2016 Guide to Spring Festivals

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March 4-6 ST. AUGUSTINE LIONS SEAFOOD FESTIVAL Get ready to eat great seafood; tap your toes to live music, and then stroll through more than 100 arts and crafts exhibitors. These are just a few of the highlights of the 35th St Augustine Lions Seafood Festival Presented by Winn-Dixie. The Festival features tons of delicious food, outstanding music and affordable arts & crafts. Families will enjoy the Kidz Zone, Spanish Landing and Pirate Village. Friday night is Jazz night, Saturday and Sunday will feature Americana music. Families will also enjoy the kid rides, magic, pirate fun, belly dancers, raiders, youth performers, character actors and more. Adult admission $5, kids 15 and under free. Francis Field, St. Augustine, lionsfestival.com

vegfestMarch 5 NORTHEAST FLORIDA VEG FEST The 6th Annual Northeast Florida Veg Fest will be held at the beautiful Riverside Park. The best of local, sustainable, eco-friendly, compassionate, organic, healthy and humane organizations and businesses will come together to elevate the consciousness in Jacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt and much more. Everyone interested in becoming leaner, greener, or cleaner should attend for a day of family fun and positive action. Riverside Park, NFVegFest.org

March 11-12 FESTIVAL OF SPEED The event showcases the top luxury automobiles, first-class hot rods and watercraft in a celebration of speed and ingenuity. The festival also hosts a verity of open bars, live music, and food stations. Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Fernandina Beach, festivalsofspeed.com/js_events/amelia-island/


March 11-13 ST. AUGUSTINE CELTIC HERITAGE FEST The three-day festival features internationally acclaimed Celtic bands, a pre-festival Whiskey Tasting on Friday evening, Highland games, Celtic shopping and food, live music, two stages, a variety of entertainment and the only St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Northeast Florida kicking things off downtown at 10am Saturday, March 12. Seven Nations will bring dance and fusion Celtic-rock to the main stage of the 6th Annual festival, CelticStAugustine.com

NaturallifemusicfestivalMarch 13 NATURAL LIFE MUSIC FESTIVAL The event promotes a healthy lifestyle and features a unique artisan market, fresh, farm-to-table foods, live music, yoga workshops and a “crafternoon” of t-shirt tye dye and Frisbee spinning art. Lineup features Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Judah & the Lion, Cereus Bright, Morningsiders, Laney Jones & the Spirits and Lucette. Local artists Katie Grace Helow, Shannon Ogden and Whetherman will also perform. Metropolitan Park, naturallifemusicfestival.com

March 13 ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD FAIR The 2016 record fair, presented by local record store ToneVendor and the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, is held from 11am to 5 pm at the amphitheatre. Music lovers and collectors are invited to shop through thousands of music related items including new and used vinyl in every genre of music turntables, CDs, posters, memorabilia, collectibles and more. Live music and DJ sets by Jake Brown will take place throughout the event. Children’s activities include a bounce house and face painting. Food and beverage will be available from several on site food trucks as well as amphitheatre concessions. Admission and parking are free. St. Augustine Amphitheatre, staugamphitheatre.com


GastroFest2016_behind-the-scenes_Banner-01_RESIZE_002March 19
GASTROFEST 2016 GastroFest will return to Hemming Park on March 19th from 11am to 7pm. GastroFest 2015 took Jacksonville by storm with over 30,000 people experiencing the best restaurants, chef demos, educational workshops and food panels, the kid’s zone, and they are ready to do it again this year, plus so much more. Bring cash for tastings from local restaurants $1-3. Look for EU’s Gastrofest 2016 guide inserted in this issue for all the details on vendors, workshops, entertainment, etc. Hemming Park, gastrofest.org 

gaf_parkinglogo-1March 19 GREAT ATLANTIC COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL The first country music festival celebrating the best of the beach, boots, bikinis and brews at the SeaWalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach. Lineup features The Crazy Daysies, 309C, JB Crockett, J Collins, Red Roots and Cort Carpenter. (See EU’s interview in this issue with the Daysies.) Grab a blanket and bring the family to enjoy music, seafood, and fun in the Jax Beach sunshine! The event is free. SeaWalk Pavlion, greatatlanticfestival.com

