Check out festivals and events in October across the state.
View events this coming weekend, or view the whole month's offerings by region below:
This list is organized by region.
Central Florida (including Orlando, Kissimmee, Daytona Beach, Sanford, the Space Coast, Lakeland/Polk and Lake County)
Sept. 19 - Nov. 1 (select nights): Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando. In its 24th year, the event is considered one of the world's largest, most elaborate Halloween celebrations. Guests will experience live mega-horror movies with this year's theme pulling haunted houses inspired by "The Purge," "The Walking Dead" and more. Universal enlists a "scream team" of designers to research the human psyche and its deepest fears so guests can confront all the physical and psychological horrors of the movies. 407-363-8000. www.halloweenhorrornights.com
Through Nov. 10: Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Walt Disney World. The annual food and wine lover's paradise enters its 19th year with tapas-style offerings and beverages from close to 30 global marketplaces. Also on tap are celebrity chef demonstrations and rock star performances during the Eat to the Beat concert series. There are also select events including Party for the Senses, Boot Camps Series, Dining Through the Decades and more. Festival comes with Epcot admission and plates range from $4-$9. You can make reservations for the select events at Disney's website. 407-WDW-FEST. disneyworld.disney.go.com
Oct. 2-5: Port Orange Family Days, Port Orange. With a parade, street painting and expo:Port Orange City Center, 1999 City Center Circle, Port Orange; free (some events or rides extra); 386-506-5935. familydays.com
Oct. 3-Nov. 1: A Petrified Forest, Altamonte Springs. Haunted scare trail and laser tag: 7:30-11 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. A Petrified Forest, 1360 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs; $15 for haunted path, $7 laser tag, packages available; 407-468-6600. apetrifiedforest.com
Oct. 3-4: Oktoberfest, Port St. Lucie. Dust off your lederhosen! German food and beer, music, dance and crafts will be on tap during Oktoberfest, presented by the City of Port St. Lucie and the German American Club of the Treasure Coast on Oct. 3-4. The event will be held at the Promenade at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center, at the corner of U.S. 1 and Walton Road. Admission is free. For details, visit www.psloktoberfest.blogspot.com.
Oct. 3-5: Maitland Rotary Art Festival, Maitland. A boutique art festival with 135 artists vying for $26,000 in awards. Art Under the Stars, The 38th Maitland Rotary Art Festival is the only night-time fine art show in Florida. With subtle live entertainment and sparkling lights the evening hours create magical experiences for artists and patrons alike. 6- 10 p.m. Friday; noon -10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. At Lake Lily Park, 840 Lake Lily Drive , Maitland , FL , 32751. 407-263-5218. maitlandrotaryartfestival.com/
Oct. 4-5: Melbourne Air and Space Show, Melboourne. Headlined by the civilian U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, this will be the last beachside air show in Florida for the year. The show will feature a full weekend of activities including a Take Off Party on Friday, and a Performer Party the following night. Saturday and Sunday air shows begin at 12 p.m. At Melbourne International Airport. General admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children in advance. More VIP packages available. www.airandspaceshow.com
Oct. 4-5: 27th Annual Autumn in the Park, Vero Beach. The 27th Annual Autumn in the Park showcases the work of local and regional artists under majestic oaks at Riverside Park on Riverside Park Drive on Oct. 4-5. The juried show will be limited to 150 booths. Admission is free and food and beverages will be available for purchase. For details, visit www.autumn-in-the-park.org.
Oct.4: 23rd Annual Central Florida Fall Harvest & Peanut Festival, Williston. The 23rd Annual Central Florida Fall Harvest & Peanut Festival features crafts, music, rides, lots of peanuts and peanut products, and even free grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while they last at Heritage Park on Oct. 4. Little Peanut King and Queen and Baby Peanut contests are planned. Heritage Park is at 444 Northwest Main Street. For information, visit www.seenorthflorida.com.
Oct. 4: First Saturday Jam, Barberville. On the first Saturday each month visit the Pioneer Settlement for entertainment and fun for the entire family. 9 a.m to 4 p.m. There will be informal music jams, free workshops, food, and a barn-style dance at 3 p.m. 386-749-2959. www.pioneersettlement.org
Oct. 4: Children's Cane Pole Fishing Tournament, DeLeon Springs. Head over to De Leon Springs State Park for this fun traditional take on fishing. Children 15 and under can test their angling skills and compete for trophies in three age groups for largest, smallest and most fish caught. Everyone will win something. Bait provided. Regular park admission. 9 a.m - noon. 386-985-4212. www.floridastateparks.org/deleonsprings/events.cfm.
