Florida food festivals: 6 fun & flavorful events across the Sunshine State

Florida Food Festivals: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival — Courtesy: Image by Joe Burbank – Orlando Sentinel

Got a taste for travel?

If so, a Florida road trip might be the perfect way to satisfy your craving, especially if you like to indulge in local culture and cuisine while enjoying art, music, and everything the destination has to offer. 

Florida has thousands of food festivals, and today we’re going to dive right into them.

SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival

Boasting over 200 flavors and 28 concerts, SeaWorld Orlando’s Seven Seas Food Festival runs every Thursday-Sunday from Feb 4. to May 8.

The festival’s concerts include performances by Flo Rida, Vanilla Ice, and Molly Hatchet, while the festival menu features more than 50 dishes and sampling plates, plus wines, cocktails, and craft brews.

As a bonus, SeaWorld’s Mardi Gras celebration lands during the food festival, from Feb. 25 to March 6. Here, guests can take part in parades, listen to music, and savor typical New Orleans fare such as beignets and po’boys.

SeaWorld admission is required to participate in the festival and dining packages are available. For more information, visit seaworld.com/orlando.

EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival

The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival may be one of the biggest events when it comes to theme park food festivals, but the theme park’s Flower & Garden Festival, set for March 2-July 4, comes close.

Once known solely for its elaborate topiaries and colorful planting beds throughout the park, EPCOT has now added a dash of Disney magic to its festival food offerings. 

Twenty outdoor kitchens will serve unique dishes during the festival, with an emphasis on fresh produce.

While indulging in aperitifs and bites, festival-goers can take a moment to sit down during one of the Garden Rock Concerts to watch Rick Springfield, Melina León, The Pointer Sisters, and The Spinners. 

Admission to EPCOT is required to participate in the festival. More information is available at disneyworld.disney.go.com.

Florida Strawberry Festival

From March 3-March 13, Plant City celebrates the sweet red jewel of Hillsborough County fields: the strawberry.

The festival began in 1930 and celebrates the annual strawberry harvest, drawing in more than 500,000 visitors with music, rides, exhibits, livestock shows, and of course, strawberry shortcake.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-12, and free for children 5 and younger.

This year’s headline entertainment includes the Oak and Ridge Boys, Lady A, and Boyz II Men.

More information is available at flstrawberryfestival.com.

Grant Seafood Festival

After taking 2021 off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 55th Grant Seafood Festival is back and set for 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on March 5 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 6.

For over half a century, this small town on the southern tip of Florida’s Space Coast has doubled in size as seafood lovers rush to the Grant Seafood Festival fairgrounds for food, craft vendors, and music. 

While the food is delicious, one of the best things about this weekend celebration is that it is an all-volunteer event, and some of those volunteers have been serving hush puppies and fried shrimp since its start. It’s a common sight to see multiple generations of families working together in food booths.

Money raised at the festival benefits college scholarships and local charities.

Festival grounds are located at 4580 First St., Grant. Parking and admission are free. Visit grantseafoodfestival.com for more information.

Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival

Florida Food Festivals — Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival at Disney Springs

The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival is back at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Disney Springs in Orlando March 11-17.

Top Irish bands will play while Irish dancers perform for guests as they sample an enormous range of Irish whiskeys, hand-crafted cocktails, and local craft beers while choosing from the chef’s selection of authentic Irish plates, including their famous fish and chips.

Reservations are encouraged beginning March 11. On St. Patrick’s Day only, March 17, Raglan Road will open its doors at 10 a.m. with a $20 cover charge for guests 18 and older (first-come, first-served—no reservations on this day ONLY). Younger guests may enter for free.

More information is available at raglanroad.com.

Interstate Mullet Toss & Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party

This annual celebration begins in the Sunshine State, but the mullets fly all the way to Alabama, aka Flora-Bama in Perdido Key.

The party is set for April 22-April 24, and the mullet tossing starts at 10 a.m. sharp. Local celebrities can be seen tossing at 4 p.m. each day. It costs $15 to toss and all participants get a T-shirt. All proceeds go to local charities and when the event is over, the mullets are donated to Alligator Alley in Summerdale for gator food.

Party-goers can relax and enjoy a Bushwhacker, the Flora-Bama’s boozy milkshake, and order a dozen oysters, a mahi-mahi Rueben sandwich, or blackened shrimp tacos.

The Flora-Bama Lounge, Package, and Oyster Bar is at 17401 Perdido Key Drive, Perdido. 

More information is available at florabama.com/mullet-toss.

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