The Florida Strawberry Festival: March 2-12, 2017
The Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, FL has been one of my favorite festivals for many years. First of all, I love Florida strawberries. Their slightly tart flavor makes them perfect in strawberry shortcake, and they make a lot of strawberry shortcake at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The festival also prominently features farm animals, since Plant City is an agricultural town. There are always cows, racing pigs, rides, and games. And in the evening there are concerts. The festival recruited some big names this year, including Willie Nelson, 3 Doors Down, Jennifer Nettles, The Blues Brothers, Elle King, and Patti LaBelle. Admission is $10 for adults, and the concert tickets cost anywhere between $15-$50, depending on the artist/group. For additional details, go to: http://www.flstrawberryfestival.com/.
Tampa Bay Beer Week: March 3-12, 2017
Tampa Bay Beer Week is my favorite time of year to try new beers and new breweries. Over 80 beer-themed events will be crammed into one week, using just about every watering hole in the Tampa Bay area as hosts. There will be craft beer festivals, multi-course beer dinners, beer release parties, tap takeovers, beer & cheese pairings, and more. You can see a full list of events on the Tampa Bay Beer Week website, at: http://tampabaybeerweek.com/. All of these exciting events will be occurring at cool venues around Tampa Bay, including popular restaurants & bars, local breweries, and waterfront parks. The fun starts on March 3rd with a kickoff party at Coppertail in Tampa, where they will be releasing a double IPA called Brew’s Banner. Have fun, but don’t drink and drive. The DUI task force will be out.
St. Patrick’s Day festivities: March 11-20, 2017
There will be no shortage of St. Patrick’s Day events in the Tampa Bay area. There are so many, in fact, that you could spend the entire week of March 17th eating corned beef and drinking Irish beer to the sound of bagpipes.
Mayor’s River O’ Green in Tampa: Every year the city of Tampa dyes the Hillsborough River green and throws a big party in Curtis Hixon Park. There will be Irish music and dancing for entertainment, and lots of Irish food and beer from local restaurants. This year the party is on Saturday, March 18th, from 11am-4pm. Free admission. Details at https://www.tampagov.net/special-events-coordination/news-and-events/riverogreen.
Paddyfest at Irish 31 in Tampa: Paddyfest is a multi-day Irish-themed party in Tampa’s Channelside District sponsored by local Irish Pub, Irish 31. In years past, you’ve been able to park your car at Irish 31 in Westchase and shuttle to the party. Expect lots of people, lots of beer, and lots of music. This year’s dates have yet to be announced. Details at: http://www.paddyfest.org/.
Rough Rider’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Pub Crawl in Ybor: The Rough Riders are sponsoring two different St. Patrick’s Day themed events this year: a parade on March 18th, and a pub crawl on March 11th. James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City is a good place to start. Tickets are $20 for the pub crawl. Check the Tampa Rough Riders website for details: http://tamparoughriders.wixsite.com/rrevents.
Parties in North Pinellas. I covered all the St. Patrick’s Day events in North Pinellas last year, so I am just going to list this year’s dates here, and refer you to last year’s article for descriptions and photos: Fish & Chips, Lenten Fridays, Corned Beef, and St. Patrick’s Day – North Pinellas.
- Cricketer’s Parking lot party in Dunedin: March 17-18, 2017
- Flanagan’s street party in Dunedin: March 17-18, 2017
- O’Keefe’s tent party in Clearwater: March 16-17, 2017
- The Lucky Dill’s week-long St. Paddy’s celebration in Palm Harbor: March 13-20, 2017
- Peggy O’s St Paddy’s Day party in downtown Palm Harbor: March 16-18, 2017
Gasparilla Arts Month
The pirates will be leaving Tampa this Saturday, but Gasparilla will linger on in the form Gasparilla Arts Month. There are 4 different festivals of the arts this month in Tampa, one dedicated to film, one to the visual arts, one to music, and one to the performing arts.
Gasparilla International Film Festival: March 2-9. Muvico Centro Ybor is headquarters for the 8 day Gasparilla International Film Festival. This currently ongoing festival opened on March 2nd at The Tampa Theater with a showing of Burn Your Maps. The fun continues at Muvico Centro Ybor through March 9th. Looking at the full schedule, the number of films being shown is a little overwhelming. Most of these films are competing for a distribution deal. The spotlight films are more of a sure thing – these were the committee’s favorite films. This year’s spotlight films include Breakable You, Chief Zabu, and The Last Word on Saturday, March 4th; The Lost City of Z on Monday, March 6th, at 6:45pm; Soul on Ice on Tuesday, March 7th, at 5pm; and All Nighter on Wednesday, March 8th, at 9:45pm. You can purchase tickets to individual films for $12 or buy a daily film pass for $25. For the full schedule and film descriptions, go to: http://www.gasparillafilmfestival.com/schedule.
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts: March 4-5. The Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is a weekend-long art show in Curtis Hixon Park, now in its 47th year. There will be plenty of fun live music for you to listen to as you stroll through the park looking at artwork. There will also be 17 vendors present if you get hungry or thirsty, including Holy Hog BBQ, Shadrack’s Pizza, and The Taco Traveler. For details: http://gasparillaarts.com/.
Gasparilla Music Festival: March 11-12. The Gasparilla Music Festival is a weekend-long concert in Curtis Hixon Park. The 2017 lineup includes Cage the Elephant, Dirty Dozen Brass Band from New Orleans, Florida’s Have Gun Will Travel, Ryan Adams, and more. Two-day general admission is $60. For details and full lineup: https://gasparillamusic.com/.
Gasparilla Fringe Festival: March 31. The Gasparilla Fringe Festival is a one day performing arts festival at the Tampa Museum of Art, including plays, music, spoken word, dance, and more. General Admission is $25. Go to their website for a full list of performances: https://www.xorbia.com/events/cltampa/gasp/.
There are two different seafood festivals in the Tampa Bay area this month, and if you are willing to travel out to the Orlando area, then there is one more that I recommend. All of these come with live music and seafood. In Tampa Bay, Safety Harbor is having their seafood festival near the beautiful Safety Harbor Pier from March 10-12. Dunedin’s seafood festival will be at the waterfront Edgewater Park on the weekend of March 24th & 25th. For details, go to: http://www.oldebaycafe.com/.
A little further out, the Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards Wine & Seafood Festival in Clermont is sure to be a good time. I wrote about last year’s visit here: Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards 8th Annual Seafood Festival.
Safety Harbor Seafood Festival: March 10-12
Dunedin Seafood Festival: March 24-25
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards 9th Annual Wine & Seafood Festival: March 24-26, 2017
Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor: March 31 – April 2, 2017
Ybor’s Cuban sandwich festival is actually an international competition to see who makes the best Cuban sandwich. Past local winners include Stone Soup Company in Ybor, Tia’s Authentic Latin Food in Largo, and The Floridian in Tampa.
March 31st is just opening night – the fun continues through April 2nd. This year’s festival will be held at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City campus, and will include both the competition on Sunday April 2nd and an attempt to make the world’s largest Cuban sandwich on Saturday April 1st. For details, go to: http://www.thecubansandwichfestival.com/.