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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Florida’s Feast of Festivals - Part 1

Any visitor to Florida will be aware of the abundance of entertainment available, especially in the Orlando area. Here can be found the more obvious attractions including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, Sea World and many more. However, the average tourist will be unaware of the slightly lower key entertainment that is to be found away from the bright lights of Orlando.

Florida is home to a myriad of festivals; in fact it would be hard to visit Florida at a time when there is not one to visit!

January features the Ocklawaha Shootout, a re-enactment of the 1935 shootout in Ocklawaha, near Ocala, between the FBI and Kate “Ma” Barker and her son Fred. In the original incident it is estimated that some 3, 500 bullets were used by the FBI before the Barkers were eventually pronounced dead. Or maybe visit the “Alafia River Rendezvous” – an annual event where up to 1600 participants live in ‘lodges’, portraying and demonstrating the skills of various Early American cultures, including Native American, British, Spanish, Irish and Scots.

At the end of February and into March the Annual Florida Strawberry Festival is held at Plant City. This fair is reminiscent of an English County Fair, with exhibitions of livestock, arts, agriculture, and of course ‘strawberries’! There is a fairground and live music events on most days and a host of competitions, including a Strawberry Stemming Contest and the Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest.

In April St Petersburg, near Tampa, hosts its annual Beach Arts Festival at the downtown waterfront. Over 200 exhibiting artists from all over the United States have their art on sale at the two-day event, which combines visual and performing arts along with opportunities for children to take part in a variety of activities. There is a delicious array of culinary arts to be sampled as well and there is no cost to the public to view the show. Also nearby in April is the Annual Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival held over a weekend at Spring Bayou.

The highlight of May in Clearwater in the Annual Fun ’N Sun Festival which features a variety of outdoor sports events, including a 5k sponsored run and a 1 mile fun run, a two-day jazz festival and the Florida Orchestra concert and firework display.

The city of Clermont, west of Orlando, sees the Lakeridge Winery holding its Annual Harvest Festival in June. Here visitors can enjoy great food along with excellent wine, live entertainment, and arts and crafts activities. If you wish to take part in the grape stomping put your name down early and you' re sure to have a memorable experience.

I have given you just a taste of what west-central Florida alone has to offer in the first half of the year. Watch out for part two…. . coming soon!

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Page added on: 6 February 2009
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