Each year brings a diverse lineup of events, from high-speed to low-key. There are art festivals, cultural celebrations, sporting events and a sprinkling of major festivals devoted to art, music and food. Here's a look at just some of the most anticipated annual happenings in St. Pete/Clearwater.
The artsy community of Dunedin, just north of Clearwater, hosts the Annual Downtown Dunedin Art Festival in January. Also in January, more than 100 crafters exhibit at the St. Pete Beach Corey Area Art & Craft Fair. In April, the Mainsail Arts Festival brings 200 exhibiting artists and more than 100,000 visitors to the downtown St. Pete waterfront. In the fall, Dunedin's time-honored Art Harvest in the Park fills Highlander Park with more than 200 fine artists and a Children's Pavilion.
During the Epiphany Celebration, held in the Greek enclave of Tarpon Springs each January, young men dive into chilly Spring Bayou to retrieve a cross, said to bring a year of good luck. In February, the Florida African American Heritage Celebration takes place around the area. The picturesque town of Dunedin honors its Scottish roots with the Dunedin Highland Games & Military Tattoo in April.
A Taste of Pinellas, held in St. Pete around Memorial Day, and A Taste of Clearwater, held in the fall, are two major culinary events. A few other fun foodie events include the John’s Pass Seafood Festival, held in Madeira Beach in October, Ribfest in St. Pete and Clearwater Beach Uncorked, which both tempt tastebuds.
The Sunscreen Film Festival has grown from its first festival in a local art gallery in 2006 to an internationally recognized event. Sunscreen draws Hollywood celebrities like John Travolta, Patrick Wilson and Billy Dee Williams as well as top producers and directors to St. Petersburg each year. Sunscreen was voted one of the “25 Coolest Film Fests” in the country by MovieMaker Magazine in 2009 and was voted the Best Tampa Bay Area Film Festival in 2012 by Tampa Bay Magazine.
Two major music events take place outdoors on the water: the four-day-long Clearwater Jazz Holiday, held each October in downtown Clearwater’s Coachman Park, and the Tampa Bay Blues Festival, held at downtown St. Pete’s Vinoy Park in April.
In March, downtown St. Pete is transformed into an IndyCar racetrack for a few adrenaline-pumping days when the Firestone Grand Prix comes to town. Also in March, the PGA Tour’s Tampa Bay Championship comes to Innisbrook. Don't miss baseball Spring Training - the Philadelphia Phillies play in Clearwater and the Toronto Blue Jays play in Dunedin. In the fall, the Clearwater Super Boat National Championship & Festival brings high-octane fun to the area. Before the Outback Bowl, join the teams and fellow fans for some fun in the sun during Clearwater Beach Day in December.