The Top Festivals in Florida

Fun , Florida , Florida Excursions , Eating and Drinking , Seasonal Events , festivals
The Top Festivals in Florida
Florida is home to a number of amazing festivals.
Florida isn’t just about great theme parks and beaches, it is also home to a host of festivals and here are some of the best.

Florida is well-known for its year-round tropical climate, theme parks and beaches, but the Sunshine State is also home to a number of festivals.

So if you have purchased Orlando park tickets for the family, but want to get an insight into the culture of the state, what life is like living in this luxurious part of the world or just want some downtime in between visits to the theme parks, then visiting a festival in Florida is a must.

There are music festivals, food festivals, local festivals and a range of other festivals that visitors can enjoy during their holiday, and here we take you through some of the best ones.

Food and drink festivals:

Florida Seafood Festival

The yearly Florida Seafood Festival is the oldest seafood festival in the whole of Florida and has now been running for over 50 years.

The two-day event takes place every autumn at the mouth of the Apalachicola River, where the Apalachicola Oyster is appropriately homed.

The variety of delicious seafood being served up is just one of the reasons to visit this fun festival as visitors can also watch blue crab races, take part in oyster shucking contests, watch a parade and carnival, or if you are feeling super energetic can participate in a five-kilometre run.

Month of festival: November

Strawberry Festival

Who doesn’t like eating strawberries? If you particularly enjoy eating strawberries then the Strawberry Festival is the perfect food festival for you.

Held in one of Florida’s most important winter strawberry growing regions, the festival is in fact one of the state’s oldest and most well-known festivals as it was first held back in 1930.

The festival has been such a well-visited festival it has been entered into the top 50 fairs in the whole of North America.

Exhibits at the Strawberry Festival give visitors an insight into agriculture, horticulture, commerce, industry, fine arts and livestock. There are also music performances and craft shows that visitors can watch.

Month of festival: March

Strawberry Festival

Sprung! Spring Beer Festival

The annual Sprung! Spring Beer Festival will this year take place on 2nd April in Miami and those holidaying in Florida at this time should definitely make the effort to visit this fun-filled festival.

Visitors should combine their trip to Miami with an Everglades tour before experiencing the best craft beer that South Florida has to offer.

As well as the selection of craft beer, visitors can listen to live music and take part in a number of games, something that your kids might enjoy too!

Month of festival: April

Music festivals:

Tampa Bay Blues Festival

The Tampa Bay Blues Festival is one of the world’s best-known festivals for blues music and it attracts the best blues bands and musicians in the world.

Visitors won’t just be able to listen to the best that the blues have to offer as running alongside the music festival there will be seafood, Cuban cuisine, barbecue and other culinary treats.

This year’s event is welcoming famed musicians Aaron Neville, JJ Grey, Walter Trout, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd to name a few.

Month of festival: April

Aaron Neville

Other amazing festivals:

Miami Book Fair International

Miami Book Fair International is regarded as the biggest literary festival in the US and the multiple-day event features a festival of authors, where hundreds of writers read and discuss their work.

The festival is hugely popular and sees people from all over the world attend. One of the festival’s most popular events is the Street Fair, which gives visitors the chance to buy rare books, foreign books, comics or purchase autographed books.

There is also a children’s alley that boasts educational games, theatrical performances and a range of other activities.

Month of festival: November

Gasparilla Pirate Festival

Its uniqueness makes the Gasparilla Pirate Festival one of Florida’s best and the Tampa-based celebration takes place in late January.

The festival is based on the legend of Jose Gaspar, a Spanish pirate who was based around the Floridian coastline. The event kicks off with a pirate invasion that sees the beginning of a huge pirate parade.

The festival has children’s events as well as a more adult orientated celebration at night. Visitors will get to see plenty of pirate fancy dress costumes, real-life canons firing and a 165-foot pirate ship.

Month of festival: January


If you want to experience the weird and wonderful, then TattooFest, the celebration of ink art and tattoo culture, is a great festival to visit.

Taking place from March 31st-April 3rd, the four-day event will welcome celebrities and also host a pizza party, live music performances, burlesque shows, piercing demonstrations and a pub crawl.

Month of festival: March-April


Sarasota Medieval Fair

Witness hundreds of performers dressed in medieval attire as they make you laugh with their dramatic performances.

There are eight entertainment arenas where over 75 performances take place every day. Visitors can enjoy medieval feasts and banquets as well as stroll through the village marketplaces.

If you want to mingle with jesters, knights, dancers and musicians, and watch armoured jousting tournaments and human contest matches, then the Sarasota Medieval Fair is a must-visit.

Month of festival: November

Miami Beach Gay Pride

If you want to see a mix of colour, a parade and enjoy one of Miami’s biggest beach parties, then the Miami Beach Gay Pride festival, which is running from April 8th-10th, is a must-visit festival.

Live music performances and vendors representing the LGBT community await visitors and this family-friendly event has a play area for children and has plenty of refreshments available for onlookers.

The Miami Beach Gay Pride event has grown from a neighbourhood celebration back in 2009 to a globally renowned event that has seen A-list celebrities such as Mario Lopez, Grand Marshal and Gloria Estefan visit the event. Last year’s celebration saw a staggering 2,700 people and 35 floats take part in the parade.

Month of festival: April

Miami Gay Pride Festival

Florida's Cowtown Rodeo

If you or your kids want to see a real-life American cowboy then Florida’s Cowtown Rodeo, held every spring and fall in the centre of Florida in the town of Okeechobee, is the place to visit.

See cowboys rounding up cattle and taking them to market and the main event - a five-event professional rodeo. There is also the food that attracts people as visitors are able to eat the famous pumpkin fry bread of the Seminole Indians, BBQ ribs and lots more.

Month of festival: March

Shark Con

If you are fascinated with sharks then Shark Con is perfect for you.

The festival brings together everything to do with the ocean and in its inaugural event there were experts discussing how the ocean works and some of the wonders that the ocean boasts.

The festival will again teach visitors about water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking and surfing.

This family-friendly event really offers visitors a great couple of days out and is certainly worth a visit if you are looking for something to do in between your theme park visits. Just imagine getting your Universal Studios tickets and passes one day and then learning a new water sport the next!

Month of festival: July

Miami International Film Festival

The Miami International Film Festival, the only major film festival produced by a college or university in the world, welcomed filmmakers from 40 countries and showed 167 feature, documentary and short films at its 33rd edition in 2016.

The 10-day annual event takes place at the historic Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center in Downtown Miami and six other cinemas across the city.

There are a number of awards given out during the festival, and on average 60,000 film fans come from all over the world to visit this world-famous event.

Month of festival: March

Miami International Film Festival


The international folk fair SPIFFS is located in St. Petersburg and is one of the only festivals of its kind in the whole of the US.

The annual festival is a multi-ethnic, international festival that includes a parade, loads of live performances and has vendors from all over the world serving food and drink from a variety of different countries.

The SPIFFS Annual International Folk Fair is the only membership-owned, non-profit, multi-ethnic folk fair organisation in the US and people of all ages and from across the whole of America come to celebrate one of the world’s most unique festivals.

Month of festival: October


Image credits: Bruce Tuten, Phillip Pessar, Miami International Film Festival, SPIFFS.

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Fun , Florida , Florida Excursions , Eating and Drinking , Seasonal Events , festivals