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Annual Events

January

Edison Festival of Light
Centennial Park - Fort Myers
http://www.edisonfestival.org
The Edison Festival of Light is the biggest thing to hit Fort Myers all year. What started out as a tribute to famous citizen, Thomas Edison, has turned into three weeks of celebrations. The Festival starts with the Sailing Regatta and includes Science and Inventor Fairs, the City of Palms Block Party (USD5 fee), orchid shows, Gala Ball (USD12.50) and a three-day crafts festival along the river. The festival ends with fireworks and the longest night parade in Florida. Most events are free. Parking is hard to find.
(941) 334-2999

Viva Naples
This exciting annual event features a variety of Latin music, cuisine, and arts and crafts. Vineyards Community Park. For more information, call (239) 353-0404.

Gasparilla Pirate Festival & Parade
Bayshore Boulevard to Downtown Tampa
http://www.gasparillapiratefest.com
Since 1904, Gasparilla has been the event of the year in Tampa, a month-long festival of parades, floats, art shows, and concerts. The festival, named for pirate José Gaspar, begins when a mock pirate ship sails into Tampa Bay. Pirates-for-a-day leap off the ship and take over the city for a weekend of festivities that includes a Gasparilla Day Parade. Later in the month, events include the Festival of Lights, Gasparilla Run and Gasparilla Art Show. Admission to all events, except participants in the Art Show and marathon, is free.
(813) 251-4500

Outback Bowl
4511 North Himes Ave, Raymond James Stadium,Tampa
http://www.outbackbowl.com
This clash of the titans in college football takes place on New Year's Day, January 1, every year and has been doing so since the mid-1980s. Third-pick teams from the Big 10 and Southeast Conference of college football teams play for million dollar prizes. Kickoff is at 11am at the Raymond James Stadium. This game is the highlight of a weeklong celebration that includes New Year's Eve fireworks in Ybor City and Tampa, and a Beach Day celebration, complete with college cheerleaders, in Clearwater Beach. Game tickets are $45.
(813) 874-2695

Annual Mullet Festival at Stan’s Idle Hour
Goodland
Join Stan Gober for theannual mullet festival. Music by Stan Gober, Kevin Thomas and a country/variety band. Enjoy an arts and crafts fair, as well as fresh mullet dinners and other treats. (239) 394-3041.

The Naples Winter Antique Show
Ritz Carlton
941/775-3862

The Collier County Fair
Collier County Fairgrounds
941/353-4244

Evening on Fifth
Fifth Avenue South
941/435-3742

The Naples Boat Show
Naples Airport
941/430-4334

February

Edison Festival of Light
Centennial Park - Fort Myers
http://www.edisonfestival.org
The Edison Festival of Light is the biggest thing to hit Fort Myers all year. What started out as a tribute to famous citizen, Thomas Edison, has turned into three weeks of celebrations. The Festival starts with the Sailing Regatta and includes Science and Inventor Fairs, the City of Palms Block Party (USD5 fee), orchid shows, Gala Ball (USD12.50) and a three-day crafts festival along the river. The festival ends with fireworks and the longest night parade in Florida. Most events are free. Parking is hard to find.
(941) 334-2999

Greek Fest
8210 Cypress Lake Drive (Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church), Fort Myers
The place to find authentic moussaka and baklava is at the Greek Fest, held every year in February at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Besides homemade Greek food, the festival offers carnival rides, Greek arts and crafts, and lots of music and dancing. Admission is USD2 for adults, which automatically enters you in a prize raffle. Children are free. Bring cash, because food and crafts cost extra. Parking is free in three lots near the church and there's a shuttle. Wheelchair visitors can be dropped off in front.
(941) 481-2099

Senior Games
Seniors compete in events including basketball, bowling, golf, softball, 5-K walk, billiards, table tennis, lawn bowling, croquet golf, bridge, shuffleboard, swimming and track & field. (239) 353-0404

Everglades Seafood Festival
Everglades City’s annual seafood festival featuring fresh- from-the-boat fish, shrimp and stone crab claws, Native American cuisine, arts & crafts and live country music. (239) 695-3941

Naples Winter Wine Festival
Annual fundraising event features private dinners with tops chefs and vintners and a wine auction to benefit Naples children’s charities.
(239) 514-2239


March

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Greater Naples
Noon-midnight, McCabe’s Irish Pub, downtown Naples on Fifth Avenue South. Traditional Irish entertainment, food, drink and fun! (239) 403-7170.

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Greater Naples
Downtown Naples

Dig The Arts
Greater Naples
Annual festival celebrating the arts, including sand sculpture competition, arts & crafts show, fine arts show and more. Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach.
(239) 263-8242.

