Southern Pines Blues & BBQ Festival – Get slathered and sauced at this annual event that pairs juicy cuts of tender beef brisket with the downhome, soulful sound of the blues. The People’s Choice category features more than 35 different pulled pork recipes. Participants will be vying for bragging rights and prize money.
When: Dec. 13-14
Where: Forest Capital Park, Perry
Havana Holiday Festival and Lawnmower Parade – Holiday parades are plentiful in Florida but Havana wins top honors for most unique as its residents have a blast decking out their lawn mowers. Yes, lawn mowers. Creativity is plentiful as neighbors let their imaginations run wild to capture one of four prizes. Also features food and craft vendors, hay rides, kid’s train and ornament decorating.
When: Dec. 14
Where: downtown Havana
30th annual Riverside Avondale Luminaria – Stroll down the candlelit streets of the historic Jacksonville neighborhood while enjoying the sights (gorgeously decorated homes), sounds (carolers) and spirit (Riverside Avenue Christian Church’s live nativity) of the season, plus sweets and treats in The Avondale dining and shopping district.
When: Dec. 15
Where: Riverside/Avondale neighborhood, Jacksonville
Old Town Arts & Crafts Show – Start your holiday shopping for 2014 immediately at the juried arts and fine crafts show in historic downtown St. Augustine. Choose from hand-crafted jewelry to quirky wood carvings and travel-inspired photography all from American artisans.
When: Dec. 28-29
Where: Francis Field, St. Augustine
New Year’s Eve Black & White Masquerade Ball – The Ritz-Carlton’s salute to the end of 2013 includes Gatsby-esque food buffets, live music, open bar and fireworks. Black and white period attire is encouraged.
When: Dec. 31
Where: Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island
Celebrate Twice – After Auld Lang Syne has been sung and the last firework booms in the sky, the holiday season is officially over … unless you’re celebrating in Port St. Joe. There, you can jump on a trolley and head 5 miles west to Mexico Beach (on Central Standard Time) and do it all over again an hour later.
When: Dec. 31
Where: Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach