May and June Events in Florida
Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events scheduled for April in the Sunshine State. Please check individual websites for more details.
FOUNDER’S DAY AT WHITEHALL – Once a year, you can gain access to one of Florida’s great museums for free. Founder’s Day is in honor of the Flagler Museum’s founder, Jean Flagler Matthews, who rescued the estate from demolition and established the museum on June 5, 1959. The museum’s extensive collection of art, furniture and historic life during the Gilded Age will be on display.
When: June 5
Where: Flagler Museum at Whitehall, Palm Beach
DAYS OF SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL – Here’s your chance to hit the high seas for a cruise, along with Miami producer/rapper DJ Kahled and fellow artists Cardi B and Post Malone. The cruise and fest will be aboard the Carnival Victory. The ship can hold 2,764 passengers, but you have to be at least 18 years old.
When & Where: Departing for the Bahamas on June 28 and returning to Miami on July 1.
CORALPALOOZA – Looking for a great eco-vacation? This one certainly fills the bill. You’ll have a great time and do a lot of good at the same time. The Coral Restoration Foundation is hosting a day dedicated to promoting awareness and preserving our coral reefs. Activities will range from helping shore up coral tree nurseries, monitoring existing colonies and out-planting threatened species of corals. Last year, the event totaled 2,923 hours of reef restoration. Note: You must be dive-certified to participate.
When: June 8
Where: Throughout the Florida Keys
TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN – Can’t make it to the islands any time soon? Not to worry. June is Caribbean American Heritage Month and this event will bring the islands to you. You’ll 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.
When: June 21-25
Where: Hyatt Regency, Miami
SWFL SPACECON – The science fiction and comic book convention features guests from the comic book, film and book industries, vendors, game demos, drop-in gaming, game tournaments, cosplay guests, photo and autograph opportunities, panels, and of course, costume contests.
When: June 8
Where: Araba Shrine Event Center, Fort Myers
SIZZLING SUMMER SAVINGS – Everyone knows that SoFla is hot in the summer, but there are also hot deals to be found. You’ll find discounts and BOGOS galore. Check out these five:
· S.I.P. IN W.P.B. (SUMMER IN PARADISE IN WEST PALM BEACH) offers free things to do in downtown West Palm Beach throughout the summer. Attendees will be treated to dynamic interactive art, exciting community events, waterfront activities and eclectic shopping and dining. S.I.P. festivities.
When: June 6 through July 26
Where: West Palm Beach
· The SUMMER SAVINGS PASS offers unlimited admission to four great SoFla venues: Lion Country in West Palm Beach, Miami Seaquarium, the Museum of Science and Discovery in Fort Lauderdale and Zoo Miami. You can purchase a pass at any of the four attractions or online.
When: May 12 through Sept. 30
Where: West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale.
· The 2-FOR-1 SUMMER SAVINGS in Broward County is already underway and offers buy-one-get-one-free offers for museums, restaurants and bars, shopping and all kinds of indoor and outdoor activities. Some 60 businesses and attractions are participating.
When: through Sept. 30
Where: Broward County
· SIZZLE SWFL RESTAURANT WEEK actually lasts two weeks and celebrates dining out at an affordable price. It used to be known as Naples Restaurant Week, but it has been expanded to also include eateries in Fort Myers, Estero, Bonita Springs, Marco Island and Cape Coral. Participating restaurants will offer three-course menus starting at $26 or $36 for dinner and $16 or $21 for lunch.
When: May 3- through June 12
Where: Fort Myers, Estero, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Cape Coral
· Not to be outdone, CORAL GABLES RESTAURANT WEEK actually lasts three weeks (June 3-23), which will give you plenty of time to eat your way through Coral Gables, trying new eateries and return to old favorites, all offering prix-fixe menus.
When: June 3-23
Where: Coral Gables
· With the SOUTH FLORIDA ADVENTURE PASS you will be able to have unlimited admissions for one set price from May 15 until Sept. 30 at these five Broward County attractions: the historic Bonnet House, Flamingo Gardens, Sawgrass Recreation Park, Xtreme Action Park and Young at Art Museum. At the Xtreme Action Park, roller skating is free, including skate rentals.
