Established in November of 2011, Clearwater Beach Uncorked invites established chefs, vintners, and brewers from near and far to congregate for a weekend of sun, fun, and delicious dining. The festival is always ripe for culinary adventures: in its inaugural year, the beach featured such sights as a “sand castle” made out of cake and rice-crispie-treat crumbs, a flash mob, and countless realizations that, despite popular opinion, vegetables aren’t yucky after all.
Reporters at this bimonthly lifestyle magazine sift through the local dining, art, and social scenes to present the gems to readers on glossy, colorful pages. Each issue carries an expansive dining guide that curates the city's culinary landscape, turning readers on to chic new bistros, hidden gems, and bars that have the most elegant spittoons.
Lauded in its inaugural year by the Tampa Bay Examiner, The Clearwater Film and Music Festival's sophomore showcase spotlights more than 60 films from around the globe alongside diverse musical acts. This year's films include the 2011 Academy Award–winning comedic short film God Of Love, which reveals the romantic adventures of a lounge-singing darts champion, and the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection Challenging Impossibility, which documents the uplifting transformation of one man's mind and body. The upstart festival has developed the steel-ribbon Wavecrest Awards, which honor the best director, best actor, best actress, best slow-motion jump from an exploding hot-dog stand, and more.
The Sunscreen Film Festival celebrates the celluloid efforts of the sunshine state, bolstering awareness and support of the invaluable asset of local filmmaking. The festival starts its sixth year with a slew of hand-picked flicks representing the works of local and international auteurs, along with informative workshops for future sun-stroked Speilbergs and panel discussions for fledgling Eberts. With two one-day passes, film fanatics can bask in the sunless glow of projectors as they cram a smorgasbord of short films, documentaries, music videos, and feature-lengths into their eyeholes. Day passes also grant access to panels and workshops. The passes may be used by one moviegoer for two days of the fest or split between friends for one day of movie gorging.
The SPIFFS 39th Annual International Folk Fair brings all the world's cultures together for a three-day festival. On the general admission day (Saturday, November 2), the festival takes over the grounds at Vinoy Park with booths set up to honor the food, clothing, and culture of a variety of nations including Scotland, Taiwan, Ethiopia, and Ukraine. To keep visitors entertained—and to keep them from eating too much haggis—there will be folk dance groups performing and speakers giving talks on language, ethnic costumes, and more.
For one weekend every April, Port Richey transforms into Pasco Paddlepalooza, a man-powered boat festival comprising three races. The festival's crown jewel is the Durney Key Challenge: a 2.3-mile race that challenges paddlers to slalom around turn-of-the-century stilt houses that stud the open water. The Salt Springs Alliance Classic and Battle in the Bayou focus on more straightforward feats: open-water kayaking and dragon boating, respectively. Though it sounds like a race between two beautiful dragons in boats, dragon boating is executed by humans rowing traditional Chinese boats, traveling in two side-by-side columns.
But there's plenty to do on land, too. The festival also encompasses a craft beer festival, and abuts well-maintained campgrounds, where visitors commune comfortably with the outdoors, much like homeowners who leave their windows open for the neighborhood squirrels.