March 1-3 THE 32nd ANNUAL ST. AUGUSTINE LIONS SEAFOOD AND MUSIC FESTIVAL will feature three days of fresh seafood, live music with such bands as Kickin’ Grass, Ancient City Slickers and the Stone Family Band and loads of family fun at 25 Castillo Drive next to the Visitor’s Center. Festival activities include a Euro bungee, rock wall, mechanical bull, mini Jet ride, slides, obstacle course, funny-farm house, bounce house, bumper boat ride and a human hamster water ball. Vendors will cook up delicious, fresh seafood concoctions, and crafters will be on hand to display their goods. Admission is $2 for adults. Children 12 and under get in free. Festival hours are 3 to 9 pm Friday, 10 am to 9 pm Saturday and 11 am to 5 pm Sunday. www.lionsfestival.com
March 2 NIGHT FEST AT THE ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE & MUSEUM is a celebration of historic preservation, community gatherings and family outings from 5:30 to 9:30 pm at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Activities include boat building, a crafts tent, shipyard play area and a special presentation on navigating by the stars. In addition, a local cooking contest will be featured with voting by festival attendees. www.staugustinelighthouse.org
March 9-10 – THE ST. AUGUSTINE CELTIC HERITAGE AND MUSIC FESTIVAL celebrates the sounds of the ancient Celtic peoples of Scotland and Ireland at Francis Field on Castillo Drive. Find the Celt in you as you take in the sights, sounds and tastes of centuries of European history. Celtic clans from around the world show their ancestral pride; Highland games athletes demonstrate their strength; the St. Patrick’s Day Parade marches through the streets of the Oldest City’s Historic District; vendors offer up Celtic cuisine and handmade crafts, and Scottish and Irish bands playing both traditional tunes and modernized renditions of the ancient Celtic music appear live on stage throughout the two-day festival. Artists include the Scots-born Albannach, Ireland’s Dublin City Ramblers, and Jacksonville Beach’s own Rathkeltair and Spade McQuade & the Allstars. General admission tickets are $5. Military and kids under 12 are free. A $40 VIP package includes two days’ admission, two free beer or wine, a commemorative t-shirt, tented VIP seating, restrooms and bar access. Festival hours are 11 am to 10 pm March 9 and noon to 6 pm March 10. Gates open at 11 am. www.celticstaugustine.com
March 9-10 THE 68TH ANNUAL ORCHID SHOW is presented by the Jacksonville Orchid Society from 10 am to 5 pm at the Garden Club of Jacksonville, 1005 Riverside Avenue. The event will feature door prizes and a raffle, gardening tips, displays of the most exotic orchids and more. Admission is free. www.jaxorchidsociety.com.
March 10 Founded by the Jacksonville-based not-for-profit organization Natural Life for Children, the 2013 COMMUNITY FIRST NATURAL LIFE FESTIVAL benefits local children’s charities. The family-friendly event will be held from 11 am to 6 pm at Metropolitan Park and features live music from indie folk artists Martin Sexton, Field Report, Swear and Shake, Sugar and the Hi-Lows, Lera Lynn and Harry Wagons. The event is free and open to the public.
March 22-23 The West Nassau Historical Society presents the 2013 RAILROAD DAYS FESTIVAL at the historic 1881 Callahan Train Depot and nearby 1856 Florida Railroad bed. The event kicks off at 1 pm Friday with the opening ceremony and raising of the flag and will continue with live music, kid’s activities and art and crafts. There will be a featured exhibit of historic photographs of the 75th anniversary of the pulp mills. The Railroad Days Parade will begin at 11 am Saturday with live music, a classic car show and an exhibit of classic steam engines, tractors and trains in the depot, as well as model trains in the annex. Visit the West Nassau Historical Society for more information at www.wnhsfl.org.
