Ah, autumn. The weather has tempered a bit, heralding the arrival of Florida's festival season. There's a little something for everyone in the coming weeks: rattlesnakes and classic rides; peaceful nature ventures and the thrill of the midway; the taste of Greece and the juicy aroma of hometown barbecue wafting along the musical notes of bluegrass, Florida folk and blues played on stage or a lakeside deck where clothing is optional. Here's a look at some of the festivals, beginning this weekend.
49th annual Rattlesnake Festival, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in San Antonio. Snakes and other reptiles, educational wildlife exhibits and live entertainment including country, bluegrass and gopher turtle races. Rides and games for the kids, petting farm, classic car show and fair food. Rattlesnake Run is Saturday. Free admission and parking. Separate admission required for snake, reptile shows. Go to www.rattlesnakefestival.com.
October Fun Fest, Oct. 26 at Orange Lake and Sims Park in New Port Richey. "Trunk or Treating" and a coloring contest. Movie in the Park, featuring Stardust. Wilbur's Fun Zone ($5 unlimited bounce house bracelets). Snacks and drinks available. Go to discovernpr.com or call the city's recreation center at (727) 841-4560.
Zephyrhills' THIRD annual Pigz in Z'Hills BBQ & Blues, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at Charles B. Krusen Field. Sample culinary creations of both local and out-of-town barbecue chefs. Live blues featuring Ed Wright, Cold Iron and Julie Black. $5; Kids under 12 free. No pets.
Greek Fest, 4 to 11 p.m. Oct. 26; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 27; and noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 9426 Little Road, New Port Richey. Savor the aroma of juicy meat cooked over a wood-burning fire or sample sweet kataifi, baklava and nut rolls made from age-old recipes. Highlights include entertainment from Nathalie Hernandez as seen on The Voice, Demetri and the Islanders band and a danceoff contest featuring talent from local studios. Ms. Teen America Eleana Frangedis will serve as guest judge. For more information, call (727) 868-5911.
Land O'Lakes Swampfest, Nov. 2-4 at the Land O'Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O'Lakes Blvd. Midway games and rides. Food vendors. Live entertainment by Urban Legend, Stonegrey, Public Ed, Bone Band, Cocoa Red and student dance presentations. Tickets available at some local schools and Beef 'O' Brady's. For details, go to www.lolswampfest.com.
Fall Auto Fest, Nov. 8-11 at Festival Park, Zephyrhills. A four-day swap meet, auction and car corral with an exhibition of racing on a dirt race track with stock cars, sprint cars and midgets dating back from the 1930s to 1960s. Admission: $8 Thursday; $10 Friday and Saturday; $5 Sunday. Children 12 and under are free. Multiday passes available. For more information, go to www.carsatcarlisle.com/events/zephyrhills-fall/index.asp.
Riverhawk Music Festival, Nov. 8-11 at Sertoma Youth Ranch, 85 Myers Road, Brooksville. Four days of Americana, jamgrass, bluegrass, reggae, alternative, rockabilly, Cajun, Celtic and more. Advance ticket sales and camping reservations available. For more information, go to riverhawkmusic.com or www.sertomayouthranch.org or call (863) 984-8445 or (352) 754-3082.
2012 EcoFest/Harvest Fest, Nov. 9-11. The weekend will feature events at six parks, the New Port Richey Recreation & Aquatic Center, Peace Hall and the New Port Richey Public Library. Activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, bird-watching, stargazing, a fine arts show, beach bonfire, drum circle, geocaching and more. Most events are free. Go to www.pascoecofest.com. Harvest Fest — Bluegrass and Bar-B-Q, in conjunction with Ecofest, is three days of bluegrass and Florida folk music, arts and crafts show, food vendors and a kid zone. Free admission. Harvest Fest is at Sims Park. Go to www.nprmainstreet.com/harvest-fest.
Nudes, Blues and BBQ Fest, Nov. 9-10 at Lake Como Family Nudist Resort in Land O'Lakes. Features a blues jam led by the 2010 International Blues Competition semifinalist Josh Lamkin and music with Lee Pons and the Tampa Bay Blues Brothers, Late Night Brass Band, Arlington Road Band, Woody and the Woodtones, more. Barbecue, craft vendors. Admission $10 per day. Go to lakecomonaturally.com.
Dunedin Wines the Blues, Nov. 9-10 downtown. It kicks off with a Friday Dunedin Wine/Art Walk and entertainment sponsored by the Suncoast Blues Society, wine/beer tent, food vendors. Street party is 5 to 11 p.m. Nov. 10 with the Selwyn Birchwood Band, Betty Fox and the Dirty Bastards and Sauce Boss; www.dunedinwinestheblues.info.
27th annual Hudson Seafest, Nov. 16-18 at USA FleaMarket, Hudson. Seafood, live entertainment, arts, crafts, carnival and more. Go to www.hudson seafest.org or call (727) 847-8887.