Sanibel Shell Fair and Show
2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island
http://www.sanibelcommunityhouse.org
Sanibel Island offers some of the best beaches in the world to find seashells. Every March, the island salutes the shells with the annual Sanibel Shell Fair and Show. The shell fair is the world's largest and longest running. Experts and novices compete, and local students help explain live shells. You can watch shell artists at work and purchase shells and shell crafts. Food and drinks are available. A USD3 donation gets you into the juried show, with scientific and artistic categories. Bring cash.
(941) 472-2155 or (941) 472-0124

Sanibel Music Festival
http://www.sanibelmusicfestival.org
2050 Periwinkle Way (Sanibel Congregational Church), Sanibel Island
Classical music fans enjoy three weeks of live concerts at the annual Sanibel Music Festival, held every March at the Sanibel Congregational Church. The motto is "Save March for Music." Concerts include new and established artists performing between seven and nine concerts. It offers chamber music, opera, piano, string quartets and a children's concert. Single tickets go on sale January 15 at Bailey's and Macintosh Bookshop. Only checks are accepted. Subscriptions are available, and subscribers receive priority on single tickets.
(941) 336-7999

Marco Island Craft Art
394-4221,

Greater Naples COUNTRY JAM
Vineyards Community Park, Naples. Top national country entertainers, local country acts, carnival rides, and carnival games, a petting zoo, pony rides, a rock wall, a mechanical bull and plenty of food. (239) 353-0404

Art in the Park Show at Cambier Park
Greater Naples
262-6517,

April

Art in the Park at Cambier Park
Greater Naples
262-6517, www.naplesartcenter.org


River & Blues Festival
Centennial Park (Edwards Drive), Fort Myers
The perfect way to spend a day is the River & Blues Festival held in April in Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers. Local bands perform, and the local chapter of the Florida Restaurant Association provides food. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Harry Chapin Foodbank. Admission is USD5, children under 10 free. There are a limited number of metered parking spaces in front of the park and several lots and garages in the area (bring cash). There is also parking under the Caloosahatchee River Bridge.
(941) 334-7007

Bay Area Renaissance Festival
400 Central Park Drive (off East Bay Drive), Largo
http://www.renaissancefest.com/bay-area.htm
Knaves and wenches of the Bay Area join this festival in Largo for a day of roguish frolic. Dine on gourmet treats. Eight stages feature jugglers, magicians, fire-eaters and specialty acts. Armored knights joust twice daily and human chess pieces are moved around an enormous game board while minstrels, maidens faire, peasants, fools and royalty mingle amid 100 shops exhibiting jewelry, pottery, leather, artwork, footwear, glass, clothing, furniture and sculpture. Operating on weekends, the festival charges admission of $12.95 for adults, $5.95 for children, with seasonal passes available.
(727) 586-5423 or (800) 779-4910

Teddy Bears Tea Party.

Teddy Bear Museum of Naples. Wear your finest Easter bonnet and enjoy a full English tea party with the bears. Three sittings, 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Reservations required. $20 adults, $15 children. 866-365-BEAR.

May

Great Dock Canoe Race
Greater Naples
Annual canoe race pitting teams against each other on Naples Bay. Prizes for best decorations according to annual theme. (239) 263-9940

Taste of Collier
Annual street fair in downtown Naples featuring food from area restaurants, the annual Waiter/Waitress Games, music and more.


Fun 'n Sun Festival
Various locales in the town of Clearwater
This celebration of summer happens in May and draws as many as 100,000 fans to the beach. Among the attractions are concerts by local artists, sports competitions and plenty of food. All events are organized separately but choreographed to occur during the same period. Arts and Crafts are a major feature with shows and demonstrations. Face painting for the kids is popular. Don't miss the illuminated Sun 'n Fun Night Parade, the highlight of the event. Call for event schedules and directions to parking. Admission to most events is free.
(727) 562-4804

June

AAU Grand Slam Junior Beach Volleyball Tournament
Marco Island
Tigertail Beach, Two-day tournament for boys and girls age 12-18. Fun for the whole family. (239) 353-0404

Taste of Pinellas
Straub Park, St. Petersburg
Come and taste specialties from more than 50 restaurants to help raise much needed funds for the All Children's Hospital.
(727) 892-4193

July

Fourth of July Celebration
Greater Naples
4th of July Parade
Downtown Naples. Fireworks show from Naples Pier

MangoMania
5120 Stringfellow Road (KOA Campground), St. James City
To celebrate the varieties of tropical fruit that grow in the area, Pine Island holds a MangoMania Tropical Fruit Fair every July, at the height of the mango harvest. You can buy and taste fruit, cookies, jams, desserts, and other foods made of fruit. There is live entertainment, including a Teen Stage and Kids Corner, and the world's largest mango contest. The fair is held at the KOA campground in St. James City. Admission is $5 for adults, free for children. Parking is free. Bring cash, and wear sunscreen.
(941) 283-0888

