Caution. Reading this post may cause tummy rumblings and salivating because here are some fabulous Florida foodie festivals for 2019.
28th Annual Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, Jan. 17 – 20, 2019
Have a hopping good time during the world’s largest frog leg festival in the Frog Leg Capital of the World during the 28th annual Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival. More than 7,000 pounds of frog legs and 2,000 pounds of gator tail will be served up along with family-friendly fun with carnival rides, games, and craft booths. Admission is free however there is a fee for the dinners and carnival rides. (22 South Orange St, Fellsmere, Fla. 32948; Tel: (772) 571-0250; www.froglegfestival.com)
53rd Annual Swamp Cabbage Festival in LaBelle, Feb. 23 – 24, 2019
Florida may be one of the only states that consumes its state tree. If you have never tasted swamp cabbage, which is from the heart of the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), the Swamp Cabbage Festival in LaBelle is the perfect opportunity to do so. In addition to swamp cabbage, enjoy the LaBelle Rotary Club’s world-famous armadillo races, the Swamp Cabbage Parade, a country western dance, Swamp Stomp 5K, a fishing tournament, the Swamp Cabbage Festival Ranch Rodeo presented by Hendry County Cattlemen’s Association, and maybe some alligator wrestling (as a spectator). Admission is free to the festival but an admission fee is collected for specific events, food, and beverages. (Barron Park, 1559 De Soto Ave, LaBelle, Fla. 33935 www.labelleswampcabbagefestival.org)
Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Feb. 28 – March 10, 2019
A “berry” good time is guaranteed during the Florida Strawberry Festival which dates to 1930. That was when festivals brought communities together during their harvests. Plant City is the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World and the luscious berries are in ripe for picking in February and March. This is one of the top festivals in the country and you can enjoy carnival rides, games, attractions, entertainment, and headliner performers including Alabama (Feb. 28), Willie Nelson & Family (March 1), and STYX (March 6).
Participate in one of their contests like strawberry stemming, strawberry spaghetti eating, or strawberry shortcake eating. Of course, taste strawberry-themed food including the world-famous strawberry shortcake, strawberry sandwiches, and strawberry cream puffs. An admission is charged. (303 North Lemon St., Plant City, Fla. 33563; Tel: (813) 752-9194; www.flstrawberryfestival.com)
Key Lime Festival in Key West, July 4 – 7, 2019
Indulge in America’s favorite citrus celebration during the Key Lime Festival in Key West, the birthplace of the Florida state pie. The sweet and tart dessert dates to the late 1800s and the key ingredients are key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and never green food coloring. This four-day festival reflects Key West’s fun, eclectic, and colorful personality with a host of events including the World Key Lime Pie Eating Contest, key lime scavenger hunt with clues leading participants through the island’s iconic landmarks, and key lime pie drop from the Key West Lighthouse. Events are held throughout the Conch Republic and admission fees vary. (Various Key West locations. www.keylimefestival.com)
23rd Annual MangoMania in Cape Coral, July TBA
It wasn’t until I attended MangoMania, Pine Island’s Tropical Fruit Fair, a few years ago that I realized I had been cutting up mangoes in wrong. During this delicious celebration of Pine Island’s famous mangoes and other tropical fruits, taste about 20 different kinds of sweet, juicy mangoes and watch how to cut a mango the easy way. Vendors sell mango-flavored items and it varies each year and may include hot sauce, fish tacos with fresh mango salsa, or refreshing ice cream.
There are activities for the whole family including mango recipe contests, MangoMania hat decorating followed by the hat parade, mango eating contest, entertainment, educational talks, and see the world’s largest mango. An admission fee is collected. (German-American Social Club, 2101 Pine Island Rd., Cape Coral, Fla. 33991; Tel: (239) 283-0888; www.mangomaniafl.net)
19th Annual Grape Stomp at Henscratch Farms Winery & Vineyard, Aug. TBA
You’ll have a smashing good time when you’re squishing grapes between your toes during the 19th Annual Grape Stomp at Henscratch Farms Winery & Vineyard in Lake Placid. The vineyard grows and harvests muscadine and scuppernong grapes. The popular, one-day event includes, “Do the Lucy” (in reference to the episode of I Love Lucy when Lucille Ball’s character stomped grapes with her bare feet), music, wine tasting, grapes to munch on, and more family fun. Be sure to visit the chickens. Get a photo of you stomping grapes and use it as your custom wine label for a bottle of grape-stomped wine available in November. An admission fee is collected. (980 Henscratch Rd., Lake Placid, Fla. 33852; Tel: (863) 699-2060; www.henscratchfarms.com)