JUNE SOUTH FLORIDA LAUDERDALE LIVE: Just minutes away from vibrant Las Olas Boulevard, you’ll be able to rock and roll all weekend. Attendees will enjoy great music set against the backdrop of historic waterways and top restaurants
Where: Huizenga Plaza on the New River, Fort Lauderdale
CARIBBEAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH EVENTS: At Taste of the Caribbean, you can savor the best in Caribbean cuisine at tasting meals, workshops and seminars with leading chefs who will provide insider secrets on enhancing your dining experience. It’s a competition-style event that showcases the region’s best chefs, pastry chefs, junior chefs and bartenders. Colors of the Caribbean is a free family-friendly festival celebrating Caribbean culture. Event features live music, A Caribbean Travel Expo, a Kids Zone, arts and crafts, a food village and smaller stages featuring folk dancing and steel bands.
Where: Respectively, Hyatt Regency hotel, Miami, and Young Circle in downtown Hollywood
Web: Respectively, caribbeanhotelandtourism.com and colorsofthecaribbean.com
ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE AND DOWNTOWN VENICE CRAFT FESTIVALS: Peruse booths filled with painting, crafts, stained glass, pottery, jewelry, photography, personalized products for kids and pooches and much more, including a Green Market for plants, handmade soaps, tangy BBQ sauces and gorgeous orchids.
Where: St. Armands Circle on St. Armands Key just off the coast of Sarasota; Miami Avenue in Venice
SUMMERLAND CONCERT TOUR: If the 1990s was your decade, this one’s for you. This annual event features the best acts that were popular in that decade.
Where: Top Rocker Field, Fort Myers
SUMMER MOONLIGHT SEA TURTLE WALKS: Enjoy an evening of sea turtle exploration and identification while uncovering the natural history and myths of turtles. With a little luck and weather permitting you might just see a 300-pound loggerhead venture out of the ocean to lay her eggs.
Where: Museum of Discovery & Science and the beach, Fort Lauderdale
SEEK IN THE CITY: Here’s a chance to participate in a great scavenger hunt and learn about one of SoFla’s great towns. You can enter by yourself or as part of a team up to five. You’ll have a lot of fun and maybe win some cash, too.
Where: Downtown Delray Beach
REDLAND SUMMER FRUIT FESTIVAL: Summer’s a comin’ and it’s time enjoy seasonal and rare fruits and much more at this annual affair. Vendor booths will feature local wines and yummy foods. Children age 11 and under get in free.
Where: Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead
SARASOTA SUP CHAMPIONSHIPS – Paddleboard enthusiasts, competitors and newbies hit one of the world’s best beaches to watch various elite, juniors, sprint and distance events on the water. Demos for kids and adults help even the paddle-weary learn to enjoy this accessible and popular sport.
Where: Siesta Key Beach
WEST AFRICANA FESTIVAL: Explore music, art and Afro-Caribbean culture during a three-day destination retreat that focuses on thought, culture and wellness. The festival integrates music, art and cultural tourism.
Where: Various locations in Key West
HUKILAU POLYNESIAN FESTIVAL: Tikiphiles can expect an all-things Polynesian extravaganza, including great musical acts.
Where: Hyatt Regency Pier 66 and the world-famous Mai-Kai restaurant, Fort Lauderdale
SUMMER JAZZ ON THE GULF: An appealing and diverse selection of Jazz acts will be presented in a series of concerts amid a hotel setting that has beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico, stunning sunsets and cool breezes.
Where: Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club
iHEARTRADIO ULTIMATE POOL PARTY – Presented by VisitFlorida.com, the musical weekend getaway is broadcast nationally on the CW network. Past performers include Jennifer Lopez, Neon Trees, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, Tiesto and Lil John.
Where: Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Miami Beach
SARASOTA MUSIC FESTIVAL – Hundreds of music students from some of the top programs in the world attend this three-week festival to showcase their talent and learn new skills. Festival audiences are invited to any of the concerts or lectures, including the Thursday afternoon Artist Showcase concerts, Friday Festival chamber concerts, and Saturday Symphony orchestra concerts.
