Events offer respite and fun from months spent indoors
BY SUSAN BURGESS
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Treasure Coast festival-goers have plenty to pick from this season. We weren’t able to include every festival but many of them are below. Some events and festivals have been postponed until next year although most are still a go and offer welcome relief from days spent indoors. It’s a good idea to check before attending events though. Expect signs letting you know that social distancing and other safety measures as described by the CDC are in force.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR EVENTS:
TREASURE COAST BACON FESTIVAL – Filled with succulent bacon dishes and the tantalizing aroma of cooking bacon, the two-day family-friendly festival in Riverside Park in Vero Beach will also offer great entertainment and plenty of vendors and exhibits to shop and explore. Nov. 21-22.
JENSEN BEACH PINEAPPLE FESTIVAL – The event has been canceled but you can look forward to this exciting event in November 2021. With a long tradition behind it, the festival completed its 32nd year in 2019.
FESTIVAL OF TREES – The beloved annual event at Riverside Theatre, which normally kicks off the holidays, won’t go on this year. Come back in 2021 to see the forest of trees custom-decorated around a theme. It always offers an outstanding gingerbread village, vendors with unique and unusual items, Santa and his shop, a skating rink with artificial ice, and loads of decorations indoors and out.
STICKWORK AT MCKEE – Grand Central is a unique walk-through sculpture work made of bent sticks, designed and built by Patrick and Sam Dougherty and volunteers. This is the second time a Stickwork sculpture was created at McKee. Each one is quite different and draws admirers to the garden for a chance to walk through and enjoy something they can’t find anywhere else on the planet.
STUART BOAT SHOW – Hundreds of boats from 12 to more than 90 feet grace the docks and shores of North Stuart in the largest boat show on the Treasure Coast. Visit the boats of your dreams during the two-day show. Related products including personal watercraft, electronics, boat lifts, safety equipment and inboard and outboard engines plus plenty more from more than 175 vendors are on display. Attend seminars and enjoy music, food and drinks. Northern tip of Stuart at Old Dixie Highway. Jan. 15-17
VERO BEACH WINTER ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW – Enjoy fine art, homegrown products and fine crafts. Roving performers and yummy fair food top off the day at the Indian River County Fairgrounds. Jan. 9-10
VERO BEACH HOME AND REMODEL SHOW – As in the past, this intriguing show is adjacent to the Winter Arts and Crafts Show. From A to Z find everything for the home here displayed by 100 vendors eager to answer questions. Discuss that dream project, get great ideas all in one location and enjoy musical entertainment. Indian River County Fairgrounds. Jan. 9-10
PORT SALERNO SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Check back in 2022 for the popular seafood festival.
PORT ST. LUCIE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL - This two-day family-friendly event has something for everyone. Shiploads of the tastiest seafood around with many delicious landlubber foods as well, amazing live music, nautical vendors and unique merchants, pirates, mermaids and more. Jan. 30-31
HOBE SOUND FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS – Wonderful fine art exhibits, glassmakers, jewelers, wood carvers, potters, painters, unique crafts, green market, all in downtown Hobe Sound along Old Dixie Highway south of Bridge Road. Feb. 6-7.
GARDENFEST – The Gardenfest slated for Riverside Park in Vero Beach returns Feb. 6-7, 2022. The Garden Club of Indian River County says it regretfully canceled the 2021 show.
MARTIN COUNTY FAIR – For old-fashioned fun, enjoy the Martin County Fair at the county fairgrounds. Try the rides, watch the entertainment or visit the many exhibits. Opening night is again free for everyone! Visit the crafts store where handmade items will be sold. The fair offers an exciting midway carnival, small and large animals, agriculture, fair food, entertainment, fair queen and much more. Feb 12-20
TREASURE COAST PIRATE FEST – All things pirate are featured in the three-day family friendly Pirate Fest in Veterans Memorial Park with a fascinating living history pirate encampment, pirate ships, a little buccaneer kids zone, costume contests, treasure hunts, live mermaids, pirate weapon demonstrations with real cannons, pirate crews and historical re-enactors. See amazing art and live performances by some of the best pirate bands around. Shop a large assortment of pirate and nautical themed arts and crafts vendors, enjoy some great food and drink and listen to live music as you spend your day among pirates and their ladies. Free shuttle service and free parking at Fort Pierce city garage. Feb. 14-16
ST. LUCIE COUNTY FAIR – The St. Lucie County Fair filled with rides, animals of all sizes, crafts and home arts is just the place to go if you want to learn more about the county in which you live. With its roots in citrus and agriculture, the fair is great for teaching, for hands-on experiences, for old fashioned fun. Enjoy the food, the roving characters, the live entertainment and the demonstrations all at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds on West Midway Road. Feb. 20-March 7
DOWNTOWN STUART ART FESTIVAL – Enjoy a great art festival experience in historical Downtown Stuart. Proceeds benefit Stuart Main Street. The gallery-style booths on Osceola Street feature every kind of art – paintings, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, glass and lots more. Not only that, take the opportunity to visit some of the more than 70 shops in the area. Feb. 27-28
PORT ST. LUCIE GARLIC FEST – Delicious garlic-inspired dishes are featured. Along with them, enjoy tasty cocktails and cold beer while listening to live music and shopping a nice variety of vendors, artists and unique merchants. A family-friendly event, it will also have a kids’ fun zone. MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center, Port St. Lucie [formerly the civic center]. Feb. 27-28.
