ARTS & CRAFTS BONANZA – The season kicks into high gear in October with -- count ’em -- five major fests and fairs in SoFla. You’ll get to see work by some of the finest artists, crafters and photographers in the country – all in beautiful downtown settings with superb shopping, eateries and watering holes. Here’s the lineup: Annual Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival, Downtown Boca Raton Art & Craft Festival, Annual Downtown Stuart Craft Festival, Annual Las Olas Art Fair in Fort Lauderdale and the Annual Downtown Sarasota Art & Craft Festival.
ANNUAL FANTASY FEST – Leave the young’uns at home and head for this non-stop, adult-themed mega-party, featuring lavish floats, parades, costume and masking competitions (one for pets, too!), street fairs, island bands and great food. Book your table early for the extravagant and outrageous ANNUAL HEADDRESS BALL, Fantasy Fest’s premier gay and lesbian event.
Where: Where else but Key West (various locations)
Web: fantasyfest.com and headdressballkeywest.com
MIAMI ATTRACTIONS MONTH – It’s the ultimate BOGO: Enjoy an amazing array of Miami’s best attractions on a buy-one, get-one-free basis or some other form of serious discount. Attractions include, among others: Zoo Miami, Monkey Jungle, Miami Seaquarium, the Biltmore Hotel, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Miccosukee Indian Village and Jungle Island.
Where: Throughout Miami
FAIRCHILD’S ANNUAL BIRD FESTIVAL – Birders of all ages will be all a-peep over this event. The festival kicks off with two days of tours at the best SoFla bird habitats. Then it’s back to Fairchild for bird walks, an amateur bird photo contest and exhibit, and a sale of bird-attracting plants.
Where: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami
CARIBE ARTS FEST – This one has it all – art, film, yummy food, music (two stages featuring salsa, reggae, Afro funk, soca and jazz), poetry readings, workshops and a kids’ zone. It showcases multi-media creations representing and encompassing the culture, essence and creativity of the Caribbean and the Americas.
Where: Little Haiti Cultural Complex, Miami
PALM BEACH HOME SHOW – Thinking of remodeling? Hundreds of experts will be on hand under one roof to give you great ideas. This one has it all: windows, flooring, cabinets, patios, spas, landscaping, home entertainment and much more.
Where: Palm Beach County Convention Center, West Palm Beach
SOUTH BEACH SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Help kick off the annual Stone Crab season and enjoy a myriad of other seafood celebrations prepared by Miami’s top chefs and restaurants. Also: live bands, culinary and mixology demonstrations, a kids’ zone, health village and VIP hospitality benefits. An added bonus: a sports bar on the sand showing the best college football matchups.
Where: Between 7th and 9th Streets on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach
ANNUAL DING DARLING DAYS – Enjoy a week of fun eco-activities in this great national wildlife refuge. Features free tours (via tram, foot, kayak and paddle boards), birding and kids crafting. Don’t miss the Endangered Species & Wildlife life-size puppets presentation, featuring Heather Henson, daughter of Muppets creator Jim Henson.
Where: J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island
FESTIVAL MIAMI – Hosted by the University Of Miami Frost School Of Music, one of Florida’s premiere live music festivals will present a series of eclectic concerts featuring international guest artists, master faculty artists and award-winning student ensembles.
Where: Various venues at the University of Miami
SALTY SAM’S 10TH ANNUAL PIRATE FESTIVAL – Come one, come all, you mateys! Don’t miss the annual two-day, all-things pirate party. Enjoy live concerts or watch a pirate ship canon battle. Wear your best pirate garb and you could win some serious booty. Also features the Pub & Grub Crawl.
Where: Fort Myers Beach Seaport
HUMPHREY BOGART FILM FESTIVAL – This annual gathering always a different theme and includes the very best of Bogie films. Besides the flicks, other activities are: cocktail receptions, round table discussions and tours on the original African Queen.
Where: Various locations in Key Largo
BRAZILIAN FESTIVAL OF POMPANO BEACH – Get your Brazilian boogie on at this annual fest. Two stages will feature internationally-known Brazilian bands and solo performers and also the best of the local bands. Much more, too: a kids’ zone, skate board competition, more than 100 vendors and exhibitors and mouth-watering Brazilian food.
Where: Pompano Beach Community Park in Pompano Beach
CINEMA ITALY MIAMI -- In addition to ten full-length features competing for the Best Film award, this six-day film festival is chock full of activities, including opening and closing night parties, after-show parties every night, dinners, cocktail parties, documentaries, tributes, free screenings and short films.
Where: Regal Cinema and various other locations in Miami Beach
SARASOTA PUMPKIN FESTIVAL – Orange is the new Sarasota, as the city hosts its all-things pumpkin weekend. Features include: pumpkin patch, pumpkin maze, carnival rides, pie-eating contests, hay rides, 100 live shows, kids’ zone, Live Ninja Turtle show, pony rides, petting zoo, circus and a tricky-dog show.
Where: Payne Park, downtown Sarasota
ANNUAL KITEOBER FEST – Hey, go fly a kite! Or, just go watch as the sky over Miami Beach displays a marvelous array of colors and figures from hundreds of kites, wind socks and wind spinners of all sizes. Don’t miss the 100-foot flying squid! Also included: Live music, paper-kite building classes, demonstrations, and competitions for kids and adults.
Where: Haulover Park, Miami Beach
STONE CRAB FESTIVAL – After kicking off with the cracking of the stone crab at pincher’s crab shack, the weekend unfolds with block parties, live music, crafts, kids’ activities and plenty of succulent stone crab.
OKTOBERFEST I – Beer! Bratwurst! Butt-kicking live music! Kids activities! Bavarian beauties! More beer! Two big weekends of fun!
Where: American German Club of the Palm Beaches, Lake Worth
OKTOBERFEST II -- Beer! Bratwurst! Butt-kicking live music! Kids activities! Bavarian beauties! More beer! Two big weekends of fun!
Where: German-American Social Club, Cape Coral