Jacksonville is the gateway to Florida, known as the First Coast. “Jax” also happens to be the largest and most spread out city in the United States. Fun fact! But while Orlando and Miami may get more tourists and more attention, what makes Jacksonville truly unique is the incredible and booming festival season.
Different festivals in Jacksonville bring guests from all over the world every year, be it for food, music, culture, or just having a good time.
Most of the festivals are completely family friendly, and are intrinsic to what Jacksonville stands for and the community identity. Just a few more reasons to check out the soul of the First Coast!
Image via Flickr by Don Dearing
Great Atlantic Seafood and Music Festival
The Great Atlantic Seafood and Music Festival opens the festival season of Jacksonville every year in mid-March. Obviously, a name like that will draw food and music lovers alike, combining two of the North Coast’s favorite pastimes: eating and music listening!
Grouper, mahi-mahi, shrimp, and crawfish are all around to energize the crowd at all-day dance parties to music of all kinds. And nothing is better than the fresh catch with live music in an outdoor venue.
Springing the Blues Music Festival
Next up in the season is the Springing the Blues Music Festival, occurring every April since 1991. The Blues Festival is a FREE three-day event that brings together national, international, and local blues artists at the incredible Seaside Pavilion. Paired with food trucks and an art marketplace, this event pulls over 125,000 people every single year and completely takes over the Jacksonville Beach.
Jacksonville Jazz Fest
Image via Flickr by didy b
One of the largest jazz festivals in the country, Jacksonville Jazz Fest runs for three days every Memorial Day weekend (end of May). Jazz Fest has been running since 1981, and attracts some of the world’s most renowned jazz musicians and artists. Jazz Fest literally takes over downtown Jacksonville, spreading out over 15 streets of the city, making it a true street festival that is accessible to all.
Jazz Fest is regularly considered one of the best jazz festivals in the United States and shows no sign of slowing down!
World of Nations Celebration
Every May since 1993, the World of Nations celebrates the incredible cultural diversity of Florida. Over 75,000 visitors come out to learn about the various cultural and ethnic communities of Jacksonville and the North Coast.
The day starts with a naturalization ceremony where community members officially become American citizens.
Afterward, each country or community is showcased with servings of traditional food, exhibits of traditional dress and dance, and performances of native music.
The World of Nations Celebration is a unique way for Jacksonville to welcome diverse people into their community as well as to provide those folks a chance to share their culture with their new neighbors!
Image via Flickr by Michel Curi
Plan a Visit to Jacksonville Florida
Jacksonville has become a kind of cultural icon in the state of Florida, a state not always known for its arts and culture. Between the soul of the music, the celebration of multicultural communities, and the heart in the food, Jacksonville festivals commemorate a unique city by the sea for all to enjoy.
Jacksonville Beach will always draw tourists, but planning a stay around one of these festivals is a great way to visit this impressive community. If you’re looking to attend one of these events, book one of the hotels near EverBank Field. EverBank Field is where the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team plays, and the surrounding area of Downtown is an excellent and central launching point to make the most of your time in Jax. Be sure to plan your trip early. Judging from the numbers of attendees, Jacksonville truly comes alive for festival weekends!
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