Looking for a nearby escape or just to get out of the house for a few hours? Check out one of these local festivals and experience the diverse art and culture of South Florida:
Art Deco Weekend – Jan. 16 – 18
It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, Miami Beach’s iconic art deco district was crumbling and in danger of being replaced with nondescript condos and hotels. 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. Info at ArtDecoWeekend.com.
South Florida Renaissance Festival – Feb. 7 – March 15
“Suspended Between Myth and History” is this year’s theme for the annual festival, held in Deerfield Beach, no doubt a tribute to the popularity of “Game of Thrones” and other fantasies. 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 fit for a king. Info at Ren-Fest.com.
Winter Party Festival – March 4 – 9
The largest dance party on South Beach has grown over the years into a week-long celebration of South Florida’s LGBT community and benefits 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 even brunch. Info and tickets at WinterParty.com.
Winter Music Conference – March 24 – 28
Originally an electronic music industry event that attracted DJs and record label execs, Winter Music Conference has grown into a full-fledged, nonstop festival with industry panels, educational workshops, dance parties, pool parties and more that attracts thousands and is celebrating 30 years in 2015. Info and tickets at WinterMusicConference.com.
Palm Beach PrideFest – March 28 – 29
Quaint Lake Worth is the perfect setting for 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 from South Florida and the Treasure Coast are expected to participate. Info at CompassGLCC.com.
Las Olas Art Festival, PART II – March 28 – 29
Twice each winter, Fort Lauderdale’s tony Las Olas Boulevard is closed for the region’s largest art fair, featuring hundreds of artists working in every medium imaginable from painting and sculpture to mixed media and textiles. This is a great opportunity to pick up that distinctive piece of art for your home. Info at ArtFestival.com.
International Gay Polo Tournament – April 9 – 11
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 party 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. Info at PalmBeachFL.com.
Miami Beach Pride – April 10 – 12
In its sixth 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. Info at MiamiBeachGayPride.com.
miami gay and lesbian film festival – April 24 – May 3
Film aficionados already know the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is one of the best 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 who created these cinematic masterpieces. Info and tickets at MGLFF.com.
PRIDE FORT LAUDERDALE – June
This will be the first time in many years that Broward county will only celebrate Pride once with Pride South Florida (also known as Pride Fort Lauderdale and Pride One of Broward) moving their event from February/March back to June where it initially started. Info at PrideSouthFlorida.org.