The annual music festival draws thousands to a park overlooking the waterfront to hear local and nationally noted jazz artists. The 1992 festival will be Oct. 15-18.
Guavaween is the Halloween bash in Ybor City (north of downtown Tampa), scheduled this year on Oct. 31. The eve pays homage to that odd local fruit, with plentiful music, spirited street partying and a raised-eyebrow of a parade dubbed "The Mama Guava Stumble." Participants roam the streets in costume, pay a price to see a variety of well-known entertainment and watch the crazy parade.
John's Pass Seafood Festival, Oct. 23-25. Madeira Beach in Pinellas County features the village shops and restaurants, crafts booths, a petting zoo, face-painting, food concessions, a Coast Guard boat and helicopter simulated rescue at sea and games and activities for children.
Oktoberfest is a three-day family festival that runs Oct. 23-25 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Daily activities include a German entertainment stage with oompah-pah bands and dancers. Other festivities include specialty foods by the Old Heidelberg Castle, arts and crafts, midway rides, games and a children's entertainment stage. Saturday offers a 5K run, a one-mile fun run/walk and an 8K in-line skate. Hours: 11 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
The Rattlesnake Festival and Jam is set for Oct. 17 in San Antonio in Pasco County. The city square comes alive with activity as arts and crafts, music and food fill the area. The highlight of the day involves a rattlesnake show, which includes the milking of a rattlesnake. The Rattlesnake Festival night belongs to the Belamy Brothers, who perform their annual Snake Rattle and Roll concert.
GOOD LIFE CELEBRATION
The Good Life Celebration in Pinellas County features nine days of sporting competitions, 11 countywide celebrations and an expo. Participants compete in 25 sporting events at 40 sites around the county. The celebration runs Nov. 14-22. The registration deadline for the Good Life games is Nov. 1. Call Shirley Lewis at 539-9487.
YBOR CITY FESTIVAL
The enclave north of downtown Tampa is decorated beginning with the Art Gallery Walk on Nov. 28 and continuing through the month of December with tiny Italian lights during the Ybor City Festival of Lights and Gallery Walk. Free guided walking tours of Ybor City are offered year-round from Ybor Square.
FESTIVAL OF TREES
The Festival of Trees in Tampa features entertainment, holiday designs, decorated Christmas trees and many children's activities. This year the festival includes local galleries in The Fine Arts Promenade. Guests can buy sweets at a bakery or buy Christmas presents in the gift shop. A large children's area includes a carousel, activities, Santa's house and booths with games, crafts and a children's art show. This year's festival will be Nov. 27-30 at the Tampa Convention Center.
The Snowfest is held annually on the waterfront near downtown St. Petersburg. It features an arts and crafts show and activities and entertainment with a holiday theme. Children have the opportunity to play in piles of snow, travel down an ice-covered slide and glide across a synthetic ice-skating rink. Highlights include the Santa parade, a two-day arts and crafts festival and a Christmas concert. Snowfest is set for Nov. 27-Dec. 6.
A grand hotel celebrates the season. The Henry B. Plant Museum in Tampa presents "Christmas in the style of the hotel's golden years." Recapture the essence of 1891 while visiting the rooms of famous past guests. You may be surprised to find who has slept here when you take a Victorian Christmas Stroll. Musical entertainment is provided from early afternoon through the evening. Hot cider and Christmas cookies are served on the veranda. This year the stroll will be Dec. 1-21. Hours: 1-9 p.m.
The Brooksville Raid in Hernando County is a Civil War battle re-enactment where scores of men are "killed" in a battle that was confined to a portion of the 1,400-acre Sand Hill Boy Scout Reservation, which lies on the path the Union soldiers supposedly took. Events during the festival weekend include a traditional Blue/Gray Ball, guided tours of campgrounds and sutlers
exhibits. The 1993 Raid will be Jan. 23-24.
The Greek Orthodox Epiphany Celebration features religious services, a procession through the streets of Tarpon Springs and a competition among young men of the community who dive into Spring Bayou to retrieve a gold cross. According to tradition, the diver who finds the cross is blessed with a year of good luck. The 1993 celebration will be Jan. 6.
Fiesta Day in Ybor City is a continuation of the Gasparilla tradition with a decidedly Latin twist. Festival-goers stroll along five blocks of Ybor's main thoroughfare, Seventh Avenue, to bouncy Latin music and the tantalizing smells of frying onions, Sangria and free Spanish Bean Soup. Entertainment includes Spanish flamenco dancers and the sounds of traditional Latin bands as well as magicians and jugglers. Free bean soup, Cuban bread and Cuban coffee are given away to provide visitors with a sampling of authentic Cuban food. 1993 Fiesta day will be Feb. 13.
The 1993 Florida Manatee Festival, Feb. 20-21, provides visitors with an educational look at manatees. The celebration, held in Crystal River in Citrus County, includes a seafood festival, a fine arts festival, musical entertainment, golf tournaments and children's events including entertainment, a moonwalk, slot cars and clown face painting.
FLORIDA STATE FAIR
The annual event includes a huge midway, the usual assortment of side shows, loads of food, live entertainment, stock car races, cattle judging and animal, plant and crafts shows. Florida's 67 counties are represented during the fair, Feb. 3-14.
