Check out festivals and events in April across the state.
This list is organized by region.
Central Florida (including Orlando, Kissimmee, Daytona Beach, Sanford, the Space Coast, Lakeland/Polk and Lake County)
April 1: Jazz Friday at Foosaner Museum of Art, Melbourne. Every first Friday of the month the Foosaner Museum of Art hosts Jazz Friday in their galleries. Expect great music from local favorites. 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 1463 Highland Ave., Melbourne. 321-674-8916. www.foosanerartmuseum.org
April 1-3: Melbourne Air and Space Show, Melbourne. Headlined by the civilian U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The show will feature a full weekend of activities including a Friday Night Flight. At Melbourne International Airport. General admission is $16 for adults and $10 for children in advance. More VIP packages available. www.airandspaceshow.com
April 2: Florida Wiener Dog Derby, Sanford. Cash prizes, giveaways and more. Free admission, but registration fee. 440 Hickman Dr. Sanford, Florida. 321-394-8497www.floridawienerdogderby.com
April 2: Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival, DeLand. A celebration and a forum to encourage environmentally friendly and sustainable gardening practices, while keeping a fun atmosphere. Speakers, demonstrations, children's activities and entertainment. The festival also features vendors who provide information, products, and arts and crafts related to general gardening, native plant gardening, gardening for birds, butterflies and wildlife, habitat creation, environmental conservation, recycling and "Green" living. West Indiana Avenue, Downtown DeLand. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. 386-738-0649. mainstreetdeland.org/flwildflowerfest
April 2: Central Florida Dragon Boat Festival, Tavares. Dragon boat racing was born out of myth and legend more than 2,000 years ago in southern China, commemorating the life and death of a great patriot who threw himself into the Mi Lo River. When news of his death spread, local fishermen raced out onto the water and splashed their paddles to prevent fish from eating his body. Today, worldwide, some two million people participate in dragon races. Activities kick off with the Awakening of the Dragon Ceremony, traditional Dragon/Lion dance and banquet. Action-packed contests begin with a crew of 20 paddlers led by the loud, steady beat of the drummer. As the long and colorful boats compete, an ancient rite is revisited, all in the spirit of charity and fun. At Wooten Park. 352-504-8158. www.cfdragonboat.org
April 2: First Saturday Jam, Barberville. On the first Saturday each month visit the Pioneer Settlement for entertainment and fun for the entire family. 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Includes informal music jams, free workshops, a chili cook-off, yard sale. www.pioneersettlement.org
April 2-3: DeLand Outdoor Art Festival, DeLand. Art, crafts, food and live entertainment at Earl Brown Park. Free shuttle to and from Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival. Earl Brown Park. 750 S. Alabama Ave, DeLand. Free. 386-717-1888. delandoutdoorartfest.com
TBA: Easter Sunrise Service, Lake Wales. Bok Tower Gardens sets the scene for an Easter Sunrise Service on April 5. The Gardens offers Easter morning worshippers free admission from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. to experience the sun rising over the horizon on this special day while listening to a live carillon performance. The Lake Wales Chorale, an adult vocal group of community residents is slated to perform. An Easter buffet in the Blue Palmetto Café at the Gardens will be available at $10.95 for adults and $7.95 per child. Bok Tower Gardens is located at 1151 Tower Boulevard. www.boktowergardens.org
TBA: Celebration Exotic Car Festival, Celebration, Orlando and Daytona Beach. Check out some sweet rides at the Celebration Exotic Car Festival on April 9-12. This four-day event showcases North America's largest collection of exotic cars, race cars and iconic Hollywood movie cars. The event also lets registered participants take to the track at Daytona International Speedway, while regular folk can view the rides for free while listening to music along the waterfront of Celebration. The four-day event benefits Make-a-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics and Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital. VIP package available for $595. For more information visit www.celebrationexoticcars.com
April 5-10: Sun 'n Fun International Fly-in and Expo, Lakeland. Educational forums, seminars and "hands-on" workshops; plus commercial exhibitors who offer aviation products and services for everyone. Enjoy a daily air show that showcases both new and old airplanes. At Lakeland Linder Regional Aiport. Starts at 8 a.m. Ticket prices vary. sun-n-fun.org
April 8: Friday Fest, Melbourne Held the second Friday of the month in Historic Downtown, it's a family-oriented event that includes art, craft and business vendors, lots of great food, beer and wine, a children's activity. In downtown Melbourne. Free. 321-724-1741. www.downtownmelbourne.com
April 8-10: Grant BBQ Fest, Grant. The Grand BBQ Fest serves up live entertainment, a car show, crafts and contests – barbecued pork ribs, chicken or brisket, anyone? Additional competitions include People’s Choice and Sauce. Admission and parking are free. The festival is at 4580 1st Street. www.grantbbqfest.com
April 9: Florida Lighthouse Day, Ponce Inlet. Come to the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse & Museum for family fun activities and workshops designed for children and families. Come visit the lighthouse museums and climb the largest lighthouse in Florida. Meet the lighthouse keeper as he describes his duties at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. All activities are included with regular admission, no advance reservations required. For details, visit www.PonceInlet.org.