March 22-24 PASEO PASTEL: ST. AUGUSTINE CHALK WALK FESTIVAL will feature the works of more than 70 artists on the sidewalks between the historic downtown parking facility and Visitor Information Center. The artists will use the 500-year-old art form of chalking to express the rich history of the Oldest City. The event is free. www.staugustinechalkwalk.com
March 23 THE 24th ANNUAL METRO PCS SEAFOOD FESTIVAL is the unofficial opening of the beach season, beginning at noon Saturday, March 23 at the SeaWalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach. The free event offers live music with the Dirty Gringos, the Top Secret Band, The Yankee Slickers, Who Rescued Who, Toots Lorraine, The Steepwater Band and Sons of Bill. There will also be fresh seafood, a festival marketplace, a surf contest and plenty of family fun. wwwgreatatlanticmusicfest.com
April 5-7 Three days of free, live blues on the oceanfront is just around the corner with the approach of the 24th ANNUAL GEORGE’S MUSIC SPRINGING THE BLUES FESTIVAL. As Florida’s Largest Free Outdoor Blues Festival, this internationally recognized musical event celebrates America’s indigenous music form with three days of blues performers from all over the United States. Featured artists include the Cedric Burnside Project, Zac Harmon, EG. Kight, The Lee Boys, Victor Wainright and the Wild Roots, Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown and more. Families can enjoy arts and crafts, kids’ games and rides, the South’s best barbecue, Florida seafood, a 5k Beach Run and Walk and the Surfing the Blues surf contest. www.springingtheblues.com
April 5-7 RHYTHM AND RIBS FEST brings the best bands and BBQ together for an outdoor weekend event at St. Francis Field behind the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center. The festival welcomes The Corbitt Brothers Band, The Lee Boys, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, JJ Grey and Mofro and Swamp Cabbage, as well as award-winning barbeque from seven regional and national champions. Arts and crafts, kid’s rides and activities will also be on hand. Tickets are $2 for adults from 4 pm to 10 pm Friday, 11 am to 3 pm Saturday and 11 am to 6 pm Sunday. Tickets are $5 from 3 pm to 10 pm Saturday. Children 13 and under are free. www.rhythmandribs.net
April 6-7 More than 100 artists nationwide will transform historic San Marco into a booming outdoor gallery during the 14th ANNUAL SAN MARCO ART FESTIVAL, held from 10 am to 5 pm at 1971 San Marco Boulevard. Original artwork, paintings, sculptures, photography, glass, wood, jewelry, collage and mixed media pieces will be on display and for sale. The event is free and open to the public. Call 561-746-6615 or go to www.artfestival.com.
March 30-31 The 45th ANNUAL MANDARIN ART FESTIVAL returns Easter weekend, hosted by the Mandarin Community Club. As a local not-for-profit, the Mandarin Community Club is the founding organization of the Mandarin Art Festival. A Green Market will also be held in Billiard Park, adjacent to the club grounds at 12447 Mandarin Road. Call 268-1622 for information.
April 6 The 4th ANNUAL ART & ABOUT event will be held event from 10 am to 5 pm at the Orange Park Community Hall. The event features art and music and will celebrate the Guild’s 40th Anniversary. There will be many KidTivities to entertain families and a raffle with a huge variety of prizes to choose from. The event is a fundraiser awarding $1000 in scholarship monies to local high school students intending to study art in college. www.artguildoforangepark.com
April 18-20 THE 2013 WANEE FEST welcomes The Allman Brothers Band and Widespread Panic for two nights of music at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak. The lineup also features Govt Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Tower of Power, Leon Russell and many more. Tickets start at $195 and include three days of music and primitive camping, food, vendors and the beauty of the music grounds. www.waneefest.com
April 26 – RAPID MEDIA’S 8th ANNUAL REEL PADDLING FILM FESIVAL showcases the best paddling films of the year in 10 categories, as well as food and beverages from Sweetwater Brewing Company. It is held at 7 pm Friday, April 26 at the Museum of Science and History, 1025 Museum Circle. Featured musicians include Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Sol Driven Train and Dangermuffin. The event is designed to encourage the exploration and appreciation of our waterways. A $10 suggested donation at the door will benefit the St. Johns Riverkeeper. Tickets are available at Subaru of Jacksonville, 10800 Atlantic Blvd. or at www.rivercitychallenge.org.
April 27-28 The 3rd annual WELCOME TO ROCKVILLE has grown into a two-day event held along the St. Johns River at Metropolitan Park. Headliners include Alice in Chains, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shinedown and the return of Limp Bizkit. Also acts include Three Days Grace, 3 Doors Down, Papa Roach, Buckcherry, Stone Sour, Asking Alexandria and many more. Two-day general admission tickets are $99.50 with single day tickets for $54.50 plus service fees and are available at www.welcometorockvillefestival.com or TicketMaster outlets.
