Winter in Florida is the season for food and music festivals. You’ll find tasty treats and danceable beats all along the Gulf Coast.
If you’ve never heard of a rolling music festival, we’re here to fix that. It might sound so good you’ll want to add it to your bucket list.
So grab your sun hat and cold beverage as we get into the Sunshine State’s best events.
Let’s hit it!
About the Florida Rolling Music and Food Festivals
Along Central Florida’s Gulf Coast, cooler temperatures mean it’s time for food and music festivals to take over. Starting in October, more than a dozen will pop up from Bonita Springs to St. Petersburg, where fresh seafood and local musicians are the headliners.
The group behind these lively parties is Paragon Festivals. Creatives form the heart of this organization.
And while they started hosting art events to support other makers, they’ve branched out into food and music. However, their end goal remains the same, and that’s to offer a platform for the little guy.
Whether for art, music, or culinary creators, Paragon’s boutique events feature a small sampling of vendors. They don’t invite just anyone to participate. Only the cream of the crop gets to sell or perform at their shows.
So, if you attend one of these festivals, you’ll know you’re seeing, hearing, and tasting the finest of the region. Best of all, admission to these events is completely free!
Rocktoberfest in Sarasota, Florida, Kicks Off the Rolling Music Festivals
Florida’s festival season starts with a bang at Rocktoberfest, where you’ll hear music from some of the Sunshine State’s best bands. The 2023 event takes place on the weekend of October 13th and lasts three days.
Of course, this festival lives up to its name. And it’s not just about the jams. It’s also heavy on traditional German food and beer. Authentic fare such as steckerlfisch, wurst, and kasespatzle will keep your stomach full all weekend.
However, Rocktoberfest isn’t Sarasota’s only notable event. Far from it! Starting November 24th, the International Food Truck Rally and Music Festival will occur at JD Hamel Park. From Friday to Sunday, chefs-on-wheels offer local and exotic flavors. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to taste a little bit of everything.
Both food trucks and entertainers will be serving up the good stuff late into the night, so grab an extra cup of coffee to keep you going.
The weekend of January 19th, the International Food Truck Rally and Music Festival moves off the mainland to St. Armands Circle, between Sarasota and Lido Key.
If you still haven’t had your fill, the Sarasota Seafood and Music Festival takes place one week after St. Armand’s big event. Made-to-order entrees, adult beverages, and top-notch local music are just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll also find artists from around the country selling handmade goods like pottery, paintings, and jewelry.
Visiting Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota is one of Florida’s most art-centric cities. Theaters, galleries, and performing arts centers are plentiful here.
The famed Ringling Museum of Art features works by creators worldwide. And with a name like that, you may not be surprised to learn a Circus Museum is also on-site. Add the Gilded Age Ca’ d’Zan mansion, the Asolo Theater, and the lush gardens, and you may never want to leave.
However, once you finish exploring the Ringling campus, there’s still much to enjoy. In addition, businesses in the downtown arts district host regular open houses. They invite the public to stop by, enjoy a cold beverage, and peruse their wares.
When you’re ready to get out into nature, you’ll be in the right place. At Myakka River State Park, wetlands and wildflowers take center stage. And, of course, no matter where you go in Sarasota, you won’t be far from the sunny beaches of the Gulf and the back bays.
Hanging in town for a while? We’ve got your music needs covered! 7 Best Places to See Live Music in Sarasota.
Best Place to Stay Near the Sarasota Music and Food Festivals
If you’re looking for both relaxation and excitement, you won’t want to miss Sun Outdoors RV Resort. It’s located just east of town and has everything you need.
Full hookups and big-rig sites ensure you’ll be comfortable during your stay. They have standard amenities such as laundry facilities and a dump station. But it’s the recreational opportunities that set it apart from the competition.
The first thing you’ll see when you arrive is the towering water slide leading to the heated swimming pool. There’s also a playground, a gym, and a basketball court. Whether you want to play a round of horseshoes, fish for your dinner, or sit back and relax at the on-site restaurant, we think you’ll enjoy this family-friendly resort.
Check Out Bonita Springs, Florida, for Two Music and Food Festivals
Farther down the Gulf Coast is the beautiful city of Bonita Springs. This quintessential Florida town is another stop for two of Paragon’s food and music festivals.
