Take a May trip to Florida

There’s always a reason to trek to Florida, be it shopping, visiting or just playing. The month of May gives even more incentives to fly off the rock and head north.  

South Florida  

Covering the Keys, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the Treasure Coast and Southwest Florida including Naples, Fort Meyers and Punta Gorda 

2-6: SunFest, West Palm Beach. Florida’s largest music, art and waterfront festival attracts nearly 300,000 fun-in-the-sun seekers with headliners in every music genre from rock to rap and hip-hop to blues. Admission. 561-659-5980. www.sunfest.com 

2-6: Key West Songwriters’ Festival, Key West. The 16th annual showcase of musical magic features America’s foremost performing songwriters, with concerts staged in intimate, audience-friendly island settings. 305-304-0814. www.keywestsongwritersfestival.com 

6: Greynolds Park Annual Love-In, North Miami Beach. Miami-Dade Parks’ annual 1960s-themed outdoor festival and concert. It features live music, a ‘60s costume contest, vintage VW bugs and a great time for the whole family. Greynolds Park. Free admission but $10 vehicle parking charge. 11am to 6.30pm. 305-945-3425. www.greynoldslovein.org 

12: Battle in the Bay Dragon Boat Festival, Marathon. Don’t miss this high-action event as Dragon Boat Racing arrives in Marathon for the only beach-launch boat race of its kind. Bring a team or come and watch as boats race along a 400-metre course parallel to Sombrero Beach. Finals begin around 2pm. Spectators free. 305-766-1053. www.battleinthebay.org/ 

12: Arcadia Watermelon Festival, Arcadia. Held annually in May, which is the height of watermelon harvesting season. Features a variety of pageants, contests, vendors and activities. Historic Downtown. Free admission. 863-494-2020. http://www.arcadiamainstreet.com/events.html 

12-13: Stuart Craft Fair, Stuart. Over the years, this festival has grown to one of the summer’s most anticipated festivals in this area located in Martin County, just north of Palm Beach County in Stuart. The show is set up along Osceola Street in Stuart’s historic downtown area. This 14th year event brings together some of the best crafters in the nation with paintings, wooden sculptures, ceramics, one-of-a-kind jewellery, handmade baskets and much, much more. An expansive Green Market complements the weekend with plants, orchids and homemade soaps. On Osceola Street. Free. 10am to 5pm. www.artfestival.com/events 

17-20: Miami International Piano Festival / Discovery Series, Miami Beach. Witness the emergence of the Next Great Generation of keyboard giants and brilliant prodigies in an intimate, non-competitive setting. Colony Theater. Admission. 305-935-5115. http://www.miamipianofest.com 

18-20: Redland International Orchid Show, Homestead. One of the largest annual orchid shows in the US featuring more than 50 booths of educational exhibits and orchid vendors. An American Orchid Society judged event showcasing various types of orchids, plants and supplies for sale, as well as raffles, international food and lectures by experts. At Fruit and Spice Park. Admission. 305-247-5727. www.fruitandspicepark.org 

18-20: Sunshine State Figure Skating State Games, Coral Springs. At Incredible Ice, a 75,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, twin ice skating and entertainment facility. 954-341-9956. www.incredibleice.com/ 

19: International Museum Day at Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton. Since 1977 museums around the world have offered special programming to showcase museums as institutions in service to society. The Boca Raton Museum of Art is open and free to all on International Museum Day. 561-392-2500. http://www.bocamuseum.org 

26-27: Delray Beach Craft Festival, Delray Beach. Downtown Delray Beach is the perfect setting for this outdoor craft fair. Held at the Delray Beach Tennis Center along Atlantic Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare, this show is a favourite among locals and visitors alike. Handmade jewellery, 3-D acrylic paintings, ceramic planters, driftwood arrangements, glass votives and hand cut silhouettes are just some of the crafts you will find. An expansive Green Market will offer plants, orchids, exotic flora and homemade soaps. All crafts on display are handmade in the USA. At Delray Beach Tennis Center. Free. 10am to 5pm www.artfestival.com/events 


Central Florida 

Covering the I-4 corridor from Daytona to Tampa plus Sarasota and Brevard County 

March 2-May 15: Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Lake Buena Vista. Spring special event filled with flowers, gardens, topiaries, live music and educational events. See millions of blooming flowers and a vibrant collection of specially themed topiaries. Meet with top horticulturists at one of the many Garden Town Programs and learn helpful gardening tips. Attend public demonstrations of advanced gardening techniques from around the world or get up-close with hundreds of colourful butterflies inside Fawn’s Butterfly House outside of the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden. At Walt Disney World’s EPCOT with admission. 407-824-4321. www.disneyworld.com/flower 