85b324dd4c855ac87213473f245a0ce8March 19 ST. AUGUSTINE LOW COUNTRY BOIL & BEER FESTIVAL Low Country Boil & Beer Festival features live music, pirates, mermaids and a performance by the Blue Lotus Bellydancers. Menu choices include either a plate of BBQ chicken, potatoes and corn or a traditional Low country boil of shrimp, potatoes and corn for only $10. Admission is free to the Low Country Boil & Beer Festival. Proceeds will benefit The St. Francis House. St Augustine Municipal Marina, southernpromotionsevents.com

March 26-27 MANDARIN ART FESTIVAL Emerging and established artists alike showcase their works in a variety of media in this juried art festival. Art is also available for purchase. Children’s activities will include a Children’s Art Show and the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Mandarin Community Club, mandarinartfestival.com

FOOL’S PARADISEApril 1-2 FOOL’S PARADISE Lettuce, Purple Hatters Productions, and Live for Live Music present Fool’s Paradise, a funk-fueled beach extravaganza in the heart of the Oldest City. The two-day destination event will feature two explosive sets from Lettuce; GRiZ; Chris Robinson’s Soul Revue ft. George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Nikki Glaspie (Nth Power) & Eric Krasno (Lettuce/Soulive) and Vulfpeck. Supporting acts Goldfish and The Nth Power round out the lineup and many special guests to be announced. Cross-collaborations amongst bands on the bill can be anticipated. Enjoy two days of genre-bending music, artist-led excursions, late night shows, musical workshops, yoga and other activities at a 16-acre section of Anastasia State Park and home to the state-of-the-art performing arts venue. Campgrounds and beach shores make up this perfect Florida landscape. Late Night shows include Vulfpeck + Break Science on Friday and  Goldfish + Fools of Funk on Saturday. Tickets are $25 for entry into late night performance at the Elks Lodge. Doors at 10pm, show at 11pm. Tickets range from $60-$175. Camping is available. St. Augustine Amphitheatre, foolsparadisefl.com.

STB Poster Art_2016 smApril 1-3 BELK SPRINGING THE BLUES FESTIVAL The 26th anniversary of the largest free outdoor blues festival features the best regional and international blues players on two stages. Lineup features The Belk Southern Music Showcase, Sean Chambers Band, Selwyn Birchwood, Victor Wainwright, Kim Retiguez & the Black Cat Bones, Red Dirt Revelators, the Corbitt-Clampitt Experience, Mr. Sipp, Toronzo Cannon, Samantha Fish, Parker Urban Band, Conrad Oberg, Diedra the Blues Diva & the Ruff Pro Band, Colin Lake, Jaekus Singleton, The Lee Boys Toots Lorraine & the Traffic and Smokestack. Premium seating offers stage-front seats, drink service and access to private dining and beverage area. Premium seating wristbands provide access to about 600 seats. The food court features a variety of food vendors and a marketplace features sponsors, local businesses, artists and other vendors with art, jewelry, clothing, unusual and unique accessories. SeaWalk Pavilion, springingtheblues.com

rhythm_ribs_vendors-0001April 1-3 RHYTHM & RIBS FESTIVAL This is the 21st year of the Rhythm & Ribs Festival featuring award Winning Bar-B-Que from seven regional and national BBQ champions.  Live Music with the Ivey West Band, Marc Broussard and a headlining performance by The Marshall Tucker Band, arts, crafts and vendors, children’s games, rides and activities. Rhythm & Ribs will be held at the Special Events Field located behind the Visitors Information Center and parking garage, on West Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, rhythmandribs.net