The Seafood and Music Festival begins February 9 and lasts all weekend. Undoubtedly, you’ll have more tasty treats than you can eat and plenty of music to dance to. And the arts and crafts marketplace, where local vendors sell one-of-a-kind creations, is an excellent place to pick up souvenirs.
Then, during the first weekend in April, the Bonita Springs Food Truck Rally and Music Festival comes to town. Once again, local talent, including chefs, musicians, and artists, will be in attendance.
Dive into local flavors with Seafood Lover’s Florida: Restaurants, Markets, Recipes & Traditions.
Visiting Bonita Springs, Florida
The city of Bonita Springs received its name from a healing spring thought to hold the power to cure the sick. With gorgeous scenery, popular beaches, and a relaxed yet romantic atmosphere, there’s a lot to love.
Kayak the calm waters of the Imperial River, play a round of golf, or take in the sights from above on a parasailing excursion.
Bonita Springs is only about 30 minutes from Naples, another high-end destination on the water, and a hub for ecotourism. It’s a great home base to explore the nearby Everglades. You can wander through the botanical gardens, venture into wildlife refuges, and dine at world-class restaurants all on the same day.
Best Place to Stay Near the Bonita Springs Music and Food Festivals
Less than half an hour from Bonita Springs is Crystal Lake RV Resort. Most spots are waterfront, but you’ll still get unbeatable views around the grounds even if you get an inland site.
Full hookups are standard, and big-rig sites are plentiful. Free WiFi, a laundry center, and hot showers are available for all guests.
You’ll have access to a gym, an indoor swimming pool, and recreational trails. They also offer a book exchange where you can trade your old favorites for something new.
Fort Myers, Florida, Will Host Two Music and Food Festivals
The first weekend in January 2024, the Seafood and Music Festival will hit Fort Myers, Florida. Foodies can enjoy culinary delights from a range of cuisines. Even if you’re not a seafood lover, there are vegetarian and meaty dishes to please your taste buds.
You’ll want to take your dancing shoes with you. With the sounds of rock, jazz, R&B, and reggae floating through the air, it’ll be hard to stay still.
From March 22nd to 24th, treat yourself to more toe-tapping jams at the Fort Myers River District Music Festival. Like the Seafood and Music Festival, this event occurs in historic downtown along the waterfront. Both fests offer great music, delicious food, and the chance to buy unique creations from local artists.
Visiting Fort Myers, Florida
Music festivals aren’t the only reason to visit Fort Myers, Florida. Many folks think the annual events are just the cherry on top. This city has something for everyone, from five-star restaurants to outdoor adventures.
The Caloosahatchee River runs through downtown, providing waterfront views just about everywhere you look. If you prefer to check out the area’s cultural history instead, tour one of the city’s many historic homes, museums, and galleries.
Take a stroll through Manatee Park, a refuge for the gentle giants. In winter, these graceful creatures swim upstream into warmer waters. You might spot dolphins and shorebirds at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
And if you head 15 miles west, you’ll arrive at Sanibel Island. This tiny strip of land is known as the Seashell Capital of the World. You can even visit a museum devoted to the gems that wash ashore.
Best Place to Stay Near the Fort Myers Music and Food Festivals
Cypress Trail Luxury Resort is the ultimate destination for RVers. They have spacious pull-thru sites with full hookups, restrooms with showers, laundry facilities, and trash service. In addition to the essentials, they have plenty of extra amenities to keep you entertained.
Use the outdoor swimming pool or the tennis courts to burn off all those tasty treats from Florida’s famous food festivals. Stroll the property’s pier and cast a line, or rent a boat to get out on the water.
And Cypress Trail knows that our four-legged friends are family. They offer a deluxe dog park with a splash pool and drinking fountains just for the pooches. While you relax in the tiki hut, your pups will be living their best life.
Check out all the festival locations on Paragon’s website.
Which Florida Music and Food Festival Will You Attend?
Florida has no shortage of music and food festivals. The only tricky part is trying to hit as many as possible! After all, each event offers its own spin on culinary creations, lively jams, and curated creations for sale.
No matter which ones you choose to attend, you’ll enjoy the best of the Sunshine State. So grab your dancing shoes and start planning your winter itinerary.
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