Oct. 4, Oct. 25: Oktoberfest, Casselberry. With live bands and entertainment: 2-11 p.m. on both Saturdays; The German-American Society of Central Florida, 381 Orange Lane, Casselberry; $5 adults and free for ages 12 and younger; 407-834-0574. www.gasocf.com
Oct. 9: Come Out With Pride Festival Opening Celebration, Orlando. LGBT pride festival and parade: this will be one of many events during the Oct. 6 - 12 span of the festival. The night will be filled with music, food and mingling. At Heritage Square at the Orange County History Center. 65 East Central Boulevard, Orlando; General admission tickets are $20. 321-800-3944. comeoutwithpride.com
Oct. 9. Alive After 5, Sanford. Oktoberfest-themed street party with vendors and entertainment: 5-8 p.m. Thursday; Sanford Welcome Center, 230 E. First St., Sanford; $7 for food and beverage samplings; 407-302-2586. sanfordwelcomecenter.com
Oct. 9-12. Southern Women's Show, Orlando. Lifestyle expo with that focuses on beauty, fashion, food and fun with celebrity guests and more. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday through Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando; $12 adults, $6 children; 800-849-0248. www.southernshows.com/wor
Oct. 10-12: MusicFest, Winter Garden. Outdoor and indoor music celebration featuring performances by more than 50 live performances from 30 different music genres that include everything from country, jazz and blues to Americana, acoustic, classic rock, southern rock, funk, pop, classical, opera, musical theater, choral, and more. Vendors sell everything from soy candles to fine handcrafted jewelry. Greek, BBQ, Jamaican, Caribbean, Italian, Asian and American food specialties tempt the palate. Also offered are free music seminars and workshops, and a KidzFest with a variety of activities. On Plant Street downtown. Hours vary. Free. 407-292-7922. www.wintergardenmusicfest.com
Oct. 10-12: Daytona Blues Festival, Daytona Beach. Among the artists slated to perform during the festival are Southern Hospitality, Mr. Sipp and the Jeff Jensen Band. The festival is at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Downtown Daytona Beach. A variety of tickets is available as are hotel and ticket packages. For information, visit www.DaytonaBluesFestival.com.
Oct. 10-12: 40th Annual Bicycle Festival, Mount Dora. Attracting 1,000 cyclists, this is Florida's oldest and largest bicycling event, featuring rides of varying lengths and skill levels. Cyclists of all ages come and see why Lake County is recognized as one of the best places in the world to ride. 352-383-2165. www.mountdora.com/festivals.php
Oct. 10-12: Music Fest, Winter Garden. Outdoor and indoor music celebration boasting 30 different music genres that could include everything from country, jazz and blues to Americana, acoustic, classic rock, southern rock, funk, pop, classical, opera, musical theater, choral, and more. Vendors sell everything from soy candles to fine handcrafted jewelry. Greek, BBQ, Jamaican, Caribbean, Italian, Asian and American food specialties tempt the palate. Also offered are free music seminars and workshops, and a KidzFest with a variety of activities. On Plant Street downtown. Free. 407-292-7922. www.wintergardenmusicfest.com
Oct. 11-12: 41st Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival, Winter Park. A juried art show with a longstanding tradition, drawing more than 40,000 people. The show features work by outstanding Orlando artists and also offers live entertainment and food provided by local restaurants. Children's art workshops are also offered. In Central Park. Free. 407-644-8281. www.winterpark.org/content/winter-park-autumn-art-festival
Oct. 11: Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff, DeLand. 14th annual judged chili contest with entertainment, vendors, crafts and Kids Zone. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tasting will continue until chili runs out. East Indiana Avenue in downtown. Adults $10, Kids 4-12 $3. 4 and under free. 386-740-6813. www.greatbowlsofchilicookoff.com
Oct. 11: Second Saturday Gamble Jam, Flagler Beach. Jam out at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area for the Second Saturday Jam Session in the Park. Musicians of all levels are encouraged to bring their instruments and a chair to join the circle for a casual acoustic jam session. Instruments of all types are welcome. Pre-registration is requested. Please contact Lauren Swanson at 386-517-2086. 4 p.m. www.floridastateparks.org/gamblerogers/events.cfm