CENTRAL FLORIDA MAIN STREET BLAST – For those who can’t wait until July 4 to get the party started, New Port Richey’s KIAFEST Main Street Blast early Independence Day celebration includes all the holiday highlights: fair food, a Miss Firecracker contest, live music and, of course, fireworks.
Where: Downtown New Port Richey
TAMPA BAY CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL– Festive music, loud colors and fiery foods take over St. Petersburg’s Albert Whitted Park while a colorful street parade honors the Caribbean culture. Great live music, too.
Where: St. Petersburg
COCOA BEACH PIRATE FEST – This family-friendly pirate fest has enough to keep everyone entertained, including interactive treasure hunts, water-cannon battles in a pirate-themed splash pool, black powder weapon demonstrations and an adults-only Pirate’s Ball.
Where: International Palms Resort, Cocoa Beach
SILVER SPURS RODEO – More than 70 years old, this classic Central Florida rodeo is still going strong, drawing the best bull riders, barrel racers and ropers to the Silver Spurs Arena. The event kicks off with the glitzy Miss Silver Spurs pageant and has various kids’ activities and interesting vendors to visit during rodeo breaks.
Where: Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee
POLKA DOT FLEA – As cute as it sounds, the annual Polka Dot Flea is filled with cool vintage items and wares, more like a Paris street market than a junkyard of overstock items. Treasure hunters delight in one-of-a-kind finds for their home and garden, as well as unique items of clothing, funky antique jewelry, repurposed bikes, furniture and more.
Where: Central Florida Fairgrounds, Orlando
NEW SMYRNA BEACH KITE FESTIVAL – What better way to kick off the summer than by flying a good old-fashioned kite? See kite demonstrations and kite club competitions and get free lessons by the pros. A kid's zone offers free kites to the first 400 children each festival day.
Where: New Smyrna Beach
ANNUAL HARVEST FESTIVAL – Lakeridge Winery invites the public this popular event featuring an annual stomping of the grapes and live music. Local artists and crafters show off their goods while patrons may sample dozens of types of wine and beer, as well as soft drinks, food and desserts.
Where: Lakeridge Winery, Clermont
HISTORIC COCOA VILLAGE’S BBQ & BLUES – In one of Cocoa Village’s most competitive events of the year, culinary teams from around the southeastern U.S. bring their pork butts, ribs, sauces and A-games to grill, smoke and slow-cook their way to win $9,000 in cash prizes. You be the judge of People’s Choice, Best Sauce and Best Dessert.
Where: Historic Cocoa Village
REPTICON – This long-running annual features tub-loads of slithery, cold-blooded creatures for petting, handling, photographing, purchasing or watching in one of the many educational lecture events devoted to snakes, geckos, iguanas, toads, turtles and more.
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
THE BEER PROJECT – St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts teams up with the homegrown Green Bench Brewing to present this well-meshed combo of arts and craft beer. Cast your vote in a homebrewed beer competition and taste local breweries’ special beers inspired by selected works in the Museum’s collection.
Where: St. Petersburg
NORTH FLORIDABILLY BOWLEGS PIRATE FESTIVAL — Scallywags beware! The dread pirate Billy Bowlegs and his nefarious crew are sailing the Gulf’s emerald waters of the Panhandle looking for the perfect spot to celebrate another successful year at sea. In addition to the pirate ship landing and family festival, other swashbuckling events include a Pirate Pub Crawl, Fireworks and Torchlight Parade.
Where: Fort Walton Beach
RENDEZVOUS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL — Let your creative juices flow during this 9-day fest geared toward budding filmmakers, up-and-coming musicians and gamers. It’s a movie lovers dream: seven films will have red carpet premieres; plus there will be screening 37 animated films, nine feature films, 25 international feature and short films and 10 documentaries.
Where: various venues, Amelia Island
DRAKE’S RAID — In 1586, the English corsair Sir Francis Drake and his band of raiders invaded the city of St. Augustine and burned the city. The highlight of this two-day reenactment is a battle between the British and Spanish in the historic district, ending at Plaza de la Constitucion.
