Florida Events Calendar
Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events scheduled this month in the Sunshine State. Please check individual websites for more details.
A TRIO OF AFRICAN-CENTRIC DANCE FESTIVALS – You’ll have a ton of fun and learn a lot, too, at any of these Miami-Dade County events:
- At the African Diaspora Dance & Drum Festival of Florida participants will enjoy African and Caribbean dance, drum and workshops. The featured concert will be DanceAfrica’s The Journey of the Mask.
When: Aug. 3-5
Where: Little Haiti Cultural Complex, Miami
- The IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Festival features exciting dance workshops with live accompaniment, a three-day children’s camp, an academic conference entitled “Following the steps of the Orishas: Afro-Cuban spirituality in Urban Spaces,” and a new dance by company director Neri Torres.
When: Aug. 16-18
Where: Koubek Center and HistoryMiami Museum, Miami
- Through dance workshops and concerts, the Miami Beach Kizomba Festival aims to bridge the gap between Africa and African diaspora by sharing the music, dance and culture of various African countries.
When: Aug. 22-27
Where: Eden Roc Hotel, Miami Beach
KEY WEST LOBSTERFEST – It’s the 22nd celebration of all things crustacean and signals the start of the Florida Keys lobster season. Highlights: Thursday night lobster boil, Friday night Duval Crawl, lots of live music, Saturday street fair with lobster-inspired culinary creations and a luscious lobster brunch Sunday.
When: August 9-12
Where: Various locations in Key West
DINE OUT DOWNTOWN DELRAY RESTAURANT WEEK – Discover the diverse dining scene in downtown Delray Beach in this week-long foodie fest. Enjoy prix fixe lunches (starting at $20) and dinners (starting at $40), along with special Dine Out deals and a series of creative culinary events & classes throughout the week.
When: Aug. 1-7
Where: Various locations in downtown Delray Beach
FORT LAUDERDALE HISTORY SUMMER WALKING TOURS – Your guide will lead you through old Fort Lauderdale and share stories of the communities that lived in what is downtown along the New River, from pre-historic days to the 1920s. After the tour (it lasts about two hours and is a little less than a mile of walking) you can tour the three museums that make up History Fort Lauderdale. And, you get some nice cold lemonade, too.
When: Fridays, now through the end of September
Where: Fort Lauderdale Historical Society
TROPICAL HEAT – More than a dozen intriguingly decadent all-male events, ranging from drag shows to themed pool parties and gatherings at island clubs, have made this a world-renowned gay vacation destination.
When: Aug. 15-19
Where: Various locations in Key West
THE MIAMI POP FESTIVALS OF 1968 – The Miami Pop Festival is actually the name of two pop/rock festivals held that year at Gulfstream Park racetrack in Hallandale, one in May and one in December. They are revisited via a museum exhibition with archival footage and other artifacts. They were each historic in their own right. The first, featuring Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Blue Cheer, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, was the first rock festival on the east coast of the United States. The second, with headliners The Grateful Dead, Chuck Berry, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gay and Fleetwood Mac, was the first festival to feature two stages with acts of equal talent performing at the same time on each one.
When: Now through Sept. 30
Where: HistoryMiami Museum, Miami
THE ART OF TEA – This museum exhibition showcases how skilled potters have provided beautiful tea services to suit all tastes in the last three centuries, from the traditional English ritual of afternoon tea to the tango tea dances of the jazz age. See designs by Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and other famous makers.
When: Now through Sept. 30
Where: Wiener Museum of the Decorative Arts, Dania Beach
SOUTH BEACH MANGO FESTIVAL – Festivities will include a farmer’s market featuring a wide variety of tropical fruit, mango tastings, kids’ cooking classes and play area, live music chef demos, a mango-mixology competition and farm-to-table mango dishes from local restaurants and cafes.
When: Aug. 5
Where: Lummus Park, Miami Beach
ISLANDS, IMAGINATION AND INSTANCE: FLORIDA KEYS FOLK ART – You’ll see how some of Florida’s most famous folk artists celebrated and expressed their cultural identity through community aesthetics in an exhibit presented by the Key West Art & Historical Society. View the paintings, sculptures and wood carvings that reveal how the flora and fauna, the originality and atmosphere of the Florida Keys artistically influenced them. Some of the featured artists are Stanley Papio, Makiki, Mario Sanchez, Jack Baron, Ronny Bailey, Frank Balbontin and Papito Suarez.
