After three weeks of traveling throughout the northeast, the Midwest, and central Florida, I feel I am finally settling back into my routine. There was a period of well-deserved exhaustion, during which I struggled to do anything. But now I rest easy, collecting my thoughts, organizing my photos, reading Cathy Salustri’s new Florida-inspired book, and planning future blog posts and weekend activities. I have so many things to write about: the wings of Buffalo, NY, a brief visit to Niagara, Michigan cider mills, Frankenmuth chicken, the new Disney Springs, and Cathy’s Backroads of Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida.
Most of these adventures will likely never grace the “pages” of Florida Illustrated, as they happened outside of the state, but you can definitely look forward to articles here on Disney Springs and Cathy’s new book in the coming weeks. Today I briefly depart from the social adventures of the past few weeks to embark upon the often solitary adventure of writing for Florida Illustrated. I know it is quite late to be writing a post on the festivals of November, but I was clearly otherwise occupied, and most of this month’s festivals will actually be happening this weekend anyway. There’s a lot of them, so best of luck deciding.
Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks Seafood Festival: November 11-13, 2016
The 29th annual Sponge Docks seafood festival is happening this weekend in historic Tarpon Springs, FL. Starting on Friday and continuing through Sunday, the event will bring 3 days of live music, arts & crafts, and fresh local seafood. Local rock band, Jeriko Turnpike, will be performing on Friday night from 6 to 9 pm, and Tampa Bay-based duo, Cozmic Cowbyz, on Sunday, 1:30-5 pm. This is one of the Tampa Bay area’s most popular events. An estimated 30,000 people will attend. Admission is free, but the seafood is not.
Location: Sponge Docks, 100 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Event Hours: Fri 12pm-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 10am-5pm
For additional details, go to: https://www.facebook.com/SpongeDocksSeafood.
Ribfest: Vinoy Park, November 11-13, 2016
A little further south, St. Petersburg will be hosting a 3 day-long ribfest in Vinoy Park. The Sonny’s-sponsored festival will feature a dozen award-winning ribbers from throughout the U.S., additional non-ribby festival foods, and live music on two stages. The music is sure to be great – not only did they recruit the most popular local bands, but they also got Huey Lewis & the News and The Doobie Brothers. See the official event page for the complete schedule of entertainment: http://ribfest.org/. Admission is $30-35, depending on which day you go, and food is not included in that price. You can save $5 by buying your ticket at Circle K instead of at the gate.
Location: Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg
Event Hours: Gates open at 11am daily
For additional details, go to: http://ribfest.org/.
Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading: USF St. Petersburg, November 12, 2016
This Saturday, 51 authors will gather on USF St. Petersburg’s campus for the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading. The list includes local authors, authors from across the U.S., New York Times bestselling authors, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, and Florida’s poet Laurette. All the popular topics/genres are well-represented, including fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, thrillers, poetry, popular science, history, Florida, writing, business, travel/adventure, human rights, memoir, food, and young adult. For the full list of participating authors, see the Times Festival of Reading author page: http://www.tampabay.com/expos/festival-of-reading/authors.page. Admission and parking are both free.
Location: USF St. Petersburg
Event Hours: Saturday, November 12, 10am-5pm
For additional details, go to: http://www.tampabay.com/expos/festival-of-reading/index.page.
Homosassa Arts, Crafts, & Seafood Festival: November 12-13, 2016
I’ve never been to this particular seafood festival, but I’ve also never been to a seafood festival in Florida that I didn’t like. Cost of entry is only a $3 donation.
Location: Homosassa Civic Club’s Festival Grounds
Hours: Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 9am-4:30pm
For additional details, go to: http://www.homosassaseafoodfestival.org/.
Tampa Greek Festival: St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, November 11-13, 2016
While Florida’s favorite Greek Town (Tarpon Springs) is throwing a seafood festival, the city of Tampa is having a Greek festival. The festival is over 30 years old, and is sponsored by Acropolis Greek Taverna, Creative Loafing, the Tampa Bay Times, and more. There will be live music, Greek dancing, Greek food, and shopping. Proceeds benefit St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa. Admission is $2 and parking is free.
Location: St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Tampa, FL
Hours: Fri & Sat 11am-midnight, Sun 11am-6pm
For additional details, go to: http://www.tampagreekfestival.com/.
