We’ll be changing the calendar to October in just a few days so it’s time to start looking for festivals and special events around Florida to celebrate in the coming weeks. Arts, crafts, music, bicycles, a ferry and of course food top the list of festivals taking place throughout the state.
Saturday, October 3rd
The month kicks off with a food event in honor of a fish. The Mim’s Mullet Festival serves smoked and fried mullet as well as barbecue and burgers surrounded by games, a car show, horse rides, a craft show, the battle of the bands and the highlight: the crowning of the Mullet Maiden.
In the first full week of the month, a diverse group of musicians representing all types of jazz will be performing as part of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival. In its 14th year, the festival includes swing, bebop, Dixieland, big band, Latin and contemporary musicians while raising funds for a scholarship program “to fund college educations for aspiring jazz musicians and works to provide a rich, diverse jazz offering to the Amelia Island area.”
In its 41st year, the Mount Dora Bicycle Festival takes place over the course of three days providing fourteen routes for cyclists to enjoy exploring beautiful Mount Dora. With over 600 miles of marked roads, there’s a ride for everyone.
The fourth annual Ferry Fest & Adventure Quest begins at 7:00am. Bands, food trucks, arts & crafts, a kid’s play area and a trivia challenge are part of the festivities planned to help raise awareness and funds to support the ferry linking Jacksonville to Ft. George Island.
October 23rd-November 1st
Looking for a Mardi Gras style event in the fall? Then the Key West Fantasy Fest is for you. Costumes and parades are the highlight of this ten day event with this year’s theme: “All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show”. Head to the state’s southernmost city for the wildest extravaganza of the season.
If you find yourself closer to the Panhandle than the Keys, or if you’re looking for a little less freaky, you might want to try the St. Marks Stone Crab Festival. In addition to stone crabs, this festival focuses on Forts, Flags and artiFacts! A Celebration of Archaeology and Heritage! The events run from 10:00-6:00 at San Marco de Apalache Historic State Park, and you may want to get there early since last year over 12,000 people attended.
Inverness celebrates the little turtle with a big heart at the Great American Cooter Fest held over three days in Inverness. The Cooter Fest features carnival rides, music, Cooter Cupcake Wars and a Cooter Princess Pageant.
The last weekend in October, FAFO hosts the 49th Annual Ocala Arts Festival in downtown Ocala. With free parking, free admission and free entertainment, children’s events, a school art exhibit and hundreds of artists displaying and selling their work, it makes this the place to start your holiday shopping.
Of course the theme parks are celebrating fall with Halloween Horror Nights in its 25th year at Universal Studios and Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream scaring guests while the Magic Kingdom at Disney World entertains a younger crowd with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. And for those interested in a more refined event, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival continues through the month of October.
Time to add a festival to the calendar.