When: Now through Jan. 6, 2019
Where: Custom House Museum, Key West
HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD – That’s Hollywood, Florida, not Tinseltown. This friendly city nestled about halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami has two monthly events that are worthy of your attention: the Downtown Artwalk and the Dream Car Classic. The former presents a mural tour and the Hollywood Artisan Market, which features pop-up shops, artist showcases and vintage shopping. The latter features dozens – up to 85 – of hot rods, custom cars and trucks, modern beauties and classics.
When: Respectively, third Saturday (the 18th in August) and first Sunday (the 5th in August) of each month.
Where: downtown Hollywood
VENEZUELAN FOOD, WINE & SPIRITS FESTIVAL – If you’ve never tried Pabellon Criollo, Asada Negra, Pisca Andina and many other yummy Venezuelan dishes, this your chance. Also includes live music and a DJ and samples of beer wine and spirits from Venezuela and around the world.
When: Aug. 11
Where: Revo Entertainment Center, Doral
DOG DAYS FESTIVAL– Why should humans have all the fun? Load up the pups and bring them to this vibrant downtown square for an evening of dog-friendly activities and treats, as well as beer, food and music for the two-legged guests. Enter Rover in various dog contests for ribbons and prizes, let him splash around in kiddie pools and drink from fancy water bowls and have some family fun in honor of these furry best friends.
When: Aug. 11
Where: Eau Gallie Square, Melbourne
SARASOTA SLAM – Thousands of anglers have participated in the Sarasota Slam since it began 15 years ago, and it’s easy to see why it’s now one of the most beloved fishing tournaments in Florida. The competition includes billfish, fun fish and junior angler divisions, making everyone feel included as the week winds down to a Saturday afternoon dockside BBQ, party and the finishing awards ceremony.
When: July 31-Aug. 4
Where: Marina Jack, Sarasota
FLORIDA KIDS & FAMILY EXPO – As the kids prepare to head back to school at the end of a long summer, take the whole family to this air-conditioned event where children can play, bounce, create, discover, eat, explore and have fun while you gather new ideas and learn about enriching and exciting programs for all ages. It’s a great way to spend the day and you’ll walk away with a year full of prospects to get your family more involved in athletics, arts, music and more.
When: Aug. 18-19
Where: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando
ARCADIA SUMMER ANTIQUE FAIR – Go treasure hunting at one of the most well-known antique markets in Florida, which features more than 100 tables and tents offering a variety of items, including old stamps and postcards, war memorabilia and vintage clothing. Stay the weekend and visit some of quaint Arcadia’s cafes and shops, many of which feature gifts and antiques as well.
When: Aug. 25
Where: Downtown Arcadia
TAMPA BAY COMIC CON – Tap into your inner comic geek and meet some of your favorite cult movie stars at this family-friendly convention that features comic books, magazines, toys, games, Star Wars, Star Trek, anime, manga, cosplay, artwork and other genres. Take photos and get autographs with actor Val Kilmer, “King of the Hill” creator Joel Adams and other stars and artists.
When: Aug. 3-5
Where: Tampa Convention Center, downtown Tampa
ORLANDO VEGAN FEST– Whether you’re a long-time vegan or simply a foodie or chef looking to explore new cuisine, this plant-eaters’ festival features live cooking demos, a vegan cook-off, various dishes to sample, yoga in the park, live folk music and fresh produce stands. Learn about the latest vegan ingredients and cooking products, as well as meditation techniques, homeopathy and other healthy living tips while soaking up the outdoors.
When: Aug. 18
Where: Eagles Nest Park, Orlando
NSB SHRIMP & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – As a Thursday evening treat, New Smyrna Beach shuts down part of Flagler Avenue as more than 30 local restaurants set up stations to show off their best shellfish and seafood dishes, all priced between $3 and $5 as they compete for “Best on the Beach.” Local taverns play along with their own drink specials and live music, turning it into a fun block party for foodies and bar-hoppers alike.
When: Aug. 2
Where: Sarasota Municipal Auditorium
HIPPIEFEFST – Dig out your bellbottoms and peace sign jewelry for an evening of 1970s revelry, complete with a band lineup that includes Vanilla Fudge and Rick Derringer and a “Hippie Marketplace” with local music, food, a ‘70s car show, a vinyl record sale, an authentic signed poster auction and other groovy vendors and activities.
When: Aug. 4
Where: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater
MOUNT DORA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – One of Mount Dora’s most delicious annual events, this 4th annual Seafood Fest is a great way to try all of the region’s best fresh fish and seafood dishes, including fish and chips, lobster mac and cheese, crab cakes, shrimp kebobs and more. Kick off this year’s fest with a Friday night wine and pub crawl wearing your best pirate or wench attire for prizes.