April 9-10: Blues at the Winery, Clermont. For those who enjoy sipping a glass of Lakeridge wine and listening to the blues, this event is a must see. The event attracts the area's most talented blues musicians such as "Beautiful" Bobby Blackmon, who will perform on the outdoor stage the entire weekend. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food will be available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and wine tasting. At Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards on U.S. 27 in North Clermont. Event is from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission: $2 donation. 800-768-WINE. lakeridgewinery.com
TBA: Art of the Automobile, Daytona Beach. Auto show with music and entertainment. Events include a motorsport tour and Saturday Night Cruisin'. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; 250 South Beach Street; 386-255-5922. www.artoftheautolifestyle.com
TBA: Blueberry Jerry Jamboree, Spring Hill. Small, blue and tart is the order of the festival featuring live music, food, arts and crafts, and, of course, blueberries. This family-friendly event returns for the fifth year in a row from April 17-18. For more information, visit pascoblueberryfestival.com.
April 16: Cruisin' Downtown DeLand Classic Car Show. DeLand. Every third Saturday of the month. East Indiana Avenue in downtown DeLand. Classic cars & rods line East Indiana Avenue in Downtown DeLand. Live DJ, giveaways, shopping & dining. 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Free. www.MainStreetDeLand.org
April 16: Art Walk, Sanford. Central Florida's only monthly juried art show. With exhibits and music at participating venues. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Downtown Sanford, First Street, Sanford, FL, 32771. Free. sanfordwelcomecenter.com/sanford-art-walk.html
April 22: Climb to the Moon, Ponce Inlet. Climb to the Moon at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse offers views of the sunset and moonrise from atop the lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper relates the story of this National Historic Landmark. Hors d'oeuvres are provided by Inlet Harbor Restaurant. The lighthouse is at 4931 South Peninsula Drive. Participation is limited to 25 people and tickets ($25) must be purchased in advance by calling (386) 761-1821 ext. 10. www.PonceInlet.org
TBA: Concert Under the Stars at Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales. Join the Bok Tower Gardens for an evening of fun and inspiring performances with their annual springtime Concert Under The Stars. Admission is $20 for adults, $8 for children if you buy tickets in advance. www.boksanctuary.org
April 16 - May 14: Sea World presents Viva La Musica, Orlando. SeaWorld Orlando hosts Viva La Musica, a celebration of Hispanic music, food and culture every Saturday April 16 - May 14. The event features the sights, sounds and tastes of various Latin cultures through music, dance, crafts, food and concerts. It is included in regular park admission. For details, visit www.seaworldorlando.com
April 22-24: Leesburg Bike Fest, Leesburg. Leesburg Bike Fest is a motorcycle and music event on April 22-24. On the agenda are concerts, demonstrations, contests, 250 vendors and more at various outdoor and indoor venues in downtown Leesburg. For information, log on to www.leesburgbikefest.com.
April 23: Art Walk on Flagler, New Smyrna Beach. Held on the fourth Saturday each month, Flagler Avenue livens up with entertainment and wine tastings at participating venues. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (wine walk 1-7 p.m.). Free ($25 for wine walk). Flagler Avenue, 100 Flagler Ave., New Smyrna Beach, FL, 32169. nsbwaterfrontloop.com
April 23: Earth Day, Orlando. Take the time to find out how to help the planet while having fun during the Central Florida Earth Day celebration. This event at Lake Eola Park (east side) features music, guest speakers and activities for the family. Admission is free. Event hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, visit www.cfearthday.org.
