SUNFEST – Join about 175,000 other attendees as music meets the water at the granddaddy of South Florida festivals. More than 50 top live acts will be on hand. Also: a juried art and craft show, three floating bar barges, fireworks and tons of kids activities.
Where: Flagler Drive, downtown West Palm Beach
VERITAGEMIAMI – This yearly event is brings together a who’s who of more than 3,000 food, wine, beer and spirits lovers, along with top sommeliers and notable chefs. Events include a fine wine tasting, craft beer tasting and an interactive dinner, at which a celebrity chef guides you and your guests to help make your own gourmet dinner.
Where: Various locations throughout Miami and Miami Beach
UPCYCLE! ART FEST – Artists from around the country will show their works at this fine arts & crafts festival that requires the use of repurposed and re-envisioned materials. Activities include a silent auction for an exclusive piece and a make-and-take craft session for kids and adults
Where: J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Visitor & Education Center, Sanibel Island
ANNUAL CONCH REPUBLIC INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION – The Florida Keys didn’t really officially leave the United States – or did they? Judge for yourself at this 10-day Conch Republic tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek birthday bash. Events include: a drag race (not cars), a wacky bed race, a light-hearted sea battle featuring tall ships and a cruiser car show.
Where: Various locations in Key West
BARRETT-JACKSON AUTO AUCTION – As one of the premiere collector-car auctions in the country, each year this event brings thousands of viewers to the Palm Beaches to view millions of dollars’ worth of classics. There’s more to see (and buy) than cars, too: dealership signs, hood mascots, gas pumps, racing posters and much more.
Where: Expo Center at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach
BALLOONS OVER PARADISE FESTIVAL – This annual event will feature 60 hot air balloons and all kinds of great entertainment. Also: yummy food, arts & crafts, tethered balloon rides, a classic car show, dog agility performances, a polo exhibition and an equestrian drill team performance.
Where: Seminole Tribe Youth Ranch, Immokalee
EASTER EVENTS – They’re hopping throughout SoFla in April (just Google any city and Easter events), but here are two that we really like: Bunny-Palooza at the Miami Seaquarium and the Underwater Easter Egg Hunt in Islamorada. Web: www.miamiseaquarium.com and fla-keys.com
DELRAY AFFAIR – It’s pedestrians only, so join the throngs who cram 12 city blocks and side streets for all kinds of fun: concerts, street entertainers, arts & crafts exhibitors, great food (don’t miss the conch fritters) and much, much more.
Where: Downtown Delray Beach
ROCK THE OCEAN TORTUGA MUSIC FESTIVAL –The sands of Fort Lauderdale will once again be transformed into an oceanfront multi-stage festival for music lovers and ocean lovers alike. The lineup always includes the very best country and country-rock bands.
Where: Fort Lauderdale Beach
HEINEKEN TRANSATLANTIC FESTIVAL – This annual event explores modern world music from the great cities of the Atlantic rim – Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America. It features artists working in the beautiful collision between traditional rhythms and electronica/DJ culture.
Where: North Beach Bandshell, Miami Beach
MIAMI BEACH GAY PRIDE – This annual event draws about 60,000 people land features more than 125 LGTB-friendly vendors, exciting celebrities, musical performances, parties, parades, refreshments, food and a family-friendly play area.
Where: Ocean Drive, between 5th and 15th Streets, Miami Beach
SOUTH BEACH COMEDY FESTIVAL – Be prepared to laugh yourself silly at this outstanding, if somewhat raunchy, gathering of top comedians.
Where: The Fillmore, Miami Beach
FAB FILM-FEST FOURSOME -- There are four film festivals of note in SoFla in April, two on the west coast (Sarasota Film Festival and Fort Myers Beach Film Festival) and two on the east coast (Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and Miami and the Beaches Environmental Film Festival).
Web: Respectively: www.sarasotafilmfestival.com, www.fmbfilmfest.com and www.mglff.com.
POMPANO BEACH SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Yummy food for sure – but so much more. There’s a craft fair and lots of great music, too.
Where: On and near the Pompano Beach Pier in Pompano Beach
REDLANDS BLUES & BARBECUE FESTIVAL – You can get award-winning BBQ, but there is a whole lot more: Miccosukee Indian alligator show, interactive Homestead Miami Speedway zone, bungee jumping, rock climbing and pony rides.
Where: Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead
CRAWDEBAUCHERY FOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL – A relative newcomer, it already is gaining a reputation as one of the best New Orleans-style festivals this side of Mardi Gras. Yummy food (po’boys, beignets, redfish, gumbo, etouffee, pralines, and jambalaya), great Zydeco music and a kids’ zone (face painting, jugglers, clowns, storytelling, interactive games and crawfish races).
Where: Pompano Beach Amphitheater, Pompano Beach
FORT PIERCE OYSTER FESTIVAL – Oysters Casino, Oysters Mexicali, oyster stew, grilled oysters, raw oysters, fried oysters. While oyster lovers get their fill, festival goers will also contribute to a better ecosystem as shells will be gathered for oyster reef restoration projects.
Where: Downtown Fort Pierce