Festivals in Florida

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Floridians are always looking for a way to show off their state's unique culture, and as a result, it seems like you can always find some kind of festival taking place. From seafood to strawberries, here are just a few of the biggest and best Florida festivals.

Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho actually means 8th Street in Spanish, and each year in March this street in the Little Havana area of Miami becomes the site of one of the largest parties in the state. Celebrating Hispanic heritage, Calle Ocho features a dominos tournament, a golf tournament, live entertainment with dancing in the streets and plenty of food and drink.

Fantasy Fest

Not for the faint of heart, Fantasy Fest, which takes place in Key West in late October, is Florida's version of Mardi Gras. The week-long celebration includes a street parade, a pet parade, various themed parties including a toga party at the world-famous Sloppy Joe's, a family-friendly Goombay Festival in Bahama Village and the coronation of the king and queen of Fantasy Fest.

Gasparilla Pirate Festival

The city of Tampa celebrates the landing of pirate Jose Gaspar in January or February each year with the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The festival features the "invasion" boat parade followed by a weekend of events including concerts, a children's parade, and a street parade along Hillsborough Bay.

Plant City Strawberry Festival

The town of Plant City, located about 25 miles northeast of Tampa, has been hosting the Strawberry Festival since 1930. The festival, which takes place in March, features a midway, live entertainment, a beauty pageant, livestock and agricultural exhibits, and of course, lots of strawberry food and beverage options.

Renaissance Festivals

On select weekends January through March, the South Florida cities of Deerfield Beach and Key Biscayne each hold the Florida Renaissance Festival. Entertainment includes magic, an archery demo, minstrels, a knighting ceremony and even real weddings! Renaissance Festival food and beverage offerings include turkey legs, Scotch eggs, ale and cider.

Seafood Festivals

With most of the state surrounded by water, Florida has far too many seafood festivals each year to list each here, but some of the best take place in Apalachicola in North Florida in November, Key West in January, Marathon in the Keys in March, Marco Island in Southwest Florida in March, Pompano Beach in South Florida in April and Pensacola in North Florida in September.

If traveling to attend any of these festivals, it is recommended that you make reservations for accommodations well in advance, as hotels do fill up quickly.

Contributors
March 17, 2010 new by amy.h
March 23, 2010 change by 2 many commas

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