by erin thursby
THE FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL March 3- 13, Plant City, www.flstrawberryfestival.com. The biggest strawberry fest in the state. Arts and crafts, a ball and the crowning of the Strawberry Queen are all part of the festivities. Check the fest musical schedule to plan your fest day around listening to Kenny Rogers, .38 Special, The Judds, Clint Black, Chubby Checker, Billy Ray Cyrus and more!
17TH ANNUAL MARDI GRAS FESTIVAL & PARADE March 5, Historic downtown St. Marys, GA. Festival and parade will feature decorated floats and impressive costumes centered around the 2011 theme “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Rich in history and tradition, and this event has become a family favorite for locals and tourists alike. The celebration showcases exciting activities, including a chili cook-off, a parade, and over eighty vendors offering food, art and miscellaneous items. Music by A Touch of Grey. For more information on the Mardi Gras Festival contact (912) 882-7350 or (912) 552-0072. For more on the Great Camden County Chili Cook-Off go to www.teamchili.org
ANNUAL LIONS CLUB SEAFOOD FESTIVAL March 11- 13, Francis Field, St. Augustine, www.lionsfestival.com. This Winn-Dixie sponsored three-day event is a favorite throughout Northeast Florida and features tons of delicious seafood, affordable arts & crafts, outstanding music featuring Valerie Smith (Grammy nominated), Ernie Evans, Florida State Bluegrass Band, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine and Nashville artist April Phillips. $2/adult admission, children 12 & under free! Friday, 3 pm- 9 pm; Saturday, 10 am- 9 pm; Sunday, 10 am- 5 pm. No pets or coolers allowed on festival grounds!
SWAMPTOWN GETDOWN MUSIC FESTIVAL March 11-12, Okefenokee Fair Grounds, Waycross, GA, www.swamptowngetdown.com.
This two-day music fest features Jacksonville’s the Fritz band along with some 20+ others. Camping is available, children under 12 get in free and a two-day festival pass will only set you back $20. Read more on page 17.
THE ST. AUGUSTINE CELTIC MUSIC AND
ARTS FESTIVAL March 11- 17, Colonial Spanish Quarter and various locations in Historic Downtown St. Augustine, www.romanzafl.org. Top shelf traditional and contemporary international performers highlight authentic Celtic performing arts with Celtic bands from Spain, Ireland, New York, Orlando and the First Coast.
WILD AZALEA FESTIVAL March 19, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, www.floridastateparks.org/stephenfoster/events.cfm. Join the Town of White Springs and the State of Florida’s Nature & Heritage Center as they celebrate the spring bloom of wild azaleas along the Suwannee River. The festival features musical performances, arts and crafts, trail hikes and other outdoor recreational opportunities. Native plants, including wild azaleas will also be for sale. The event is sponsored by the Nature & Heritage Tourism Center and the White Springs Special Events Committee. 9 am- 4 pm. Free. For more information, call (386) 397-4461.
CELTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL March 18- 20, Ormond Beach, www.ormondcelticmusicfestival.com. Twenty-five Celtic performers, pipers and dancers will entertain continuously on two stages. A jam tent and workshop is open to all who wish to bring their instruments. Dining choices include fish and chips, scones, haggis, American food, Thai and gourmet foods from around the world. Beer and wine garden is sponsored by S. R. Perrott with choices of domestics and around the world. The Celtic Music Festival will kick off on March 18th with a 7 pm concert at Performing Arts Center of Ormond Beach featuring Acoustic Eidolon and Legacy and Irish Dance Troupes. The festival opens on Saturday, March 19th from 10 am- 10 pm at Rockefeller Gardens at 25 Riverside Drive in historic Downtown Ormond Beach. Sunday March 20th 10 am- 5 pm. Admission is $5 and children under 12 free. $2 admission coupons are available at Downtown businesses. Ticket information (386) 676-3375
HERB FESTIVAL March 19, Glynlea Grace United Methodist Church, 6429 Atlantic Blvd.
Jacksonville Herb Society’s 18th Annual Herb Festival. Herbs, soaps & lotions (for people and pets!), food and arts & crafts. Members will be available to answer questions about growing, harvesting and uses of herbs.
GREAT ATLANTIC SEAFOOD FESTIVAL March 19, Sea Walk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach, www.jaxbeachfestivals.com. Enjoy Florida, Louisiana, and Key West seafood cooked every possible way, Zydeco, jazz, blues, a fashion show, kid’s rides and games and a 5K run, plus a crafts market. Music starting at noon with Grandpa’s Cough Medicine followed by Rocco Blu, Chroma, Simplified, the Honey Island Swamp Band and kLob. The Great Atlantic Surf Festival will bring local and national surf champions together to compete in over 16 divisions on March 19 and 20.
