/barkus

    SEAWALK MUSIC FESTIVAL — This two-day music festival is always a harbinger for spring on the First Coast. The family-friendly event, which is free, makes it the perfect way to spend a weekend relaxing oceanfront while listening to great tunes. Includes food, beverage and arts and crafts vendors.
    When:
    Feb. 23-24
    Where:
    SeaWalk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach
    Web:
    communityfirstseawalkmusicfest.com

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