When: May 15 – Sept. 30
Where: Broward County
MIAMI FASHION WEEK – It’s the only fashion week that is dedicated to resort wear. Some 30 designers and 20 jewelry and accessory designers from around the world will show their wares. More than 10,000 people attended the fashion shows, seminars, special events and after parties last year. Once again Antonio Banderas is scheduled to be honorary president and ambassador for the event.
When: May 29-June 2
Where: Various locations throughout Greater Miami and the Beaches
AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL – The ABFF was started to promote diversity in the film and television industries and today it is widely recognized as a major conduit for bringing new black talent to the forefront, both in front of and behind the camera. Some of the celebrities include actress-designer-author La La Anthony (she is this year’s festival ambassador), Deon Cole, Jemele Hill and Omar Epps.
When: June 12-16
Where: Various theaters and other locations throughout Miami Beach
RAINBOW POWER – Check out any of these five LGBTQ events:
· Enjoy a month-long variety of activities at the OUT IN THE TROPICS FESTIVAL. There will be performances by international, national and local artists. Also included will be community workshops and lectures. Many of the events are free.
When: May 24 to June 24 at various locations throughout Miami Beach. Where: Various locations throughout Miami Beach
· “We Are Love” is the theme of this year’s NAPLES PRIDE FEST. It’s a family-friendly, all-inclusive gathering that will combine entertainers, speakers, musicians, performers, exhibitors, kids activities, food and drinks for a day of fun and celebration in the name of equality.
When: June 1
Where: Cambier Park, Naples
· KEY WEST PRIDE is a five-day celebration that includes a film festival, dance parties, late-night drag shows, bike tours, pool parties, water excursions, a street fair, Pride Pageants and a “Pride in Our Community” parade down Duval Street. Key West shows its Pride every day and now is your chance to join in on the fun.
When: June 5-9
Where: Various Key West locations
· The WILTON MANORS STONEWALL PRIDE STREET FESTIVAL & PARADE is an 11-hour blast with performances late into the evening on three different stages, along with a marketplace featuring vendors selling arts, crafts and more. There will also be food trucks, frozen drink tents and a Kids Zone. The highlight of the event, of course, is the float-laden parade.
When: June 15
Where: Downtown Wilton Manors
· The WYNWOOD PRIDE FESTIVAL celebrates the full spectrum of diversity and also includes drag shows, lips synching battles late-night DJ-hosted parties. The host is Carmen Carrera of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame.
When: June 21-23
Where: Wynwood Arts District, Miami
MYSTERY FEST KEY WEST – Highlights include panels, presentations and parties with two dozen high profile and award winning mystery and crime authors, book signings and professional publishing and marketing discussions. Headlining authors this year are keynote speaker Jeffery Deaver, Heather Graham, Lisa Black, Carla Norton and Diane S. Stuckart.
When: June 28-30
Where: Various locations in Key West
REDLAND SUMMER FRUIT FESTIVAL -- It’s time to enjoy seasonal and rare fruits at this annual affair. Vendor booths will feature local wines and yummy foods. Don’t miss the hilarious watermelon-eating contest for kids. Children 11 & under get in free.
When: June 22-23
Where: Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead
KEY WEST INTERNATIONAL GUITAR FESTIVAL: BRIDGES TO PARADISE -- This three-day fest will showcase a fusion of master guitarists performing classical, jazz, Latin, blues, folk and contemporary music. The guitarists are Mateo (he’ll perform the world premiere of his “Melodic Journey”), Larry Baeder and Rolando Rojas. An added bonus this year is vocalist Belle and the Fabulous Spectrelles. Food and wine events will be paired with the music.
When: June 21-23
Where: Various locations in Key West
HUKILAU POLYNESIAN FESTIVAL -- Tikiphiles can expect an all-things Polynesian extravaganza: musical acts, a cocktail academy, mermaid show, Tiki Treasures Bazaar, symposiums and a rum island pool party.
When: June 5-9
Where: Pier 66 Hotel, B Ocean Resort 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 four concerts amid a hotel setting that has beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico, stunning sunsets and cool breezes. The Alter Eagles are the headliner for the first show. Note: Events are free and open to the general public, not just hotel guests.
When: June 29, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 14
Where: Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club
BATTLE IN THE BAY DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL – Each sleek and colorful 40-foot boat will have 20 paddlers moving in unison in a combination of strength and teamwork. Food, beverages, merchandise and a variety of entertainment will be available shore-side.