SUWANNEE SPRINGFEST March 24- 27, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, www.musicliveshere.com. Camp, enjoy nature and some off-beat Americana bands. The Avett Brothers, Emmitt-Nershi, Travelin McCourys, Mosier Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Steep Canyon Rangers, Pangea with Michael Kang, Surprise Me Mr. Davis, the Motet, Tornado Rider, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Two Foot Level, Dread Clampitt, Greensky Bluegrass, Saltwater Grass, New 76ers and many more. Wanee Weekend tickets include general admission access to all performances and primitive camping on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Ticket is priced per person. No refunds. Tickets: $188.50.
MEGA CON March 25- 27, Orange County Convention Center Hall D, Orlando, www.megaconvention.com. The southeast’s largest annual comic book, science fiction/fantasy, anime, gaming, toys multi-media event. Stan Lee, William Shatner, comic book celebrities, costume events, robots, vendors and more! Single day tickets are $25. Kids 10 & under are free. See interview with comic illustrator and producer, Jimmy Palmiotti on page 20.
CLAY COUNTY AGRICULTURAL FAIR March 31- April 9, Clay County Fairgrounds, www.claycountyfair.org. Fair food, entertainment, an early Florida Village demo, exhibitions and more. Tickets: Adults $8, Seniors 65+ $5, Children 6-12 $5 and children under five are free.
GEORGE’S MUSIC SPRINGING THE BLUES April 1-3, SeaWalk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach, www.springingtheblues.com. Springing the Blues is a free outdoor music festival designed to celebrate America’s indigenous musical form and promote support of the arts. The three-day oceanfront event features a number of renowned blues performers as well as numerous displays and activities geared for the entire family. Headliners for 2011 include Toots Lorraine and the Traffic, the Lee Boys, Brethren, Michael Burks, Willie Green Blues Project and more! See interview with blues guitarist Eli Cook on page 19.
A TASTE OF ST. AUGUSTINE April 2, St. Augustine Amphitheatre, www.epiccommunityservices.org. St. Augustine’s finest restaurants will offer samples of their signature dishes as they compete for the coveted T.O.St.A. and People’s Choice Awards. Noon to 8 pm
JACKSONVILLE FINE ARTS FESTIVAL April 9- 10, Boone Park, avondaleartworks.com/jacksonville_fine_arts_festival. The Avondale Merchants Association, in conjunction with the Greater Jacksonville Cultural Council, Riverside Avondale Preservation District, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Avondale Artworks and many more community-minded organizations are pleased to announce the inaugural Jacksonville Fine Arts Festival. The festival will be held in Boone Park, within walking distance of the the Shoppes of Historic Avondale. Artists from around the U.S. will be in attendance, with original works in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastels, fine ceramics, photography, graphic art, metal work, original handmade jewelry, wood work and much more. Food for the festival will be provided by the mouth-watering restaurants of the Shoppes of Historic Avondale.
WANEE 2010 MUSIC FESTIVAL April 14-16, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, www.waneefestival.com. Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic, the Steve Miller Band, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeshi Band and more musicians will all be there. See the site for camping info and ticket prices.
RHYTHM & RIBS FESTIVAL April 15- 17, Francis Field, St. Augustine, www.rhythmandribs.net. The annual Rhythm & Ribs Festival features award-winning barbecue, great live music and children’s activities. This festival continues to grow each year and attracts music lovers and barbeque aficionados from all over the Southeast. Over 20,000 visitors come to enjoy the fun over the Festival weekend. This year’s headliner is JJ Grey and Mofro. Friday 5- 10 pm, Saturday 11 am- 10 pm, Sunday 11 am- 5 pm. Admission $2, except for Saturday after 3 pm, when it is $5.
BRADFORD COUNTY STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL April 16- 17, Downtown Starke, www.mainstreetstarke.com. So you missed the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City? Don’t cry, dry your eyes and schedule a drive to Starke, which has its own, smaller festival for these fabulous little fruits. See arts, crafts and more.
ANNUAL FLOWER & GARDEN EXPO April 16- 17, St. Johns County Agricultural Center, www.epiccommunityservices.org. This annual gardening extravaganza benefits EPIC Community Services. In addition to a wide variety of vendors offering beautiful and unusual plants, flowers, herbs and other gardening accessories, the Garden Club of St. Augustine offers a standard flower show and gourmet food. Also an exciting schedule of expert lecturers will be sharing information for making your garden grow. Tickets are $5 for a two day pass.
