It REALLY is the Most Wonderful Time of year!
By Mindi Rudan
While much of the country battles freezing temps, bundles up and is buried under a blanket of white; in SOUTH Florida we literally pinch ourselves. From January thru March and if lucky through April, the weather here is postcard worthy perfect. Barely humid, skies are generally clear blue, the sun shines, and in Broward County the average temperature ranges in the mid-70s (compared to the sweltering 80s and mid 90s of our summer)s!
Rainfall is abundant throughout the year, with an annual average of about 63 inches, but in winter it barely rains as compared with the almost daily summer downpours (where some days you think it’d be better to have webbed feet more than toes!)
Yes, winter in SoFla is for many, heaven on earth. It’s the time after the hustle-bustle of the holidays that we Floridians (transplanted) or not: GET OUT AND ENJOY all the glorious WEATHER before summer humidity comes crashing back.
Farmers markets, street fests, art and craft shows, any time of day walks, boating, and even dining Al fresco – in winter — we take it outdoors as much as we can. And bonus points if temps dip into the 50s and 60s! We get to don a SWEATER or a “JACKET!!!!” and a pair of boots made for walkin’ and head outside to enjoy it all.
To help you maximize the good times, we’ve compiled a list of some of our area’s finest, “fun-est” and most beloved local events that happen in just winter so you can make plans to explore the ones that float YOUR boat.
2- First Friday Art Walk – 6-9pm. Downtown Delray Beach: 51 N Swinton Ave, Delray Beach. This is a fun leisurely night for strolling and discovering the vibrant art scene in Downtown Delray Beach through a self-guided tour of their Art Galleries & Studios, with pop-up live music throughout the downtown as you leisurely stroll by. You can stray off the beaten track and mosey into shops, eateries, or just hang on a corner and watch the diverse gathering of people float by. Free. Parking in lots, on street or by restaurant valets. https://downtowndelraybeach.com/ArtWalk
3 (Feb) – March 24th, 2024 – 32nd Annual Florida Renaissance Festival (Weekends Only) 10am to Sunset! – Quiet Waters Park – 401 S. Powerline Rd., Deerfield Beach
Travel back in time to the 16th Century at this well attended, beloved event that spans weekends (only) for nearly two months!
A very interactive event it recreates a 16th century renaissance Village! Browse through an Enchanted Artisan Marketplace where over 100 merchants demonstrate and sell their wares. Behold blown glass, hammered pewter, wooden toys, hand-tooled leather, weaponry, unique pottery, abundant clothing, and a wealth of other riches, including (ah well MODERN) Festival Memorabilia! Applaud hundreds of performers, not only on their TWELVE unique stages but all around you as you stroll thru the event! You’ll meet sword fighters, minstrels, magicians, wenches, and more! “All the World’s a Stage” in the Village of Kimmendale. Cheer for Heroic Knights, as they mount their noble steeds and charge with thunderous speed in exciting Jousts, thrice daily! Feast on a Cornucopia of Fyne Foods fit for a King or Queen! Enjoy delectable desserts! Visit the realistic pubs and toast the Royal Court with a tankard of cold ale or hard cider. (For the softer palette, they offer meads and wines as well). Play games of chance and skill which challenge both young and old alike, such as Axe Throwing, Archery, Test of Strength, Jacob’s Ladder, The Hang Bar, Fencing, Water Wars Balloons, and NEW Blue Moon Pirate Kayaks ++ ! Thrill to a ride on the Giant Rocking Horse, get lost in The Maze, or the Haunted Graveyard! You can streak across the sky on the Knight’s Flight Zipline or go for a spin on the human-powered Flying Carrousel! This family event really is part really is part adventure outing with something literally for everyone brave of heart! Huzzah!
Prices range from $32 for adults and $14 for children 6-11 years of age. (5 & younger free). Special seasonal passes available for $160 (adults), $70 (children) and group ticket rates are also offered in person only. Tickets available online. https://www.ren-fest.com Festival Office: 954-776-1642
3 & 4 – 37TH ANNUAL BOCA RATON MUSEUM ART FESTIVAL. Mizner Park Plaza (extends into the Mizner Park Amphitheater) 10am-5pm both days.