Where: Fountain of Youth Park, St. Augustine
SUN, SAND AND SONGS — Kick off your shoes and get your groove on during these two beachfront music festivals. Perdido Key’s Third Annual Shindig on the Sand features at least 70 musical acts during three days. On the east coast, make your way to Jacksonville Beach for a taste of the Bold City at the Seawalk Music Festival which emphasizes all things local: music, food and culture.
Where: Flora-Bama in Perdido Key and Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach, respectively
Web: florabama.com , communityfirstseawalkmusicfest.com
WELLBORN BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL — Indulge in all things blueberry: from cobblers and pies to ice cream and jellies to syrups and fudge. The day includes the crowning the blueberry queen and king, water walkers, ponies, the blueberry parade, the blueberry bake-off and a blueberry pancake breakfast. Blueberry bushes will be for sale.
Where: Andrews Square, Wellborn
MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLINGS AND WORLD WAR II: AN AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE— Learn the role that The Yearling author played during World War II as recounted through her books and through the letters of her wartime correspondence with servicemen and women.
Where: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Hawthorn
SEED SPITTIN’ SHINDIGS — Mark Twain said, “When one has tasted a watermelon he knows what angels eat.” True or not, get ready to indulge in the juicy fruit at one of these annual fests: the Watermelon Festival in Chiefland, the Jefferson County Watermelon Festival and the 59h Annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival. All include parades, live music, running (5K or 10K) and, of course, a seed-spitting contest.
Where: Chiefland, Monticello and Chipley, respectively
Web: chieflandchamber.com, monticellojeffersonfl.com, panhandlewatermelon.com
ANNUAL FLORIDA AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL — Kick off your shoes and let the frenetic beat consume you during one of the dance or drum workshops at this annual event sponsored by the African Caribbean Dance Theatre. Workshops include traditional dance styles from the Congo, Senegal and Guinea taught by renowned instructors. Also includes children’s workshops and story hours, a wheelchair dance class and evening performance concerts.
Where: Tallahassee Community College
LATIN SALSA FESTIVAL — Play a friendly game of dominoes or work on your hot salsa moves at this annual fete geared to the Puerto Rican and Caribbean lifestyle. DJs will spin merengue and reggae tunes, the Tallahassee Salsa Dancers will perform as will other well-known Latin-American acts. Also includes Caribbean food and a kids’ zone.
Where: Fort Walton Landing Park
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.
Where: downtown Jasper
FLORIDA COUNTRY SUPERFEST — This two-day gathering always lives up to its name and attracts the very best country music artists.
Where: Everbank Field, Jacksonville
VETTES AT THE VILLAGE — Treat your dad to a pre-Father’s Day trip to admire the sleek lines and natty details of more than 100 late-model and custom Corvettes. Cast your vote for the People’s Choice winner and then enjoy lunch at Murray Bros. Caddy Shack.
Where: World Golf Village, St. Augustine
DODGE BRAWL — Remember of the 5 Ds of dodge ball, at least according to movie Dodgeball’s Patches O’Houlihan — “Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge” — while competing in this 64-team, double-elimination tournament. The top three teams receive medals and a monetary award for the charity of their choice.
Where: Pensacola Bay Center
AMERICA ON TAP: Sips and samples will be plentiful at America On Tap’s ode to craft beer. The three-hour event l features more than 100 releases from some of the country’s best craft breweries paired with live music and food.
Where: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, Jacksonville
ST. GEORGE ISLAND MULLET TOSS – If flinging fish is your thing, hit the sand at the Blue Parrot Oceanfront Café for this annual competition and beach party. There are prizes for longest throw in the men’s, women’s and children’s divisions.
Where: Blue Parrot Oceanfront Café on St. George Island
ANNUAL WATERMELON FESTIVAL – The watermelon growers of Jefferson County get a chance to shine with an array of events, including beauty pageants, dinners, a street dance, an arts and crafts fair and more.