November is an in-between time for vacationers in Florida and many enjoy the fact that many of the snowbirds have not arrived and most natives have deserted the beaches as the water lowers into the 70’s (burrrrr). The big festival parades and winter showcases are after Christmas and Florida’s holiday boat parades are packed into the first few weeks of December. But November has its share of events.
Here are some of our picks for vacationers and residents looking for a weekend or more of places to go and things to see.
Best Big Event: the 57th anniversary of the world’s largest boat show, the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show starting in two days (November 3 to the 7th)
If you don’t think Ft Lauderdale deserves to be called “the Yachting Capital of the World” then I suggest you visit this boat show. A rich Arab potentiate would find many of yacht to his liking with the super-yachts complete with helipads. This show is so big you find a daily or multi-daily ticket for the boats are spread across seven yacht basins.
It is a treat to just visit places like Pier Sixty Six and the Bahia Bahr Yachting Center, but to board a 200-foot yacht and at least dream you are a buyer is a fun experience. Oh, well, I can afford that inflatable boat.
Best Competitive Event: American Sandsculpting Championship
Fort Myers Beach will host the 30th Annual American Sandsculpting Championship from November 18th to November 27. Professional sandsculpting masters from three continents will compete for the big prize, but everyday has competitions and even lessons in the art. There is plenty of food and children’s activities.
This is the largest competition of this type in Florida, a state that takes its beach art very serious. I witnesses the amazing Quick Sand Speed Sculpturing a few years ago and could not believe you could make that quality of artistic object out of sand in such a short time.
Best Arty Event: St. Armands Art Festival
Very few Florida towns can match Sarasota for its art patronage and talented artists, and the 28th Annual St. Armands Art Festival, which takes place November 12 and 13 is special due to its location. St. Armands Circle is an island dining and shopping paradise, but the artists make it a special time to visit.
The great thing about this festival is it is free, but you must come early to get good parking. The good news: the famous Mote Aquarium is just a mile northward on adjacent City Island and the public beaches are less than that to the south.
Best Down Home Festival: Yankeetown Arts Crafts and Seafood Festival
On November 19th and 20th it seems most of the people in the Big Bend area of Florida northwest of Gainesville will be heading to the small fishing
village of Yankeetown on the Suwannee River near the Gulf of Mexico. Part of the personality of small town Florida is the friendliness of the people and the unusual homemade arts and crafts.
The event spreads out along tree-lined Riverside Drive where people can catch a boat ride on the Lower Withlachoochee River. This is not tourist country – the town has no hotels and motels. Of course, parking and admission is free.
Best Family Event: Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair
The largest fair in Northeast Florida starts Florida’s long winter fair season, but this fair is very family oriented with lots of free entertainment and children’s educational programs where city kids visit the barns and visit the farmers. Even the celebrity shows from Foghat to Little River Band are priced at $10 rather than some of the high concerts prices of many fairs.
The fair opens tomorrow (the 2nd) and runs for two weeks.