Northeast Florida Festivals: Spring 2014

February 27-March 9 Strawberry Festival There will be a Strawberry Queen, a midway, and diverse live entertainment (rockers from STYX and violinist Shoji Tabuchi show the range of that diversity). Plant City,

February 28-March 2 Cathedral Festival  Includes a midway of rides, food, entertainment and more for the whole family. Adults are $5; children 11-17 and adults 65+ are $3; children under 10 and active duty military are free. In St. Augustine, on the Beautiful Prince of Peace Grounds, off San Marco Avenue, near the Giant Cross. 101 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine,

March 1 St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum’s Annual Night Fest Celebrate 140 years of light at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. In partnership with the Junior Service League’s Lighthouse 5k Run, this special event is a great night of fun for the whole family! Admission to the lighthouse is free from 4-9 pm. Explore the light station grounds, climb the 140-foot lighthouse tower and discover maritime history inside the Victorian-era keepers’ house. Kids will love the face painting, temporary tattoos, and other free activities. Snacks, sodas and beer will also be available for purchase in the lighthouse courtyard. Come out for the race and stay for the celebration!

March 7-9 St. Augustine Celtic Music Fest 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 mind-boggling strength. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade marches through the streets of the Oldest City’s Historic District, and vendors offer up Celtic cuisine.

March 15-16 Annual Orchid Show Show orchids, see orchids, buy orchids, or simply take in the beauty. Garden Club of Jacksonville, 1005 Riverside Avenue,

March 15 Metro PCS Great Atlantic Seafood Fest Great seafood, dozens of vendors and a Kids Play area make this annual beachfront festival the unofficial kick-off to another season of fun-in-the-sun. Great live music with Seven Nations, The Paul Lungren Band, Canary In The Coalmine, Split Tone, Jackson Vegas and Rathkeilter. Free event, noon until 10 pm. Post to Post Links II error: No link found for term slug "Seawalk Pavillion", Jacksonville Beach,

March 16 Community First Natural Life Music Festival Created as a way to give back to the Jacksonville community, the Natural Life Music Festival began in 2001 as Crafternoon, a community-crafting event led by Natural Life Founder and CEO Patti Hughes. Natural Life, then a small, home-based operation creating sentimental photo keepsakes, is now a thriving international retail enterprise offering an assortment of colorful clothes, fun accessories and unique gifts, all of which represent the company’s belief to inspire others to give, love, and laugh. The Natural Life Music Festival has followed a similar path. Produced by Natural Life for Children, a 501c3 organization, the festival raises funds for charity and offers a free, family friendly event for the community. Musical acts include The Willow Wacks, Grammy-nominated Della Mae, X-Factor finalist Rion Paige, Grammy-nominated Sarah Jarosz, Honey Honey and The Autumn Defense.

March 21-23 St. Augustine Lions 33rd Annual Seafood Festival Seafood, live bands, and art & crafts for the kids! Musical acts include: Bill Doyle Quartet featuring Linda Cole, Katherine Archer, Lonesome Bert & the Skinny Lizards, WestWend (from Knoxville, TN), Mayhem the Magnifico Magic Show, Go Get Gone and Collapsible B. Note: Arts & Crafts Village closes at Sundown. No pets or coolers allowed on festival grounds. $3 Adult Admission, Children 12 & under Free! Hours: Friday 3-9 pm; Saturday 10 am-9 pm; Sunday 11 am–6 pm. Francis Field at 25 Castillo Drive next to the Visitor’s Center in Downtown St. Augustine,

March 21-23 Mega Con It’s not just about comic books! Gamers, cosplayers, anime and more will be represented. Featured guests include Stan Lee and Will Wheaton. Orlando, FL,

March 28-29 Railroad Days Festival 2014 The Historical Society’s theme is aimed at the history of the railroad which opened up the interior of Nassau County and much of the rest of the wilderness of the south and west. David Yulee’s Florida Railroad began at new Fernandina, was finished through central Nassau County by mid-1856 and completed to Cedar Key by 1861.

March 29 North Florida Folk Network at RAM Riverside Arts Market (RAM), VIP Productions, and North Florida Folk Network (NFFN) present the 2nd annual NFFN day at RAM. Featured acts will be Charley Simmons, Road Less Traveled, Larry Mangum and Joey Kerr, and Dixie Rodeo. Performers on the Hilltop stage will be Tom Edwards, Jacob Creel, Side Track Duo, New Moon Ramblers and Hoobieu. Music from 10:30 am until 3:30 pm.

April 3-12 Clay County Fair A midway, agricultural fair and entertainment venue all rolled into one. Ronnie Milsap, The Swon Brothers and Kellie Pickler are part of the line-up. There will be pig races, and it will be adorable.

April 4-6 Rhythm & Ribs Award-winning Bar-B-Que from 7 regional and national BBQ champions, great live music, arts, crafts and vendors. Also games for kids, rides and activities. Francis Field at 25 Castillo Drive next to the Visitor’s Center in Downtown St. Augustine.