When: Aug. 25-26
Where: Elizabeth Evans Park, Mount Dora
NIGHT IN THE ISLANDS – Experience the essence of Tarpon Springs at this six-times-a-year night fest right in the famous sponge docks, where you can indulge in an authentic Greek dinner and get a free Greek dance lessons by the Levendia Dance Troupe. Enjoy live music by Ellada, composed of three of the community’s most well-known Greek musicians —Leonidas Zafiris on bouzouki, Elias Poulos on vocals and Dino Theofilos on keyboard.
When: Aug. 4
Where: Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
24th ANNUAL GRAPE STOMP – Ring in the late summer vineyard harvest season in Florida with Lakeridge Winery’s annual stomping of the grapes. Stompers of all age can experience the squish between their toes as a fun, competitive tradition to honor this year’s bounty, plus families can enjoy live music and tasty treats as part of the weekend-long fest.
When: Aug. 10-12
Where: Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, Clermont
BLACKLIGHT RUN – After the sun goes down, hundreds of runners set off in a glowing, colorful blur of neon pink, green, orange and purple as they move through “UV glow powder” during this nighttime 5K. Participants are encouraged to sprint, skip, jog or dance their way to the finish line, as it’s more about fun than running times, then make their way to a post-run party with plenty of high-energy music and lots of black lights.
When: Aug. 18
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS TRAINING CAMP — Much has changed since the 2017 Jags walked on the field for the first game of the season: fans have a rallying cry (“DUUUUUUVAL!”) and a clever hashtag (#sacksonville) and new title sponsor (TIAA Bank). Yes, the Blake Bortles-led team found “S-U-C-C-E-S-S,” largely thanks to a stifling D and the running game of Leonard Fournette, taking Tom Brady’s Patriots down to the wire with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. They came up oh-so-short, but the talent is there and the annual rite of watching Bortles throw in training camp will be a hot ticket. Fans and curious onlookers need to sign up for free e-tickets online and the final practice (open to the public) is going to be a party featuring an autograph sessions with players, The Roar cheerleaders, and fireworks.
When: July 26-27, 30-31; Aug. 1-3
Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville
CANDLELIGHT TOURS — Tour Amelia Island’s historic fort by candlelight and experience life as the Civil War soldiers did without electricity. Although not as impressive is stature as Castillo San Marcos in St. Augustine, Fort Clinch is fantastic to explore with its narrow “underground” passageways, spiral staircases, old bunkhouses, impressive cannons and gorgeous views of the Atlantic coast — you can see Cumberland Island from the northern ramparts. The candlelight tours begin about 30 minutes after sunset and reservations are required. Reservations open at 8 a.m. on Monday for that weekend’s tours. Add even more historic flavor to your visit by scheduling it during one of the First Weekend Union Garrisons (Aug. 4-5 and Sept. 1-2) When living historians dress as Civil War soldiers and bring the era to life.
When: Friday and Saturday evenings through Labor Day
Where: Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach
BIRDS OF PARADISE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM FLORIDA WETLANDS — For almost 20 years, artist Jim Miller has been using high-quality, super-telephoto lenses to capture wading birds in their natural habitats. This exhibit gathers a collection of his work depicting various species frozen in time in spectacular poses or about to take flight.
When: through Sept. 30
Where: Gadsden Art Center
ANGLING FOR A WINNER — Looking for a reason to gas up your boat and put a new reel on your rod? We’ve got two great ones, both bringing anglers to the Panhandle to test their luck with the Gulf Coast’s kingfish bounty.
- 15th Annual Kingfish Shootout (Aug. 3-5): All fishermen, women and kids will have two days to reel in the haul of their life. With $16,500 in prize money divided into different categories like biggest kingfish ($5,000) and spanish mackerel ($2,000). (C-Quarters Marina, c-quartersmarina.com/shootout)
- 22nd Annual MBARA Kingfish Tournament (Aug. 24-25): The top prizes in this one-day event go to the people hauling in the heaviest king mackerel ($3,000) in both the recreational and professional or master’s division. Also includes prizes for biggest wahoo and Spanish mackerel and a captain’s party on the eve of the tournament. (Mexico Beach Marina, mbara.org)
49TH ANNUAL WAUSAU FUN DAY AND POSSUM FESTIVAL — Who doesn’t want to participate in the annual Hog Callin, Rooster Crowin’ and Cow Lowin’ contests? And what does that have to do with possum? Absolutely nothing. But these old school talents are always one of the highlights of this “real Florida” fest. But back to the possum. They thrive in the Central Panhandle and this fest honors the wily marsupial. What else should you expect? A possum sighting or two, of course, pancake breakfast, parade, square dance, crosscut sawing contest, live entertainment, pageants and a sack race.