When: June 1
Where: Sombrero Beach, Marathon
DOWNTOWN VENICE CRAFT FESTIVAL – There’s a significant downturn in the number of arts & craft festivals in SoFla beginning in June, but this one is still going strong. Peruse booths filled with stained glass, photography and even personalized products for children and doggies. Don’t miss the Green Market for plants, handmade soaps, tangy BBQ sauces and orchids.
When: June 15-16
Where: Along Miami Avenue in Venice
INTERNATIONAL KINETIC ART EXHIBIT & SYMPOSIUM -- Visitors will see 12 large-scale kinetic sculptures that actually move, powered by solar, water, wind, gravity and human interaction. Six of the sculptures were created for this exhibition, which occurs every two years. The installations are accessed by an easy-to-walk self-guided tour or scheduled group tours with trained docents.
When: through September
Where: Downtown Boynton Beach
HYUNDAI AIR & SEA SHOW will showcase personnel, technology and equipment from all five branches of the U.S. military, as well as police, firefighters and first responder agencies. In addition to military jets soaring overhead and powerboats racing across the water, there will an on-shore musical salute to America’s heroes (Flo Rida is the headliner). The climax will be a star-spangled fireworks extravaganza over the Atlantic Ocean.
When: May 25-26
Where: Miami Beach
At the KEY LARGO ORIGINAL MUSIC FESTIVAL songwriters from Nashville and around the United States, as well as top local bands, will perform on multiple stages and a variety of on-the-water venues. Pop, rock, blues, jazz and country music are all represented. Some of the featured performers will be Julie Gribble, 33 Years, Hunter Tynan Davis and Saints & Angels.
When: May 16-19
Where: Various locations in Key Largo
MOSAIC – Back by popular demand after a successful first year, this program allows you to save on a lot of Palm Beach County’s most popular destinations. For 31 days, visitors can enjoy a mosaic (hence the name) of discounted events, shows and performances throughout the county.
When: through May 31
Where: Various locations in Palm Beach County
SIZZLE SOUTH BEACH – Since its inception in 2002, it has become one of the most anticipated events for gay men of color in the country, with party seekers convening for a five-day smorgasbord of captivating day-time events and pulsating nightlife.
When: May 23-27
Where: Various Miami Beach locations
OUT IN THE TROPICS FESTIVAL – Enjoy a month of performances by provocative local, national and international artists that boldly address issues of gender politics and sexuality. There will be an array of free educational activities, including workshops and lectures.
When: May 24-June 24
Where: Various locations in Miami and Miami Beach
ATTENTION, ALL FOODIES AND WINE AND BEER LOVERS -- Don’t even think of counting calories at any of these gatherings. Just go and enjoy:
· Kick off the barbecue season at the GRILLIN N CHILLIN BBQ FEST with a choice of spare ribs, southern brisket or mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches. Better still, try all three!
When: May 18-19
Where: Peacock Park, Coconut Grove
· Local restaurants will provide delicious fare at the COCONUT GROVE FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL. You’ll enjoy a wide range of regional food, including steaks, burgers, Italian, seafood and Latin cooking. Also included: culinary demonstrations, a Kids Zone, craft beer and live music.
When: May 25
Where: Regatta Park, Coconut Grove
· Sample 60 different craft and import brews at the VENICE BREW BASH. There will also be beer on tap and an assortment of food vendors.
When: May 25
Where: Centennial Park, Venice
· More than a dozen eateries will present their fare at PAIRINGS, which will also include live music, interactive art stations and, of course, good wine and beer to go with the food.
When: May 30
Where: Downtown West Palm Beach
SEAGRAPES WINE & FOOD – Sip, savor and save some sea life! That’s the idea behind Seagrapes, The Florida Aquarium’s signature annual fundraiser that features more than 100 types of wine and culinary dishes from local chefs and restaurants. Drink, mingle and sample everything from appetizers to desserts while strolling among stingrays, sharks, seahorses and 8,000 other animals and native plants that reside at the Aquarium.
When: May 18
Where: The Florida Aquarium, Tampa
FLORIDA RIVER OUTDOOR GATHERING – The annual Florida River Outdoor Gathering (or FROG) is an outdoor event hosted by Discovery Channel's Aaron Phillips and Life Survival Florida on the beautiful clear waters of the Rock Springs Run at King's Landing in Apopka. Bushcraft and survival classes, activities, and tournaments are conducted by skilled outdoors men and women from all over. Camping is available for those who choose to participate in this holiday weekend event.
