October is full of fun events in Florida

Published October 2 2013

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

South Florida

34th Annual Fantasy Fest – 10 days of outrageous costume competitions (for pets, too!), lavish floats, street fairs, contests, yummy food and island bands.

When: Oct. 18-27

Where: Key West

Web: www.fantasyfest.com

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – It's the mother of all boat shows, featuring more than $1 billion worth of boats, yachts and super yachts.

When: Oct. 31-Nov. 4

Where: Various locations in Fort Lauderdale

Web: www.showmanagement.com

Festival Miami 2013 – Annual music festival showcases an amazing array of international and local artists, along with faculty and student ensembles.

When: Oct. 1-Nov. 1

Where: Gusman Concert Hall, University of Miami

Web: www.festivalmiami.com

Sarasota Pumpkin Festival – 5th annual event is the biggest ever. Highlights: pumpkin patch, pumpkin maze, pumpkin pie contest, hay rides, 100 live shows, kid zone and more.

When: Oct. 25-27

Where: Sarasota

Web: www.sarasotapumpkinfestival.com

Oktoberfest I – Beer! Bratwurst! Bands from Germany! Bavarian beauties! More beer! So big, 28th annual event had to be spread over two weekends!

When: Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 25-27

Where: Cape Coral

Web: www.gasc-capecoral.com

Oktoberfest II – Beer! Bratwurst! Bands from Germany! Bavarian beauties! More beer! So big, 40th annual event had to be spread over two weekends!

When: Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 18-20

Where: Lake Worth

Web: www.americangermanclub.org/oktoberfest

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival – Competitive event showcases independent films from around the world, parties, celebrities, galas and more.

When: Oct. 18-Nov. 11

Where: Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale and other locales

Web: www.fliff.com

Ding Darling Days – A week of eco-activities in this great national wildlife refuge. Features free tours (via foot and kayak), birding and kid's crafts.

When: Oct. 20-26

Where: Sanibel Island

Web: www.dingdarlingsociety.org

Indiantown Rodeo 2013 – All the rodeo staples (steer wrestling, bronco riding, etc.) in this sanctioned competitive event, plus live music, food and drink.

When: Oct. 25-26

Where: Timer Powers Park, Indiantown

Web: www.indiantownchamber.com

Fairchild Edible Garden Festival – Want to create a great garden? Learn how, along with delicious food, cooking demonstrations and a scarecrow contest.

When: Oct. 26-27

Where: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, Coral Gables

Web: www.fairchildgarden.org

Caribe Arts Fest – Multi-genre event celebrates the arts of the Caribbean and the Americas. Live music, workshops, food and a kids' art zone.

When: Oct. 17-20

Where: Esplanade Park, Fort Lauderdale

Web: www.caribeartsfest.com

PeruFest 2013 – The best of Peruvian and Latin cuisine, international dancers, "Caballo de Paso" horse show, cooking demonstrations, cooking classes for adults and kids.

When: Oct. 12-13

Where: Fair Expo Center, Miami

Web: www.fairexpo.com

Central Florida

Orlando Festival of Bacon – Bacon samples, bacon desserts, bacon beer … It's a bacon lover's heaven, complete with live bands, skateboarding competition, TVs playing college football, kid's face painting and games.

When: Oct. 5

Where: Downtown Orlandoobi03

Web: http://festivalofbacon.com

Art & Algorithms Festival – Digital media, science and film geeks will love this unique festival on the Space Coast devoted to digital mapping, holographic art images, photography and hands-on interactive exhibits, plus short films from Europe and holographic imagery from the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

When: Oct. 4-13

Where: Downtown Titusville

Web: http://artandalgorithms.com

Florida Black Bear and Wildlife Conservation Festival – Kids and adults can learn all about the only bear species found in Florida while perusing crafts booths and nature exhibits and enjoying the beauty of Cadwell Park.

When: Oct. 12

Where: Cadwell Park, Umatilla

Web: http://www.umatillachamber.org/BlackBearFest

Howl-O-Scream – With movie set-like settings and creepy characters lurking in every corner, Busch Gardens' terrifying haunted houses and "scare zones" are sure to frighten even the most brave and unfazed.

When: Every Thursday through Saturday in October

Where: Busch Gardens, Tampa

Web: http://seaworldparks.com/en/howloscream-tampa

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – Sample culinary artistry ranging from pastries to sushi to pasta and taste the latest and greatest wines, beer and spirits. Then go home and make it yourself after attending one of the many seminars.