The Gasparilla Pirate Invasion and Parade in Tampa relives the conquest of the Cigar City by Jose Gaspar, the legendary rogue of the high seas. Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla sails its pirate ship, a three-masted galleon loaded to the gunnels with Tampa's business, social and civic leaders, to downtown Tampa's Harbour Island. An armada of some 2,000 boats escorts the pirate ship. After landing, the pirates join in a parade through downtown. The 1993 pirate invasion and parade will be Feb. 6. The celebration also includes an illuminated night parade, which will be held the following Saturday, Feb. 13, in Ybor City.
FEBRUARY / MARCH
The Florida Strawberry Festival and Parade gets its proper honor in Plant City (the winter strawberry capital of the world), with a fair, festival and parade. The celebration in east Hillsborough County includes food, entertainment by top-name country performers and the selection of a strawberry queen. Held annually since 1930, the 1993 Strawberry Festival will be Feb. 25-March 7.
MARCH / APRIL
The Bay Area Renaissance Festival depicts life in a 16th-century village during a country fair. It features entertainment on six stages and more than 350 authentically costumed artisans, musicians, street characters and knights. Each weekend has a new theme _ Romantic Weekend (where you may renew your wedding vows 16th-century style), a Sporting Holiday and a very special Children's Enchantment over Easter weekend. Rain or shine. It all takes place on weekends at Third Street SE and E Bay Drive in Largo in Pinellas County. Dates for 1993: March 13-April 18, Fridays and Saturdays only. Call 586-5423.
New Port Richey in Pasco County celebrates its Native American heritage during Chasco Fiesta with more than a week's worth of entertainment, which includes parades, carnival rides, special exhibits and sporting events. The 1993 fiesta will be March 12-21.
CHILDREN'S ART FESTIVAL
The Children's Art Festival is a one-day, five-hour event held on the John and Mable Ringling Museum grounds. Activities are designed for preschoolers to high schoolers. Performances take place throughout the day in addition to demonstrations, ranging from basket weaving to juggling. There are other activities, including a community quilt and graffiti fence. The goal is to show participants the benefits of art education. Although dubbed the "Children's Art Festival," kids can bring Mom and Dad too! This year's festival is March 20. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
MARCH / APRIL
Conquistadors, Spain's 16th-century explorers who came to Florida's shores, return to Bradenton each April during the DeSoto Celebration. The highlight is the re-enactment of the 1539 landing of Hernando De Soto at the mouth of the Manatee River. Special events include the Manatee Riverfest April 3-4. The Grand Parade and Stadium Show is April 24. The 1993 celebration will be April 3-24.
The kilt gets played to the hilt during the Dunedin Highland Games and Festival in Pinellas County. Tartans from almost all the Scottish clans are represented in the games. The 1993 Festival will be March 25-April 3 with the games being held on April 3.
FESTIVAL OF STATES
Festival of States in St. Petersburg is traditionally touted as the "South's largest civic celebration." The festival features more than 100 events, including seven nights of major concerts, three weekends of food festivals, three parades (including the illuminated night parade), a 5K run, an air show, two car shows and an arts and crafts show. Performances by award-winning high school bands from around the nation highlight the festival. The 1993 festival will be March 18-April 4.
The Gasparilla Sidewalk Art Festival along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa is March 6-7. The event includes entertainment, food, children's workshops and, of course, art _ around 300 exhibitors. Local, national and international artists are represented and awards are presented.
18th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL
The St. Petersburg International Folk Fair (SPIFFS) is three days of food, dance and dress. About 50 countries will be represented during the 1993 Folk Festival on March 12-14. Entertainment is provided in native languages and costumes. Arts and crafts are displayed and food booths are available. Students only may attend from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday the 12th. Hours: 2-8 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.
Step back in time to medieval times at this colorful festival. The Ringling Museum Medieval Fair is held on the 38-acre estate of the late John Ringling, also the site of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Ringling residence and the Asolo Center for the Performing Arts. There are jousting tournaments, knights on horseback, a human chess match, archery contests and music. Wizards and minstrels mingle with the crowd, and food and crafts are sold. The 1993 Fair will be March 4-7.
FUN 'N SUN FESTIVAL
APRIL / MAY
The 10-day salute to spring in the Tampa Bay area, also known as the Fun 'N Sun Festival, allows participants the chance to browse through art shows and attend auctions, concerts and parades in Clearwater. The 1993 festival is set for April 17-May 2.
The Boatyard Village Seafood Festival is scheduled on Sept. 26. Events include art exhibits, fencing demonstrations, karate demonstrations, a mime circus, caricature drawing, music by Belinda Womack and Kool Reflektions, Democracy and Schascle. Hours: noon-9 p.m.
PIONEER DAY FESTIVAL
The Pioneer Day Festival held in Pasco County's Dade City, features craftsmen demonstrating pioneer skills, continuous old-time musical entertainment and plenty of home-cooked vittles. Don't forget to buy your ticket for Cow-Plop Bingo! The festival is held annually on Labor Day.