NEW YORK METS SPRING TRAINING – Celebrate spring by attending the first N.Y. Mets spring training game on Saturday, Feb. 27. They’ll be playing the Miami Marlins at Clover Field in St. Lucie West. For information on 2021 spring training tickets call 871.2115. Feb. 27-March 28
TASTE OF LITTLE ITALY – It’s like walking into multiple savory Italian restaurants all at once, but add in competitions, music, vendors and more. With a rich cultural tradition behind it, the fair is held in western Port St. Lucie at the Tradition village green and is in its 15th year of offering rich food, music, art and more with Italian-themed vendors. Take your pick of Italian foods cooked right before your eyes. Play some bocce, have a seat and watch the great entertainment or check out the cooking demos for things you can try at home. This is a family-friendly event so be sure to bring the kids. March 5-7
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS FAIR – The Indian River County firefighters put on this annual old-fashioned country fair at the county fairgrounds. The kids will love the animals, games and carnival rides. Enjoy the live entertainment, competitions, and, of course, the home arts and crafts and other displays. The funny characters walking around will give the whole family a chuckle. March 12-21
UNDER THE OAKS – One of the premier fine art and craft shows in Florida, Under the Oaks hosted by the Vero Beach Art Club is one of the highest-ranked shows by Sunshine Artist. Plan to spend several fascinating hours roaming the paths featuring about 200 arts and crafts booths beneath the towering oaks in Riverside Park, Vero Beach. Unique sculpture and pottery, fine wood-craft, paintings of every description, sparkling jewelry and so much more will delight the eye and the senses. This show will help you forget current worries and give you a stress-free few hours enjoying the outdoors and the show. March 12-14
SHRIMP FEST AND CRAB BREW – A three-day festival in Sebastian’s Riverview Park featuring succulent shrimp prepared in a variety of ways, craft beer, plus non-seafood and child-friendly options too. It is brought to you by the Rotary Club of Sebastian and the Exchange Club of Fellsmere. Enjoy live music and fun kids’ activities at this family-friendly festival. Free entry and parking. March 19-21
SANDY SHOES SEAFOOD & BREW – Back this year in Veterans Memorial Park in Fort Pierce, the beloved Sandy Shoes festival features great food, craft beers, some serious and some kooky contests and live music for a great day on the scenic waterfront. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 20.
FORT PIERCE OYSTER AND SEA FEST – This two-day festival along the Fort Pierce waterfront with oysters, seafood and mermaids has been canceled due to COVID-19. Check back in April 2021 to see if the event might have been rescheduled.
HIBISCUS FESTIVAL – A fun weekend showcasing historical downtown Vero Beach with music, booths, fine arts and crafts show, children’s activities, a parade and lots more. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 2021 dates to be announced.
STARS OVER ST. LUCIE – Celebrate the Fourth of July with bursts of colorful fireworks sparkling against the night sky along the Fort Pierce waterfront. The fireworks start at dusk. July 4, 2021
FREEDOM FEST – Port St. Lucie celebrates the Fourth of the July at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center [civic center] with a parade and fireworks. This is a family-favorite festival. July 4, 2021
TREASURE COAST FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS – Check your local paper for events.
GHOSTS OF FORT PIERCE PAST 2021 – Join a walking tour featuring re-enactment of famous people come back to life. These popular tours fill up fast! They are hosted by Main Street Fort Pierce. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 27-28, 2021
VERO BEACH CHRISTMAS PARADE – This amazing Christmas parade is a huge hit with families watching beautifully decorated lighted floats glide down Ocean Drive. It is a great parade for anyone on the Treasure Coast to attend. Bring a camera and tripod for night shots. Dec. 4, 2021
SIGHTS & SOUNDS ON 2nd – Annual holiday festival and parade plus tree-lighting. This is a favorite event in historical downtown Fort Pierce enjoyed by families. Dec. 5, 2021