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This month in Tampa Bay: April 2017

April 1-2, 2017: International Cuban Sandwich Festival in Tampa, FL

On Sunday, April 2nd, restaurants from around the world will be competing in Tampa’s International Cuban Sandwich Festival for the title of World’s Best Cuban Sandwich.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:

April 1, 2017: 51st Annual Dunedin Highland Games & Festival in Dunedin, FL

Thanks to the city’s Scottish heritage, Dunedin hosts its very own Highland Games. Participants compete in the traditional categories, including music, dance, and various athletic events. The games have been a Dunedin tradition for over 50 years now. The festival begins with a pipe band parade on Friday, March 31, 2017 at 6:30 pm, and continues with the competition on Saturday, April 1st. In addition to the parade and games, spectators can expect sheepherding demonstrations, Scottish dancing, and musical performances by local pipe bands and contemporary Celtic rock bands Off Kilter and Seven Nations. Per tradition, you can also enjoy Scottish/British/Irish food and purchase Scottish goods from vendors. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the gate. For additional details, see the official event page:

April 6, 2017: May 6, 2017: Bad Ass Beerfest at Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Oldsmar, FL

On Thursday, April 6th,The Tampa Bay Brewing Company is hosting their 4th Annual Bad Ass Beerfest at their Oldsmar/Westchase location. There will be beer, food, and music. If you are looking for a spring beer fest in the Tampa Bay area, this seems like a pretty good option. There will be over 50 breweries present. Tickets are $35 in advance. Beer samples are included in your ticket price. For additional details:

April 8-9, 2017: 43rd Annual Fine Arts Festival in Tarpon Springs, FL

Tarpon Springs’ Annual Fine Arts Festival in one of the largest and most popular art festivals in the Tampa Bay area. Over 200 artists are expected to show their work in this year’s festival. What I love about this festival is the quality of work shown (and sold) here as well as its beautiful location in Craig Park. Walking around Craig Park’s Spring Bayou on a beautiful spring day, looking at artwork, I am reminded of how great a simple walk in the park can be. Read more about it here: Art on the Bayou—Tarpon Springs, FL. For additional details on this year’s festival, go to: Admission is $5.

Art on the Bayou, Tarpon Springs

April 7-9, 2017: Tampa Bay Blues Festival in St. Petersburg, FL

This 3-day music festival in St. Pete’s Vinoy Park is all about the blues. Buddy Guy is headlining on Friday Night followed by Kenny Wayne Shepherd on Saturday. General Admission tickets are $45/day or $110 for a 3-day pass. For the full list of artists, go to:

April 9, 2017: 33rd Annual Sunday in the Arts in Tampa, FL

On Sunday, April 9th, from 5-9pm, Las Damas de Arte is hosting a one-night-only art exhibit at the University of Tampa’s Scarfone/Hartley Gallery. Sunday is the Arts is a gala evening of music, visual art, wearable art, and hors d’oeuvres. General admission is $50 (in advance, $60 at the door) and helps raise money for scholarships and grants in the community and at Hillsborough Community College, University of Tampa, and University of South Florida. For additional details:

April 10-25, 2017: SunLit Festival in St. Petersburg, FL

This two-week-long festival brings 22 different literature-themed events to various locations throughout St. Petersburg, FL. Events include lectures, readings, a book fair, a spelling bee, and more. For additional details:

April 14-23, 2017: Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival in Clearwater, FL

Last year I wrote up the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival as a “magical experience” on Clearwater Beach. The beach is impressive all by itself. The annual Sugar Sand Festival adds to the magic by bringing professionally-sculpted sand sculptures and sand sculpting classes to Clearwater Beach. If you go near sunset, you may also catch a performance by a visiting street performer. Read more about it here: Sugar Sand & Sunsets at Pier 60: A perfect combination. For additional details on this year’s festival, see the official event page here:

juggling fire
Street performer at Pier 60 during the Sugar Sand festival

April 21-23, 2017: 18th Annual Cotee River Seafest in New Port Richey, FL

I went to the Cotee River Seafest in New Port Richey for the first time last year. The event takes over Sims Park along the Pithlachascotee River for one weekend in April each year. The highlights of the festival are the free boat rides along the river, the live music, and the seafood. Read about last year’s festival here: Cotee River Seafest brings seafood, blues, and boat rides to New Port Richey’s Sims Park. For additional details on this year’s festival, see the New Port Richey Main Street web site:

cotee river seafest
Cotee River Seafest

Have funds, will travel

April 21, 2017: Florida Museum of Natural History Centennial Celebration in Gainesville, FL

On the evening of April 21, 2017, the Florida Museum of Natural History launches its centennial celebration with National Geographic Photo Ark: Saving species through photography. In this seminar, National Geographic photographer, Joel Sartore, will be discussing his project to document the world’s animals in photographs. The seminar is being held at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville from 8-9:30pm. Tickets are free, but they are limited. For additional details:

This is just the beginning of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Centennial Celebration. In September 2017, the museum will unveil a special exhibit celebrating the museum’s history. In its 100 years, the museum has grown to house 40 million specimens on its 200,000 square feet campus. It’s a great time to pay a visit. While you’re there, check out the adjacent Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art in the UF Cultural Plaza.

April 22, 2017: Taste of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, FL

St. Augustine is more well-known for its history than its food, but the food is definitely worthy of your attention. For a quick overview, you can attend the 21st annual Taste of St. Augustine at the St. Augustine Ampitheater on April 22, 2017 from 11am-5pm. Over 25 restaurants are participating. For additional details:–NICFZIvgQodBuEC5Q.

Jennifer Ring
Jennifer Ring is a freelance writer & photographer living in the Tampa Bay area, on Florida's west coast, home to some of the best beaches in the state.