by Eva Nagorski, Harry Jorgensen, David Walker | August 23, 2017

Things To Do In Florida: The Tide Fall 2017

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



Lake Street Dive will perform at St. Augustine’s Sing Out Loud Festival. Photography Danny Clinch


St. Augustine
Sept. 8—10, Sept. 15—17,
Sept. 22—24

The nation’s oldest city isn’t only brimming with history, culture and beaches. St. Augustine is a booming music town, and its Sing Out Loud Festival proves that point. The three-weekend event, with acts such as Steve Earle, Lake Street Dive and Lydia Loveless, will have hundreds of artists performing on stages all over town. Ryan Murphy, director of the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division and coordinator of the festival, says the idea is to “pair international and national touring talent with local musicians by putting them in the same festival environment.”


November 2—13

Pensacola sails into fall by celebrating its artists and culture for 12 days straight. From the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show to the Big Green Egg Cook-off and the songwriters festival, this multifaceted event offers a whole mix of experiences—even a marathon. Each year, the festival is put on by grant recipients from Art, Culture and Entertainment Inc. (ACE). These talented folks have created works to “showcase Pensacola and Escambia County as one of the premier arts and cultural destinations in the southeast,” says David Bear, president of ACE.

A mural that was painted during Jacksonville’s inaugural ArtRepublic in 2016. Photography courtesy of Jacksonville ArtRepublic


November 1—12

The streets of downtown Jacksonville get a serious injection of visual stimulation during ArtRepublic’s 12-day Expo. Massive murals transform the exterior walls of buildings throughout the city’s Urban Core district. Outdoor fashion shows unfold in unexpected venues around town, and street performances enchant fairgoers. The vibrant nonprofit, jubilant about the success of its 2016 inaugural event, will continue to showcase international, national and local artists. This year offers more in the areas of technology (think: digital art) and design, as well as deeper corporate involvement. As ArtRepublic President Jessica Santiago says, “Art is the best medium for creating great change to any area or culture.”

Strummin’ Man Ukulele Festival features internationally renowned singers and songwriters. Photography courtesy of Strummin’ Man Ukulele Festival


Panama City
October 13—15

Northwest Florida just got a lot more lyrical with the inaugural Strummin’ Man Ukulele Festival. The three-day event, which will ring out from Panama City’s historic St. Andrews fishing village, features a slew of internationally renowned singers and songwriters specializing in the tiny four-stringed instrument. Among them are Lil’ Rev, Rachel Manke, Taimane, and the duo Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee. The musical gathering includes workshops for aspiring players, vendors, performances by ukulele groups and a Sunday jazz brunch. Feel the good vibrations all weekend long, as event proceeds go toward promoting music education throughout Bay County schools.


The fall festival also features wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, mixology seminars and nightly “Eat to the Beat” concerts. Photography Disney


August 31—November 13

It’s no small world adventure when oenophiles and foodies embark on this annual culinary trek around Epcot. Libations flow from all corners of the iconic Disney park, now 35 years old, as festivalgoers eat, drink and dance their way around the World Showcase, where 35 gastro-kiosks serve everything from Greek grape leaves to Brazilian pork belly and Belgian waffles. The event attracts top talent, including lauded Floridians Art Smith, former personal chef to Oprah, and Kim Yelvington, pastry chef at the famed Bern’s Steak House. Cooking demos, fancy feasts, celebrity toques and a concert series keep attendees buzzing from more than just the wine.

Queen Amidala and stormtroopers are just some of the costumes on display in St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Arts. Photography Lucas Film Limited


St. Petersburg
November 11, 2017—April 1, 2018

The Star Wars franchise has captivated the world’s imagination with epic sagas spanning the last four decades; now, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is bringing a deeper exploration of the series to the Sunshine State. Star Wars and the Power of Costume is a traveling exhibition featuring more than 60 handcrafted costumes and pieces of concept art from the films. Works show the processes, symbolism and inspirations behind the franchise’s visual narrative. Make the trip to the only showing of the exhibition in the Southeast and indulge your nerdy side while appreciating the finer artistic points of the sci-fi series.