April 4-6 George’s Music Springing The Blues Festival In 1990, Sam Veal and a handful of friends held the first Springing the Blues Festival in a small pergola near the old Jacksonville Beach Flag Pavilion. The event featured six acts and lasted one day. Twenty-four years later, Springing the Blues Festival is one of the most highly anticipated music events in Florida. Held at the beautiful Seawalk Pavilion, today Springing the Blues features three days of performances by national, regional and local blues artists and attracts more than 150,000 fans to the shores of Jacksonville Beach. This year, there are 18 blues artists performing more than 40 hours of music on two stages. On Friday, April 4, Urban Parker Band, Brandon Santini, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Selwyn Birchwood. Saturday, April 5, brings Betty Fox, Woody & the Peckers, Jarekus Singleton, Moreland & Arbuckle, Diedre & Ruff Pro Band, Biscuit Miller, Shane Dwight and Victor Wainwright. Sunday, April 6, the festival wraps with John Miller & Baystreet, Mama Blue, Toots Lorraine & The Traffic, Eric Steckel, The Legendary JCs and The Lee Boys.

April 9-13 One Spark It’s the second year of this entrepreneurial festival. Each creator showcases their idea, the crowd votes, and investors look for the next big thing! See our infographic and article on page 14.

April 11-13 18th An[p2p type="post_tag" value="The Flower & Garden Exp"]nual Southeast US Boat Show[/p2p] Formally known as the Jacksonville spring boat show, the event includes live seminars, live music and the world’s most enthusiastic boaters. Hundreds of new boats and quality brokerage boats of all styles are displayed and available for purchase. The broad selection includes power boats, sailboats, yachts, kayaks and marine accessories. If you enjoy boating and sailing you must attend. Friday 10 am-8 pm, Saturday 10 am-8 pm, Sunday 10 am-6 pm. Tickets: $10 Adult; kids are free. GPS address: 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32202 (Plenty of close parking). Metropolitan Park & Marina.

April 12-13 Bradford County 16th Annual Strawberry Festival Family fun, entertainment, free Train Rides and Bounce House. If you’re into running, try out the Strawberry 5k. If not, head to the food vendors for BBQ Spiral Taters, Hillbilly Home Brew, Arepas, Gyros, Smoothies, and more. Crafts will also be on display for purchase. It’s pet friendly!

April 12-13 The St. Johns Town Center Arts Fest A new Howard Alan Events art festival is debuting at the premiere shopping and dining epicenter of St. Johns Town Center.

April 12-13 The Flower & Garden Expo Looking to enhance or revitalize or update your yard with vibrant, colorful plants and flowers? Then mark your calendars for the upcoming 19th Annual Flower & Garden Expo. A popular event in NE Florida, the Flower and Garden Expo will delight gardeners of all ages with growers, nurseries and artisans from around the state offering shoppers every item to make your garden all it can be! This year’s show features a variety of vendors bringing a wide array of horticulture including aquatic plants, herbs, ferns, succulents, citrus, African violets, anthuriums (the ‘love flower’), colorful flowering plants, butterfly plants, native plants and more plus gardening accessories and art. Everything needed to restart and enhance gardens will be available at the Expo. Admission is $5 and is good for both days. Children are admitted free, and there is plenty of free parking. Expo patrons can use their Expo pass for discounts to local attractions AND for free admission to A Taste of St. Augustine on April 26! St. Johns County Agricultural Center (3125 Agricultural Center Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32092).

April 19-20 46th Annual Mandarin Arts Festival This is the longest continually running show of its kind in northeast Florida. Held each year on Easter weekend, the 2014 Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, from 10 to 5 daily. There will be 100+ exhibitor booths featuring fine art and fine crafts of renowned artists from around the country, many of whom have participated for decades and return annually along with a variety of exciting new artists.

April 26-27 Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville Festival Two full days, over 30 bands! Avenged Sevenfold, The Cult, Motorhead, Volbeat, Chevelle, Alterbridge, Hell yeah and more! Metropolitan Park.

April 26 Taste Of St. Augustine Want to enjoy great music with great food? Want to enjoy the ambiance of historic St. Augustine and experience as many of their incredible restaurants as you can? Then join St. Augustine in welcoming the 18th annual “A Taste of St. Augustine.” A Taste of St. Augustine has grown to be the city’s premiere outdoor food festival, conveniently located at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on A1A South. This signature food festival serves up exciting “tastes” from over 20 of St. Augustine’s famous restaurants. Restaurants will compete for the prestigious TOStA (Taste of St. Augustine) awards, with categories including Best Family Dining, Best Ethnic, Best Upscale and Best Dessert, as well as the ever popular “People’s Choice,” so make your vote count! A live music festival all day, special (free) children’s area and a Culinary Marketplace add to the fun and excitement of the day! Plus, you’ll be able to use your Taste pass to receive discounts at some of St. Augustine’s favorite attractions. Make it a weekend in St. Augustine by planning to attend the Friday night (4/25) “Pre-Taste Launch”. Check out past Taste Award winning restaurants and ‘whet your appetite’ for the Taste. Enjoy St. Augustine’s incredible culinary heritage! St. Augustine Amphitheater.