This award-winning juried art festival — is the longest-running and most prestigious of any in Boca, drawing 40,000 art collectors and enthusiasts to the Museum’s doorstep every year. Approximately 170 artists and artisans from across the country are selected to showcase their fine artworks in a diversity of mediums. 2024 brings fresh innovation to this legacy with:
Free and open to the public. For venue FAQs : https://www.myboca.us/1035/FAQs
3 – Coconut Creek Hometown Market – 9am-2pm. at the Township Plaza, 4400 West Sample Road (SW corner of Lyons and Sample Roads by Veterans Park). This event is a wonderful place to explore and support local businesses while enjoying fresh, locally sourced products. If you’re interested in fresh produce, artisanal bread, baked goods, homemade dips and sauces, and a variety of other items, this bi-weekly farmers market is definitely worth a visit. This market takes place on the first and third Saturdays each month through April. HometownMarket@coconutcreek.net or call 954-545-6682 for more info. https://facebook.com/events/s/coconut-creek-hometown-market/1800028047121713/
3 & 4 – 25th Annual SoFla GARLIC FESTIVAL — Village of Wellington Town Center & Amphitheater. 12100 Forest Hill Blvd Sat: 10am-9pm. Sun: 10am-6pm. Folks come from near and far to visit “Gourmet Alley” feasting on more than 100 garlic-infused delights, ranging from Argentinean garlic BBQ to garlic ice cream to flaming garlic shrimp scampi. But wait, there’s more: live music, full beer and liquor bars, a children’s zone and about 180 exhibitors selling art, homemade goods and other products. And new this year? The Clove, an interactive celebration of all things’ garlic located just inside the main gates, The Clove welcomes garlic lovers to experience an aromatic journey. First stop, The Clove Premium bar featuring unique garlic-inspired cocktails and mocktails. PLUS Tap Releases of Garlic Beer presented by local breweries.
Next, visit the Garlic Market filled with a vibrant assortment of fresh and packaged garlic, garlic roasters, garlic memorabilia, garlic décor and more. Finally, upgrade your ticket purchase with Garlic Seminars at The Clove by attending a captivating live cooking demonstration hosted by acclaimed Garlic Chefs and past winners of the Garlic Chef competition No wonder it’s called the “Best Stinkin’ Party in South Florida.” Tickets: $15 (Under 10 FREE). GarlicFestFL.com
4 – Parkland Farmer’s Market – 9am-1pm. 8350 Ranch Rd, Parkland, FL
The City of Parkland’s annual Parkland Farmers’ Market (November – April) has become the hub of Sunday mornings in our area twice a month. Located in a field on the corner of Holmberg & Ranch Roads, visitors are able to purchase fresh and organic veggies, fruits, herbs, flowers, breads, pastries and other baked goods plus gourmet foods, jams, honey, dips, sauces, fresh pasta, cheeses and pickles. You can graze breakfast and/or brunch there as so many munch and walk vendors. There are a few sit down tables. Some activities for the kids like a bounce house, and different weeks feature different themes like business and health expos, craft shows & more. Free Parking & Admission.
10 – Coral Springs Community Concert – 5:30-9:30pm. Coral Springs City Hall (on the lawn). 9500 W. Sample Rd., Coral Springs – Music under the stars, dinner by food trucks. Enjoy hits from Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, and more featuring former members of the iconic band Chicago. Dress in your best 70s and 80s attire (or not) and dance the night away or just bring a lawn chair and be one with the music. Giveaways, Vendors, food trucks. Adult beverages available for purchase.
Parks and Recreation 954-345-2200
11 – JAZZ picnic in the Park Concert Series – Lieberman Botanical Gardens, 3801 Inverrary Blvd., Lauderhill. 11am–2pm. Relax outdoors in a beautiful botanical park and delight in free live entertainment. Concerts by various bands fill the air and you can stroll the garden while there. Admission is FREE. Bring your own blankets, chairs & snacks. No barbecue grills or on site cooking allowed. Tents ok but must be staked down with a minimum of 20 lb. weights per leg.https://www.lauderhill-fl.gov/news-events/annual-jazz-picnic-in-the-park-tribute-band-concerts
14 – VALENTINE’S DAY – Hug someone (2 or 4 legged) you love, call someone you love or just tell someone you like they matter.