Oct. 11-12: Vintage Venture at Lakeridge Winery, Clermont. There is nothing better than a Vintage Car Show to bring back nostalgia. These special gems from the past are a must-see and you can also enjoy a variety of live vintage '50s and '60s music by top class performers on the outdoor stage. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food will be available for purchase, along with complimentary winery tours and wine tasting. At Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards. Admission $2 donation. 800-768-9463. www.lakeridgewinm
Oct. 16-19: Biketoberfest, Daytona Beach. Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach is a rousing, fun-filled weekend that attracts more than 125,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from near and far. Activities include rides, concerts, food and much more. Admission: Free. 386-255-0415. www.biketoberfest.org
Oct. 17-18. Oktoberfest, Celebration. With hayrides, activities and live music: 5:30-10 p.m.; Celebration Town Center, 610 Sycamore St., Celebration; free; 407-566-4007. celebrationtowncenter.com
Oct. 22-26: Orlando Film Festival, Orlando. This annual festival features events in and around the heart of Orlando, where patrons are able to enjoy great films in exciting venues while experiencing Orlando's downtown lifestyle. The festival seeks to inspire student, future and current filmmakers in the art of filmmaking and to enhance the movie viewing experience. All screenings are free. 407-843-0801. www.orlandofilmfest.com
Oct. 24-26: Orlando Home Show, Orlando. Held at the Orange County Convention Center, the Orlando Home Show features local, regional and national experts in remodeling, building, decorating and landscaping. Other highlights include instructional seminars, giveaways, contests and exhibits with the industry's latest products. Admission is $10 (children 5 and under are free). For details, visit www.orlandohomeshow.com.
Oct. 25: Hoooowl for the Arts, Sanford. This annual event features an auction of original art and masks created by local artists, celebrities and elected officials. Music, entertainment and non-alcoholic beverages will all be available at the Seminole Harley Davidson during the event from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Advance tickets are available online for $35 each. www.seminoleculturalarts.org
Oct 25: Cows ‘n Cabs, Winter Park. Cows ‘n Cabs (“CNC”), a charity-based, food-and-wine festival curated by ABC Fine Wine & Spirits’ David Larue and celebrated Chef John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse and The COOP, returns for the fourth consecutive edition with its signature rustic, western scene presented under one tent in Winter Park’s West Meadow. Cows ‘n Cabs, which raised more than $60,000 last year for two local charities, is anticipating 400 guests for a collaborative event featuring cuisine by more than 18 of Central Florida’s top chefs. www.cowsncabs.com
Oct. 25-26: Mount Dora Craft Fair, Mount Dora. This nationally ranked, juried event continues to attract more than 250,000 visitors and more than 350 of the best crafters in the country. In downtown streets. Free admission. 352-735-1191. mountdora.com/festivals.php
Oct. 25-26: 28th Annual Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of the Arts, Heathrow. This popular outdoor event features live entertainment, fine food and outstanding art exhibits. It is designed to inspire an appreciation for quality art forms as well as to award scholarships to local students desiring higher education. The festival is situated in Oval Park near Heathrow off of International Parkway. Free admission. 407-444-0484. www.lakemaryheathrowarts.com
Oct. 26: Festival Calle Orange, Orlando. Central Florida's largest Hispanic festival bringing together people of many nationalities, religions and backgrounds to enjoy food, music and dancing in the streets. Features multiple stages of music from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, kiosks offering foods and delicacies from all the countries, and entire blocks dedicated to all types of entertainment including sports and children's activities. Downtown in special ten-block designated area. 407-381-5310. www.festivals.com/viewevent.aspx?eventid=TQkWk6nzwHQ%3D
Through Oct. 31. Old Town Halloween, Kissimmee. Experience the Old Town Halloween in Kissimmee. The spooky event will include haunt zones, live entertainment and costume contests. Fridays and Saturdays : 7-11 p.m., October 31st : 7-11 p.m. 5770 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL, 34746. 407-396-4888. myoldtownusa.com
