Guide to Fall in Florida: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival

San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival

Although it may not feel like fall, Floridians know how to celebrate the season, and statewide autumnal festivals are celebrated all season long. From pumpkin patches to corn mazes, there is lots of family fun to be had. Festivals are also the perfect place to shop some unique finds for those on your holiday list. There is something going on in every part of the state and on every weekend until Thanksgiving, so pack up the family and enjoy the great Florida fall weather.

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Fantasy Fest in Key West

Fantasy Fest

Fantasy Fest

Put on your greasepaint and let the good times roll for ten days of celebrating that can only be described as zany, bizarre, and hilarious.

Fantasy Fest participants take to the streets of Key West in a somewhat raucous style with circuses and sideshows like you've never seen before. Nonstop activities include parades, masquerades, street parties, and more, and some even consider this event to be better than Mardi Gras.

Fantasy Fest returns for its 40th year in 2019 from October 18 to 27.

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Pensacola Seafood Festival

Pensacola Seafood Festival

 Pensacola Seafood Festival

Held annually in downtown Pensacola, the Pensacola Seafood Festival is a weekend-long affair complete with plenty of seafood and live entertainment as well as one of Northwest Florida's largest arts and craft fairs. Festivities for the event are spread across the city—including in Seville Square, Fountain Park, and the waterfront Bartram Park in historic downtown Pensacola—and the 2019 event will take place from September 27 to 29.

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North Central Florida Peanut Festival in Williston

North Central Florida Peanut Festival

North Central Florida Peanut Festival

Grab the family for a day of fun, food, games, and entertainment in the small town of Williston, located in the northeastern part of Levy County between Ocala and Gainesville.

During the annual North Central Florida Peanut Festival, watch the girls and boys compete for Little Peanut King and Queen, take a ride on a horse-drawn trolley, listen to live music, enter the horseshoe tournament, view antique cars, and shop at more than 90 vendor booths—and be sure to stop by the Peanut Industry Showcase, which displays a large assortment of peanuts and peanut products. 

The Central Florida Peanut Festival is held the first Saturday of October at Heritage Park in Williston.

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Winter Park Autumn Art Festival

Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida

Ebyabe / Wikimedia Common / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival features musical entertainment, food, and children's activities along with artworks by over a hundred artists. It is the only juried fine art festival that exclusively features Florida artists, and both days of the event include hands-on art workshops for kids. All this combines for a great weekend of family fun and entertainment.

The two-day festival is held annually at Central Park located along Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park, and admission to the event is always free. The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.

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Rattlesnake Music Festival in Pasco County

Rattlesnake Music Festival in Pasco County

 Rattlesnake Music Festival

For more than 50 years, Floridians in the west-central city of San Antonio have celebrated all things rattlesnake on the third weekend of October at the Pasco County Fairgrounds. The festival features the obvious snake shows along with gopher races, entertainment, food, and arts and crafts. 

The 53rd Annual Rattlesnake Festival takes place at the Pasco County Fairgrounds on October 18 to 20, 2019. Free parking and free admission make this a great budget entertainment choice for the whole family.

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McIntosh 1890's Festival

McIntosh, Florida

 Ebyabe / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Residents dress in 1890's clothing in an attempt to turn back the clock, but that hardly seems necessary—in McIntosh, you'll really feel like you've gone back in time. Victorian and Florida cracker-style homes set among century-old live oak trees are a perfect backdrop for this popular festival.

Stroll the dozens of arts and craft booths, sample delicacies from the many concession stands, or bring a blanket and a picnic lunch to enjoy the entertainment while the children romp in the park. The festival is held along Highway 441 between Gainesville and Ocala and takes place on October 26, 2019. 

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Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival

Micanopy, Florida

Ebyabe / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5 

Antique shops, stately B&Bs, and historical landmarks are the perfect setting for this town's biggest event. While the main stage plays host to good-time music, local artists join others from the Southeast to present their works in over 200 displays. An auction of items donated by participating vendors is the highlight on Saturday afternoon. 

Micanopy—"the town that time forgot"—is located just off Highway 441, 12 miles south of Gainesville, and the annual Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival will take place on November 2 to 3, 2019.

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Florida Seafood Festival in Apalachicola

Oysters in Apalachicola

Visit Florida 

Florida's oldest maritime exhibit draws thousands of visitors to this small river port city at the mouth of the Apalachicola River. During the Florida Seafood Festival, delicious seafood, arts, and crafts exhibits, and fish-related events and displays are offered in Battery Park in downtown Apalachicola. 

There are events for just about everyone: the 5,000-meter Red Fish Run, oyster eating and shucking contests, a parade, and the King Retsyo Ball. Plus, the festival provides plenty of delicious seafood to sample, arts and crafts you can buy to complete your holiday shopping, and musical entertainment to enjoy. The event takes place on November 1 and 2, 2019.

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Riverhawk Music Festival

Riverhawk Music Festival

 Florida Festivals & Events Association

Held this year at the Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville, the Riverhawk Music Festival will have you jumping for four days in November. The festival offers live bands on three stages, all-day kids programs, song contests, camping in the woods, plus craft brews and great food.

The Riverhawk Music Festival takes place from November 7 to 10, 2019. Tickets are available for one or all four days as well as on-site camping. On Sunday, pay for a carload of friends for one price—everyone you can fit in your vehicle legally.

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Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Walt Disney World

Live music, world-class food, and amazing wines abound at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which is held at Walt Disney World Resort's Epcot in Bay Lake, Florida, each year.

During the event, guests can enjoy meet and greets with celebrity chefs, cooking events, kids food festival, and the Eat the Beat Concert Series. There is also an Active Eats event to teach about healthy eating and tasty diet desserts. The festival takes place from August 29 to November 23, 2019, at the Epcot World Showcase.

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