When: Oct. 18-19

Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Lake Buena Vista

Web: http://swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com

Celebration's Oktoberfest – Celebration Town Center becomes a dreamy backdrop of falling leaves and old world German music as guests stroll the streets, ships and restaurants.

When: Oct. 25-26

Where: Celebration Town Center

Web: http://celebrationtowncenter.com/events/oktoberfest-2013

Terror On The Lake – Called the "Scariest Haunted House in Lake County," this event offers a range of attractions from a zombie shooting gallery to a pumpkin patch, plus haunted rides and attractions, games, food and fortune tellers.

When: Every weekend night in October

Where: Town Center at Cagan Crossings, Clermont

Web: http://www.terroronthelake.com/

Autumn in the Park – Majestic oaks and the nearby Indian River make this the perfect spot for an autumn-themed art show and crafts festival.

Where: Riverside Park, Vero Beach

When: Oct. 5-6

Web: http://www.autumn-in-the-park.org/

Oktoberfest on the Beach – A beachy version of the German tradition where both kids and adults are welcome to dance, enter contests and game, sample foods from around the world, visit arts and craft vendors and take part in a silent auction.

Where: Kolb Park, Indian Rocks Beach

When: Oct. 12

Web: www.oktoberfestonthebeach.com

Antiwarpt – This fast growing, grassroots indie music event hosted by various record and retail stores and bars along downtown's Central Avenue is a great way to hear a variety of regional, original and independent rock, electronic, punk and other genres of musicians.

When: Oct. 5

Where: Central Avenue's 600 block, St. Petersburg

Web: https://www.facebook.com/antiwarpt

Biertoberfest – Home brewers get to show off their creations at this "Napa Valley of the Tampa Bay Area," a winery known for its fruity concoctions. Live bands entertain during a day-long tournament.

Where: Keel and Curly Winery, Plant City

When: Oct. 19

Web: http://www.keelandcurleywinery.com/events/biertoberfest.php

Ocala Pumpkin Run – A three-day classic car show for the adults with lots of hay rides, pony rides, tattoos, games, pumpkin decorating and "trunk or treating" for the kids.

Where: Castro Farms, Ocala

When: Oct. 25-27

Web: http://www.ocalapumpkinrun.com/

North Florida

Seasons of Apalachicola Bay — Take a visual journey down the Apalachicola River at this exhibit showcasing John B. Spohrer Jr.'s photography. Spohrer, a naturalist, has been capturing environmental life along the state's Forgotten Coast for more than 30 years.

When: Oct. 1-27

Where: Tallahassee Museum

Web: http://www.tallahasseemuseum.org

Thunder Beach Autumn Rally — It's time to rev your engine for what Thunder Beach calls "The Most Biker-Friendly FREE Rally." The fall bike week event features a tattoo contest, live music, a Miss Thunder Beach contest and more at eight venues.

When: Oct. 2-6

Where: Panama City Beach, various locations

Web: http://www.thunderbeachproductions.com

Corn Maze — Sykes and Cooper call their fall spectacular "agritainment" — combining nine-acres of confusion in the corn maze with family fun, including a donkey named Jack; a pumpkin patch; a kid's themed maze based on the best-selling book, Spookley the Square Pumpkin; and fall treats and eats.

When: Fridays-Sundays, Oct. 5 - Nov. 3

Where: Skyes and Cooper Farms, Elkton

Web: http://www.sycofarms.com

24th Annual Jay Peanut Festival — How do you prefer your peanuts? Boiled (a true Southern delicacy), green, fried or candied? Try each style at this annual event, which draws 70,000 people to Gabbert Farm for Cow Patty Bingo, horse rides, a pig chase, a bubble gum contest, hay rides, live music and peanuts ... lots and lots of peanuts.

When: Oct. 5-6

Where: Gabbert Farm, Jay

Web: http://thebeachestowoodlandstour.com/jay-peanut-festival

Oktoberfest — Jacksonville's local brew pub, Intuition Ale Works, has moved its annual event to Memorial Park along the St. John's River. Admission includes a souvenir stein, one free beer (Oktoberfest or Jefe, a traditional German hefeweizen) and a giant pretzel. Dance to the Swinging Bavarians Oompah Band and enjoy traditional German eats from eight local food trucks.