When: May 25-27
Where: King's Landing in Apopka
ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL FRINGE THEATRE FESTIVAL – This 14-day arts festival celebrates its 28th year as “Orlando’s most unique cultural event” offering un-juried, uncensored, and highly talented theatre, music, dance performances and artists of all genres. Kids Fringe for children and families also returns, bringing entertaining performances by Fringe artists, costumed characters, workshops, hands-on art activities.
When: May 14-27
Where: Orlando Repertory Theater, Orlando
ORANGE BLOSSOM JAMBOREE – Dozens of Florida bands, ranging from funk to country to hard rock, jam in this four-day event held on a sprawling campsite. Spend a day or roll up in your RV and spend the whole long weekend listening to original and cover tunes and eating BBQ, vegan dishes and other concessions. Headliners this year include Uncle John’s Band, The Heavy Pets and Roosevelt Collier Trio.
When: May 18-21
Where: Sertoma Ranch, Brooksville
KING’S BAY FEST – This two-day, pirate-themed celebration has a pirate ship and village, craft beer, food trucks, arts & crafts, live bands, a treasure scavenger hunt and a kids zone with face painting, bungee jumping and a life-sized hamster ball. Try out your grilling skills in the wing master competition, or just bring your appetite and be a taste-tester.
When: May 18-19
Where: King’s Bay Park, Crystal River
SUNSET MUSIC FESTIVAL – National and international DJs and dance music artists create a crush of electronic music fans, dancing the night away in glow-in-the-dark clothing and jewelry. The two-day show rocks the stadium with techno, disco, house, trap, bass and trance music. Artists this year include Decadon, Fisher, 12th Planet and Bonnie X Clyde.
When: May 25-26
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
DAYTONA BEACH BANDSHELL CONCERTS – You know Florida summer is finally here when the Daytona Beach Bandshell fires up its fun and free concert series, which begins Memorial Day weekend and runs through the end of September. Check out a wide variety of genres and tribute bands right along Daytona’s beautiful coastline as dusk turns to night and stick around on Saturdays for a spectacular fireworks show at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier.
When: May 24-26 and every weekend through the end of September
Where: Daytona Beach
BEER ‘MERICA – What could be more ‘Merican than a craft beer-happy, dog-friendly lakeside party with BBQ trucks, bands, games, a benefit raffle and more? Beer ‘Merica draws thousands to sample more than 100 kinds of brew and play in the park. Come dressed in your most patriotic attire for the chance to win your favorite beer for a whole year.
When: May 18
Where: Gaston Edwards Park, Orlando
TAMPA MARGARITA AND MUSIC FESTIVAL – One of Tampa’s most popular weekend festivals returns with even more varieties of margaritas ranging from traditional salt-rimmed to exotic fruit-infused flavors and creative spins on the classic Mexican cocktail. Enjoy live music from R&B star Nelly, play games, collect giveaways or splurge for a VIP ticket and enjoy lounge seating, tequila tastings, special access and other extras.
When: May 25
Where: Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Tampa
DALI MUSEUM’S VISUAL MAGIC EXHIBIT – Be among the first to try out this special interactive exhibit featuring some of Salvador Dali’s most monumental works through the lens of augmented reality technology. Viewing the artwork through the Dali Museum app on a mobile device, visitors get to see the paintings come to life, highlighting and exploring their complexities in a completely different way. Don’t have a device? The museum can provide one of theirs.
When: June 15-Nov. 3
Where: The Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE CRAFT FESTIVAL – Experience the charm of St. Armands’ fine shops and gourmet restaurants while checking out the work of some of Florida’s most talented crafters and artisans, including unique jewelry pieces, pottery, plant holders, soaps, home accessories, clothing and more. Included this year is a green market featuring orchids, herbs and delicious dips and sauces.
When: June 8-9
Where: St. Armands Circle, Sarasota
ST. PETE PRIDE – What began as a modestly small parade and street fair 17 years ago has grown into Florida’s largest LGBT pride celebration drawing more than 250,000 people, and this year is expected to be bigger and better than ever. Three days of events include a night parade of dazzling and colorful floats, lavish costumes, live performances by musical artists such as Lisa Loeb and a fireworks show along St Pete’s beautiful downtown waterfront.
