Florida Events & Festival Roundup

April 4, Islamorada

Spanish-American War
Frederic L. Borch III will talk about the Spanish-American War at a
6 p.m. lecture at the Keys History and Discovery Center, MM 82. Doors open at 5 p.m. The cost is
$25 for non-museum members (free for members), and includes museum admission, light appetizers and a cash bar. Reservations are recommended.
(305) 922-2237


April 5, Ona

Field Day
Register by April 2 to attend the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grazinglands Education Building. The $15 fee includes literature, a steak lunch and a tour of beef enhancement projects.
http://rcrec-fd-2018.eventbrite.com; (863) 735-1314


April 6-7, Chipley

Third annual Washington County Heritage Festival
Experience the “real Florida” at Falling Waters State Park with live music and more than 75 demonstrators and crafters, including blacksmiths, flint knappers, an Indian village, antique tractors, a petting zoo, live alligators, homemade crafts and artwork for sale, food and old-fashioned, wholesome fun for the family.


April 7, Sebring

Sebring Soda Fest
A vintage 1950s vibe encompasses the inaugural event featuring samples of hundreds of craft sodas, a classic car show, art and craft vendors, pop-up retail storefronts, food trucks, a kids’ zone and entertainment throughout the day.
(863) 385-8448


April 7, Jay

Vision Jam
Bands, dance groups and martial arts academies entertain during a fundraiser for Vision of Hope, a nonprofit that serves adults with developmental disabilities, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Santa Rosa Ranch off Highway 178. The event includes arts and crafts, food and access to family-friendly attractions such as hay rides, zip lines and a petting zoo. Admission is $10 for adults and children ages 3 and older.
visionofhopefl@att.net or Christine.visionofhopefl@gmail.com.


April 7, The Lower Keys

Third annual Putts for Paws Golf Tournament
Have fun while helping support your local Florida Keys SPCA animal shelter. The tournament is at Boondocks Grille & Draft House, MM 27, Ramrod Key. Cash, prizes and trophies will be awarded. Teams of two can enter. Register online or contact the Marathon Campus of FKSPCA.
www.fkspca.org; (305) 743-4800


April 7-8, Pensacola

The free festival from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in historic Seville Square features great music, arts and crafts, food and a kids’ area.
(850) 433-8382


April 8, Islamorada

BayJam 24
Local and guest artists perform at the ICE Amphitheater at Founders Park, MM 87, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
www.keysice.com; (305) 394-2765


April 12-15, Pensacola

Tall Ships Challenge Series
Tall Ships America brings its series of races and port festivals to Plaza de Luna. Festivities include onboard tours, sail-away ventures, VIP viewing parties and events, private ship receptions, entertainment, food and vending booths. Pensacola is one of only three Gulf of Mexico host ports, and the only Florida one.
(850) 434-1234.


April 13, Bradenton

Teen Idol Contest
Manatee Performing Arts Center invites aspiring performers ages 13 to 18 to apply for the 8 p.m. contest. Admission is $11.
www.manateeperformingartscenter.com; (941) 748-5875


April 13-14, Chipley

Flea Market Days
As part of the Flea Across Florida initiative, people from the area will set up and sell furniture, clothing and everything in between along Highway 90.


Photo by Katherine Quarles

April 14, Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach Firefighters Challenge
Teams of firefighters test their strength, agility, teamwork and skills through a series of obstacles on the sand at Casino Beach Saturday, April 14. Each participant wears full firefighting gear as he or she completes obstacles, including forced entry, charged hose drag, Kaiser sled, dummy drag and hose hoist. For the team competition, the first person completes the obstacle, then passes the timing piece to the second person and so on. Individual competition begins at 9 a.m., with team challenges at 2 p.m. For more information, visit pensacolasports.org or call (850) 434-2800.

April 14, Port St. Joe

Annual Plant and Yard Sale
Buy plants and herbs, Mother’s Day gifts, crafts and unique yard items from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST at the Port St. Joe Garden Club, 216 Eighth St.
www.facebook.com/Port-St-Joe-Garden-Club; psjgardenclub@gmail.com


April 14, Marathon

37th annual Seven Mile Bridge Run
A field of 1,500 runners races across the longest of the 43 bridges that comprise the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. The bridge is closed from 6:45 to 9 a.m. for the event.
www.7mbrun.com; (305) 395-7040


April 18, Islamorada

Treasures of NOAA Ark
A panel from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration talks about the traveling exhibition that explores the history of the agency at 6 p.m. at the Keys History and Discovery Center, MM 82. Doors open at 5 p.m. The cost is $25 for non-museum members (free for members), and includes museum admission, light appetizers and a cash bar. Reservations are recommended.
(305) 922-2237