August

New Arts Festival
2267 First St (Arcade Theatre), Fort Myers
The New Arts Festival is a Fort Myers tradition. Held for 10 days every August, the festival salutes all types of visual and performing arts. Events include plays, concerts, shows, poetry readings, workshops, musicals and more. There are around 30 performances. Students travel from around the globe to study and participate, and famous dance and theater companies, like David Parsons Dance Company, perform. The events take place in different venues in Lee County, so call ahead to check location, price and availability of the event you are interested in.
(941) 939-2787

September

RUN, ROCK 'N' ROLL
Channelside Dr., Tampa
Running and in-line skating come together for this fun event.
(813) 230-1361

October

Guavaween Festival
Ninth Street, Tampa
Tampa's fondness for its guava trees gave birth to this festival that's celebrated just before Halloween. An all-day event, it focuses on mythical Mama Guava who's out to take the "bore" out of Ybor City with this wild street party. The celebration salutes children's costumes during the day, then after dark, costumed revelers keep the party going well into the wee hours. A highlight of the night is the early-evening Mama Guava Stumble Parade. Admission is $2 before 4pm, children in costume are free; after 4pm, admission is $8.
(813) 835-0200

Halloween Extravaganza and Fall Festival
7330 Gladiolus Drive (Lakes Park), Fort Myers
For a scary time, head to the Halloween Extravaganza and Fall Festival, held in Lakes Park the weekend before Halloween. On Saturday and Sunday, the fall festival runs from 9am-4pm, with cash prizes, carnival rides, food, children's activities, arts and crafts, and more. The Halloween funs kicks into gear with a non-scary Halloween walk from 5pm to 7pm and a scary walk from 7pm to 11pm. Admission to the festival is free; it costs USD4 for the walks, USD2 for the hayride and USD3 for the train ride. Bring cash.
(941) 461-7436

Downtown Naples Art Fair
In October, the city of Naples will awaken with anticipation and excitement when the 5th Annual Downtown Naples Art Fair returns. Artists from across the nation are preparing paintings, sculptures, photographs and more to exhibit their artwork on October 18th & 19th. 5th Avenue South will play host to this annual event offering beautiful shops and restaurants to add to the festival experience. The amount of artwork on display is estimated to be worth over $15,000,000. Show times are 10 am to 5 pm daily and admission is free. This year, over 200 artists will convene on 5th Avenue South to display a variety of mediums for all art enthusiasts to enjoy. On display will be wood sculptures, oil/acrylic/watercolor paintings, jewelry, glass, pottery, digital art and more. Art lovers of all tastes and budgets will be satisfied at this year’s festival. Every item on display is hand-crafted and designed by each exhibiting artist. Live musical entertainment will play throughout the weekend by nationally recognized musicians. And when hunger arises, sample the array of festival foods on sale throughout the festival. For more information, please call 5th Avenue South (239) 435-3742 or Howard Alan Events at (954) 472-3755.

25th Anniversary Exhibit of Florida Artists

Greater Naples
The von Liebig Art Center, (239) 262-6517

Wine Tasting Gala to Benefit Collier County Museum

Wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres at the Fresh Market
4120 Tamiami Trail North in Naples.
$25 per person. All ticket sales benefit the Collier County Museum.
(239) 774-8476

November

Taste of the Town
2100 Edwards Drive (Centennial Park), Fort Myers
Bring your appetite to Fort Myers' Taste of the Town. Held the first Sunday in November in Centennial Park, the festival attracts around 15,000 people and all of the area's top restaurants, like Iguana Mia and Prawnbroker Restaurant and Fish Market . Tickets cost USD4 in advance and go on sale a few weeks before the event at Publix and the Junior League of Fort Myers (located at 12995 South Cleveland Avenue). Tickets are USD5 at the gate. Children under 10 are free. Inside, you purchase tickets to spend on food and drinks.
(941) 277-1197

AVIATION DAY AT NAPLES MUNICIPAL AIRPORT
The event celebrates the 100th year of powered flight, the 60th year of the Naples Airport, and the commitment of service to Naples residents from aviation-related groups and over 35 businesses located at the airport. 941-643-0733

BLUE GRASS FESTIVAL AT THE COLLIER COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS
Entertainment by nationally known blue grass music entertainers, food and more. Contact Ann Ward, fair manager (239) 455-1444

December

Lighted Boat Parade
Intracoastal Waterway, St. Pete Beach
Enjoy an evening boat parade at the Intracoastal and St Pete Beach. The parade starts at Pass-A-Grill Way at dusk and finishes at the St. Pete Beach Yacht & Tennis Club at 9 PM.
(727) 363-9243

"Joy to Art"
Art League of Marco Island
(941) 394-4221

SNOWFEST
Golden Gate Community Park, Naples.
A winter wonderland complete with 60 tons of snow, “glice” ice skating, full-scale carnival, hands-on arts and crafts, food and arts and craft vendors and holiday entertainment—not to mention a visit from Santa.