CollectiveCon_HarleyQuinApril 1-3 COLLECTIVE CON Collective Con now entering its second year and returning to the Jacksonville Fairgrounds featuring an impressive line-up of stars, including Robin Lord Taylor, whose portrayal of the Penguin in FOX TV’S Gotham, has become one of the most popular characters on Television.  Also appearing is the beautiful and talented Candice Patton from the CW’s The Flash who will be joined by TV veteran Kevin Sorbo the star of  Hercules, the Legendary Journeys (1993-1999), the most watched TV show in the world, airing in 176 countries.  Besides being available for photo ops, signings and panel discussions, Kevin Sorbo will also be on site for the Race to Mt. Olympus 5K and 1K fun run. This year’s Comic Book artists include M. Zachary Sherman, Seth Mann, Clay Mann and more, with credits ranging from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse Comics, Poison Ivy, Star Wars,  X-Men, Gambit, Magneto: Not a Hero, Lord Of The Rings, Sonic The Hedgehog, and Archie Comics. Collective Con is packed with activities and experiences for any age attendee, including Cosplayers,  Replica Props, Classic Arcade games, Console games, Costume Contests, Exhibitors Hall, and Artist Alley. Jacksonville Fairgrounds, collectivecon.com


April 2 JAX KIDS MURAL FESTIVAL There will be three mural walls for your children to come and paint! The event will feature live music, kid’s music lessons, a skateboarding demo along with a skateboarding clinic for the kids provided by our friends at Insta-ramp, yoga classes for parents and children, t-shirt tye dying, food trucks, and so much more. The project is funded by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s SPARK Grant program 2016 which included a sponsorship from Florida Blue. Each event will be held in a different location within the SPARK District of Downtown Jacksonville.  For each event there will be three 8×20 walls with a themes coloring-book style image for the kids to “color in” with paint. 11am-3pm Hemming Park, facebook.com/events/1030331183677241/

One-Spark-logoApril 6-7 ONE SPARK One Spark 2016 will be a two-day event featuring First Wednesday Spark Walk and a Creator Innovation Day. Spark Walk will be a one-day event combining a One Spark Creator Showcase with the First Wednesday Art Walk on Wednesday, April 6 from 12pm to 10pm in Downtown. It will  extend all the way from Hemming Park down to the Jacksonville Landing. It is designed to celebrate the creative energy of Northeast Florida Creators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and champions of meaningful social and cultural projects. Creator Innovation Day, a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship on the First Coast, will take place Thursday, April 7 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. This daylong program will include keynote addresses, expert presentations, panels, and breakout sessions offering practical advice about topics that will help entrepreneurs build, manage and lead their businesses. Downtown Jacksonville, onespark.com

Oyster Jam_CMYKApril 16-17 THE OYSTER JAM The Oyster Jam Music Festival will have a variety of food and live music from such bands asThe Band Be Easy, Split Tone, Cloud 9 Vibes, Palm Trees and Power Lines, Mama Blue and J Collins. Festival activities include an Oyster Cook-Off featuring a variety of specialty oysters from community restaurants, Oyster Shuck’n Contest hosting top shuckers battling it out for CASH and the coveted trophy, live music with over 15 bands, stand-up paddleboard Races benefiting Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Wake Slider Jam Best Trick Contest sponsored by Aqua East, Boat Show Bikini Contest highlights the real assets of the boating lifestyle, cornhole tournament, food trucks, GTM Oyster Shell Recycling Program has collected over 10,000 lbs. Includes admission to the Southeast US Boat Show, Craft Beer, full serving waterfront Tiki Bar and a variety of vendors. Metropolitan Park, theoysterjammusicfestival.com

taste_st_augustine_CMYKApril 16-17 EPIC FLOWER & GARDEN EXPO A popular event for 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 — held at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center, 3125 Agricultural Center Drive. Saturday, April 16 – 9am to 5pm and Sunday, April 17, 10am to 4pm. Use your Expo pass to receive free admission to the Taste of St. Augustine on April 23. epicbh.org