When: June 21-23
Where: St. Petersburg
SILVER SPURS RODEO – Billed as the “largest rodeo east of the Mississippi,” the Silver Spurs Rodeo has been drawing crowds to central Florida since the 1940s. Each year seems to pack in more excitement, and this one includes bareback bronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie-down wrestling and – for the little ones – mutton bustin’, in which little cowboys and cowgirls climb onto the backs of sheep and hang on for their lives.
When: May 31-June 1
Where: Osceola Heritage Park/Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee
SARASOTA MUSIC FESTIVAL – Music students get a three-week dose of coaching, master classes and performances at one of of classical music’s finest teaching festivals, all open to the public. Festival audiences are entertained by a wide variety of symphonic artistry including: Thursday afternoon Artist Showcase concerts, Friday Festival chamber concerts, and Saturday Symphony orchestra concerts. A Festival Pass also allows access to the artists' master classes and rehearsals, as well as several student concerts.
When: June 1-22
Where: Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, Sarasota
SUMMERFEST ZEPHYRHILLS – The free Summerfest returns for a fifth year, celebrating the first weekend of Florida’s warmest stretch. Grab your lawn chairs and head to Zephyr Park, where the evening begins with a dance contest, and kids can hit the bounce houses, slides, a rock wall and trampoline jumpers while adults enjoy live entertainment, food, beer, arts and crafts and a 30-minute fireworks show to end the night.
When: June 22
Where: Zephyr Park, Zephyrhills
OPA! PALOOZA – Head towards the historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks for a free, two-day celebration of Greek heritage and culture at the Opa! Palooza Greek Festival. The pet-friendly event, hosted by the Tarpon Springs Merchant’s Association, will feature live music, a kids play area, dancing, seminars, workshops, food, pastries and spirits that will leave you shouting, “Opa!”
When: June 15-16
Where: Dodecanese Boulevard on the Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs
TAMPA THEATRE SUMMER CLASSICS MOVIE SERIES – If you’re looking for a cool, dark escape from the summer heat, head to the beautiful, historic (and air-conditioned!) Tampa Theatre, which begins its Summer Classics series the first weekend of June. Revisit old scenes you forgot, recite your favorite lines under your breath and reminisce with old favorites such as “Jaws,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “9-to-5” and a sing-along version of “Grease.”
When: Sundays in June through August
Where: Tampa Theatre, downtown Tampa
LAKERIDGE WINERY & VINEYARDS SUMMER GRAPE STOMP – Lakeridge Winery holds its flagship summer kick-off festival, complete with the popular stomping of the grapes, fun for all ages. Taste some of the winery’s best seasonal wines and beer, fill up on cheese other snacks from vendors and take a tour of the facility.
When: May 18
Where: Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, Clermont
SAVOR SARASOTA – Sarasota’s culinary scene has been growing over the years, both in creative scope and ethnic variety, and this is a wonderful chance to try some of the area’s best flavors, from fresh seafood to French cuisine to Peruvian tapas. For two weeks, dozens of restaurants will offer special prix-fixe, multi-course lunch and dinner menus for just $16 and $32 per person.
When: June 1-14
Where: Participating restaurants throughout Sarasota County
BRADENTON BOAT SHOW – Ring in the summer boating and fishing season by dropping in on this weekend full of boats of all scale and sizes, fishing gear, apparel, safety accessories and other watersport necessities. Learn expert tips at the all-day lineup of lessons scheduled, including fly fishing best practices, how to use live bait correctly, in-shore fishing pointers and cast net demonstrations.
When: June 7-9
Where: Bradenton Area Convention Center, Palmetto
BODY MIND SPIRIT EXPO – This one-of-a-kind touring expo brings the latest and greatest in alternative health practices, products and ideologies, as well as psychics, mediums and spiritual teachers to help guide those seeking a holistic approach to wellness and life goals. For a $12 admission, attend a whole weekend of seminars on topics such as meditation, tarot readings, herbal medicine, financial health and relationships.
