Florida has great events going on year round and here is a list of the 10 best annual events in Florida. There's an event for everyone, no matter what your age or interests!
- Gasparilla. Gasparilla makes the top of our list because of how unique it is to Florida. Also known as the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, what could possibly be more awesome? It is held in Tampa in late January and based on the legend of Jose Gaspar, a Spanish pirate who operated out of Florida. This festival is a must see and is complete with a children's extravaganza and a much more adult oriented night festival later in the week. You're sure to see lots of pirate costumes and even a 165 foot pirate ship in Tampa Bay. Gasparilla begins with a pirate invasion, in which the mayor gives Gaspar the key to the city and a pirate parade ensues. Don't be alarmed at the canons firing! As many say about the event, "only in Florida."
- Strawberry Festival. The Strawberry Festival is big event held in March in Plant City. There is lots to entertain, including fair rides, baby pig races, vendor booths, live music, the crowning of the Strawberry Festival Queen and of course strawberries prepared in all kinds of different ways! There are also concerts held by big name bands, however they do generally cost an additional entry fee. Some of the bands who have previously played the festival include Big & Rich, Josh Turner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, REO Speedwagon and many others.
- Florida State Fair. This event has many shows, music, rides, food and shopping for twelve days. It is held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. It is a salute to the best in the agricultural and equestrian industries.
- Bike Week. Bike Week is held annually in Daytona Beach between February and March. It attracts motorcycle enthusiasts of all types, from all over the country. This event is not at all recommended for kids and can be extremely dangerous. There are generally several deaths every year. Finding a hotel on short notice will be nearly impossible, so book early!
- Fantasy Fest. The Fantasy Fest is held every October in Key West. This is one crazy party and definitely not for children. It is basically a huge street party with a parade and lots of events, including a drag queen contest. There are tons of crazy costumes and generally lots of partial nudity and body painting. And there is always lots of alcohol.
- Spring Break. Thousands of people visit Florida every year for Spring Break. Some of the top destinations include Panama City Beach, Daytona Beach, Miami, Key West and Clearwater. There are tons of parties and events going on during the spring break weeks.
- Daytona 500. The Daytona 500 is a 500 mile NASCAR race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway. This is the most watched NASCAR race of the season. It is one of the four restrictor plate races on the schedule. Finding a hotel is definitely a challenge for race weekend as the city becomes packed with NASCAR fans.
- Renaissance Festival. The Bay Area Renaissance Festival is located in Tampa. It lasts several weekends and has tons of entertainment including medieval games and competitions, live music, comedy acts and lots more. There are different theme weekends such as Irish weekend, high seas festival and Italian Carnivale, just to name a few. One of the highlights of the event is the live, armored contact jousting.
- SPIFFS. SPIFFS is an international folk fair located in St. Petersburg and is the only of its kind in the United States. There is a parade, live performances, and vendors and food from different countries. It is enjoyed by people of all ages and is a great experience.
- Florida Citrus Festival. One of the largest industries in Florida is the citrus industry, so of course we have a citrus festival! It is held annually in Winter Haven. Exhibits showcase livestock, crafts, fine arts, horticulture and homemade goods–from sauce-soaked barbecue ribs to pies and custards made from fresh Florida fruit. Modern fun includes chili-cooking contests and the Miss Florida Citrus contest.
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