April 26 Joseph A. Strasser Butterfly Festival A day of family fun featuring a walk-through butterfly exhibit, butterfly release (3:30 pm–weather permitting), vendors of local/handmade items, food & drinks (proceeds benefit Tree Hill and local schools), live music, face painting, a bounce house, animal encounters, free kids’ crafts, and much more! 10 am-4 pm. $5–Adults, $4-Seniors/Military/Students, $3-Kids (3-17), Kids under 3 and members-free. All proceeds benefit science and nature education in Jacksonville. Parking is not available on site. Free shuttle service to off-site parking at St. Andrews Episcopal and Parkwood Baptist Churches. These shuttles run continuously from 10 am-6 pm. Tree Hill,

April 30-May 3 The Suwanee River Jam Performers include Brantley Grant, Montgomery Gentry, The Mavericks, Chris Cagle, LoCash Cowboys and many more! General Admission $90 with discounts for kids, students, and military. VIP tickets up to $400. Jam in Live Oak at the Spirit of the Suwannee.

May 2-4 Gamble Rogers Folk Festival Friday May 2 at the Bayfront stage: Rev. Peyton & Big Time Band. Saturday at St. Aug Amphitheatre: 5 stages (The Ducks headline), kids’ area, art, food trucks from 1-10:30 pm. Sunday at the St. Augustine Beach Pier: local bands including Flagship Romance doing Gamble Rogers tunes and release of CD featuring the same bands.

May 2-4 Isle Of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival Now celebrating their 51st year, it is held in the heart of historic downtown Fernandina Beach on beautiful Amelia Island, Florida, since 1964. The family-friendly, free admission Shrimp Festival offers delicious shrimp prepared every way imaginable by 25 food booths, all staffed and run exclusively by local Nassau County non-profit groups as fund-raisers. Wear your walking shoes to visit over 300 Fine Artisan & Crafters, 50 Antique Dealers, 25 Kid Fun Zone Activities, Live Music on 2 Stages, and lots of Pirates.

May 2-4 St. Augustine’s 2nd Annual Chalk Walk This creative event features “career chalk artists” and will be held annually leading to St. Augustine’s 450th Celebration. Paseo Pastel is being promoted nationally and internationally to a prime audience of chalk festival followers. Approximately 20,000 families, tourists and people of all ages are expected to attend. 70+ artists, competing for cash prizes, will create drawings on 4X6 sidewalk areas with the theme of St. Augustine’s Living Heritage. Career Chalk Artists, Art Educators, College and High School Students will turn the city’s sidewalks into a gallery of chalk art.

May 9-10 Funk Fest Line-up day one: Jaheim, Fantasia and Rakim. Day two: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Bell Biv Devoe and Monica. More artists will be announced. Tickets vary depending on how many days you attend or if you get VIP tickets. $45-225. May 9 gates open at 4 pm, show starts 6 pm; May 10 gates open at 3 pm, show starts at 5 pm. Metropolitan Park, 1410 Gator Bowl Drive,

May 17 River City Eco Fest Jacksonville’s annual environmental, music festival and paddle sports race to benefit the River City Eco Foundation. Come out and enjoy a day chock full of free, family-friendly entertainment featuring national recording artists, an interactive KidZone, vendor market, our extensive Eco Village, awesome local food from a variety of Jacksonville food trucks, and tasty libations! Following the 6-mile race on the St. Johns River, we are proud to present an Outdoors Expo which will bring together the nation’s top manufacturers to showcase their product lines. This segment will also feature a variety of workshops and demonstrations throughout the day. Metropolitan Park.

May 22-25 Jacksonville Jazz Festival Attracting more than 100,000 visitors to Downtown Jacksonville for three days of entertainment, festival goers can enjoy performances by TIZER Feat, Karen Briggs, Marcus Johnson, Joey DeFrancesco, as well as local favorites, Linda Cole and The Joshua Bowlus Quartet, The Jacksonville Jazz Collective, JB Scott Swingin’ Allstars, and The Katz Downstairs.. The new Jacksonville Jazz Festival event footprint will include stages along Bay Street, one near Marsh Street and the Shipyards, another near Newnan Street, and at the Jacksonville Landing.

May 23-25 Florida Folk Festival A three-day celebration of the music, dance, stories, crafts and foods that make Florida unique. From Irish fiddle tunes and kumquat pie, to the wide varieties of music brought by immigrants, the state’s cultural heritage reflects the lives of generations of Florida families and communities. Throughout the Memorial Day weekend more than 300 performances give voice and meaning to Florida’s heritage. Tickets $30-60 at gate, less in presale.