March 1-8 FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL Fresh strawberries, live music and family fun. If you plan to spend the day, take ice to keep berries cool. Select only firm, ripe berries. Be careful not to remove the tops of the berries. Make an effort to pick every ripe berry on each plant rather than jumping from plant to plant and row to row. Dress comfortably. Wear loose fitting clothing, a hat or cap, and bring sunscreen. Bring your own containers. Admission tickets are required in addition to all concert tickets. Ticket prices range from $15 to $50. Headlining artists include Brett Eldredge, Hunter Hayes, Sawyer Brown, Happy Together Tour, Ronnie Milsap, Sara Evans, Ricky Skaggs, Craig Morgan, Oak Ridge Boys, Newsboys, Loretta Lynn, Boyz II Men, Dan + Shay, John Legend, Parmalee and REBA. Tickets are available online at www.flstrawberryfestival.com, by phone at 813-754-1996 or in person at the Amscot Main Ticket Gate at 2209 Oak Ave in Plant City.

March 5-7 SAVANNAH STOPOVER Two days of live music in Savannah’s historic district. Lineup features the Generationals, Southern Culture On The Skids, San Fermin, ASTR, Matthew E. White, Computer Magic, Diarrhea Planet, Reptar, All Them Witches, French Horn Rebellion, Donald Cumming (of The Virgins), Parlour Tricks, Hiss Golden Messenger, Heavenly Beat, Gap Dream, Rocco DeLuca, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, ISHI, Bombadil, Dumpstaphunk, and many, many more. Tickets are available at $75 for a 3-day pass, There are also VIP tickets available for $125, or single day passes for $30 a day. www.savannahstopover.com

March 6-8 AURA MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL This weekend of music, art, yoga and workshops attracts fans from around the country. The grounds are also home to one of the most beautiful natural amphitheaters set in the midst of 800 acres of Spanish moss-draped oak and cypress trees along the Suwannee River. Activities include swimming, canoeing, kayaking, disc golf and biking. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, full-service restaurant, free showers, indoor bathrooms and water stations. Lineup includes American Babies Artists at large: The Shady Horns, Consider the Source, Cosby Sweater, Dopapod, Fusik, Ghost Owl, Jimkata, Ketchy Shuby, Kung Fu, McLovins, moe. (two sets), Papadosio (two nights), Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, RAQ, Snarky Puppy, Stinky Pockets, The Disco Biscuits (two sets), The Main Squeeze x2 including a very special Tribute to Michael Jackson, The Mantras, The Mike Dillon Band, Uproot Hootenanny. www.auramusicfestival.com

March 7-8 GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL An annual music festival in downtown Tampa the second weekend of March. The 2015 festival will take place in Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park and Kiley Garden Park and will feature musical acts from a wide variety of genres on several stages and cuisine from the region’s top restaurants. As part of its mission to support and promote music and education, the organization is involved throughout the year in several initiatives including providing scholarships to music students. www.gasparillamusic.com

March 28-29 SLIDE INTO SPRING MUSIC & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL Live muisc, craft beer and family fun along the oceanfront in Fernandina Beach with The Wailers, Trae Pierce & T-Stone Band, Matisyahu, Railroad Earth, The Corbitt Brothers, Supervillians, The Fritz and Spiritual Rez. Main Beach Park – Fernandina

March 19-22 SUWANNEE SPRING FEST The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park comes alive with the sounds of Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt, Del McCoury & David Grisman, The Wood Brothers, Shovels & Rope, Hot Rize with Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers. Keller Williams & the Travelin McCourys, The Infamous Stringduster, Jeff Austin, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Donna the Buffalo, The Larry Keel Experience, Cabinet, Jim Lauderdale, The Duhks, Verlon Thompson, The Seth Walker Band, Fruition, Town Mountain, Joe Craven, Dread Clampitt, Shiny Ribs, The Shook Twins, Jon Stickley Trio, Taylor Martin’s Acoustic Band. Ralph Roddenberry Band, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Whethermen, Flagship Romance, Virginia Dare Devils, Sloppy Joe, Applebutter Express, Canary in the Coalmine, Big Cosmo, Nikki Talley, Oak Hay, The Short Straw Pickers, Grits and Soul, Quartermoon, Steve Pruett’s Back from the Brink and the Josh Daniel/Mark Schmick Project. Live Oak, www.suwanneespringfest.com

April 10-12 MEGA CON Stan Lee, Ron Perlman, Cary Elwes and Norman Reedus are among the celebrity attendees at the event. Fans can meet featured artists, characters, anime and gamers. Panels, discussions, tattoo pavilion and a character walk. Orange County Convention Center, www.megaconvention.com

April 11-12 17TH ANNUAL STRAWBERRY FEST Family fun, food and craft vendors featuring BBQ Spiral Taters, Hillbilly Home Brew, Arepas, Gyros, Smoothies, free train rides, kids’ activities, Strawberry 5K and live music from The Jones Brothers Band, Greye, Exit 76, Joshua Edwards, Overdrive and Shelby Taylor. Historic Downtown Starke, FL www.mainstreetstarke.com

April 16-18 WANEE MUSIC FEST Widespread Panic, Gregg Allman, Gov’t Mule, Earth, Wind & Fire, Cheap Trick, Jaimoe’s Jassz Band, Butch Trucks & Friends, The Word, Hot Tuna Electric, JJ Grey & Mofro, Oteil & Friends, Galactic, Zappa Plays Zappa, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Rich Robinson & Doyle Bramhall II, Raw Oyster Cult, Dragon Smoke, the Revivalists, Home at Last, Bobby Lee Rogers, Pink Talking Fish, Eric Lindell & Company, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Jacob Jeffries Band, Natural Child. Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak.www.waneefestival.com

April 29-May 2 SUWANNEE RIVER JAM The South’s Country Music and Camping Festival with live performances by Alabama, Corey Smith, John Anderson, Rodney Atkins, Chris Young and more. Among this year’s activities at the Suwannee River Jam will be area artists who win in the Suwannee River Jam Auditions, Soap for Soldiers Drive, Food Drive for Love Inc., Ms. Suwannee River Jam, Ultimate Cowboy Challenge, Contests and more. Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, www.suwanneeriverjam.com.

May 1-3 ISLE OF 8 FLAGS SHRIMP FESTIVAL The Shrimp Festival parade kicks things off the 48th annual Shrimp Festival April 30. During the festival weekend, the riverfront opens to food vendors and kids fun zone with an opening ceremony of the Shrimp Festival and the Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant. The grand finale of the festival’s opening night is the “Pirate Invasion” by ship at the riverfront followed by a wonderful fireworks display at 9:45 pm. Fernandina Beach, www.shrimpfestival.com.

May 22-24 FLORIDA FOLK FESTIVAL The three-day celebration of the music, dance, stories, crafts and food with everything 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. Sit with the masters who keep cultural traditions alive in jam sessions, demonstrations and workshops. Try your own hand at playing mandolin, telling stories, or making a pine needle basket. Learn how to collect your family’s history, call a square dance, or the importance of native plant and animal species. Take a shopping excursion and visit with Florida’s traditional and contemporary craftsmen. Then dine on collard greens and cornbread, chicken pilau and hoppin’ john, shrimp gumbo, barbecue, curries, gyros and lime fizzes. As the sun sets, settle in for concerts by moonlight or dance the night away at the Heritage Stage. At the end of the day you’ll have discovered new corners of the state from the people who call Florida home. Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, www.floridastateparks.org/folkfest

About Liza Mitchell