From pirates and parades to seafood and Sandy Shoes, there’s plenty of fun on tap

parade float
Fitting for a holiday waterfront parade, a boat rides down the street during the Sights & Sounds on Second holiday festival that always brings crowds. MAIN STREET FORT PIERCE

BY SUSAN BURGESS

Despite the 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. Expect signs letting you know that social distancing and other safety measures are in force.

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, Vero Beach, will also offer great entertainment and plenty of vendors and exhibits to shop and explore. Nov. 21-22

VERO BEACH CHRISTMAS PARADE – This amazing Christmas parade is a huge hit with families watching beautifully decorated and lighted floats glide down Ocean Drive. This is a great parade for anyone on the Treasure Coast to attend. Bring a camera and tripod for night shots. Dec. 4.

SIGHTS & SOUNDS ON SECOND – Fort Pierce’s annual holiday festival and parade plus a tree-lighting ceremony, this is a favorite event. This family fun in historical downtown Fort Pierce is enjoyed by many. Dec. 5

FESTIVAL OF TREES – The beloved annual event at Riverside Theatre that normally kicks off the holidays won’t go on this year. Come back in 2022 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 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, 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 ST. LUCIE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – This two-day family-friendly event at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center 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. 29-30

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.

MARTIN COUNTY FAIR – For old-fashioned fun, enjoy the Martin County Fair at the county fairgrounds. Try the rides, watch the entertainment, visit the many exhibits. Opening night is again free for everyone. Visit the crafts store where handmade items will be sold. 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 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. 12-14

midway at the St. Lucie County Fair
The midway at the St. Lucie County Fair will offer rides that are sure to thrill when it opens at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds on Feb. 20. ST. LUCIE COUNTY FAIR

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

Clover Park
Clover Park, the renovated New York Mets stadium in Port St. Lucie, hosts spring training for the Major League Baseball team. RUSTY DURHAM

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 Park in St. Lucie West. For information on 2022 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, 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 11-20

UNDER THE OAKS – One of the premier arts and crafts shows in Florida, Under the Oaks is hosted by the Vero Beach Art Club and is one of the highest-ranked shows by Sunshine Artists. 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 to 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 at 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. March 20

FORT PIERCE OYSTER AND SEA FEST – This two-day festival celebrates the Fort Pierce waterfront and all of its bounty with an assortment of delicious oysters and oyster dishes and plenty of tasty seafood and landlubber foods as well. Enjoy a cold beer or a tasty cocktail as you listen to live music and shop the nautical artists and unique vendors. This family-friendly event will also feature mermaids and fun activities for the kids. April 24-25

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. March 26-27

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

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

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