When: Oct. 6

Where: Memorial Park, Jacksonville

Web: http://www.intuitionaleworks.com

Orlando Magic vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Preseason Game — It will be a night of firsts at the Magic/Pelicans game: First game of the preseason for both teams; first chance for fans to check out the Magic's fiery-tempered young star Victor Oladipo — the NBA's No. 1 draft pick in 2013— and the first time the former New Orleans Hornets appear on the basketball court as the Pelicans. Also includes an interactive fan venue and salute to the military and veterans community.

When: Oct. 9

Where: Veterans Memorial Arena

Web: http://www.jaxevents.com/?event=nba-orlando-magic-vs-new-orleans-pelicans

16th Annual Greek Festival — Munch on a gyro or chicken souvlaki while grooving to the tempo of the Hellenic Band at the annual festival. The Nislotes and Asteria troupes will perform native Greek dances. Also a kid's zone, Cafenio and Taverna. "Yia'sou!" (That's how to say "cheers" in Greek.)

When: Oct. 11-13

Where: Francis Field, St. Augustine

Web: http://www.stauggreekfest.com

Amelia Island Wine Festival — Go far south of the border at this festival featuring award-winning wines from Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Local restaurants will provide food pairings and don't forget to make time to shop for artisan, one-of-a-kind accessories from functional table wares to jewelry.

When: Oct. 12

Where: Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Fernandina Beach

Web: http://www.ameliawine.com

Panama City Beach Seafood and Music Festival — Feast on She-Crab Soup with cream sherry, Triggerfish Tacos or Smoked Pecan Sausage Gumbo or a down-South Shrimp Boil when Panama City Beach's annual seafood fest goes gourmet with local restaurants providing the eclectic menu. Dine along the waterfront while listening to these musical blasts from the past: Loverboy, Foreigner, Collective Soul and Better Than Ezra.

When: Oct. 17-20

Where: Various locations Panama City Beach

Web: http://pcbseafoodfestival.com

6th Annual Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest — Enjoy sun and suds at Baytowne Wharf's two-day craft beer festival. Beers From Around Here kicks off the event with a pairing of grilled meats and brews from the Southeast. Then, sample everything from American lagers to rich porters at the main event where vendors will be pouring about 200 beers from more than 40 breweries around the world.

When: Oct. 18-19

Where: Village of Baytowne Wharf, Sandestin

Web: www.baytownebeerfestival.com

Fandom Con — Mingle with Sailor Moon, Han Solo and Katniss Everdeen during the costume contest at the fourth annual weekend dedicated to anime, sci-fi, video game and comic fans. Meet celebrity guests like voice actors Eric Stuart (Pokemon), Eric Vale (Dragon Ball Z) or Chuck Huber (Soul Eater) and attend more than 30 panel discussions, workshops and video screenings.

When: University of West Florida Commons, Pensacola

Where: Oct. 18-20

Web: http://www.fandomcon.com

Apalachicola Riverfront Film Festival — Park yourself in a chair along the Apalachicola River with a glass wine in front of a 40-foot movie screen at the community's first film festival. The evening will feature independent films in a variety of genres from environmental documentaries to music videos. Kevin McCarey, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and a professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design with be the featured speaker.

When: Oct. 19

Where: Riverfront Park, Apalachicola

Web: http://www.apalachriverfilm.com

40th Annual 1890s Festival — Turn back time under the live oak trees in Victorian McIntosh. Vendors will host demonstrations on candle making, glass blowing and basket weaving; or get a glimpse into the past at the town's museum in the restored downtown railroad depot. Also, antique vendors, live music, children's activities and food.

When: Oct. 19

Where: McIntosh

Web: http://friendsofmcintosh.org

St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival — The nation's oldest city pays tribute to its roots with a weeklong group of parties devoted to Spanish vino. Events include the eclectic Blessing of the Wine, which encourages participants to wear white if "you'd like to be decorated by Spanish red wine"; or the more traditional Cava Wine Reception, which pairs the wines with local eats from the city's finest restaurants.

When: Oct. 21-26

Where: Various venues, St. Augustine

Web: www.StAugustine-450.com

Lantern Fest — Climb 138 steps to the top of the Crooked River Lighthouse to view the 118 glowing lanterns at the annual celebration: each lantern represents a year of the lighthouse's age. Also features Irish music from Killavil, a "glow-in-the-dark" performance from Tallahassee Community College's Dance Company and demonstrations by local artisans.

When: Oct. 26

Where: Crooked River Lighthouse, Carrabelle

Web: www.crookedriverlighthouse.org

This story originally appeared at Visit Florida.