January through April is festival season in Florida. It’s the most popular time to have a festival for three reasons: 1) Snowbirds build attendance and they spend money, 2) the heat and humidity is tolerable, and 3) rain is less likely to dampen attendance. In short, it’s the one time of year when everyone likes being outdoors and they are looking for things to do outdoors.
Most festivals benefit something, at least partially. It may be a person, special-interest group, or a community project. And, on the Space Coast, there is something for everyone, whether its a love of strawberries, street-parties, or music.
January will feature four unique festivals. Three of them are annuals and one is new to the Space Coast. They are as follows:
Jan 17-20 Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival
This festival, which began in 1990, is an all-volunteer event put on and worked by the citizens of Fellsmere, a sleepy little town south of Melbourne. They expect to serve 7,000 dinners to over 80,000 visitors this year. The proceeds all go to recreational events for children. Visitors can expect:
- Frog leg and gator tail dinners. However, there will also be hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, fried dough, turkey legs, sandwiches of all kinds, ice cream, candy apples, and popcorn.
- Carnival rides for the children of all ages
- Arcade-like skill games
- Live music – rock, country and blues
- A rodeo
- Over 100 art and craft vendors
- Free admission, free parking and shuttle service
- Thursday & Friday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dinner is available:
- Thursday & Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan 19 Pirates at the Pier
Pirates and wenches take note! Break out your parrots and eye patches and head to Cocoa Beach for this one-day festival. The 10th annual Pirates at the Pier will be held on Sat, Jan 19, from 7 p.m. – 1 a.m. Important details are:
- There will be a costume contest, door prizes, and drawings.
- Free parking available but better get there early for that.
- Expect live music, belly dancing, and mayhem.
- The action will take place inside Marlin’s Sports Bar, the Tiki Bar, and everywhere else on the Pier.
- A full Caribbean dinner buffet will be available from 7 – 9 p m .
- Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at door and include dinner and a draft or pirate punch until 9 p.m..
More information as well as ticket locations may be found online or by calling 321-543-1346. And interested parties may also contact the organizer: Gary@MadHatterPromotions.com Arrrr!
Jan 19 Florida Key Lime Pie Festival
In September, 2012, a new business moved into Historic Cocoa Village: The Florida Key Lime Pie Company. Their grand opening celebration made their presence known and they hope to attract an even larger crowd for their first annual Florida Key Lime Pie Festival.
This event will be held Saturday, January 19, at Cocoa’s Riverfront Park, from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Hoping to outdo the unique events that drew thousands last September, the store has the planned the following activities for their first festival:
- “Miss Florida Key Lime Pie” contest
- Bartender’s Challenge – learn to make a Key Lime Pie Martini and Margarita
- Live Alligator shows
- Tiki carving demonstrations
- Key Lime Pie Eating Contest
- Cooking demonstrations from local chefs at and sampling
- Live music
- Marketplace featuring Florida artists and tropical creations
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-12, and those 4 and under are free. For more details about the store and their products, read Florida Key Lime Company comes to Cocoa Village.
Jan 23 – 28 Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival
This six-day festival is a Brevard County effort that more closely resembles a vacation than a festival. 2013 is the 16th year for the gathering and it seems to grow bigger and better each year. This festival isn’t just for bird-watchers; even children can learn to kayak on the river and not disturb the wildlife they will see. There is truly something for everyone.
The Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival is based at Brevard Community College [BCC], at the Titusville Campus, 1311 N. US 1. Registration, seminars, workshops, field trip staging, all exhibits, and food service can be found there. This festival sells out quickly because it is full of opportunities, many of which are unavailable elsewhere. Some of these include:
- Classroom presentations that bring attendees up-to-date technical information.
- Field trips that take interested parties into different areas of the Space Coast and other nearby counties in search of special birds.
- Water adventures – kayak trips to local rivers, creeks and estuaries.
- Vendors in the Exhibit Center (BCC Gymnasium).
- Wildlife and photography art show and competition
A unique feature of the six-day event is The Raptor Project. Federally-licensed professional wildlife educator Jonathan Wood, who has appeared on numerous nationally-televised shows, will be on hand along with one of the largest collections of raptors in the world.
A Pelagic Boat Trip will cast off from New Smyrna on January 28. Julie Albert, Right Whale authority for this area,will be on board the Pastime Princess to watch for and provide information on these large mammals and their presence in the waters off the coast of Florida.
A list of keynote speakers as well as a list of photographers who will be present or on display is available online. Registration and more information also available online. Field trips are limited in size and interested parties are encouraged to sign up early.
One more January festival that deserved an article of it’s own is 2013 Space Coast Seashell Festival. The dates are Jan. 12 and 13. Check back soon for a review of February’s festivals on Florida’s Space Coast.