17 – Mardi Party – 5-7pm at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts Courtyard. 10356 NW 29th St., Coral Springs. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Mardi Gras at “Mardi Party”! Join in the fun for an unforgettable evening of revelry, music, and entertainment. Adults Only (21+). Tickets are $35 each, and include: Two Complimentary Drinks, Cajun Small Bites, Entertainment & a different kind of fun. So got a mask? Some purple, green or gold beads, then come enjoy a night of indulgence & celebrate Mardi Gras like you’re in the heart of New Orleans.
954-345-2200. Tickets on sale: www.coralsprings.gov/mardiparty. https://facebook.com/events/s/mardi-party/1387124785260806/
17 & 18 Deerfield Beach Pioneer Days – Main Beach Parking Lot, 149 SE 21st Ave. Deerfield Beach – Sat, 10am-10pm. Sun, 10am-6pm. It’s a 2-day celebration of the city’s agricultural roots featuring arts & crafts, live concerts, yummy food, a themed parade can you guess? “Life’s a Beach!” And a junkanoo band as its grand marshal with some 50 floats, a fireworks show and a legal beach bonfire!
22-25 – FOOD NETWORK & COOKING CHANNEL SOUTH BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL – It’s a mouthful of a title, but the mouthfuls you get if you attend are amazing. Known as the “Super Bowl of Foodies,” it’s a star-studded extravaganza that showcases the talents of famous chefs, culinary personalities and wine and spirit producers. Events include brunches and lunches, grand tastings and demos, seminars, intimate dinners, walk-around tastings and late-night parties. It’s great for people-watching, too, as celebrities abound. Book early for all events (some are already sold out).
Where: Various locations in Miami-Dade County
24 & 25 – 4th Annual Downtown Delray Craft Festival – 10am-5pm. 51 N. Swinton Dr. Delray Beach, FL
The MacDaddy of craft shows, if you celebrate and support HANDCRAFTED, this is the show for you in Downtown Delray. It starts at Old School Square for a one-of-a-kind craft festival showcasing some of the best of local and national crafters with a diverse array of unique and high-quality wares, ranging from intricately designed home decor to stunning wearable accessories, all made with exceptional craftsmanship. Located in the heart of downtown, the bonus? This show is surrounded by fantastic shops and eateries so make a day of it! And the beach is just east at A1A! Free admission, parking where you can find it.
24 & 25- SAWGRASS NATURE CENTER & WILDLIFE HOSPITAL ORCHID & PLANT FESTIVAL 9:30am 4pm. 3000 Sportsplex Dr., Coral Springs
If you are a plant lover, orchids and other plants abound in this 30+ vendor event right at the center so you can also check out the critters at the same time! Admission is $8 at the gate. $6 when purchased by 2/23. Kids 5 & under FREE. No pets. All proceeds benefit the SNC which provides environmental education programs focused on South Florida’s unique, fragile Everglades and its many resident species. The wildlife hospital also provides expert rehabilitative care to over 1400 injured and orphaned native wildlife annually at no cost to the public. The SNC is a place where people of all ages can come to observe birds, mammals, reptiles and native plants and learn to appreciate the beauty of nature in South Florida. The wildlife hospital treats injured wild native animals & once rehabilitated are released back into the wild. Non-releasable and exotic animals & birds provide visitors a very unique close-up viewing opportunity in the Center’s permanent exhibit area. Animals and birds are housed in natural-looking habitats and aviaries.
24 & 25 – 30th Annual City of Lake Worth Street Painting Festival -10am-9pm on Saturday, 10am-7pm Sunday. 414 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth Beach,
This annual Street Painting Festival is the largest in the United States. Over 600 artists use the pavement as canvas to transform downtown Lake Worth into a temporary outdoor museum of original art and masterpiece reproductions. In recent years, artists have also been creating large-scale murals on shipping containers on South J Street. The tradition of street painting traces back to 16th century Italy when itinerant artists would use their chalks to transform pavement into a makeshift canvas, and thus, street painting has retained its appeal through the centuries. As in ages past, crowds gather to watch as fine works of art just emerge in front of them! The “paintings” last only until the next rain, but the lively spirit and accessibility of the exhibition captivates audiences and inspires lasting memories. Plus when you are finished, you can stroll the unique boutiques and quaint shops of the kitschy village. And / or grab a bite in the bakeries and eateries that now make up this lovely day tripping destination.