April 21-24 WORLD OF NATIONS CELEBRATION The multi-cultural destination celebrates the arts, cuisine and music of the world. Dozens of vendors will feature authentic arts and crafts and food from various nations. Visit lands near and far and learn all about the culture and customs of the Bahamas, Cambodia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Jamaica, Haiti, Romania, Senegal, Spain, Nigeria, peru, Palestine, Vietnam, Turkey, St. Lucia, Poland, Taiwan, Syria and the United States. Attendees are encouraged to showcase their own heritage by dressing in folk attire. Metropolitan Park, jaxhappenings.com

taste_st_augustine_food_festival_CMYKApril 23 EPIC TASTE OF ST. AUGUSTINE This event highlights the culinary heritage and culture of St. Johns County by showcasing new restaurants and established favorites from more than 20 local restaurants. Family-friendly event with entertainment and a kid zone. Proceeds benefit local charities. Location: St. Augustine Amphitheatre, epicbh.org/tasteofstaugustine.html

3142124April 23 ROSCOLUSA The 5th Annual songwriters festival in Ponte Vedra that brings singer/songwriters from Nashville to the warm beaches of Florida for a unique show featuring Kim Paige, Whitney Duncan, Applegate Nace, Casee Allen, Christine Jamra, Rick Ferrell, Casey Black and Jesee Rice. The goal is to bring the cozy living room atmosphere outdoors for an intimate night of popular music performed by the original songwriters themselves and to shine a light on the creative world of songwriting. At Roscolusa, you not only get to hear hit songs, but you also get to hear the stories behind them. Roscolusa was created as a multifaceted event with have some of the best singer/songwriters performing their original music along with some of the city’s finest craft vendors, variety of foods provided by BONO’s, and a raffle with some amazing prizes. Nocatee, roscolusa.com

April 27-May 1 FLORIDA’S BIRDING & PHOTO FEST The 14th annual festival includes 140 birding and photography events, field trips, workshops and classroom sessions with expert and acclaimed photographers. Beginner and advanced photographers can partake in hands-on workshops at various locations. Headquarter location: GTM Research Reserve, floridasbirdingandphotofest.com.

April 28 FOOD + WINE FEST The event will feature tastings created by local chefs from across the First Coast paired with exquisite wines from around the world. There will also be live music from The Chris Thomas Band, a silent auction and complimentary valet. Tickets are $35 thru March 31 and $40 until 4pm on April 28. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Must be 21 years of age. firstcoastmag.com/foodandwinefestival

April 29-May 1 21st ANNUAL GAMBLE ROGERS MUSIC FESTIVAL Three days of live music at the Colonial Quarter, 33 Saint George St., in downtown St. Augustine and at area venues in downtown. www.gamblerogersfest.org

April 29-May 1 ISLE OF EIGHT FLAGS SHRIMP FESTIVAL The annual event celebrates the history of Fernandina Beach as the birthplace of modern shrimping. Highlights include the Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant, a Pirate Parade, fresh seafood, arts and crafts vendors, live music and a riverfront fireworks show. Downtown Fernandina Beach, shrimpfestival.com


April 30 JOSEPH A. STRASSER BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL The 15th annual community event is for children and adults alike. Each year the festival culminates in a live butterfly release, and is a chance to visit many local vendors, learn about Florida’s ecosystem and help support Tree Hill Nature Center. All proceeds from the event go to science and conservation education through programming for youth and adults. Tree Hill Nature Center, treehill.org

April 30-May 1 WELCOME TO ROCKVILLE The lineup for the 2016 festival includes ZZ Top, Rob Zombie, Anthrax, Five Finger Death Punch, Lamb of God, Cypress Hill, Sevendust, Ghost, Sixx: A.M.,Pennywise, Shinedown, Megadeth, Disturbed, Yelawolf, Clutch, 3 Doors Down, Pop Evil, Hellyeah, Asking Alexandria, Candlebox, A Day to Remember, Bring Me to the Horizon, Collective Soul, Bullet for My Valentine, Filter, Escape the Fate, Parkway Drive, Enter Shikari, Miss May I, Wilson, Red Sun Rising, Lacey Storm, Monster Truck, Cane Hill, O.D., We Came As Romans, Memphis May Fire, Issues, Crown the Empire, Sick Puppies, Beartooth, Texas Hippie Coalition, Avatar, From Ashes to New, The Glorious Sons and Wild Throne. Metropolitan Park, welcometorockvillefestival.com