April 25-26: Halifax Oyster & Music Festival, Daytona Beach. Oysters will be available raw or steamed by the dozen as guests enjoy music, activities and drinks at Manatee Island Park all in the name of charity. Admission is $6 and children under 7 are free. www.halifaxoysterfestival.com
April 28-29: APC National Pie Championships, Celebration. The APC National Pie Championships will take place at the Caribe Royale in Orlando. Amateur pie makers, professional bakers/chefs and commercial pie companies from around the country and Canada have been competing at the NPC since 1995. www.piecouncil.org
Through April 16: Universal Studios Mardi Gras, Orlando.This year's Mardi Gras concert line-up includes Hunter Hayes, Diana Ross, Fall Out Boy and more. Concerts begin at 8:30 p.m. Included with Universal Studios ticket. 407-363-8000. www.universalorlando.com/Events/Mardi-Gras/Live-Concerts.aspx
Through May 30: Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Lake Buena Vista. Spring special event filled with flowers, gardens, topiaries, live music and educational events. See millions of blooming flowers and a vibrant collection of specially themed topiaries. At Walt Disney World's EPCOT with admission. 407-939-5277. At Walt Disney World's EPCOT with admission. www.disneyworld.com/flower
Tampa Bay-Sarasota (including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Tarpon Springs and Homosassa)
April 1-10: Sarasota Film Festival, Sarasota. The festival screens more than 180 films including features, shorts, documentaries and kid-friendly picks. During the event films run daily at Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 on Main Street in Downtown Sarasota. Various tickets and packages are available. For information, visit www.sarasotafilmfestival.com.
April 8-10: Tampa Bay Blues Festival, St. Petersburg. The festival established itself as one of the world's preeminent blues music events, having presented more than 195 of the world's greatest blues performers. In addition to world class music, you can enjoy arts and crafts, taste treats from seafood and barbecue to Cuban cuisine, plus premium beer and wine. Various ticket options available. 727-895-6153. Vinoy Waterfront Park. www.tampabaybluesfest.com
April 9-10: Siesta Fiesta, Sarasota. The Siesta Fiesta displays arts and crafts along Ocean Boulevard and Beach Road in Siesta Key Village on April 9-10. Some 250 artists and crafters will feature their creations at the fair. Admission is free. Fair hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, log on to www.artfestival.com.
April 9-10: Pepper Fest, Pinellas Park. Hot and spicy foods and sauces to sample and purchase. Also pepper plants, barbecue, crafts. At The England Brothers Bandshell Park, Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. $3 admission, children 12 and under free, free parking. http://pinellaspepperfest.webs.com/
April 16-17: Florida Blueberry Festival, Brooksville. This year’s blueberry festival will feature artisans selling their creations alongside food vendors that promise to offer a variety of blueberry treats and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for anyone ages 6 to 17 and free for children 5 and younger. www.floridablueberryfestival.org
April 16-17: Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks Art and Craft Festival, Tarpon Springs. Dodecanese Boulevard sets the scene for the Sponge Docks Arts & Crafts Festival. More than 90 artists and crafters will be displaying their creations including jewelry, homemade soap, ceramics, paintings and photography. Admission is free. www.tnteventsinc.com
April 22-24: The Cotee River Seafood & Blues Festival, New Port Richey. This fest serves up music and food plus arts and crafts and other family-friendly activities along the river in Sims Park Friday-Sunday. Bands include national, local and student bands. Dig into fresh seafood, made-to-order sushi, and more. Other highlights include a boat show, car show and a duck race. For more information, call 727-842-8066 or visit nprmainstreet.com/seafood-blues-boat-show.
Southwest Florida (including Naples, Fort Myers, Venice, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda)
April 3: BBQ, Bands & Brew, Fort Myers. This Southwest Florida city sets the scene for the BBQ, Bands & Brew. On the agenda are a barbecue competition, live music, games and vendors. Admission is $10. Children 12 and under are free. The event, which raises funds for local charities, is from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Boulevard. www.bbqbandsandbrew.com
TBA: Upcycle Art Fest, Sanibel. This quaint Southwest Florida isle sets the scene for the annual Upcycle Art Fest. The festival, at the free “Ding” Darling Visitor and Education Center at the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. It showcases art made from 60 to 75 percent recycled and re-purposedmaterials. For details, visit www.upcycleartfest.org.
