by The Editors | August 25, 2016

The Tide: Fall 2016

Road-trip-worthy events and things to do in Florida




It’s literally a bunch of bull at the Bulls on the Beach showcase in Perdido Key. Photography by Flora-Bama


Perdido Key
September 9–10

This adrenaline-filled rock-and-roll rodeo features professional bull riders from across the Southeast, roping and wrangling live cattle on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. Should the pros’ athleticism inspire you (or Flora-Bama’s signature beverage, the Bushwhacker, provide some liquid bravado), show off your own riding skills on the mechanical bull. A favorite watering hole of Jimmy Buffett and country crooners Kenny Chesney and Blake Shelton, Flora-Bama knows how to throw a memorable party.

Blowing in the wind at the Juana Good Time Regatta in Santa Rosa Sound. Photography by Mark Tepe

Blowing in the wind at the Juana Good Time Regatta in Santa Rosa Sound. Photography by Mark Tepe


Navarre Beach
September 9–11

Since its inception in 1990, this regatta has more than quadrupled in size and earned a reputation as a friendly competition where sailing enthusiasts can connect. Held in the Santa Rosa Sound, the event features several long-distance races for multihull sailboats, from beach cats to trimarans and cruisers. There are also triangle races (in which sailors navigate a three-pronged course) and timed Hobie WAVE races. Winners receive stoneware pottery trophies. Also included in the weekend festivities: a beach barbecue with live music, free beer and door prizes. Sounds like smooth sailing ahead!


September 17

Celebrity chef and cookbook author Mai Pham, whose Vietnamese cooking propelled her to Food Network fame, and Amy Robach, ABC Good Morning America news anchor and cancer survivor, team up for a little food and a lot of fight. Feed your body and mind with a culinary exhibition by Pham and a touching talk by Robach, who will share her story of battling breast cancer, which she discovered during a mammogram segment live on the air. In between gourmet treats and tear-inducing testimonies, attendees can bare all, with free health screenings by Baptist Healthcare professionals on hand at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

Fresh-caught local fare at the Destin Habor Boardwalk; Photography by Destin Seafood Festival

Fresh-caught local fare at the Destin Habor Boardwalk; Photography by Destin Seafood Festival


September 30–October 2

If you need a reason to amble over to the Emerald Coast, now you have it. The food fest, in its 38th year, lures nearly 70,000 seafood lovers to the Destin Harbor Boardwalk to delight in an abundance of fresh-caught local fare. Family activities include kids’ pony rides, inflatable games and human hamster balls. Several stages jam with live bands playing styles from rock and reggae to country and tropical. A string of nearby shops and independent businesses provide plenty of temptation for the discerning shopper. Festival favorites include a zip line that spans the crowd and the Mingo Toss, a chance for competitors up to age 12 to fish-fling snappers as far as they can.


Amelia Island
October 3

Fancy yourself a gourmand? Get behind the knife with the talented team from Salt, the Ritz-Carlton’s two-time AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurant. Chef de Cuisine Rick Laughlin, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, takes participants into the kitchen to demonstrate food prep, cooking and plating techniques. Learn to master decadent holiday courses, such as seafood chowder with king crab beignets, duck confit with an autumn cassoulet, lamb roulade with couscous and apple cobbler with salted caramel ice cream. This interactive class culminates in a four-course lunch (with wine pairings!) for attendees to savor the fruits of their labor.

during the Gators' game against the Georgia Bulldogs 2015 at EverBank Field; Photography by Rachel Mowat

Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs 2015 at EverBank Field; Photography by Rachel Mowat


October 28–29

Since 1933, the River City has hosted one of the most heated games between rival teams in college football—the Florida Gators vs. the Georgia Bulldogs. More than 80,000 fans in orange and blue or black and red descend on parking lots surrounding EverBank Field for competitive tailgating, rabble-rousing and just plain old people watching. Former Times-Union sports editor Bill Kastelz coined the nickname “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” in the 1950s, which has stuck despite protest from both schools’ presidents. Official Florida-Georgia events include a hall of fame luncheon, Touchdown Showdown (an interactive attraction with games), jumbo screens, refreshments and merchandise sales; and—wait for it—the big game, which kicks off at 3:30 on the 28th.