May 1 JACKSONVILLE JEWISH FOOD FESTIVAL Over a dozen restaurants and caterers will showcase their culinary expertise at the one of a kind event. Explore the Jewish culture with a taste of brisket sliders, corned beef, matzah ball soup, bagels and lox, kugel and macaroons. Other festival elements include a “L’Chaim” Wine Wall offering a large variety of wines to win, Bubbe’s Bake Off, a raffle and kid’s zone with arts and crafts.  The Temple Congregation Ahavath Chessd 733-7078, thetemplejacksonville.org

May 6-7 JACKSONVILLE FUNK FESTIVAL The event pays tribute to the cultural heritage of “old school” funk music with performances by Jon B, Dru Hill, Floetry, Master P, New Edition and headliner LL Cool J at Metropolitan Park, jacksonvillefunkfesttour.com

May 6-15 ROMANZA FESTIVALE  A celebration of art and music in “America’s Most Romantic City” featuring more than 60 events and exhibits by dozens of organizations. Daily events include music and dance performances, concerts, art shows, dramatic productions and much more at locations throughout the city. Many events are free and admission is required for the others. Romanza is a nonprofit community organization that promotes and produces cultural events that showcase St. Augustine’s vibrant living culture, that enhance the quality of life for residents, and that create a positive lasting impression of America’s Most Romantic City for visitors. Headlining performances by Cantus, Big Orange Chorus and the Kaleidoscope School of Dance. Other event highlights include the Festivale opening Changing of the ceremony and Dixieland Band Concert, Romanza Procession with the Jacksonville Jaguars Drum Line, the Romanza Chamber Music Series, A Little Night Music and dozens of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, dining and cultural productions by St. Augustine’s diverse and talented arts, culture and heritage community. 501-4336, www.romanzafestivale.com

May 20 JACKSONVILLE CRAFT & IMPORT BEER FEST Serving up over 350 beers from 45 brewers at the largest beer event in Northeast Florida. Enjoy local, regional and national brews as well as some of the best beers from around the world with hand-picked food pairings selected by local restaurants and chefs. Live music and a DJ set round out the entertainment. Jacksonville veterans Memorial Arena, beerfestjax.com

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May 20-22 GREAT AMERICAN BURGER FEST Nothing says all American like a spring food and music festival in the oldest city in America. Come out and enjoy mouth-watering burgers, great live music and ice cold beer. This family friendly festival will also have delicious sweet treats with 75 exhibitors of arts & crafts, and kids will have a blast in the Kids Zone area. BurgerFest Celebrity Judging from 1pm to 2pm Sunday near the music stage, noted local celebrities bring their expertise to an event stage and vote for their favorite burger. $5 for adults. Kids 12 and under and active military are free. All proceeds go to Great American Foundation, a non-profit organization in support of our military and citizens in need. Francis Field, St. Augustine, www.burgerfest2016.com

May 26-29 JACKSONVILLE JAZZ FESTIVAL Experience the heart of Downtown Jacksonville as it comes alive with the sounds of Snarky PuppyJon Batiste & Stay Human, Yellowjackets and more this Memorial Day weekend. Experience three stages of live entertainment, local food, drinks, shopping and more in Downtown Jacksonville. For over 30 years the Jazz Fest has become one of the largest jazz festivals in the country offering a fun and vibrant street festival atmosphere and this year you can experience it throughout 15 blocks of downtown. jacksonvillejazzfest.com

About Liza Mitchell


  1. I’m surprised that you cover very little about Amelia Island. We had 30 or more private jets land on our small airport, we had thousands and thousands of people here buying millions and millions dollars worth of antique and sports cars. We had a 2008 Bugati here, selling for $1,900,00. It was a really really big event and I didn’t see y’all mention it at all. we had all kinds of celebrities – here it was really amazing, interesting, fun and beautiful. Amelia Island and all the producers did an amazing job of organizing such a huge event for a little island. It was the second largest car show and auction in the US.

    I’m sorry it is some of your route readers probably missed it.

  2. Oops, that last line should have read:

    I’m sorry that some of your readers might have missed it.