It’s cold pretty much everywhere else in the United States. But in Florida, it’s the heart of the Tampa Bay Events & festival season.
Mild temperatures – even a chilly day here and there – make the winter months an excellent time to hold a festival in the Tampa Bay area. That’s why so many of the biggest festivals of the year are on the calendar between December and March.
Exciting Tampa Bay Events
The following are some of the biggest Tampa Bay events scheduled in the area for winter 2018. There are plenty of chances to get out and enjoy the weather. It’s also a perfect time for an outdoor party of your own. If you’ve got one to plan, make sure to check out all the entertainment options from Air Fun Games in New Port Richey.
Christmas Boat Parades
One of the great treats every winter around the Tampa Bay area are the numerous boat parades. Here are a few to take in while enjoying the holidays, Florida style.
St. Petersburg. The annual Illuminated Boat Parade begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. The parade runs near downtown, from Bayboro to the Vinoy Basin.
Indian Rocks Beach. The parade down the intercoastal waterway is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16. The parade runs from the Walsingham Street Bridge to Harbor Drive North.
Redington Beach/Indian Shores. The boat parade begins at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17. It will go down the Intercoastal Waterway from the Tom Stuart Causeway to The Pub restaurant in Indian Shores.
Tampa. The annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is set to start at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23. The parade will travel past Davis Island, Harbour Island and the Channelside District.
Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza
This the first big event built around the Gasparilla Festival in Tampa. Named for the legendary (perhaps apocryphal) pirate Jose Gaspar, this event centers on the Children’s Parade. More than 100 floats will make their way down Bayshore Boulevard to downtown Tampa. There’s also music, activities and fun for the kids. Events begin at 11 a.m. on Jan. 20, the parade starts at 3:30 p.m.
Gasparilla Pirate Fest
Now that the kids have had their fun, the adults come out to play. There’s a parade, of course, that’s one of the biggest in the country. And venues across the downtown area will have all kinds of specials. There’s also 300,000 people, many of them in pirate garb. It’s one of the best street parties in the nation. Events kick off at 11 a.m. on Jan. 27 with the annual pirate invasion that lands at the Convention Center. The parade starts at 2 p.m.
Florida State Fair
Yes, there are great festivals. Now, how about a state fair? The annual event is held at the fairgrounds off Interstate 4 and features rides, games, crafts, livestock shows and a whole lot of delicious fried food. The fair is set to run this year from Feb. 8-19.
Sant’Yago Knight Parade
This event happens in Ybor City and features illuminated floats, wild costumes and, of course, a great time at all the restaurants and bars along 7th Avenue and beyond. Expect a virtual shower of beads thrown from floats. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 10.
Florida Strawberry Festival
Another annual winter treat, the Florida Strawberry Festival combines all the attractions of a fair, great music and, of course, strawberries served just about any way you can think of. It’s a great way for a family to spend the day, and it’s as Central Florida as Central Florida gets. The festival runs this year from March 1-11.
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts
A season that begins with illuminated boats and pirate parades ends with a fantastic art festival at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa. The annual festival features hundreds of artists from around the world coming to Tampa to show and sell their artworks. It’s a wonderful place to see great art and find that perfect art piece you’ve been searching for. The festival runs over the weekend of March 3 and 4.
Those are just some of the big highlights of the Tampa Bay Events winter festival season. They offer plenty of chances to get out and enjoy the best time of the year in Florida.