Oct. 31-Nov. 1. Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, Lake Buean Vista. Annual event with tastings and beverage seminars at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel. 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. 1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, FL , 32830. Ticket prices vary. 800-227-1500. www.swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com/
Tampa Bay-Sarasota (including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Tarpon Springs and Homosassa)
Sept. 26-Nov. 1: Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream, Tampa Bay. Howl-O-Scream is back this year with gut-wrenching scares. The theme is Cursed. Event runs every Thurs.-Sat. throughout the month of October. Howl-O-Scream is not recommended for young children. seaworldparks.com/howloscream/
Oct. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26: Pumpkin Festival, Bradenton. Kids and adults will enjoy a day at a real working farm with homemade apple cider, a petting farm, old country store, pumpkin patch and arts and crafts. Festival to include 100+ craft booths, live music, live shows, pumpkins, charity pumpkin games, Pioneer Trades Village, hayrides, pony rides, chainsaw sculptor, corn maze ($2 extra), scarecrow displays, homemade ice cream, farm roasted sweet corn, rock climbing wall, power jump, petting zoo, barnyard playground, face painting, children's train ride, juggler, butterfly experience, frog jumping championship. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.. Admission: $10, children 12 and under are Free. Parking: $5. At Hunsader Farms. 941-322-2168. www.hunsaderfarms.com
Oct. 15-18: Ringling International Arts Festival, Sarasota. Splendid kick-off to the Florida Gulf Coast 2014-15 cultural season with performances in music, theater and dance, and major art exhibitions. The four-day festival reflects a unique partnership between the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City and the Ringling Museum of Art, reflecting the former's commitment to presenting both emerging and established artists at the forefront of their fields, and envisions utilizing the latter's exceptional facilities as a home for this vibrant cultural gathering place for artists and audiences alike. The four-day festival will feature artists from Australia, Canada, England, France, Israel, Scotland, Spain and America, presented in the Historic Asolo Theater, Mertz Theatre, and Cook Theatre. Please note that all performances, except opening night concert, are offered at multiple times over the course of the four days. Tickets may be purchased in festival packages or in single ticket sales. 941-360-7399. A detailed schedule of events is available at www.ringling.org
Oct. 16-19: Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Clearwater. In its 35th year, the annual Jazz Holiday brings together all veins of jazz music in four days of free entertainment at Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater. One of the longest-running and best-known free live jazz events in the country, it has presented in concert virtually every jazz luminary of our generation. The signature celebration sets the stage for the most recognized Smooth Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Fusion, Latin and local bands ever assembled. At Coachman Park. Free admission (lawn seating, so bring lawn chairs). 727-461-5200. www.clearwaterjazz.com
Oct. 17: Cigar Heritage Party 2014, Ybor. Join the fun and ambiance of Ybor City for a day of activities celebrating the rich cigar heritage that once made Tampa the 'Cigar Capital of the World.' Join thousands of cigar enthusiasts at this party. Hosted by the Ybor Museum. www.ybormuseum.org
Oct. 17-18: Anna Maria Island Chamber Bayfest, Anna Maria. Kick off party is Friday night with food, beer, wine, soda and entertainment. Saturday offers entertainment, classic cars. "Taste of the Island" features specialties of area restaurants. Unique art, crafts and retail items for sale, plus a children's play area. On Pine Avenue. Free. 941-778-1541, 761-4766. www.annamariaislandchamber.org
Oct. 24-26: 6th Annual Sarasota Pumpkin Festival, Sarasota. The 6th Annual Sarasota Pumpkin Festival celebrates autumn at Payne Park in downtown Sarasota on Oct. 24-26. On the agenda are a pumpkin patch, maze, midway rides and games, pie eating contest, shows, petting zoo, crafts, hayrides, pony rides and a beer garden. Admission is $10 (children 10 and under are free). For details, visit www.sarasotapumpkinfestival.com.