April 8-10: Sharks Tooth Festival, Venice. Go hunting for shark tooth fossils at the shark tooth's capital of the world. This annual event includes food, entertainment, arts and crafts, and children's activities. At Airport Festival Grounds. Adults $4, children 12 and under free. 941-412-0402. www.sharkstoothfest.com
April 15-16: Cardboard Boat Regatta, Cape Coral. Participants race boats that are handmade from cardboard. Event begins April 15 at 1 p.m. and includes food, beer, live music and children's playground. At Four Freedoms Park. 239-699-7942. www.capecoralregatta.com
April 16-17: Island Earth Days, Honeymoon Island State Park. This event features great live outdoor music and entertainment on the big stage and environmental vendors. Highlights include fresh seafood, plus a variety of other food and beverages including beer and wine, fine artists, quality craft vendors and more. At Honeymoon Island State Park. Donation of $8 per vehicle. 727-738-2903. www.islandearthdays.com
April 16-17: Mainsail Arts Festival, St. Petersburg. The waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg provides a picturesque setting for the Mainsail Arts festival at Vinoy Park just north of the pier. The two-day event combines visual and performing arts along with opportunities for children to actively engage in art activities. Also on hand will be an assortment of culinary arts and souvenirs. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. At Vinoy Park. www.mainsailartsfestival.org
TBA: The Seminole Casino Balloons Over Paradise, Immokalee. Balloons Over Paradise is a hot air balloon festival just outside of Naples on April 11-12. More than 50 custom hot air balloons will be featured as well as tethered balloon rides, live music, acrobatic kite demonstrations, carnival games, and children’s activities. Admission is free. Food will be available for purchase. www.boulderbrook.net/balloons-over-paradise-april
April 20-24: Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, Fort Myers Beach. This fest provides movie-goers the opportunity to see independent films and be a part of events designed to cultivate the spirit of visual creativity and harbor the talents of local and upcoming film makers. For details, visit fmbfilmfest.com
April 21: Downtown Gallery Walk, Punta Gorda. Held monthly on the third Thursday, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Visit any of the downtown merchants, restaurants and galleries for your game card. As always, there will be live entertainment, food and drink samplings, art, beauty and health demonstrations and an evening of fun. www.charlotteharbortravel.com
South Florida and the Keys (including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Key Largo, Key West and the Treasure Coast)
April 2: Annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival & Waterfront Craft Show, Key West. The Last Key sets the scene for the Florida Keys Ocean Festival & Waterfront Craft Show. The event, which celebrates the marine environment of the Florida Keys, is presented by Mote Marine Laboratory and is family-friendly and free. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and scheduled attractions include live music, arts and crafts, displays and children’s activities including a free fishing seminar (must register online). The event is at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center on the Truman Waterfront past the end of Southard Street. www.keysoceanfest.org
April 2: The Fort Pierce Oyster Festival, Fort Pierce. The Annual Fort Pierce Oyster Festival celebrates the bounty of the sea along the waterfront in downtown Fort Pierce. On the agenda are arts and crafts and live music and entertainment. Seafood is available. Event hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free. For information, visit www.ftpierceoysterfest.com.
April 2-3: Las Olas Art Fair Part II, Fort Lauderdale. The Las Olas Art Fair Part II displays original artwork on quaint Las Olas Boulevard in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. Event hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. For information, visit www.artfestival.com.
April 3: Suntrust Sunday Jazz Brunch, Fort Lauderdale. Live outdoor concert series bringing the area's best local jazz artists to the city's scenic Riverwalk the first Sunday of each month. Listen to the soulful sounds on four different stages. Everyone is welcome to attend, including well-behaved, leashed pets, and there is ample room to set up chairs, blankets and picnic baskets. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Free admission. www.fortlauderdale.gov
April 8-10: The Annual Delray Affair, Delray Beach. The Annual Delray Affair showcases the work of more than 750 local, regional, national and international artists. The event is along the palm-tree-lined streets of downtown Delray Beach 12 blocks from the Intracoastal to Northwest Second Avenue, grounds of the Delray Beach Center for the Arts and Old School Square Park. Entertainment and street performances are also on the agenda. Admission is free. For information, visit www.delrayaffair.com.