When: June 22-23
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa
JEEP BEACH JAM: More than 2,000 jeeps, in all makes and models, from 17 states are expected to invade Panama City Beach for the fourth annual beach party. There JBJ Topless for Turtles Beach Krawl gets top billing but there also will a new obstacle course with rocks, tires and mounds of dirt plus the SuperJeep Challenge, Off-Road Intercoastal Trail Excursions and more.
When: May 14-18
Where: Panama City Beach
WILD AMELIA NATURE FESTIVAL — Amelia Island’s ecosystem is home to seven sites on the Great Florida Birding Trail and more than 1,500 acres of barrier islands, a greenway, sand dunes and maritime hammock. The festival uses programs like the Sea Turtle Release and tours like the Bat Trek and Marsh Kayak Ecotour to explain why it’s necessary to conserve these areas. In addition, the Eco-Expo includes 27 conservation-minded exhibitors.
When: May 17-19
Where: Amelia Island
JACKSONVILLE JAZZ FESTIVAL — A winning piece from Super Bowl LIII is headed to the First Coast and it has nothing to do with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gladys Knight, who slayed with her gorgeous rendition of the national anthem, will headline the 2019 event with Brian Culbertson. Other performers include Monty Alexander, Ledisi, Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective, and The Noel Freidline Quartet with Maria Howell. The city’s largest free music festival has three days of live music on three stages and includes the Jacksonville Jazz Piano competition featuring the world’s top jazz pianists.
When: May 23-26
FIESTA — Pensacola’s 10-day heritage celebration of the city’s founding by the Spanish Conquistador Don Tristan de Luna in 1559 kicks off with the Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon Fiesta Days Celebration when local dignitaries surrender the city and its citizens to DeLune and his queen. Other events during the 10-day celebration include the Grand Fiesta Parade, Centennial Imports Fiesta Boat Parade, the DeLuna Landing Ceremony, Fiesta Prayer Service, Fiesta All Krewe Ball and the DeLuna Coronation Ball.
When: May 29 - June 7
2019 SUNSHINE STATE GAMES — More than 200,000 amateur athletes have had the chance to compete with and against other elite Florida citizens in an Olympic-style festival. Some have gone on to fulfill Olympic dreams, others are weekend warriors looking for a chance to qualify in further state or national championships. Alachua County is hosting the 2019 competitions for Basketball, Swimming, Archery and Fencing.
When: May 25-26, June 7-9, 15-16
Where: various venues, Alachua County
SEED-SPITTING SHINDIGS — No, they’re not quite “one in a melon” as three north Florida communities host fests saluting the juicy fruit that offers a “smile with every slice.” Too much? We’ll stop with the kitchen towel sentiments and get down to the nitty gritty.
· 65TH ANNUAL CHIEFLAND WATERMELON FESTIVAL: Chiefland’s annual fete kicks off with local farmers sowing the seeds in early March. Some watermelon varieties that will be ripe for the tasting include Excursion, Captivation, Proxima and Estrella. Other than eating and crowning a pageant queen, there will be a parade and the Tour de Melon bike ride that allows participants to choose the Century Route (50-100 miles!) or shorter distances on the Rails-to-Trails routes (20-60 miles).
When: June 1
Web: chieflandwomansclub.org/watermelon-festival, tourdemelon.com
· 69TH ANNUAL WATERMELON FESTIVAL: This annual event represents a slice of downhome Americana family fun. Don’t get us started on the Great American Bed Race. We’re not talking about kind of bed, but flatbed carts. Teams of adults or teens (two pushers, one rider), build their “bed”, decorate it, don costumes and race their way through the streets of Monticello to be first to the finish line. Of course, there’s a 5K, car show, parade, pageant, dog and baby photo contests and watermelon. If you don’t think the Great American Bed Race is a major draw, maybe the Ultimate Air Dogs are more your thing.
When: June 1-7; 13-15
· PANHANDLE WATERMELON FESTIVAL: Yes, there will be plenty of watermelon to eat but the true star is the country music lineup and it’s all free. This year, Sara Evans’ big voice will be joined by William Michael Morgan, Jimmy Fortune and The Drummond Family. Also includes a 5K, classic car show and beauty pageant.
When: June 28-29
FERNANDINA BEACH PRIDE — Fernandina welcomes the LGBTQ+ community for their inaugural celebration of love, acceptance and equality. Saturday’s main event kicks off with a parade through the historic downtown followed by live music, speakers, an artist’s market, food vendors and a kid’s zone.
