Sometimes, we take living in Tampa Bay for granted. One thing that helps us appreciate the warm, sunny days is the outdoor festivals we're blessed with all year long.
We consider an outdoor festival one that has free admission and a festive vibe about it. When you think of festive days in Tampa Bay, what comes to mind? For me, it’s Gasparilla! But truthfully, Gasparilla isn't a festival because it’s more of an event or parade. However, it's Tampa’s most festive occasion, so for the sake of this list, I feel the need to mention it!
Each January, the City of Tampa unites for a single cause: the Gasparilla Invasion on Bayshore Boulevard. Though it is not your traditional festival, it's Tampa’s most festive day of the year.
People from all different walks of life come together to throw Tampa’s largest party all along the longest sidewalk in the world! You’ll find pirates parading through the streets with colorful beads and handles of liquor! Head to bars, parties, and festivities throughout the last weekend of January if you want to celebrate Jose Gaspar’s Invasion!
The 5th Annual Tampa Riverfest takes place May 3 and 4 in Curtis Hixon Park to celebrate all of the renovations that have been completed on the Riverwalk over the past year. This free event will include an all-star concert line-up, a wiener dog derby, a paddleboard invasion, TacoFest, and much more!
Don’t miss out on celebrating the growth of your favorite city as you taste and feel the love our locals have for their city! Additionally, many of the venues, museums, bars, and restaurants along the Riverwalk will be activated with special activities that day.
Related content: A Local's Guide to Craft Beer Festivals in Tampa Bay
This family-friendly and free "street festival” celebrates and commemorates the Cuban, Italian, Spanish, Jewish, and German immigrants who settled in Ybor City in the late 1800s as the cigar factories thrived.
This is not a tasting event but, with plenty of food from all over the world, there's something you haven’t tried yet waiting for your arrival at Fiesta Day! So bring some cash and get excited to taste flavors from all seven continents (okay, maybe six because do people really live on Antarctica?).
Potentially Tampa’s largest art festival of the year returns to Curtis Hixon Park with more than 250 artists to showcase their works alongside performers that will rock the park on Saturday and Sunday during the Gasparilla Arts Festival.
For the 49th year in a row, artists from all over the world will meet to showcase their photography, sculpture, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, and more!
Tampa Bay Chocolate Festival invites chocolate lovers to get CHOCOLATE WASTED each February! For a day full of chocolate delicacies, food trucks, trailers, tents, and vendors celebrating our favorite sweet flavor, head to Sickles High School on March 24. Some of our favorite local restaurants and food trucks will be in attendance like Impasto and Disco Donuts. Don't miss this opportunity for a chocolate food coma!
Tailgate Taste Fest (2019 Dates Coming Soon)
Tampa Bay’s Tailgate Taste Fest is the ultimate place to be on a day in late September. A free and family-friendly event, Tailgate Taste Fest has a robust schedule. The schedule includes entertainment for the casual event-goer and the ultimate football fan alike.
Entertainment consists of a food competition with local restaurants serving up the most delicious tailgate foods Tampa has to offer, live music from the best local bands, a competitive corn hole tournament, and, of course, live action from the day’s most exciting college football games on large LED video screens!
Oktoberfest (2019 Dates Coming Soon)
Strap on your lederhosen and grab you stein on your way out the door as you head to Tampa’s largest Oktoberfest in Curtis Hixon Park! This fun fall festival will immerse you into the German traditions including wienerschnitzel, soft pretzels, and lots of German beer! Try their stein hoisting competition to prove you’re the strongest of the bunch or relax with your friends under a tent as you sip on beer!
Hyde Park Fall Festival (2019 Dates Coming Soon)
Fall is my favorite time of the year in Tampa! It’s still warm enough to get away with shorts and a tank top, but you start to feel it cooling off during the late nights and early mornings. If you’re anything like me, then come out to the Hyde Park Fall Festival and galavant through the pumpkin patch, eat from one of Tampa Bay’s best food trucks, and enjoy a beautiful, crisp fall evening in the quaint neighborhood of Hyde Park.
Hyde Park’s brick-lined streets will once again come alive with extravagant art during the 30th Annual Hyde Park Village Art Fair. Thousands of locals come together each year to celebrate the eye-popping art that is made in Tampa. Attendees are invited to walk along the streets of this open-air market to gaggle at life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings, one-of-a-kind jewelry, photography, ceramics and more from the 150 exhibitors on showcase during the free event.
John’s Pass Seafood Festival (2019 Dates Coming Soon)
Back for its 39th year, the John’s Pass Seafood Festival brings the community together to put on the second-largest seafood festival on the east coast of Florida. This foodie festival will provide attendees with endless amount of fried, boiled, and charred seafood for their taste buds to enjoy.
It's always been festival dedicated to giving back to the community as a portion of the proceeds are donated to the City of Madeira Beach and the Pinellas County school system. Make a day of it and make sure to show up with full wallets and empty stomachs because there’s going to be A LOT you'll want to try!
If you're looking to get your gains this April, then your first stop should be the Italian Food Festival! Festa Italiana 2019 has expanded to two full days of live entertainment, endless Italian food, culture, and heritage at Centennial Park in historic Ybor City.
Mark your calendars for the biggest Festa Italiana to date on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7. This isn't a tasting event, so bring a full wallet and empty tummies so you can fully enjoy this foodie festival.
Tampa Bay Veg Fest (2019 Dates Coming Soon)
The 8th Annual Tampa Bay Veg Fest is back! The first Saturday of November can be spent at beautiful Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park in Downtown Tampa for its ninth year! There will be vegan-friendly food to sample and to buy, a wide array of vendors and nonprofits, live music, animal adoptions, and nationally known guest speakers- and this year, there will be a bigger, better children's area!
Bikefest St. Pete (2019 Dates Coming Soon)
For those of you who enjoy a long Sunday afternoon drive on your hog, St. Pete Beach Bikefest caters to all of your wants and needs as they put on quite the show. With three days of live music, local food, and your toes in the sand, they invite you to show off your bike and ride to your heart's content.
Greek Festival (2019 Dates Coming Soon)
One of Hillsborough County’s oldest cultural celebrations, The Tampa Greek Festival was established more than 30 years ago to share its heritage, it's Orthodoxy, and its wonderful food with the Tampa Bay community.
Throughout the weekend, guests can enjoy strolling through the Grand Hall, indulging in inventive spirits at the Opa! Party Tent, and discovering market treasures. Whether it’s freshly-prepared Mediterranean style food and pastries, an evening of live music and beautiful dance, or a unique shopping experience, the Tampa Greek Festival gives everyone the chance to enjoy life like a Greek. Opa!
Winter Village (2019 Dates Coming Soon)
Like Gasparilla, Winter Village is “technically” not a festival, but it does happen during the most festive time of the year. During the month of December and into the first week of January, the City of Tampa sets up the Winter Village in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
In the Winter Village, there's an outdoor skating rink, a large movie screen for some holiday movies to be shown on (including The Grinch and Elf!), and much more! Shop 'til you drop from local vendors selling everything from festive dog wear to jewelry and more!
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