Labor Day may mean the end of summer in Florida, but it doesn’t mean Florida towns will wait for the snowbirds and big cash tourists to return in winter. September is a good time in Florida. With school back everywhere, the beaches and most tourist attractions are less crowded. And the water is still very warm.
September events are usual more casual and catering to Floridians. Here are my favorite September events.
West Palm Beach has decided to jam three marine-oriented events together September 23-25 at the huge South Florida Fairgrounds on Southern Boulevard. For just ten dollars you can see the South Florida Boat Show, the 8th Annual Marine Flea Market and Seafood Festival, and the Marine and Wildlife Art Festival and Craft Show.
You don’t have to like boats. You can eat plates of seafood, shop for Christmas gifts, and see some of Florida’s greatest wildlife artists at work.
Florida is also celebrating its cowboy and Indian heritage with two great cultural events. On September 26 at Miami’s Miccosukee Resort, Florida’s local tribe celebrate the American Indian Day Festival with music and dance, a fashion show, airboat rides, tribal crafts and arts, and even a little alligator wrestling. The event is free since it is designed to show Floridians the traditions and heritage of Florida’s Indian population.
From September 30 to October 1, the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee hosts the Ranch Rodeo and Cowboy Festival which not only displays the cattle ranching life, but also demonstrates ranch horse skills and the use of cow dogs on the Florida open range. It is a competition that will be attractive to horse and dog lovers. The festival ends with a big steak festival.
This weekend (September 3-5) the Greek community of Tarpon Springs has their Sponge Docks Arts and Crafts Festival. What I love about this diverse shopping spree is it is surrounded by incredible Greek restaurants and bakeries. You might want to visit the sponge museum or take a replicated sponge boat trip down the river for a sponge fishing exhibition.
The week of September 12 is the 27th Annual Lobster Festival and Tournament at the Schooner’s Last Local Beach Club in Panama City. The Spring party goers have been replaced with tons of lobster fresh from the Gulf of Mexico. The 17th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest is one of the largest and best in the Sunshine State.
Saint Augustine celebrates its long-time Spanish roots September 8 through 11 with the Spanish Wine Festival, where it seems every local restaurant pairs Spanish wines with seafood and caviar. There is a very competitive super soaker team battle where red wine has replaced water as a weapon of choice. I guess it is good to be shot in the mouth in that contest.
For those who like to attend real sporting events that are unique to Florida, I would visit Sugden Regional Park in Naples September 20 to 25 when the Professional Watercross World Championships are being held. You will not believe what top notch pro and amateur personal watercraft racers can do with their boats. There are sport, runabout, and ski divisions and this year’s world champions will be crowded. CBS Sports will be filming for an October 16 showing.
Lastly, if you idea of a Sunday afternoon is a family athletic oating you might like the 27th Annual Endless Summer Watermelon Ride September 11th in Fernandina Beach at the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center. You can choose distances from 21 to 103 miles on a beautifl coastal bicycle ride along the tree-lined streets through Amelia Island to Talbot Island State Park.
The North Florida Bike Club has pre-race facilities, food and drink stops, and fully mapped and escorted bike routes. It is one of the fun family events in Northeast Florida. All of these events can be looked up online for more details.