Oct. 25-26: Hyde Park Village Art Fair, Tampa. The 25th annual festival is located just outside the city of Tampa, along several city and residential blocks. Hyde Park provides upscale shopping in high-end boutiques, as well as premier dining in various restaurants and cafes. This community art festival continues to highlight the talents of more than 150 exhibitors displaying a wide range of works from life-size sculptures to photography and jewelry. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free admission. www.artfestival.com/Festivals/Hyde_Park_Village_Art_Fair_Tampa_Florida_October.ASPX
Southwest Florida (including Naples, Fort Myers, Venice, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda)
Oct. 10-12: Pirate Festival, Fort Myers Beach. Strap on your eyepatch and join your mateys at the 8th Annual Pirate Festival, where more fun than ever is scheduled. Unlike years past, Pirate Fest will transform Old San Carlos Boulevard into a Tortuga atmosphere this year. The festival also features two stages of live entertainment, and some of the best pirate crews, pirate actors and reenactors, pirate storytellers, pirate musicians and pirate fighting crews from across Florida. On Old San Carlos Blvd. Free. 239-226-0040. fortmyersbeachpiratefest.com/
Oct. 10-12: Summerset Regatta, Fort Myers Beach. Fifty boats carrying 250 sailors will compete in the 49th annual Summerset Regatta. For the past 49 years, the event has been hosted by a local yachting club that calls itself the Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society, but sailors from up and down the Southwest Florida coast participate. For spectators, the sight of billowy sails and sleek yachts racing with the wind stirs romantic notions of a sport that requires skill, strategy, and muscle. 239-267-2538. www.summersetregatta.com
Oct. 18-19: Las Olas Art Fair, Fort Lauderdale. Outdoor event featuring more than150 artists from around the nation. Along Las Olas Boulevard. Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 954-472-3755. www.artfestival.com
Oct. 19-25: Ding Darling Days, Sanibel Island. The J. N. “Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge sets the scene for the annual Ding Darling Days, a week of eco activities on Oct. 19-25. Activities include hiking, biking tours, and kayaking. Some activities are free, others have fees. For details, visit http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org/dingdarlingdays.php
Oct. 30- Nov. 3: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Fort Lauderdale. Largest boat show in the world, covering six sites: Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel and Yacht Club, Hyatt Pier 66 Hotel and Marina, Hall of Fame Marina, and Las Olas Marina. Displaying more than a billion dollars' worth of boats, yachts and accessories from every major marine manufacturer worldwide, it is the world's premier venue for superyachts. General admission $16 adults, $3 children 6-15 for advance tickets. 954-764-7642. www.showmanagement.com/fort_lauderdale_international_boat_show_2010/event/
South Florida and the Keys (including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Key Largo, Key West and the Treasure Coast)
Oct. 2-12: 20th Annual Oktoberfest, Coral Gables. An 11-day beer, food and music festival that will benefit The Woody Foundation. Admission is free. www.oktoberfestmiami.com
Oct. 3-5: West Palm Beach Antiques Festival, West Palm Beach. Known as one of Florida's biggest and best antique shows, this festival has been running at the same location for more than 20 years, attracting dealers from all over the country and selling a vast array of antiques, collectibles, and decorative accessories. At the South Florida Fairgrounds. 941-697-7475. www.festivalofantiques.com
Oct. 4: First Saturday Art Walk, Miami Beach. Showcases more than 40 resident artists at the Art Center South Florida across three locations and other galleries in the heart of Miami Beach. Stroll Lincoln Road, browse fabulous art and enjoy free hors d'oeuvres. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Free. 305-674-8278. www.lincolnroadmiamibeach.info/lincoln-road-saturday-art-walk/
Oct. 4-5: Bird Festival, Coral Gables. The Bird Festival at Fairchild is held in partnership with the Tropical Audubon Society and features bird walks, a photo contest, plant sales, and lectures by James A. Kushlan Keynote Speakers James Currie and Dr. Cagan Sekercioglu.
Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up, $12 for children 6-17, and free for Fairchild members and children 5 and under. www.fairchildgarden.org
Oct. 10-Nov. 8: Festival Miami 2014, Miami. Festival Miami is the annual musical festival that opens the South Florida arts season, providing diverse musical programming while expanding academic opportunities and cultural enrichment to all of South Florida and its visitors. It presents 25-30 in October and November, and each concert will fall under one of four themes Great Performances, Jazz and Beyond, Creative American Music, and Music of the Americas. Gusman Concert Hall, University of Miami. 305-284-4940. www.festivalmiami.com
Oct. 11: Key West Marathon, Key West. The Last Key sets the scene for the Key West Marathon on Oct. 11. The event also includes various discounts and promotions around the island before the 26.2-mile marathon. The scenic, flat course takes runners through Key West, across Stock Island and on to Rockland Key, allowing an opportunity to view both the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. A half-marathon is also on the agenda. For details, visit http://www.somomarathon.com or call 305-394-4065.
