by Jessica Giles | October 28, 2021

Here are 22 Events We’re Putting on Our Calendars This Fall & Winter

From the Great American Race to the stinkiest festival in South Florida, these are the hottest happenings around the state from October to February.



Every holiday season more than three million lights illuminate the Ancient City. Photography courtesy of

Nights of Lights

St. Augustine
Nov. 20–Jan. 31

The Ancient City puts Clark Griswold’s house to shame each holiday season when more than three million lights illuminate every branch and banister. Rooted in the old Spanish tradition of placing a candle in the window at Christmastime, St. Augustine’s over-the-top spectacle has been named one of 10 must-see holiday light displays around the world by National Geographic. The Plaza de la Constitución glows as the heart of the show, each tree wrapped in lights and a multicolored Christmas tree towering over it all, but the Lightner Museum and Flagler College often steal the glory when their Gilded Age facades begin to glimmer. To escape the crowds, soak up the scenery by boat, and watch a rainbow of colors shimmer off the surface of the Matanzas River.

Super Girl Surf Pro

Jacksonville Beach
Nov. 12–14

Women are taking over the waves at the largest female professional surf competition featuring Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore and Florida favorite Caroline Marks.

Dickens on Centre

Fernandina Beach
Dec. 9–12

Laughter and good humor are irresistibly contagious at this Victorian celebration of Christmas past. Cheers with costumed characters, spill your wish list to Saint Nick and banish holiday bah-humbug.

Polar Bear Dip

Perdido Key
Jan. 1

Brave the wintry waters of the Gulf of Mexico for a free beer and black-eyed peas lunch from the Flora-Bama Lounge. Costumes are encouraged (and wet suits are for weenies).

30A Songwriters Festival

South Walton
Jan. 14–17

Heavy hitters like Mavis Staples, Emmylou Harris and John Driskell Hopkins mingle with up-and-coming musicians at this sweet-sounding spectacle  in the 30A beach communities.     

Apalachicola Oyster Cook-Off

Jan. 14–15

Slurp and score the Panhandle’s best bivalves during this two-day shellfish showdown that benefits the town’s volunteer fire department. Squeeze in a quick 3-mile run before the taste test begins.

Donna Marathon

Jacksonville Beaches
Feb. 6

At the nation’s only marathon dedicated to breast cancer research, patients, survivors and supporters race in everything from the 5K to the 110-mile ultramarathon or the beachfront, Boston-qualifying marathon.

The Donna Marathon serves as a Boston-qualifying marathon. Photography courtesy of the Donna Marathon.


This year will be the 64th anniversary of the Daytona 500. Photography courtesy of Daytona International Speedway.

Daytona 500

Daytona Beach
Feb. 20

Get a front-row seat at the most iconic race in motor sports, where the world’s best drivers push their cars and themselves to the limits at NASCAR’s signature speedway. Thanks to the course’s high banks (and the race’s high stakes), outcomes are known to change in an instant at the Daytona 500, keeping fans—and drivers—on the edge of their seats. At this year’s 64th annual competition, catch a prerace performance by Luke Combs, get a glimpse of the pit crews prepping the cars in the UNOH Fan Zone and even sign your name on the starting line. When the flood lights illuminate the 2.5-mile tri-oval track and the roar of the crowd threatens to drown out the revving engines, you’ll understand why they call this the Great American Race.

Sarasota Mod Weekend

Nov. 12–14     

Celebrate all things sleek, chic and thoroughly Sarasota during this deep dive into the city’s signature architecture. Stroll  around stunning homes and get to know the mastermind behind the Sarasota style.

St. Pete Run Fest

St. Petersburg
Nov. 12–14

Lace up your sneakers and tour this Gulf Coast gem on foot when you sign up for the half marathon, 10K or 5K. Not a runner? Cheer on your athlete from the sidelines and stick around for the post-race party.

Americana musicians from around the country play this chill festival in Lake Wales. Photography by Greenprint Photography/Alexis Wharem.

Orange Blossom Revue

Lake Wales
Dec. 3–4     

Rock out to roots music beneath a blanket of live oaks in the heart of Old Florida. Blackberry Smoke, Nicki Bluhm, Devon Gilfillian and more bring their soulful sounds to this not-so-sleepy town.

John’s Pass Seafood Festival

Madeira Beach
Jan. 20–23

Feast on the freshest flavors of the Gulf just steps from where they’re reeling it in with a quaint fishing village as the backdrop. Live music, local vendors and a VIP tasting event round out this seafood fete.

Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival

Jan. 20–23

Sample a true down-home delicacy in every dish imaginable at this quirky festival going 31 years strong. Start small with a single frog pop or order a whole pound of frog legs to share with the family. This year, you don’t even have to leave the car to get your amphibian appetizers. Just swing by the drive-thru.

25th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival

Cape Canaveral
Feb. 2–6

Grab your best binoculars and look to the skies to see some of Florida’s feathery friends. Embark on field trips to birding hot spots, hear from experts in the industry and even learn how to capture these creatures on film.

Florida State Fair

Feb. 10–21

This annual carnival with a massive midway is the only time downing a basket of deep-fried cookie dough and chili cheese fries before taking a whirl on the Zipper sounds like a good idea. Pro tip: It’s not.


After canceling its 2020 show, Art Basel returns to Miami Beach at the end of 2021. Photography courtesy of Art Basel.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Miami Beach
Dec. 2–4

From the fair that brought us the infamous duct-taped banana, which sold for $120,000, Art Basel Miami Beach returns to once again push the boundaries of conventional art. As the continent’s most comprehensive contemporary art fair, Art Basel showcases the work of more than 4,000 artists from more than 260 galleries across the globe inside the enormous Miami Beach Convention Center. Admire installations from established and emerging artisans and maybe even spot an A-list celebrity or two ducking into exclusive parties across the Magic City. It’s not just the convention center that’s brimming with art. During the fair, museums and galleries throughout the city host events that elevate the arts in Miami. But just a friendly reminder: Don’t eat the displays.

Sip cocktails and admire classic cruisers at the first-ever Fort Lauderdale Concours. Photography courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Concours.

Fort Lauderdale Concours

Fort Lauderdale 
Oct. 29

Gear up for the classiest night of cars and cocktails on the rooftop of the Las Olas Parking Garage at the Intracoastal, guaranteed to make classic car enthusiasts out of anyone, with fine art, fashion and live music to seal the deal.

Stone Crab Festival

Oct. 29–31     

The best of Florida’s signature seafood harvesters celebrate the opening of stone crab season at the Stone Crab Festival, hosted by the waterfront businesses that define the area.

Miami Book Fair

Nov. 14–21

Floridians with a penchant for page-turners can nerd out with their favorite authors at this beloved book fair. Past guests have included Margaret Atwood, Debbie Harry and Richard Russo. You may even see some familiar Flamingo faces!

Key West Food and Wine Festival

Key West
Jan. 26–30

Enjoy a night in Tuscany, a Spanish fiesta and a boozy brunch without leaving the Keys at this festival showcasing local food and wine vendors.

Garlic Fest

Delray Beach
Feb. 12–13

Break out the breath mints for the “best stinkin’ party in South Florida.” Indulge in garlic gator, a breakfast garlic burger and even a cone piled high with garlic ice cream at this odorous ode to everyone’s favorite herb.

Honda Classic

Palm Beach Gardens
Feb. 21–27

The best players on the PGA Tour descend on Palm Beach Gardens to tackle the formidable Bear Trap and battle for the $1.4-million winner’s share. Ticket sales benefit the Children’s Healthcare Charity.