by Kayla Byrd | January 8, 2024

From Ballet to Brews: A Diverse Arts and Entertainment Culture Awaits in Indian River County

Discover eclectic food festivals, red-carpet moments, undiscovered artists and more in this South Florida enclave.

Indian River County dazzles through its arts and culture. Photography courtesy of Riverside Theatre.

Tucked along the southern region of Florida’s Treasure Coast, Indian River County is best known for its pristine beaches, teeming wildlife habitats and yes, gold-strewn shipwrecks. But the area’s real hidden gems lie in its rich cultural centers and one-of-a-kind (and sometimes quirky) events. From festivals for foodies and film buffs to the world-class art centers that act as cultural hallmarks, find a bespoke escape or a creative muse in 2024 along the glittering shores of Indian River County.   

Festival and Feasts 

Tails, Legs & A Lot Of Heart 

The fairgrounds at the Frog Leg Festival. Photography by Bob Bernier.

You’ll find legs for days at the 2024 Frog Leg Festival from Jan. 18–21. Chow down on fried frog legs and gator tail pops, or stick to classic southern staples like hushpuppies and grits, while strolling through hundreds of vendors selling everything from hand-woven clothes to ceramic frog statues. Ride the Ferris wheel, dance to live music, shop for treasures and indulge in all the amphibious delicacies your heart desires.  

Savor the Flavor

Sip on a little bit of sunshine as you taste your way through the Florida Craft Brew & WingFest on Feb. 17. Wash down tender bites with one of 250 thoughtfully crafted brews like Honey Buzz IPA or Tin Whiskey Blonde Ale, and cast your vote for who gets the coveted title of 2024’s best wings. Sipping and savoring isn’t strictly for the adults in the group, kids can take their own swigs in the root beer tasting contest, complete with fan-favorite pretzel necklaces. Then burn off the beer while dancing to live blues and jam bands like Soul Jam and Reckless Shots.  

Oil Paints & Oaks 

Gorgeous oak branches and Spanish moss hang above the artists' tents. Photography courtesy of Under the Oaks Art Festival.

Whether it’s ceramics, photography or paintings you’re after, the Under the Oaks Art Festival offers a wide variety of pieces to consider adding to your art collection. More than 200 artists from across the United States display their best works in the hopes of being awarded a cash prize for best in show at this juried art fair. Held at Riverside Park, this outdoor event unfolds underneath a canopy of oak tree branches and Spanish moss as picturesque as the art on display.  

Lights, Camera, Action 

Cinephiles can feel like they’re a part of Hollywood’s elite at the 2024 Vero Beach Film Festival. Now hosted in April, this fest screens films from independent and student filmmakers, features exclusive dinners and hosts glamourous red-carpet events. The fest’s silver screen boasts stories of humanity and supports not only the filmmakers but also the community, with proceeds going to local charities.

An Admiration for the Arts 

Breathtaking Ballet 

Performers take the stage at Ballet Vero Beach. Photography by Joe Semkow.

Watch as Ballet Vero Beach’s world-class ballerinas twirl and leap across the stage, weaving a timeless tale through dance. The exquisitely trained performers combine their raw emotions and carefully trained techniques into four annual performances, which kicks off with Choreographer’s Notebook: Camdam. In addition to putting on a great show, the company is passionate about serving the community and offers free performances for students, a more accessible experience for people with different abilities and a literacy program for elementary school students called Stage to Page.  

Step into Frame

Take in the beauty of the museum before you step in. Photography courtesy of Vero Beach Museum of Art.

The upcoming exhibits and programs at the Vero Beach Museum of Art don’t just showcase beautiful pieces of art, but dive into the history, thoughtful composition and rigorous security required for your viewing pleasure. With exhibits exploring the artwork and culture of the ancient Egyptians, plus a lecture from Tim Gunn and a former FBI agent explaining how stolen art was recovered, anyone from a history buff to a fashionista can uncover the unknown and learn something new. 

No Business Like Show Business

Riverside Theatre's production of Carousel. Photography courtesy of Riverside Theatre.

As the largest, independent theatre in Florida, The Riverside Theatre’s productions will have you ready to jump out of your seat and give a standing ovation. Attend a detailed backstage tour and learn about the technical aspects behind the curtain. With a new knowledge and appreciation for what goes into their productions, you’ll be able to give your full applause for their upcoming performances of Jersey Boys and Kinky Boots. 

Magic on the Marquee 

Vero Beach is known for more than just its white sand beaches, as it is home to the longest-running theatre guild in the region. With upcoming performances of “Midsummer Night's Dream,” “9 to 5” and a “Sondheim Tribute Revue,” there’s a perfect show of running for theatre lovers of any genre at the  Vero Beach Theatre Guild. In addition to world-class productions, the beloved community theatre, now in its 66th  year,  offers  acting classes to the public led by seasoned performers like Tony-nominated Michael Naffziger and youth programs to help cultivate the next generation of Broadway stars. 

To learn more, go to visitindianrivercounty.com.