Oct. 11: Wine on Harvest Moon, Miami. Enjoy fine wine, fine food and fine art under the golden light of the Harvest Moon over Biscayne Bay at the Deering Estate at Cutler. 305-235-1668 x266. www.deeringestate.org/pages/Wine-on-Harvest-Moon.aspx
Oct. 12: Miami Carnival Parade and Festival, Miami. Traditional West Indian-style Carnival and parade featuring Caribbean music, costumes, food, arts and crafts and more. Parade date is Oct. 12 and starts at noon. Festival held at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 305-653-1877 . www.miamibrowardcarnival.com/
Oct. 16: Downtown Gallery Walk, Punta Gorda. Held monthly on the third Thursday, 5-8 p.m. Visit any of the downtown merchants, restaurants and galleries for your game card. As always, there will be live entertainment, food and drink samplings, art, beauty and health demonstrations, a free trolley, and an evening of fun. Free; free parking. 941-505-1915. www.charlotteharbortravel.com
Oct. 17-18: The Goombay Festival, Key West. The Goombay Festival takes place in the historic Bahama Village neighborhood on Oct. 17-18 and is known for its island-style food, arts and crafts, live entertainment and dancing in the streets. For details, visit www.bahamavillagegoombay.com
Oct. 17-19, 24-26: Oktoberfest, Cape Coral. German tradition is alive and well in Cape Coral, home of Lee County's largest annual Oktoberfest. Hosted by the German-American Club, it is a huge celebration of German culture, food, music and dancing features. Highlights include authentic live entertainment from musical groups from Germany, along with enough German food and beer to make anyone do the Chicken Dance. Hours vary each day. Tickets $5 in advance, $6 at the gate. At German-American Club. 239-283-1400. www.capecoraloktoberfest.com/
Oct. 17-26: Fantasy Fest, Key West. "Anime-ted Dreams" is the theme for this outrageous 10-day celebration, which includes costume competitions, promenades, street fairs and a grand parade featuring marching groups and lavish floats. 305-296-1817. www.fantasyfest.net
Oct. 18: Lantern Festival: In the Spirit of Obon, Delray Beach. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens present Lantern Festival: In the Spirit of Obon on Oct. 18. The festival showcases entertainment, including taiko drumming and Japanese folk dancing, a street fair, children’s activities and games. In keeping with the traditional Obon celebration, guests will have opportunity to personalize handmade paper lanterns. Food vendors will offer Asian and American favorites and there will be a Beer Garden and Sake Sation. Event hours are from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are expected to sell out and will not be sold at the gate. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 4-10 (free for children 3 and under). Visit www.morikami.org/lanternfest.
Oct. 18-19: Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival, Delray Beach. Streets of downtown Delray Beach are transformed into an outdoor craft showcase, complete with 150 crafters offering affordable original works. Free admission. 561-746-6615. www.artfestival.com/Festivals/Downtown_Delray_Beach_Craft_Festival_Delray_Beach_Florida_October.ASPX
Oct. 18-19: 45th Annual Cedar Key Seafood Festival, Cedar Key. This major event features great local seafood and more than 200 arts and crafts exhibits at City Park. There will be live musical entertainment at several places around town during the days and nights, and a parade on Saturday morning. In addition, an open house is scheduled at the lighthouse on Seahorse Key, the big island three miles to the west. Shuttle boats are available at City Marina. 352-543-5600. www.cedarkey.org/events.php
Oct. 18: 4th Annual Stone Crab Eating Contest, Key West. The Fourth Annual Stone Crab Eating Contest celebrates the opening of the stone crab season in the Florida Keys at the Keys Fisheries Market & Marina on Oct. 18. Participation fee is required and contestants must be at least 18 to enter. Prizes will be awarded to the three top finishers. The Keys Fisheries is located at 3502 Gulfview Avenue. For information, visit http://www.keysfisheries.com/events/.
Oct. 20: Heroes and Villains 5K, Key West. The Last Key sets the scene for the Heroes and Villains 5K Run/Walk on Oct. 20. Participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero or villain. Prizes are awarded for the most creative, best group, scariest and funniest characters. The race starts at 6 p.m. at the Reach, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. Fee is $25 (price goes up $5 on Oct. 14). For details, visit www.themeruns.com.