When: Aug. 4
TEDxSEVILLESQ — The best TED Talks are inspiring, innovative and spur creativity. Experience eight different speakers, including a Jazzpreneur and a comedian, at this live event in Pensacola. The local program’s theme is “Change Your Mind Change Your Life” and includes brunch, a piano performance and afternoon tea.
When: Aug. 4
Where: WSRE TV Studio, Pensacola State College
SHRIMP DAYS OF SUMMER — A visit to Fernandina’s historic downtown reveals three things. (1) Old Florida charm rules, (2) shrimp is on the menu year-round, and (3) you will take at least one picture of a shrimp boat along the waterfront. The state’s farthest northeast destination island is considered the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry and the community has special offers and activities around shrimp. Adventures include a Shrimping Eco Tour, where guests will learn how to use an Otter Trawl net, a paddle to a shrimp nursery, an old-fashioned shrimp boil and more. Plus, you’ll feast on special menu items featuring locally caught shrimp.
When: Aug. 15 - Sept. 30
Where: Fernandina and Amelia Island
2018 SCALLOP SEASON — Skip the seafood market. Harvesting bay scallops is more like a fun-filled treasure hunt than hard work. All you need is a saltwater fishing license, snorkel, mask and dive flag — all readily available from local outfitters. Scallops love making their home amid the gorgeous seagrass beds of St. Joseph Bay. Just look for glowing blue eyes along the shell’s edge, drop the dive flag and start collecting. If snorkeling (or scallops) really aren’t your thing, shelling in Gulf County is a 365-day-a-year pursuit.
When: Aug. 17 - Sept. 30
Where: St. Joseph Bay
ISKCON FESTIVAL OF CHARIOTS — Festival of the Chariots, or Ratha Yatra, originated in India as a celebration of the invitation to the Lord of the Universe to enter festival goers’ hearts. The Jax Beach festival features a Bhakti Yoga Festival centered on love and devotion as well as a 25-foot tall chariot, live music, vendors, and workshops.
When: Aug. 18
Where: Jacksonville Beach
BLUES CHALLENGE — North Florida has birthed iconic musicians -- Ray Charles from St. Augustine, Tom Petty from Gainesville, Lynyryd Skynyrd from Jacksonville, to name a few -- in a variety of genres. Will a blues star be next? Attend the North Central Florida Blues Society regional competition and cheer on hopefuls looking for their big break and a chance to represent the area at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
When: Aug. 26
Where: High Dive, Gainesville
SUNSET/MOONRISE — Things that never lose their magic for Floridians: dolphin sightings, no snow and coastal sunsets. Even more magical is watching the sun set and seeing a full moon rise. The St. Augustine area celebrates this monthly from the best vantage point in the city. Unfortunately, the lighthouse tour often sells out months in advance but we’re still including the link and information for advance planners.
- Sunset and Full Moon Paddle (Aug. 26): Experience the phenomena in your choice of watercraft — either via single kayak, tandem kayak or stand-up paddleboard — as the moon’s glow illuminates the Salt Run tidal basin at Anastasia State Park. Includes interpretive, storytelling element. (Anastasia State Park, floridastateparks.org/park/Anastasia)
- Moonlight Kayak Trip (Aug. 23-26): Leave from Trout Creek Park on this ranger-led tour which includes information on the local night creatures and area history. (Trout Creek Park, sjcfl.us/recreation)
- Sunset Moonrise Lighthouse Tour (tours sold out through September, next available date is Oct. 24): Space is at a premium (imagine that) at the top of St. Augustine’s iconic black-and-white striped lighthouse to watch the sun disappear to the west behind the historic district of St. Augustine. After, toast your companions with champagne and turn to the east to watch the moon rise from the Atlantic horizon. (St. Augustine Lighthouse, staugustinelighthouse.com)
PEPSI GULF COAST JAM — Floridians love their country music, whether it twangs, trills or has crossover pop appeal and more than 15,000 people gather annually for this metaphorical end of summer bash. Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church and Thomas Rhett are the event headliners bring country to the coast. Other notable performers include Lauren Alaina, Rodney Atkins, Montgomery Gentry, A Thousand Horses and Morgan Evans.
When: Aug. 31 - Sept. 2
Where: Frank Brown Park, Panama City Beach
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