April 18-22, Panama City Beach

20th Seabreeze Jazz Festival
Jazz artists perform at Aaron Bessant Park with a full weekend of fun, sun, great beaches and good times.
(877) 987-6487


April 20-29, Key West

36th annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration
Activities range from a wacky bed race to a lighthearted sea battle featuring tall ships.
(305) 296-0213


April 21, Callahan

13th annual Railroad Days
The West Nassau Historical Society’s fundraising festival around the 137-year-old Callahan Train Depot includes antique engines, tractors and trains exhibited outside the depot; model train layouts inside; a kids’ area; an exhibit of aviation history; an old-fashioned stump for local candidates; arts, crafts and food vendors and live entertainment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; a classic car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a kids’ area; and celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Victorian building’s renovation and the fabled hobos and the recycling skills they used while riding the rails. Unlike past years past, there will be no parade. Bring lawn chairs.
www.wnhsfl.org; (904) 879-3406


April 21, Islamorada

Pops in the Park: Young Musicians Concert
The free season-closing outdoor concert starts at 4 p.m. at the ICE Amphitheater at Founders Park, MM 87, and features local students with the Keys Community Concert Band. Bring blankets.
www.keyscommunityconcertband.org; (305) 853-7294


April 21-29, nationwide

National Park Week
All national park admission fees are waived on Saturday, April 21.


April 26-28, Panama City Beach

Sandjam Music Festival
The inaugural adult-alternative rock music festival is at M.B. Miller County Pier from 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday and 2 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
www.sandjamfest.com; (888) 810-2063


April 26-29, Pensacola

34th annual Interstate Mullet Toss and Beach Party
Toss a mullet (a dead fish) from Florida over the Alabama state line and enjoy drinks, food, games and people-watching during the four-day event staged by the Flora-Bama.
www.florabama.com; (850) 492-0611


Photo by Alex Neufeld

April 28, Key Largo

6th Annual Coral Reef Foundation Gala
Be inspired, entertained, enlightened and join the mission Saturday, April 28, as you learn about what can be done to save our coral reef ecosystems—like the healthy elkhorn thicket shown above. Raise the Reef 2018 is the Coral Restoration Foundation’s fundraising event at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. The guest of honor is Richard Vevers, the man behind the hit Netflix documentary, “Chasing Coral,” and founder and CEO of the Ocean Agency. Every dollar raised directly benefits the work of the Coral Restoration Foundation to restore coral reefs to a healthy state in Florida and beyond. A VIP cocktail reception is at 5 p.m., with a silent auction at 6 p.m. The gala starts at 7 p.m. and features a sustainably sourced dinner, cocktails, music, and silent and live auctions. For tickets and more details, visit http://gala.coralrestoration.org or call (305) 453-7030.


April 28, Key West

Key West Paddle Classic
Presented by Lazy Dog Adventures, the challenge includes a 12-mile elite race and a 4-mile open race. Other events include a kickoff registration party, paddleboard clinics and races for kids.
www.lazydog.com; (305) 304-4259


April 28, Avon Park

Eighth annual Bluegrass Blueberry Festival
The event at Donaldson Park features live bluegrass music, blueberry products, barbecue chicken dinners, a kids’ zone, and arts and crafts vendors.
www.avonparkrotaryblueberry festival.com; (863) 449-0334


May 2, Panama City Beach

Who’s Eating Who?
Join volunteer Judith Scott at
2 p.m. CDT at St. Andrews State Park for a program about some of the native creepy, crawly insects found in North Florida. Learn about the bugs that bite you and the ones you could bite. Meet in the Environmental Interpretive Center.
(850) 708-6100

May 2, Islamorada

“Towers in the Sand”
Seventh-generation Floridian and second-generation broadcaster Donn Colee Jr. discusses and signs his book about the history of Florida broadcasting at 6 p.m. at the Keys History and Discovery Center, MM 82. Doors open at 5 p.m. The cost is $25 for non-museum members (free for members), and includes museum admission, light appetizers and a cash bar. Reservations are recommended.
(305) 922-2237

May 2-6, Panama City Beach

Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally
Bikers from around the country enjoy scenic rides, live entertainment and local cuisine.
www.thunderbeachproductions.com; (850) 249-7627


May 3-19, Marathon

“Making God Laugh”
Marathon Community Theater presents the comedy that tells the story of three kids’ plans as they embark on their adult lives and their parents’ plans to deal with changes.
(305) 743-0994

May 4-6, Pensacola

34th annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival
The event at Bartram Park features 16,000 pounds of boiled crawfish, Cajun dishes, traditional festival fare, live entertainment and activities for all ages. Admission is $5 daily or $10 for a weekend pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free.
(850) 433-6512

May 5, Century

Sawmill Day and Car Show
The Alger-Sullivan Historical Society’s heritage celebration features history displays, museum tours, a car show, local arts and crafts, live entertainment and food. The flag raising is at 8:30 a.m. and car show awards are at 2 p.m. Parking and admission is free.
(850) 256-3980