April 9: Seven-Mile Bridge Run, Marathon. The annual Seven Mile Bridge Run is expected to draw 1,500 runners to a foot race across the longest segmental bridge in the world. The action kicks off at 7:30 a.m. For information, visit www.7mbrun.com.
April 9-10: Florida Keys Island Fest, Islamorada. One hundred artists and crafters from around the state will display their work and food will be available for purchase. At Founder’s Park, Mile Marker 87, bayside. For information, visit www.islamoradachamber.com
April 18: Taste of Key West, Key West. Scores of area restaurants present mouthwatering samples of their cuisine to benefit AIDS Help Inc. The culinary celebration takes place at the Truman Waterfront overlooking Key West Harbor. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 305-296-6196 www.aidshelp.cc/taste.html
April 21: Third Thursday Art Walk, Islamorada. The Morada Way Third Thursday Art Walk presents local fine arts, music and culinary specialties. The galleries of Morada Way are between Mile Markers 81 and 82. For details, visit moradaway.org/artwalk.
TBA: Conch Republic Independence Celebration, Key West. Commemorates the founding of the Conch Republic in 1982, when the Keys seceded in response to a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock that halted traffic in and out of the Florida Keys. Begins with the raising of the colors at Fort Taylor and includes a drag race, cruiser car show, Reef Relief party, bed race, "World's Longest Parade" down Duval Street from the Atlantic to the Gulf at the Schooner Wharf Bar, craft show, and the Naval Parade and Great Battle for the Conch Republic. www.conchrepublic.com/schedule.htm
April 22-24: Pompano Beach Seafood Festival, Pompano Beach. This beachside food festival promises to serve up great seafood and entertainment for guests of all ages. Admission required. www.pompanobeachseafoodfestival.com
TBA: Earth Day Celebration at Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key. Features live music, sand sculpture contest, puppet shows, face painting, environmental exhibits and booths, marine life touch tanks, telescopes with special viewing lenses, and food from hot dogs to sloppy joes. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free with regular park admission. 305-872-9807. www.floridastateparks.org/bahiahonda
April 24: Sweet Corn Fiesta, West Palm Beach. The Annual Sweet Corn Fiesta offers lots of sweet corn, music, rides, corn shucking and cooking competitions and more. The event, at Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fair, is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-11, (children’s unlimited ride wristband is $5). For details, visit www.sweetcornfiesta.com.
April 27-May 1: Sunfest, West Palm Beach. Sunfest presents a lineup of headliners in downtown West Palm Beach. A variety of tickets are available including a regular admission one-day pass for $35 for ages 13 and up. For information, visit www.sunfest.com.
April 28-May 1: Key West Paddleboard Classic, Key West. The Last Key sets the scene for the Key West Paddleboard Classic. Presented by Lazy Dog Adventure Tours, the challenge includes a 12-mile Elite Race around the island and a four-mile open race. Other events include a kick-off registration party, paddleboard clinics and races for kids. For details, visit lazydog.com/index.php/paddleboard-classic.