Oct. 31: Jazz at MOCA, Miami. The popular Jazz at MOCA series presents free outdoor concerts on the last Friday of every month. Music starts at 8 p.m. The museum is open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. by donation. At Museum of Contemporary Art. 305-893-6211. www.mocanomi.org
Oct. 31: Howl-O-Ween, Coral Gables. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with man’s best friends? At Fairchild’s Howl-O-Ween celebration, the garden opens its gates to dogs, offering lots of special activities for humans and their four-legged friends. Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up, $12 for children 6-17, and free for Fairchild members and children 5 and under. www.fairchildgarden.org
Oct. 31-Nov. 2: Art McKee Days, Islamorada. The History of Diving Museum celebrates the father of modern treasure diving during Art McKee Days on Oct. 31-Nov. 2. This family-friendly event at Mile Marker 83, bayside, includes a "Treasure Hunters Ball" and a family day with movie screenings, contests, and children's activities. One of the family activities is Treasure Treats with costume contest and treats on Oct. 31 (admission is $10 for adults; children are free with paying adult). For information, visit www.DivingMuseum.org.
Northeast Florida (including Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Flagler County and Amelia Island)
Oct. 3: First Friday Art Walk, St. Augustine. One of the city's most popular cultural events, held the first Friday of each month. Enjoy new exhibits, music, entertainment and refreshments at 15 participating galleries, plus great food courtesy of the St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Assn. Tours begin at Rembrandtz American Craft Gallery. St. Augustine Sightseeing Trains and Old Town Trolleys offer complimentary shuttle service to most galleries. Shuttles run on a continuous loop every 30 minutes. 904-829-0065. www.floridahistoriccoast.com
Oct. 10-12: Annual Greek Festival, St. Augustine. The Greek influence on the nation's oldest city is celebrated with music, food and dancing at this 17th annual event. Hosted by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. At the Special Events Field on Castillo Drive downtown. Admission $3, under 12 free. 904-829-0504. www.stauggreekfest.com
Oct. 11: Artrageous Artwalk, Amelia Island. Held monthly on second Saturday, to open the doors of some of the island's incredible galleries, featuring photography, pottery, copper, stained glass, watercolor, acrylics and more. Participants can peruse more than a dozen galleries in downtown Fernandina Beach and at the Plantation Artists' Guild and Gallery located at Amelia Island Plantation. 800-226-3542. www.ameliaisland.com/art
Oct. 12-19: Amelia Island Jazz Festival, Fernandina Beach. The Amelia Island Jazz Festival celebrates a series of diverse musical talents on Oct. 16-19. The festival kicks off with the Big Band Bash benefit gala and dance at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Guests will hear classics from Glenn Miller, Count Baise, Duke Ellington and a special tribute to Harry James. The festival presents a performance by the Dynamic Les DeMerle 17-Piece Orchestra featuring Bonnie Eisele. Various tickets are available. For details, visit ameliaislandjazzfestival.com.
Oct. 25: Flight To Freedom: The Black Seminoles, St. Augustine. Flight To Freedom: The Black Seminoles is a program in Fort Mose Historic State Park at 3 p.m. on Oct. 25. The program tells the story of the Black Seminoles, who escaped from slavery on the British plantations in Georgia and the Carolinas found sanctuary among the Yamasee and later the Seminoles who afforded many freedom seekers the opportunity to live among them and become members of their communities. This program is Fort Mose’s contribution to the nation’s celebration of Native American Month and it is included in regular park entry fee ($2 per person museum admission fee; children ages 5 and younger are free). For details, visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortmose.