Dunedin Wines the Blues: Pioneer Park & Main Street, November 12, 2016
Dunedin Wines the Blues, now in its 25th year, is one of Dunedin’s “signature” festivals, which is to say that it is very popular. I attended this event last year (and wrote about it HERE) and thoroughly enjoyed it. As the name suggests, you buy yourself a glass (or more) of wine, sit in the park, and listen to blues music. That’s how Dunedin wines the blues. Music will be on three stages this year, and will include performances from the Wendy Barmore Band, Damon Fowler Group, Bryan Lee Braille Blues Daddy, and Jonathan Boogie Long. See the event page for the full lineup. Admission is free.
Location: Pioneer Park and Main Street, Dunedin
Hours: Saturday, November 12th, 1-11pm
For additional details, go to: http://www.dunedinwinestheblues.info/.
Dogtoberfest: Dunedin’s Highlander Park, Dunedin, November 12, 2016
If you don’t know anything about Dunedin, then you should know this one: Dunedin loves dogs. From the murals on the walls (check out Skippers Bar & Grill), to the dogs on the patios, it’s one of Dunedin’s most salient features. Dogs. Lots and lots of dogs. Dunedin is that special place in Florida where you can take your dog with you almost everywhere you go (within the city limits). You can even take your dog to dog-themed festivals, like this weekend’s Dogtoberfest. Activities include a running of the wieners. pet adoptions, and a crowning of a dogtoberfest king and queen. The event is free, but parking my cost you up to $5.
Location: Highlander Park, Dunedin, FL
For additional details, go to: http://www.dogtoberfest.info/.
Dunedin Celtic Music and Craft Beer Festival: Dunedin’s Highlander Park, November 19, 2016
Here’s one more fact about Dunedin: the city has a Scottish heritage. Dunedin was originally settled by Scottish immigrants in the 19th century, and certain Celtic traditions still persevere here. The city has a Scottish American Society, a Scottish arts foundation, a Celtic shop, pipe bands and annual highland games. Next Saturday, they are having their annual Celtic Music and Craft Beer Festival, presented by the Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation. The featured musical act is a Celtic folk rock band from Toronto called Enter the Haggis. The City of Dunedin Pipe Band will also perform at the festival. Dunedin fact 3: Dunedin loves beer, and they make a lot of it too. So there will be plenty of craft beer available at the festival (and pretty much any Dunedin festival). General Admission tickets are $15.
Location: Highlander Park, Dunedin, FL
Hours: Saturday, November 19th, 12-10pm
For additional details, go to: http://www.dunedincelticmusicfestival.com/.
32nd Annual Festival of Trees: Clearwater, November 18-20, 2016
Clearwater’s Festival of Trees will bring over 125 decorated Christmas trees to the Long Center next weekend. For a $5 admission fee, you can stroll through the paths of trees and wreaths while listening to holiday music.
Location: The Long Center, Clearwater, FL
Hours: Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 10am-5pm
For additional details, go to: http://thearctbfoundation.org/events/32nd-annual-festival-of-trees/.
Sanding Ovations: Treasure Island, November 16-20, 2016
Part sand sculpting competition, part music festival, Treasure Island’s Sanding Ovations is as quintessential Florida as our many seafood festivals. In most parts of the coastal U.S., children make sand castles for fun, but in the state of Florida, sand sculpting is an actual profession. If you ever wondered what a professional artist can do with a big pile of sand, then you should go to Treasure Island next weekend and find out. While you’re there, enjoy some live music from local blues legend, Sarasota Slim, on Friday night, a.k.a. blues night, at 6pm. He is followed by Tampa’s-own Selwyn Birchwood, winner of the Blues Foundation’s 2013 International Blues Challenge. Saturday, the festival will host several rock and country bands, and Sunday is “Hippy Day.” Admission is free.
Location: on Treasure Island Beach at 104th Avenue & Gulf Boulevard
Hours: November 16th at 8 AM to Nov 20th at 6 PM
For additional details, go to: http://www.mytreasureisland.com/visitors/sanding_ovations_2014.php.
CraftArt Festival: downtown St. Pete, November 19 & 20, 2016
Florida CraftArt was founded in 1951 to promote fine craft, and they have been holding annual exhibitions throughout the stage of Florida since then. In 1986, Florida CraftArt made St. Petersburg, FL its permanent location, and local craftsmen started showing their work there. They now host a CraftArt Festival each year in St. Petersburg, the week before Thanksgiving. Last year over 50 artists participated, showing metal work, wood work, ceramics, jewelry, and pottery.
Location: downtown St. Petersburg, on Central Ave. between 4th and 6th Streets
Hours: Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm
For additional details, go to: http://www.floridacraftart.org/craftart/craftart-festival/.