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Looking for a nearby escape or just a chance to get out of the house for a few hours? Check out one of these local festivals and experience the diverse arts and culture of South Florida:

Art Deco Weekend – Jan. 15 – 17

It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, Miami Beach’s iconic art deco district was crumbling and in danger of razed. Fortunately, community activists had the foresight to encourage a renaissance along Ocean Drive. Head down to South Beach and admire the architecture, along with street vendors and live entertainment. ArtDecoWeekend.com.

South Florida Renaissance Festival – Feb. 13 – March 20

Take a trip to a fantasy land of kings and queens and knights and knaves at this annual festival in Deerfield Beach. Kilts and codpieces are especially encouraged. Don’t forget the sunscreen and bring a few bucks so you can chow down on one of those giant turkey legs while cheering on your champion in the joust. Ren-Fest.com

SOUTH BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL – Feb. 24 – 28

Celebrities from Food Network and the Cooking Channel will once again headline the premiere food festival in the nation. This year, organizers expand the event northward with the Taste Fort Lauderdale series, bringing the culinary masters to Broward venues and spotlighting local celebrity chefs. SoBeFest.com.

Winter Party Festival – March 2 – 7

The largest dance party on South Beach has grown over the years into a week-long celebration of South Florida’s LGBT community, benefiting both the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and local organizations. There are events for lesbians, gay men and even gay families, including parties, picnics and brunch. WinterParty.com

Palm Beach PrideFest – March 19 – 20

Quaint Lake Worth is the perfect setting Palm Beach County’s annual Pride celebration. The parade winds its way through the streets as onlookers cheer, winding up at the festival at Bryant Park, featuring live entertainment, vendors and exhibitors. More than 15,000 people are expected to celebrate. CompassGLCC.com

International Gay Polo Tournament – March 31 – April 3

Get out your fancy hats, girls, because the International Gay Polo Tournament is returning to Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington. From the kick-off on Friday to the brunch and after-ceremony party on Sunday, this "sport of kings" event is sure to be memorable, whether you own a horse or just like men who ride them. PalmBeachFL.com

Miami Beach Pride – April 8 – 10

In its seventh year, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown into one of the biggest LGBT events in the region, attracting more than 100,000 participants and spectators to scenic Ocean Drive. After the parade, visit vendors and exhibitors, enjoy the live performances on the outdoor stages or just take in some people watching. MiamiBeachGayPride.com

MIFO LGBT film festival – April 22 – May 1

Formerly known as the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, MiFo is one of the biggest in the country, regularly presenting regional and world premieres of the best in LGBT film. In between screenings, see and be seen at the many glitzy parties featuring the filmmakers, actors and writers of the festival films. MiFoFilm.com


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