Oct. 17-19: Suwannee River Quilt Show and Sale, White Springs. More than 200 quilts of all sizes and shapes will be displayed throughout the park including the Stephen Foster Museum, the Memorial Carillon Tower and the park auditorium. Visitors can enjoy boutiques, demonstrations, lectures, quilting supply vendors, a food concessionaire and door prizes. Admission to Quilt Show is $5. 386-397-4331. http://www.whitesprings.org
Oct. 24-26: Great American Cooter Festival, Inverness. Barbecue cook-off, bike rides, live entertainment, food and craft vendors, carnival rides, family entertainment, games, cooter races and more. Sunny Cooter and his friends visit local restaurants for Miss Cooter and Cooter Idol competitions. Winners are picked Friday and Saturday, during the Cooter Blast and Cooter Festival. And Cooterween, a Halloween spook-tacular, is one of the biggest outdoor costume parties in this neck of the woods. In Liberty Park and Wallace Brooks Park. 352-726-2801. www.cooterfestival.com/
Oct. 25: Fall Festival, High Springs. Join the crowd downtown around the sinkhole for the town's annual Fall Festival. It will feature fine craft and art vendors, as well as music, live entertainment and fun activities for all ages. Free admission. 386-454-3120. www.highsprings.com
The Panhandle (including Pensacola, Panama City Beach, Apalachicola and Destin)
Oct. 1-5: The Thunder Beach 14th Annual Autumn Motorcycle Rally, Panama City Beach. Motorcycle enthusiasts are drawn to Panama City Beach for The Thunder Beach 14th Annual Autumn Motorcycle Rally on Oct. 1-5. Highlights of the free event include a Bike Parade and vendors. For additional information, visit www.thunderbeachproductions.com.
Oct. 3-5: The 36th Annual Destin Seafood Festival, Destin. Celebrate the bounty of the sea at the Destin Harbor and Harbor Boardwalk on Oct. 3-5. Live music, arts and crafts, family activities, and seafood, of course, are on the festival’s agenda. Admission is free (donations are accepted). Festival hours are from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For information, visit www.destinseafoodfestival.org.
Oct. 10-12: The Pirates of the High Seas Fest at Pier Park, Panama City Beach. Columbus Day weekend is to bring a wave of swashbuckling fun to this coastal community during the Pirates of the High Seas Fest at Pier Park on Oct. 10-12. The festival will include an ensemble of parades and sword-swinging showdowns, culminating with a dueling fireworks display reenacting The Battle of the Seven Seas. Admission is free. Pier Park is at 600 Pier Park Drive. For information, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
Oct. 16-19: Blast on the Bay Songwriter Festival, Port St. Joe. The coastal town of Port St. Joe plays host to musicians and songwriters direct from the streets of Nashville. There will be more than 20 performers. All shows are free and everyone is encouraged to come out and enjoy. 850- 653-9419. www.blastonthebay.com/
Oct. 16-26: Pensacola Interstate Fair, Pensacola. Top-name entertainment as well as exhibits and displays, rides, games and more. At Penscola Interstate Fairgrounds. 850-944-4500. www.pensacolafair.com
Oct. 17-18: Panama City Beach, The Panama City Beach Seafood & Music Festival. The Panama City Beach Seafood & Music Festival celebrates local seafood, fishing, music, entertainment and culinary arts at the Amphitheatre at Aaron Bessant Park in Panama City Beach on Oct. 17-18. There are various ticket options: one day admission on Friday is $25 in advance, $30 at the gate. The event also features a 5K race. For details, visit www.pcbseafoodfestival.com.
Oct. 17-19: Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival, Niceville. This popular annual festival promises a great time for the entire family with big-name entertainment, quality fine art, crafts, exhibits, and a staggering array of food concessions. Performers will be Vince Gill, Justin Moore, Thompson Square and Blackjack Billy. Held at the Mullet Festival Grounds, State Road 85N. Admission prices vary. 850-729-4008. www.mulletfestival.com
Oct. 31: Apalachicola Oyster Roast, Apalachicola. Take part in this 10th annual Oyster Roast at the Florida site recognized by top chefs as having some of the best oysters in the world. Feast on roasted oysters, oysters on the half shell, artichoke and oyster soup, shrimp, crabs and homemade desserts. Under the stars on Commerce Street downtown, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., with music by Joe Hutchinson. For tickets call 850-653-9419. www.apalachicolabay.org/index.cfm/m/14/from/index.cfm_line230
Oct. 31-Nov. 1: 51st Annual Florida Seafood Festival, Apalachicola. The 51st Annual Florida Seafood Festival celebrates the bounty of the sea at the mouth of the Apalachicola River under the oaks of Battery Park on Oct. 31-Nov. 1. On the agenda are arts and crafts, musical entertainment, oyster eating and oyster shucking contests, blue crab races, 5K, Blessing of the Fleet, parade and more. Admission is free on Friday and costs $5 on Saturday (children 12 and under are free). For information, visit www.floridaseafoodfestival.com.
Special Correspondent Georgina Cruz contributed to this report