A roseate spoonbill in flight at the Celery Fields in Sarasota. Photography Jim Gray


October 13—15

Wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, and nature newcomers will flock to some of Florida’s wildest corners over the course of three days for a chance to see and photograph some of the more than 180 species of birds living in and migrating though the area. The festival offers 20 field trips led by conservationists and birders into pristine Florida nature. Speakers will explore topics ranging from land restoration to, of course, birds; at last year’s event, wildlife photographer and Flamingo contributor Carlton Ward Jr. gave the keynote address.

Vendors at Renninger’s Antique and Collector’s Extravaganza show retro furniture, paintings, jewelry, military collectibles, porcelain pieces, advertising memorabilia, books and vintage coins. Photography courtesy of Renninger’s Antique and Collector’s Extravaganza


Mount Dora
November 17—19

Renninger’s Antique and Collector’s Extravaganza has a proud history of hosting successful events in Mount Dora. More than 800 vendors provide thousands of visitors with a huge selection that includes retro furniture, paintings, jewelry, military collectibles, porcelain pieces, advertising memorabilia, books and vintage coins. Look for high-end items, too, many of which sell for thousands of dollars. More than 20 food vendors will be on site offering fare as diverse as the antiques selection—even if you leave without antiques, you won’t leave hungry. You don’t need to be an antiques enthusiast to enjoy this sneak peek into history.


The 2017 World Rowing Championships, taking place in Sarasota, return to the U.S. for the first time in 20 years. Photography courtesy of 2017 World Rowing Championships


September 23—October 1

A gleaming 400-acre lake designed and built expressly to attract the best competitive rowers in the world fulfills its destiny this September as it hosts the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Home to one of the only world-class rowing facilities in North America, Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota will become the epicenter of the rowing world and the first American facility to host the championships in two decades. More than 40,000 attendees will fill the grassy hills overlooking the course as athletes from about 60 countries compete for a chance to be crowned the very best in the world.


Miami Beach
November 1—5

The Seed, Food & Wine Festival celebrates all things vegan with a plant-based food bonanza. The week begins at the Seed Summit with a morning filled with yoga, networking, and scavenger hunts; the summit is followed by the plant-based burger battle, where top chefs compete for guests’ votes. The following day is dedicated to a conference on improving the methods used to produce and consume our food; it’s punctuated by a complimentary lunch. The gastro-fair peaks on Saturday, when more than 150 restaurants, bakeries, and brands present a spread of samplings of delicious plant-based treats at the Mana Wynwood Convention Center.

Dancers perform Happy Hour at the Ringling International Arts Festival. Photography courtesy of Ringling International Arts Festival


October 18—21

Two men suspended above the crowd scamper across a giant video screen; strobe lights flash as dancers weave around a pre-apocalyptic landscape; a photographer thumbs through memories of a 3,500-kilometer hike through Germany. From high-wire acts to interpretive dance, the annual Ringling International Arts Festival offers an array of 60-minute performances at the largest museum in Florida. Ranging from the quiet act of flipping through photographs to the thrilling nature of a high-wire act with video screen, the festival’s inventive performances explore not just the globe but also the vast range of inspirations for contemporary dance and theater.

Fresh stone crab claws are the main draw at the annual Naples Stone Crab Festival. Photography courtesy of Naples Marco Island Everglades CVB


October 27—29

For the city of Naples and the Paradise Coast, stone crab season—which begins in mid-October and ends in May—is as much a part of the calendar as summer, spring, fall and winter. The city honors the opening of this season with a three-day festival that fills the waterfront with live music, aquatic activities and plenty of delicious stone crab, as vital to the Naples economy as any other export. The festival is located on the historic waterfront, yet incorporates the modern attractions of a tropical destination. Naples synthesizes both new and old for a perfect blend of fun in the sun.