May 1: Taste of Collier, Naples. Afternoon of family fun featuring live entertainment, an ice-carving contest, chefs competition, and savoury samples from 30 of the best restaurants in Collier County. Held each year on the first Sunday in May. At Bayfront in Downtown Naples. Noon to 4pm. Adults $4; children 5 and younger free. 239-272-1907. www.tasteofcollier.org/ 

6-7: Smoke n’ Blues, Bikes and BBQ, St. Cloud. Florida BBQ Association sanctioned competition for both pros and backyard teams. Festivities include live blues entertainment, bike show, crafts, children’s play area, BBQ vendors and much more. At St. Cloud Lakefront. Free admission. 407-498-0008. www.stcloudmainstreetflorida.org 

7-8: Mayfaire-by-the-Lake, Lakeland. Begun as a crafts fair on the lawn of the Lakeland Public Library, this event has grown into one of Florida’s premier outdoor art festivals. Held on Mother’s Day weekend each year, Mayfaire is located on the shores of beautiful Lake Morton in the downtown area and is one of the largest and oldest outdoor art festivals in Central Florida. 9am to 4 pm. Lawn party Saturday 5 to 11pm with fireworks and Mayfaire Classic 5K Race. Lake Morton Drive. Free. 863-688-7743 ext. 237. http://polkmuseumofart.org/events/mayfaire-by-the-lake-2011/ 

7-8: Jazz on the Vineyard Green, Clermont. Live jazz music, free tours and wine tasting, and food and beverages available for purchase. At Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards. $2 donation. 800-768-WINE. www.lakeridgewinery.com 

12: Windsor Zucchini Festival, Windsor. Benefiting the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department. Includes zucchini carving contest, contests for the biggest and ugliest zucchini, Cook-A-Zook contest, fried zucchini, zucchini ice cream, arts and crafts, live entertainment, and a variety of children’s activities. At fire station. Free admission. 352-378-8671. www.afn.org/~windsor/page2.htm 

12: Great Dock Canoe Race, Naples. Wildly decorated canoes and costumed paddlers compete in this annual “just for fun” race event in Naples Bay in front of The Dock restaurant at Naples City Dock. This year’s theme is “Rednecks and Royalty” Free to spectators, entry fee to compete. 239-261-4191. www.greatdockcanoerace.com 

18-20: Blues and Wine Festival, Mount Dora. Event kicks off with a welcome party including entertainment by Blues Brother imitator bands and an Elwood Blues Brothers contest. Saturday includes wine tasting and live entertainment. At Lakeside Inn. Admission. 800-556-5016. www.mountdora.com/events.php 

19: International Museum Day at Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton. Since 1977 museums around the world have offered special programming to showcase museums as institutions in service to society. The Boca Raton Museum of Art is open and free to all on International Museum Day. 561-392-2500. http://www.bocamuseum.org 

19-20: Downtown Sarasota Craft Festival, Sarasota. More than 100 talented crafters display their wares, from baskets and homemade soaps to jewelry and much more. On Main Street downtown. 10am to 5pm. Free. 941-957-1877. http://www.escape-to-sarasota.com/sarasota-calendar-of-events.html 


North Florida & the Panhandle 

Covering St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Ocala, Tallahassee and the Panhandle 

2-6: Thunder Beach Spring Rally, Panama City Beach. One of the fastest growing motorcycle rallies in the Southeast. Held twice yearly, the first weekend in May and October, to share stories, see great bands and live entertainment, find the hottest custom motorcycles and motorcycle accessories available, and experience a scenic ride on “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” All activities are free. 850-249-7627. www.thunderbeachproductions.com 

4-6: Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Fernandina Beach. A The Pirate Parade is the kick-off event for the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. Includes stage performances, putt putt tournament, blessing of the fleet, best decorated boat contest and more. In downtown area. 904-261-5841. www.shrimpfestival.com/ 

4-6: 28th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival, Pensacola. The bayou meets the beach at this gigantic mud bugs boil featuring Cajun and Zydeco music, dancing, crafts and games, crawfish races, crawfish eating contest and a complete range of foods from boiled crawfish to crawfish pies and poboys. At Bartram Park. Adults $5, chilren under 12 free. 850-433-6512. www.fiestaoffiveflags.org/CrawfishFestival/index.html 

4-6: Gamble Rogers Folk Festival, St. Augustine. Celebration of the music, stories and dance that made Gamble Rogers famous. Multiple stages of continuous music with a special Saturday night performance. At St. Johns County Fairgrounds. Admission. 904-794-4163. www.gamblerogersfest.org/ 