November 4–5

Apalachicola, a town with fewer than 3,000 residents, swells with more than 30,000 visitors during this festival celebrating the bounty of the sea. Now in its 53rd year, it’s dubbed Florida’s oldest maritime event. Under the shady oaks of Battery Park, attendees devour delicious plates of mollusks, crustaceans and fish while bands offer live entertainment and artisans sell their wares. There’s also a blessing of the fleet, a carnival, a parade, blue crab races, an oyster-shucking contest, several competitive-eating events and a chance to try tonging for oysters, just as locals have done since the 1800s.


Take a bite out of St. Petersburg’s multi-hued mural extravaganza! Photography by John Collins

Take a bite out of St. Petersburg’s multi-hued mural extravaganza! Photography by John Collins


St. Petersburg
September 1–10

Shine transforms St. Petersburg’s downtown and arts district into an open-air contemporary art museum. Internationally renowned artists from Spain to Hong Kong work alongside local talent to erect large-scale murals, which festivalgoers can watch take form. This year’s fest will see live music added to the mix. Local artists created Shine to illuminate the power of art in public spaces to revitalize areas and inspire dialogue. “Neighborhoods take pride in the murals as they add to their community’s spirit,” says executive director John Collins. “Not a weekend goes by that we don’t see people out taking photos of the murals. We also have businesses call our office requesting information to employ our local artists.”


September 10–11

Can you handle the heat? For 16 years strong, this celebration of the pepper bills itself as Florida’s largest gourmet spicy food fest. Food vendors from around the state set up booths for guests to sample and purchase hot sauce, barbecue sauce, beef jerky, pepper jelly, spice rub and more. There’s also an amateur hot sauce and salsa competition and—for the truly intrepid (or those who enjoy watching masochists in action)—a jalapeño-eating contest and the Spicy Lolly Lick-A-Thon, in which candidates strive to keep their tongue on the world’s hottest lollypop (provided by Tampa-based Intensity Academy Gourmet & Hot Sauce Company) the longest. Perhaps this heat test is how we should elect our next president?

Photography by Mount Dora Chamber

Photography by Mount Dora Area Chamber of Commerce


Mount Dora
October 7–9

With its picturesque setting (think: canopies of oak trees and shimmering lakes), Mount Dora captivates cycling enthusiasts from around the world. Exalting the joy of riding, the festival offers 14 routes for bicyclists of all levels, ranging from a friendly ghost ride to crushing hill climbs. The most ambitious of the bunch can take on the Back 2 Back Century Challenge, two consecutive days of 100-mile rides—a feat that earns them a heavy medal. This inclusive weekend accommodates cyclists traveling at all manners of speed and types of vehicles. Expect tandems, hand cycles, road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, cruisers and recumbent bikes. This year’s festival also welcomes a cycling celebrity: 17-time Tour de France racer George Hincapie, who will participate in Saturday rides and mingle with guests over a celebratory beer (or two) at Mount Dora Brewing.



Winter Park
Starting October 18

A special exhibit of the museum founders’ expansive collection, titled Pathways of American Art, will present diverse styles and types of art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Expect to see paintings, prints, pottery and sculpture. Some objects in this commemorative exhibit are from artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, who made a variety of art glass creations for patrons from wildly different demographics, including iridescent carnival glass that was pressed and sold for pennies.


New Smyrna Beach
November 18–19

It wasn’t long after he discovered surf movies in the eighth grade that Kevin Miller of Maitland started shredding waves himself. To share his passion for the salty sport, he and his buddy, John Brooks of Daytona Beach Shores (a former professional surfer turned firefighter/EMT), founded the Florida Surf Film Festival four years ago. Surfers from as far away as Australia and Spain have trekked to New Smyrna for this mix of shorts, features and documentaries that explore the interplay between surfing, culture and music. Some of the most-anticipated films include Given, Sorria, Journey to the Center, Shot in Gabon and, for skateboarders, Cinecitta On Wheels.

Photography by Carlos Llano

Get swept away by the graceful moves of the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, as well as other principal dancers from all over the globe, at the International Ballet Fest of Miami. Photography by Carlos Llano


August 27–September 11

The 21-year-old International Ballet Fest of Miami assembles more than 100 principal dancers from some of the world’s most famous ballet companies for performances of the highest caliber. It also offers two gala ballet evenings, a dance film series, a dance art exhibit, book presentations, dance workshops and master classes. Special events include Young Medalist performances, a presentation of up-and-coming young dancers who have won international ballet competitions, and a contemporary performance with guest companies from around the country as well as Korea, Colombia, Chile and Venezuela.