43RD ANNUAL MANDARIN ART FESTIVAL April 23- 24, Mandarin Community Club, www.artfestival.com/Festivals/Mandarin_Art_Festival_Jacksonville_Florida_April.ASPX. The Mandarin Art Festival storms back for its 43rd year. Artists from all over the nation will converge on this historic community on Easter Weekend. Art lovers from all over the area will be taking in gorgeous paintings, exquisite jewelry, handmade pottery, breath-taking photography, and larger then life sculptures. This great art fair will also have a kids art show, a one-of-a-kind green market, as well as a kids Easter egg hunt. There is an admission fee of $1 per visitor benefiting the Mandarin Community Club. Saturday & Sunday, 10 am- 5 pm.
SUWANNEE RIVER JAM April 27- 30, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, www.suwanneeriverjam.com. Country music artistry from Kelly Pickler, Luke Bryan, Ronnie Dunn, Gary Allan, Jerrod Neimann and more. Check out the website for camping and ticket options.
48TH ANNUAL ISLE OF EIGHT FLAGS SHRIMP FESTIVAL April 28- May 1, Downtown Fernandina Beach, www.shrimpfestival.com. The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival includes dozens of food booths featuring shrimp specialties. The Fine Arts Show has been ranked 38th in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine as part of their 200 Best Shows in the United States. Each year, the Festival is held in the historic Downtown Centre Street business district in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. The festival is a lively mixture of fun including an annual Pirate Parade and features juried fine arts and crafts show, antiques, live entertainment, Southwest Airlines Kids Korner, contests, pirates and more.
BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL April 30, Tree Hill Nature Center, www.treehill.org. The festival features a butterfly exhibit, games and activities for children, live entertainment, special lecturers, food and much more. Event from 10 am- 4 pm. Live Butterfly Release at 3:30 pm Special Festival Admission Pricing: Adults- $5, Seniors/Military/Students- $4, Children (4-17)- $3, Under 4- Free.
GAMBLE ROGERS FOLK FESTIVAL April 29- May 1, various venues St. Augustine, www.gamblerogersfest.com. Park in Downtown St. Augustine and enjoy this annual folk fest in various St. Augustine venues. After party at Creekside Dinery. See website for headliners and venues.
CELEBRATE ASIA May 7, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, www.celebrateasia.net
Do something interesting for Mother’s Day weekend! Taste Asian foods, see Asian celebs, dance and more! See article on page 21.
WELCOME TO ROCKVILLE FESTIVAL May 8, Metropolitan Park, www.welcometorockvillefestival.com. The first annual Welcome To Rockville festival will be held at Metropolitan Park. Featuring over 20 bands including Godsmack, Seether, Stone Sour, Theory Of A Deadman, Puddle of Mudd, Skillet, Halestorm, Rev Theory, My Darkest Days, Jacksonville’s own Cold and many others. The event will feature three stages of continuous music throughout the day. Tickets $39.50 or VIP ticket for $90.
THE ZELLWOOD SWEET CORN FESTIVAL May 14- 15, Zellwood, FL, www.zellwoodcornfestival.com. Memorial Day weekend thousands will pour into the tiny town of Zellwood to stroll the arts & crafts exhibits, listen to great entertainment, and enjoy all the sweet corn they can eat. This is great outdoor family fun- there is something for everyone. While Mom browses through the Arts & Crafts the kids can enjoy the amusement rides. There’s even a car and bike show for Dad! $10 advance, $12 at gate, $5 for kids from 6 to twelve, children 5 and under are free.
JACKSONVILLE JAZZ FESTIVAL May 26- 29, Main Street, Downtown Jacksonville & various locales, www.jaxjazzfest.com. Friday night at the 2011 Jacksonville Jazz Festival will mark the beginning of incredible jazz performances on multiple stages in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville. The Wine Down Tasting Experience and the Art in the Heart Downtown juried art show and sale will also be open along with jazz exhibits and displays to start the festival weekend.
FLORIDA FOLK FESTIVAL May 27- 29, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, www.floridastateparks.org/stephenfoster/events.cfm. Enjoy the diversity of Florida’s culture and history when its residents share their food, music, dance, stories, crafts and work life. Visit Seminole family camp, watch the state fiddling contest and savor ethnic food and church supper favorites. Pets are not allowed. Advance Tickets: One Day Adult- $20; Weekend Adult- $40; Chid Day (good all weekend)- $4. Advance tickets available for purchase March 15- May 20. Gate Tickets: One Day Adult- $25; Weekend Adult- $50; Child Day (good all weekend)- $5. For more information, call (386) 397-4331.