May 5, Panama City

Third annual Blindfolded Regatta
Blindfolded rowers maneuver around a buoy and back as their partners yell directions. The event is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club. Proceeds benefit the Panama City Lions Club.
www.facebook.com/PanamaCityLionsClub; (850) 896-3617

May 5, Pensacola

Curiosity Day: AstronoMay
Celebrate International Space Day at Pensacola MESS Hall by exploring astronomy and planetary science. Activities are available from 1 to
4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and kids over the age of 3.
(877) 937-6377

May 5-6 & 12-13, Panama City Beach

Photo by Jessica Waters

Pro Watercrossers Race into the Panhandle
The national circuit for personal watercraft racing brings professional and amateur athletes to Panama City Beach Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, for the first round of competition. The following weekend, the circuit heads to Pensacola Beach Pier, with racing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 12, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 13. For more information, visit www.prowatercross.com, or call (850) 434-2800 to find out more about the Pensacola event.

May 5-6, Sanford

St. Johns River Festival of the Arts
Fine artists and craftsmen line downtown streets with paintings, pottery, sculpture, woodworking, jewelry, photography and blown glass. Enjoy food, music and chalk art from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free.
(407) 416-1779 or (407) 314-6809

May 9-13, Key West

23rd annual Key West Songwriters’ Festival
The showcase of musical magic features America’s foremost performing songwriters, with concerts staged in intimate, audience-friendly island settings.
www.keywestsongwritersfestival.com; (305) 304-0814


May 10, Panama City

World’s Greatest Baby Shower
Presented by Healthy Start, the free event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church is open to any pregnant woman or parents of a baby born in the past six months and living in Bay, Franklin or Gulf counties. Games, entertainment and a free photo booth are provided.
(850) 872-4130

May 12, Gainesville

34th annual Windsor Zucchini Festival
Support the local volunteer fire department while having fun and being entertained with an arts and crafts show, plant sale, country store, raffle, auction, music, kids’ activities and inflatables, a chicken barbecue meal, and zucchini cooking, baking and carving contests.
(352) 372-4875


May 12, Avon Park

Lawnmower Races
Racers compete for trophies, bragging rights and love of the sport in the season finale at 6 p.m. at the Mower Plex, 2155 W. Herrick Road.
www.nasgrassinc.com; (863) 581-6381


May 15-20,  Panama City Beach

Photo courtesy of Jeep Beach Jam

Third Annual Jeep Beach Jam
Thousands of jeep owners and enthusiasts gather for family-friendly fun-in-the-sun activities Tuesday, May 15, through Sunday, May 20, at Aaron Bessant Park in Panama City Beach. Among the features is an obstacle course. For more information, visit www.jeepbeachjam.com or call (850) 890-3447.


May 16, Islamorada

Immerse Yourself
Dr. Sally Bauer, founder of the History of Diving Museum and a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, will talk about underwater photography during a free lecture series at 7 p.m. at the museum, MM 83. Call ahead to reserve your seat.
(305) 664-9737

May 17-20, Brooksville

Orange Blossom Jamboree
Sertoma Ranch hosts numerous bands. Tickets start at $89.

May 17-20, Key Largo

Key Largo’s Original Music Festival
Enjoy food, entertainment and the ambiance as Nashville’s hit songwriters and musicians and local entertainers are featured at multiple on-the-water venues.
www.keylargooriginalmusicfest.com; (305) 394-3736

May 19, Wewahitchka

Tupelo Honey Festival
Visit Lake Alice Park from 9 a.m. to
4 p.m. to taste and take home the local rare delicacy, enjoy food, arts and crafts, rides, games and music.

May 19, Pensacola

Music for Families
An instrument petting zoo, arts and crafts, science and hands-on activities start at 9:30 a.m. and a special performance with the symphony is at 11 a.m. at Saenger Theatre. Admission is $5.
(850) 435-2533

May 19-20, Gulf Breeze

43rd annual Family Fishing Rodeo
Gulf Breeze Optimist Club sponsors the event at Shoreline Park South. Admission is $25.
www.gulfbreezeoptimistclub.org; (850) 261-3731

May 25-27, White Springs

Florida Folk Festival
Experience the traditions and savor the flavors, sights and sounds of the state’s culture through music, dance, stories, crafts and food at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.

May 25-28, Palatka

30th annual Blue Crab Festival
Live music, arts and crafts, carnival rides and commercial vendors are featured, with a parade Monday. Admission and parking are free.

June 16, Key West

41st annual Swim Around Key West
Presented by the Key West Athletics Association, the 12.5-mile endurance swim has three categories: solo swimmer, two-person relay team and three-person relay team. Registration deadline is May 18.