Captiva Island and Fort Myers Beach
September 23–October 2

Learn the story behind the song at this celebration of lyricists. The free festival kicks off on Captiva Island and wraps up on Fort Myers Beach. More than 60 of the best Americana songwriters gather in Southwest Florida to perform their ditties and share their origins. Some of the star-studded performances include Bob DiPiero, who wrote “Southern Voice,” recorded by Tim McGraw; Even Stevens’s “I Love a Rainy Night,” recorded by Eddie Rabbit; and Frank Myers’ “I Swear,” recorded by John Michael Montgomery. Rising country star Maren Morris, who spent the summer opening for Keith Urban on his U.S. tour, will be one of this year’s headliners, performing her hit single, “My Church,” and other tracks from her debut album,

Photography by Bogart, LLC/Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau Russ Yagel

Cruise on the original African Queen; Photography by Bogart, LLC/Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau Russ Yagel


Key Largo
October 12–16

For four years, Stephen Bogart, son of Bogie and Bacall, has co-hosted this showcase for his father’s films and the golden age of cinema. The year’s festival coincides with the 75th anniversary of The Maltese Falcon and the 70th anniversary of The Big Sleep. The films run as they were meant to be seen: on the big screen. The movies play both in traditional movie theaters and outside on a giant screen under the stars. Watch the Bogart classic Key Largo alongside the same waters Bogie navigated in the movie. The festival also puts on a dinner dance and cocktail parties serving Bogart’s Gin, displays collections of family memorabilia, and presents film intros from experts. Superfans may want to cruise on the original African Queen, which docks in Key Largo.

Photography by Tom Hendrick

A museum-in-motion with artists of all ages and skill levels; Photography by Tom Hendrick


November 11–14

Founded in 2007, this public display of chalk murals (some giving the illusion of being three-dimensional) grew so popular that it recently moved from the artsy Burns Court neighborhood to the Venice Municipal Airport, which provides more space for pavement artists to create their masterpieces. The festival is a museum-in-motion, as artists of all ages and skill levels take to their hands and knees to recreate old masterpieces alongside original works of art. As an integral part of the performance, the public interacts with the artists as they work.


November 13–20

Now in its 33rd year, the Miami Book Fair is regarded as one of the country’s finest literary events. Eight nights of panels offer intimate access to some of the world’s most distinguished authors, including Jeffrey Toobin, Alan Cumming, Joyce Carol Oates, Sebastian Junger and Terry McMillan. The Porch is an expanded area dedicated to “all things Florida,” with live music, cultural performances, author chats and food. (Don’t miss the Flamingo magazine–sponsored session!) Daytime is for the street fair, where makers from the Miami Pop-Up Flea sell their wares and more than 200 publishers and booksellers, including antiquarians, indulge bibliophiles. Perfect for families, the Children’s Alley has six tents filled with kids’ books and activities. On the weekend, the Festival of Authors has nearly 500 authors, including several from Latin America, reading and discussing their works.

Walker Guest House Replica, Architect: Paul Rudolph; Photography by Esto Anton Grassl

Check out this replica of famed architect Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House—before it travels to other museums as an educational midcentury design exhibit. Photography by Anton Grassl


Through April 6, 2017

Paul Rudolph was an esteemed international architect with a major impact on Sarasota, where he lived from 1947 to 1958. During his residency, he conceived minimalist beach houses that landed in magazines and brought the city acclaim. To honor him, in 2015 the Sarasota Architectural Foundation created a replica of one of his favorite works: the Walker Guest House, built in 1952 on Sanibel Island. The 576-square-foot house has a combination of screens and glass walls shaded by large panels that can be moved using ropes, pulleys and counterweights. Visitors tour the house to learn about the Sarasota School of Architecture, an innovative movement headed by Rudolph and others between 1940 and the late ’60s. “This is a very unusual ‘preservation’ project because we are building fresh from scratch, from the original drawings,” said Joe King, construction manager of the replica. Ultimately, the house will travel to other museum venues as an educational midcentury design exhibit.