Northeast Florida (including Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Flagler County and Amelia Island)
March 31-April 2: Antique Tractor and Engine Show, White Springs. Farm machinery representing 200 years of American history. Vintage farm equipment, tractor pulls and races for adults. Children's games and races. Demonstrations of wheat threshing and shingle milling. Food concessions. At Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. Park admission $5 per vehicle. www.whitesprings.org/events.html
April 1: First Friday Art Walk, St. Augustine. The Art Galleries of Saint Augustine founded and sponsors the award-winning First Friday Art Walk event on the first Friday of every month. Galleries open their doors from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., offering new art exhibits and lively receptions to the public. www.artgalleriesofstaugustine.com
April 1-3: St. Augustine Rhythm & Ribs Festival, St. Augustine. If you are looking for a treat for your taste buds and ear candy too you may wish to check out this one: The Annual St. Augustine Rhythm & Ribs Festival will be serving up scrumptious barbecue and music all weekend long. Admission is between $5 and $10. www.rhythmandribs.net
April 1-3: Springing the Blues, Jacksonville Beach. Bring the entire family to celebrate blues music and the arts at this three-day oceanfront event. Named one of the top 50 Music Festivals in the World by Downbeat Magazine. It features a number of renowned blues performers as well as numerous displays and activities geared for the entire family. At SeaWalk Pavilion. www.springingtheblues.com
April 9: Ponte Vedra Beach Home and Art Tour, Ponte Vedra. In its sixth year, Ponte Vedra Beach Home And Art Tour offers an insider’s view of four unique homes. Artists and interior designers are special guests onsite to meet visitors and talk about their work. Tickets are $35 including admission to Fantasy Farms, an exotic animal farm and habitat for endangered species. www.ccpvb.org
April 15-17: Jacksonville International Boat Show, Jacksonville. Largest in-water boat show in the region. The hottest boats and boating accessories will be on display along with live entertainment, fresh seafood and a riverfront tiki bar. At Metropolitan Park and Marina. Adults $12 and children are free. 904-759-2758. www.jaxboatshow.com
April 23: Taste of St. Augustine, St. Augustine. A Taste of St. Augustine has grown to be the city’s premiere outdoor food festival, conveniently located at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on A1A South. This signature food festival serves up exciting “tastes” from more than 20 of St. Augustine’s famous restaurants. Restaurants will compete for the prestigious TOStA (Taste of St. Augustine) awards, with categories including Best Family Dining, Best Ethnic, Best Upscale and Best Dessert, as well as the ever popular “People’s Choice." 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.epiccommunityservices.org.
April 27- May 1: Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest, Ponte Vedra Beach. This annual event shines the spotlight on Northeast Florida’s abundant bird life and natural beauty. More than 100 birding and photography events are featured during the festival. The fest is headquartered at the GTM Research Reserve, 505 Guana River Road. For details, visit www.FloridasBirdingandPhotoFest.com.
April 29 - May 1: Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Amelia Island. The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival lures thousands of visitors to historic downtown Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island to celebrate all things shrimp. The event features free admission, nationally-recognized juried fine arts and crafts show, antiques, live entertainment, children’s activities, contests, pirates and more. Dozens of food vendors will be serving up the tastiest shrimp you can find, prepared every way possible by local non-profit organizations. For information, go to www.shrimpfestival.com.
North-Central Florida (including Ocala, Gainesville and Tallahassee)
March 31-April 9: Clay County Agricultural Fair, Green Cove Springs. Showcase for Clay County's agricultural, educational, civic and commercial interests. Also includes livestock, midway, stage entertainment, contests and Early Florida Pioneer Village. At fairgrounds. Admission. www.claycountyfair.org
April 1-2: Annual Springtime Tallahassee, Tallahassee. The Annual Springtime Tallahassee celebrates the season in our state capital. On the festival’s agenda are a Grand Parade with floats and marching units, Jubilee in the Park, Children’s Park and multiple stages with live entertainment including the Rock/Jazz/Blues Stage at Jefferson Street and Adams Street featuring local and regional talent, and a Community Stage at McCarty Park featuring local performers. More than 200 arts and crafts and food booths are to be featured. Some of the festival’s activities are free; others have fees. www.springtimetallahassee.com
April 1-3: Suwanee River Paddling Festival, Suwanee County. Join the Paddle Florida event and spend the days exploring the spring-fed upper Wekiwa then paddle down to the St. John's and Blue Spring State Park on this long-weekend adventure. Register on the main website. www.paddleflorida.org
April 2: O'Leno Ole' Chili Cook-Off & Springs Celebration, High Springs. Bring your bestchili recipe and compete or taste test the samples and vote for your favorite. Chili cook-off is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Springs Celebration is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission for this event is free with the donation of one can of food per person. 410 SE O'Leno Park Road, High Springs. www.floridastateparks.org/park-events/Oleno