Event Parking is at Palm Beach State College located at: 4200 S Congress Ave., Lake Worth, FL 33461. Complimentary Event Shuttles are provided. Tri-Rail Festival Shuttles run from 10 am to 6 pm from the Lake Worth Beach Tri-Rail station to the downtown area. On street parking by shops if you are very early or very lucky! https://spf.lakeworthbeachfl.gov/
9 – Parkland Day – Pine Trails Park
Join in on the fun and celebrate Parkland with the City of Parkland. This event that is so loved by residents started in 1967 and always centered around the hometown feeling that bound residents to this unique city. It would kick off with a kooky parade, (and still does!) and over the years went from that into a community bbq — and has now morphed into a more family festival vendor/food truck kinda day.
Parade starts at 10 am. All other activities at Pine Trails Park start at 4pm. Expected are games, rides, vendors, a food court, live music, 60s – 70s – A Tribute to the Beatles – Beattle Maniacs plus 80’s Music: the group Rubixx ++
For more information, contact the P-REC at (954)757-4105. http://www.cityofparkland.org/parklandday
16 & 17 – 18th Annual Coral Springs Festival of the Arts – 10am-5pm. The Walk at University, 2900 N University Dr., Coral Springs. When naysayer thought anything west of I-95 could never sustain an art fest of this magnitude, the City of Coral Springs along with the volunteers of the Coral Springs Art Festival Committee proved them so wrong. Over 30,000 people from all over the state and beyond flock to this fun-filled 2 day outdoor event. A truly inspiring celebration of art in all its forms features America’s finest artisans and contemporary crafters, with their booths lining the entire sprawling parking area of the beautiful WALK. Marvel at the breathtaking life-size sculptures, admire stunning paintings, and discover one-of-a-kind jewels, beautiful photography, exquisite ceramics, and much more. In addition to the main Festival of the Arts, there’s also a separate Craft Festival with a vibrant green market and plant extravaganza called “Gardenfest” that features native plants, orchids, herbs, rare varieties of plants, youth activities and food-centric vendors offering a wide variety of choices. Plus local experts present “Ask the Experts” sharing their knowledge and answering SoFla gardening questions. Live cultural entertainment all day EACH day fill the main stages & exciting performing arts events including fine dance, theatrical, and literary presentations add an extra layer of excitement throughout.
Free admission & free parking with shuttle service available at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, (2855 Coral Springs Drive). https://www.csfoa.org/. 954-340-5992
23 – Parkland’s Eggstravaganza 9:30AM at Terramar Park
Open to Parkland residents only with pre-registration. Registration opens 9am February 20th. No on-site registration • Wristbands are required. http://www.cityofparkland.org/egghunt. (954) 757-4107.
23 – ANNUAL Pompano Beach “Spring Fling” – Pompano Beach Community Park, 1701 NE 8th Street.
It is that time of the year again! The annual Spring Fling is a family-friendly event with over 10,000 eggs dispersed between two fields!! After the “egg-stravaganza” if the kids have enough sugar charged energy, they can enjoy bounce houses, arts and crafts, a spring photo booth, a DJ, a petting farm, a bubble show, and a chance to meet the Spring Bunny. Admission is free! https://parks.pompanobeachfl.gov/events/spring-fling
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg—there’s so many more. Nearly every city abounds in activities this time of year so check their individual websites. And make plans to get out and enjoy what’s made south Florida one of the most coveted places to live in the country.
Mindi Rudan is a writer, former publisher of PARKLAND / CORAL SPRINGS Life / Coconut Creek Life and BOCA Delray Life magazines, a pet mom, gardener, baker, sometime event planner and now crazy wreath maker. You can follow her on FB https://www.facebook.com/mindi.rudan?mibextid=LQQJ4d.
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