There are many reasons why North Florida is such an wonderful place to visit (or live). The climate is spectacular; great for boating, golfing, surfing, fishing and other forms of sports and recreation. In addition, the area is rich in arts and entertainment, fine-dining, shopping and history. North Florida also offers miles of beautiful beaches and waterways, cultural pursuits from jazz and Scottish festivals, to hot clubs and remarkable, ethnically diverse restaurants.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Summer in North Florida: 2014 . . .

Whatever your passion, North Florida has it. Here are just some of the major events scheduled this month in the Sunshine State:



5TH ANNUAL TASTE OF GAINESVILLE — When the students flee the University of Florida for the summer, the locals reclaim their now-sleepy college town and turn out to dine on signature dishes from 30 local restaurants spotlighting different regional flavors. Not to miss: the always-popular local Iron Chef competition featuring cheftestants Ray Leung (Dragonfly Sushi), Taylor Dukes (Great Outdoors Restaurant) and Valero Alises (Sabore).
When:  June 1
Where:  UF Hilton Conference Center, Gainesville

BILLY BOWLEGS PIRATE FESTIVAL — As the website advises, “Keep Calm and Party with Pirates” when Billy Bowlegs and his band of swashbuckling scallywags storm the Fort Walton Beach coast for three days of parties, floats, parades, skirmishes, live music and fireworks.
When:  June 5-7
Where:  Fort Walton Landing, Fort Walton Beach

DRAKE’S RAID — In 1586, the English corsair Sir Francis Drake and his band of raiders sacked the city of St. Augustine, driving Spanish forces from their encampment, before they burned the city. The two-day reenactment begins on Friday with news of the arrival of the British marauders and continues on Saturday with a battle between the British and Spanish throughout the historic district of the city, ending at Plaza de al Constitucion.
When:  June 6-7
Where:  historic downtown St. Augustine

USA VS. NIGERIA: 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP SEND-OFF SERIES — Send the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team to Brazil with chants of “U-S-A” while waving the stars and stripes during their last match on home soil. The men will face off against Nigeria, the only team that they will play during their Send-Off Series of matches that also has qualified for the FIFA World Cup.
When:  June 7
Where:  Everbank Field, Jacksonville

PANAMA CITY BEACH BEER FESTIVAL — With Florida’s devotion to the craft beer craze an unstoppable force in the beer brewing movement, these festivals are a great way to sample dozens of brews from beloved brands like Cigar City, 7venth Sun, New Belgium, Founders Brewing and Ommegang. As for people watching, don’t miss the T-shirts beer geeks will be breaking out their favorites. There’s bound to be at least one featuring a bear with deer antlers above the word “Beer.” Really.
When:  June 7
Where:  Fishale Gastro Pub

60TH ANNUAL CHIEFLAND WATERMELON FESTIVAL — Indulge in ice-cold watermelon, participate in the seed-spitting contest and cheer on the newly-crowned Watermelon Queen at the annual festival which features a community parade and arts and crafts festival.
When: June 7
Where: Chiefland Train Depot

21ST ANNUAL WELLBORN BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL — Indulge in all things blueberry: from cobblers and pies to ice cream and jellies to syrups and fudge. The highlights of the annual festival: crowning the blueberry queen, the blueberry parade, the blueberry bake-off and the famous blueberry pancake breakfast.
When:  June 7
Where:  Andrews Square, Wellborn

24TH ANNUAL PENSACOLA VILLAGE OPEN HOUSE — Get a glimpse into Pensacola’s varied history with free tours of the Charles Lavalle House (a French Creole home from 1805), the Clara Barkley Dorr House (post-Civil War construction from 1871) and the Lear-Rocheblave House (Victorian middle-class family home from the 1890s). Tours will last about 20 minutes and free kids activities through the day include candle dipping, making calling cards and a photo booth.
When:  June 7
Where:  Historic Pensacola Village

TALLAHASSEE LATIN DANCE FESTIVAL— Shake your moneymaker with workshops, evening parties and a performance showcase all dedicated to the salsa, mambo, tango, bachata, kizomba and cha cha cha for a wannabe or established dancer. Dance the night away to live music or DJs spinning Latin beats or watch an awe-inspiring performance by Colombian dancers Adrianita & Jefferson, the 2013 Salsa gold medalists at the World DanceSport Games.
When:  June 13-16
Where:  Hotel Duval, Tallahassee

FLORIDA COUNTRY SUPERFEST — Required for the two-day country music event: cowboy hats and boots, a ready-to-rock persona and the ability to sing all the words to Mama’s Broken Heart. Country superstars Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Big & Rich, Eastin Corbin, Colt Ford and Joe Nichols will bring the epicenter of country music to Jacksonville for the weekend. The Superfest will also feature a Fan Fest and Tailgate Party outside the stadium.
When:  June 14-15
Where:  Everbank Field, Jacksonville

WILD BLACKBERRY FESTIVAL — Do visions of blackberry pancakes, jellies and syrup make you hungry? They do, right? So load the family in the car and roadtrip to Jasper, located along the Florida/Georgia state line. The city is the heart of Hamilton County, the Wild Blackberry Capital of Florida. Festival fun also includes a classic car show, Miss Wild Blackberry Pageant and live music. Don’t forget to bring a piece of Hamilton County home with you when you purchase your own blackberry plant.
When:  June 14
Where:  downtown Jasper

ST. GEORGE ISLAND MULLET TOSS — Start warming up your throwing arm. $25 gets you an event T-shirt and two mullet ($20 for children) to toss across the beach at this annual event. The winner in each category (You didn’t think the men and women competed against each other, did you?) gets bragging rights and some kind of prize. All proceeds go to charity.
When:  June 14
Where:  On the beach in front of the Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe, St. George Island

ST. AUGUSTINE MUSIC FESTIVAL — Take a break from the seasonal deluge of jazz, funk, blues and country music fests to salute the world’s greatest composers — Beethoven, Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Vivaldi, Mozart and Mendelssohn —  at this eighth annual tribute. Featured international musicians like the Diaz Trio, pianist Eugenio Urrutia-Borlando and violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen will be joined by members of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Can’t make it in person? All six concerts will be streamed live over the internet.
When:  June 19-21, 26-28
Where:  Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine

COMMUNITY FIRST SEAWALK MUSIC FESTIVAL — Sun, sand, sea breeze and surf -- what better way to enjoy music in Florida than barefoot with the gentle waves of the Atlantic Ocean providing its own soundtrack during this beachfront music fest. The free, one-day event is a platform for local musicians such as the Ivey West Band, the Corbitt Brother Band and Be Easy. Also enjoy local eats and art.
When: June 21
Where:  Seawalk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach

BATTLE OF BLOODY MOSE — Attend the 6th annual reenactment of this 1764 battle between James Oglethorpe’s British forces and a Spanish militia comprised of freed former British slaves. The battle reenactment will happen twice on both days, as will scenes from one of Spain’s oldest plays, “Nuevo Mundo” by Lope de Vega and performed by Florida’s Living History with a Mission.
When: June 21-22
Where: Fort Mose, St. Augustine


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