April 2-3: Spring Arts Festival, Gainesville. This free art festival, set in the Northeast Gainesville Historic District, features two stages of music and performers throughout the weekend of fun. NE 1st St, Gainesville. sfcollegefoundation.org/spring-arts/index
April 9-10: Cedar Key's Annual Fine Arts Festival, Cedar Key. A juried art show with more than $18,000 in prize money and purchase awards. Features paintings, sculptures, jewelry, crafts, ceramics, textiles, photography and more. Downtown area. Cedar Key Arts Center. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 352-543-5400. www.cedarkeyartsfestival.com
April 10: Jest Fest, Gainesville. Celebrate hilarity, and feel the thrill of this free, family friendly spring festival. Held at the Historic Thomas Center. 302 NE 6 Ave, Gainesville. gvlculturalaffairs.org
April 14-16: Down Home Days Festival & PCA Rodeo, Madison County. Rodeo events a parade, classic car show, frog hop, petting zoo and other kids activities plus arts, crafts and food vendors are planned for this festival. For more information, or visit www.facebook.com/MadisonCountyDownHomeDays
April 16-17: LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival, Tallahassee. Tallahassee’s downtown chain of parks hosts an art festival April 16 – 17 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. that features live entertainment, food from local restaurants, and original works of art by 150 local and regional artists. chainofparks.com
April 22-25: 5th Ave Arts Festival, Gainesville. Annual festival celebrating Earth Day, music, food and culture. Hosted by the Cultural Arts Coalition. Free, family friendly. culturalartscoalition.com
TBA: Southern Shakespeare Festival, Tallahassee. Hosted at The Capital City Amphitheater at Cascades Park, the Southern Shakespeare Festival promotes the arts and knowledge of the Elizabethan era with a mixture of Renaissance culture and 60s memories through entertainment, demonstrations, and live music every night prior to the show, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at 5:30 p.m. The final day of the festival is a full day celebration with vendors, music, children’s activities and appearances by Sonnet Man, a hip-hop version of Shakespeare’s sonnets. southernshakespearefestival.org
April 23-24: Tallahassee Jazz and Blues Festival, Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Museum presents lively jazz, Dixieland, Zydeco, swing, and rhythm and blues under the trees. Highlights also include fun family activities on the pioneer farm and at Bellevue Plantation. festivalnet.com
April 23-24: Pioneer Days High Springs, Downtown High Springs. Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday 10-4. Held at James Paul Park. Hand made crafts, reenactments, Heritage village, period music and entertainment, large kids corral, parade, contests from the old days. Contact the chamber at 386-454-3120, or visit the chamber website for more information www.highsprings.com
The Panhandle (including Pensacola, Panama City Beach, Apalachicola and Destin)
April 1-3: Pensacola Jazz Fest, Pensacola. Smooth sounds from a variety of artists and bands are the order of the day during the Annual Pensacola Jazz Fest at Seville Square. Admission is free. Seville Square is located at East Government Street and South Alcaniz Street. www.jazzpensacola.com
TBA: Apalachicola Antique and Classic Boat Show, Apalachicola. Display of all types of antique boats, traditional vessels, work boats, fiberglass classics, antique outboard motors and antique cars. Free. 850-653-9419. www.antiqueboatshow.org/
April 20-24: Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Panama City Beach. This annual fest features the smooth sounds of contemporary jazz at Pier Park. The event, which typically attracts more than 20,000 fans, offers five days of jazz and a themed dinner cruise. Varied tickets and passes are available. Ticket prices vary. For more information, visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com.
TBA: Carrabelle Riverfront Festival, Carrabelle. Riverfront festival showcasing seafood, music, and regional and award-winning artists showing original works and prints, custom designed pottery, stained glass, sculpture, metal art, wood carving and more. Also includes seafood, maritime exhibits, sand sculptor, kid's zone and live entertainment. On Marine Street. Free. 850-697-2585. www.carrabelleriverfrontfestival.com
April 22-24: Interstate Mullet Toss and Gulf Coast's Greatest Beach Party, Pensacola. America's last great roadhouse can throw a party - and a fish - like nobody else. The is a silly event that raises serious money for local charities. Festivities take place at the Florabama Lounge & Oyster Bar. Participants can pay $15 to toss a 1-pound mullet across the state line from Alabama to Florida. Watching the event is free. www.florabama.com.
April 27-May 1: Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally, Panama City Beach. The Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally, on April 29-May 3 (a fall rally will also be held on Oct. 21-25) has been called “the most biker friendly free rally in the U.S." Bikers from around the country enjoy scenic rides along the Emerald Coast, live entertainment and local cuisine. www.thunderbeachproductions.com.
Correspondent Georgina Cruz contributed to this report.