When: June 8-9
Where: Fernandina Beach
SWIMMING WITH THE BIG FISH — If you’re angling to reel in the big one, these Gulf Coast fishing competitions offer up both gorgeous Emerald Coast scenery and fun in the sun.
- FISHERMAN’S CHOICE YOUTH FISHING TOURNAMENT: These future anglers are not landing 100-pound amberjack or 50-pound pompano, but the winners’ smiles are just as huge as their adult counterparts at the end of this free, local tournament. Youths, ages 16 and under, are eligible to enter and will fish for either fresh or saltwater species. All entrants receive a t-shirt and are invited to attend a cookout.
When: June 8
- BILL HARGREAVES FISHING RODEO: This local Pensacola fishing tournament, now in it’s 49th year, had its beginnings as a family event which had a 25-cent entry fee and made $12.50 for the local Kiwanis club in the first year. Now, the fest’s purse is about $7,000 in the Open Division and includes an awards ceremony and Fish Fry on Father’s Day.
When: June 13-16
- EMERALD COAST BLUE MARLIN CLASSIC: The Blue Marlin Classic is the richest off-shore fishing tournament on the Gulf Coast. Last year’s event had a record-setting 91 boats and more than $2 million in cash awards. This year, the field should eclipse 100 teams which would mean a $2.5 million purse would be up for grabs. Huge payouts are awarded to top marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphin with daily weigh-ins at Baytowne Marina complete with live music, food and Friday night fireworks.
When: June 13-23
FLORIDA ANIMATION FESTIVAL — Several animated short films went viral in 2018 including director Domshee Shi’s weeper “Bao” which screened before Incredibles 2. The animation festival, hosted by the Tallahassee Film Society, gives animated film lovers a chance to enjoy over 75 animated shorts submitted from around the world. The festival also includes a kick-off party, filmmaking workshop and a family-friendly screening featuring only G-rated animated shorts.
When: June 13-16
Where: All Saints Cinema, Tallahassee
COUNTRY MUSIC FEST — It’s always a rockin’ time at Jax Beach’s oceanfront music pavilion and 2019 brings a new title sponsor, kickin’ new logo, new website and a lineup of chill country acts that fits the locale: Ryan Hurd, Tucker Beathard, Few Mile South, Soul Circus Cowboys and Second Shot Band. As always, the fest is free (unless you want VIP premium seating) and family friendly.
When: June 15
Where: Seawalk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach
26TH ANNUAL JAX BEACH LIFEGUARD CHALLENGE — You won’t see teams of lifeguards with perfect hair running in slow motion down the beach during this annual competition. Teams of lifeguards from Atlantic Beach to Miami will compete in fast-paced, hard-nosed relay event with Florida bragging rights at stake.
When: June 20
Where: Jacksonville Beach Lifeguard Station
XIV PAN-AM TAEKWON-DO I.T.F. GAMES — For the first time, the Pan-Am Taekwon-Do games will be held in the United States with Ocala’s ITF Taekwon-Do Academy acting as host. During the biennial competition, more than 5,000 athletes will compete in 36 sports and 400 events for gold, silver and bronze medals in various cities representing North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
When: June 20-23
ST. AUGUSTINE MUSIC FESTIVAL — Take a break from the seasonal deluge of jazz, funk, blues and country music fests to salute the world’s greatest composers — Schubert (Symphony No. 5), Mozart (Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major), Arnold Schoenberg (Transfigured Night), Beethoven (Septet in E flat major), Liszt (St. Francis Walking on the Waves) and many more — at this free classical music festival. Now in its 13th year, some of the festival’s announced featured musicians include violinist Nigel Armstrong, percussionists Kevin Ritenauer and Joseph Becker and members of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.
When: June 21-22, 27-29
Where: Cathedral Basilica, St. Augustine
28TH ANNUAL TALLAHASSEE MODEL RAILROAD SHOW & SALE — The next generation of conductors and model enthusiasts will be over the moon while exploring the 14 model train layouts complete with animation and enhanced technology. For model builders looking for the next gotta-have-it accessory for their collection, more than 40 vendors including Lionel, Walthers, Broadway Limited and Micro Trains will be selling new and used items from “Z” to “G” scale.
When: June 22
Where: North Florida Fairgrounds
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