April 27 THE JOSEPH A. STRASSER BUTTERFLY FEST is a family event that teaches the importance of preservation and conservation from 10 am to 4 pm at Tree Hill Nature Center, 7152 Lone Star Road. The event features a butterfly house, live music, free children’s crafts, food and drinks and closes with a live butterfly release at 3:30 pm if weather permits. A free shuttle to off-site parking is available. www.treehill.org
May 1-4 THE SUWANEE RIVER JAM will feature three days of live music at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak. Performers include Sheryl Crow, Easton Corbin, Florida Georgia Line, Rodney Atkins, Randy Houser the Eli Young Band and more. Single day tickets range from $40-$50. www.suwaneeriverjam.com
May 3-5 The Gamble Rogers Folk Festival brings the best in folk and Americana music together at this annual three-day celebration of the music, stories and dance that made Gamble Rogers famous, held at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. On Friday, enjoy the First Friday Art Walk hosted by various galleries in downtown St. Augustine and featuring festival performers. A stage will set up at the city marina located at the base of the Bridge of Lions. On Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 10 pm, performers will take to several stages throughout the day at the Amphitheatre. Tickets will be available for single venue shows and in a variety of packages, including an all-access weekend pass. For more information, call 904-794-4163 or go to www.gamblerogersfest.org.
May 3-5 THE ISLE OF EIGHT FLAGS SHRIMP FESTIVAL celebrates its golden anniversary along Centre Street in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. What started as a competitive race between shrimp boats and their captains in 1964 has evolved into a premiere weekend event with family activities, live entertainment, arts and crafts and delectable feasts from the sea (from shrimp quesadillas to shrimp pie). Pirates will roam the streets and guests can enjoy the Fleet and Best Decorated Shrimp Boat Contest and Parade on Sunday. The complete schedule of events is available at wwwshrimpfestival.com.
March 8-9 Get your knees up and get ready for the 3rd annual SWAMPTOWN GETDOWN MUSIC FESTIVAL at the Okefenokee Fairgrounds in Waycross, GA. The festival is a celebration of music from all over the South-east with Country, Indie Rock, Bluegrass, Americana, Jam and everything in between, with Chroma, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Freddy’s Finest, The Forty-Fives, Emily Morris, Dixie Wreck and many more. Participating vendors specialize in a variety of arts and crafts, unique handmade soaps, incense, clothing and jewelry. Grab a bite of gator tail at the food vendors, and take a look at some of the custom-lasered creations available, or request one of your own. Expect nightfall to bring a lively experience that usually culminates in a campfire picking session. Advance weekend passes are available for $40. Children 12 and under are free. www.stgdfest.com
May 24-26 The best regional and national folk artists join the FLORIDA FOLK FESTIVAL at the Stephen Foster Culture Center State Park in White Springs. The weekend event will include traditional crafts, workshops, folk dancing, food, a folklife area, Seminole Camp, a banjo and fiddle contest and a children’s area. Adult admission is $20 for a single day ticket, $40 for a weekend pass. Admission for children ages 6 to 16 is $4 for all three days, and 6 and under are free. Information is available at www.floridastateparksorg/folkfest and toll free at 877-635-3655.
May 23-26 Downtown Jacksonville sets the stage for the JACKSONVILLE JAZZ FESTIVAL with performances on multiple stages with BWB featuring Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown, Euge Groover, Poncho Sanchez, Gerald Albright and Gregory Porter. The festivities also include the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, May 23 at the Florida Theatre. Enjoy live jazz on the Swingin’ Stage on Monroe Street between Main and Ocean, the Groovin’ Stage at Hemming Plaza and the Breezin’ Stage at the Jacksonville Landing. Stroll through the Art in the Heart of Jacksonville exhibits in Ceramics, Digital, Drawing, Fiber, Glass, Jewelry, Mixed Media, Painting, Sculpture and Wood. Enjoy a trip through the Jacksonville Jazz Fest Hall of Fame, and take in the up-and-comers at the Youth Jazz Talent Showcase, a live talent competition open to young jazz singers and musicians. The winner will receive a savings bond toward their continued music education, school tuition or private lessons. Finalists will perform at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival on Saturday, May 25. Winners will be selected by a panel of music adjudicators who specialize in the art forms of traditional and contemporary jazz and blues. Preferred seating and VIP packages are available at 630-3690.