5: Cinco de Mayo Celebration, St. George Island. Benefit for Franklin County Humane Society. Margaritas, beer and wine, barbecue, live entertainment, art auction. At festival site beside Sometimes It’s Hotter Seasoning Company. Starts at 4.30pm. 850-927-5039. www.seestgeorgeisland.com/Events.aspx 

4-5: Spring Tour of Historic Homes, Apalachicola. Don’t miss the 20th Annual Trinity Episcopal Church Historic Apalachicola Home and Garden Tour. Many of Apalachicola’s private homes and buildings can only be viewed from the exterior except on this day. For a $20 donation you can take a guided tour through architecturally and historically significant homes, churches and commercial buildings. Homes at to visitors on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Separate price for gourmet lunch in Benedict Hall. 850-653-9419. www.apalachicolahistorichometour.org 

5: Panacea Blue Crab Festival, Panacea. Day of waterfront fun including delicious seafood, crab-picking contest, mullet toss, arts and crafts, live music, dance performances and historic presentations. Preceded by a parade down US 98. At Wooley Park. Adults $3; children younger than 12 free. 850-984-2722. www.bluecrabfest.com 

5-7: World of Nations Celebration, Jacksonville. Celebration of rich cultural traditions and unique heritage of people from around the world, where you can experience the cuisine, artistry and customs from lands near and far. At Metropolitan Park. Admission $5 (one day ticket), $8 (two day pass) or $10 (three day pass). 904-630-3690. www.makeascenedowntown.com/Events/World-of-Nations-Celebration.aspx 

10-13: The Players Championship, Ponte Vedra Beach. One of golf’s biggest events played annually at Northeast Florida’s stunning Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Tournament begins on Monday with practice rounds. Thursday, Round 1 of tournament play begins leading up to the big finish on Sunday to see who will take home the crystal trophy. Events, including The Players Downtown Experience, are scheduled throughout the region. Admission, parking fees. 904-285-3700. www.pgatour.com/tournaments/r011/tickets.html 

12: Annual Family Arts Fun Festival, Henderson Beach State Park. The Department of Environmental Protection’s Henderson Beach State Park will host the 4th Annual Family Arts Fun Fest. This event is sponsored in conjunction with The Friends of the Emerald Coast State Parks, Inc. and The Okaloosa Arts Alliance. There will be performances by local artists, family fun activities, a silent auction, arts and crafts booths and food throughout the day. Henderson Beach State Park. Free admission. 850-837-7550. www.afn.org/~windsor/page2.htm 

18-20: Wild Amelia Nature Festival, Amelia Island. Educates residents and visitors about the bioregion, and encourages stewardship of the area’s natural resources. Started by a group of residents who realized that Amelia Island’s unique position of being almost surrounded by State and National Parks made it the perfect place for a nature festival. Includes kids activities, stargazin, live music and more. Wide variety of tours and outings offered, ranging in price from free to $80. 904-251-0016. www.wildamelia.com 

19: Inverness Farmer’s Market, Inverness. A large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, jams and jellies, soaps and lotions, breads and pastries, handmade crafts and more. Last market of the season. At Inverness Government Square. Free 352-726-2611 x1309. www.invernessfarmersmarket.com/ 

19: Newberry Watermelon Festival, Newberry. Some of the favourite festival activities started many years ago and still continue today, including contests for watermelon eating, seed spitting, hog calling, pie/cake baking, and of course the “Big Melon.” Melons are from local growers and are provided free to festival goers. At Canterbury Equestrian Showplace. Free admission; fee charged for parking. 352-278-5190. www.newberrywatermelonfestival.com 

25-27: Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Jacksonville. Jazz performances in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. This year it is a street festival featuring a jazz club atmosphere with multiple stages of entertainment, Art in the Heart Downtown juried art show and sale, Wine Down Tasting Experience, jazz exhibits, children’s educational activities, and more. At Jacksonville Landing; on Laura Street. Free admission; smaller ticketed events. 904-630-3690. www.makeascenedowntown.com/Events/Upcoming-Events.aspx 

25-27: Florida Folk Festival, White Springs. On Memorial Day Weekend the Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park in the little hamlet of White Springs abounds with the sounds and sights of Florida’s finest music, dance and stories. The Florida Folk Festival presents the roots of Florida’s many cultures as performers gather from little towns and large cities. One of the oldest state folk festivals in America, the event now brings 30,000 concert-goers to the festival site each year to hear more than 300 performances on multiple stages. 877-635-3655. Admission. www.floridastateparks.org/folkfest/ 

25-28: Blue Crab Festival, Palatka. Florida’s largest Memorial Day celebration. Includes Memorial Day Parade, seafood cook-off, live entertainment, helicopter and airboat rides, arts and crafts, antiques, and more. Downtown. Free admission. 386-325-4406. www.bluecrabfestival.com 


Visit the Greynold’s Park Love In in May.