For a quarter of a century, Irish Fest has brought musicians, food vendors, and the general public together for a celebration of Ireland's culture. The outdoor festival's atmosphere echoes the old country with an arts and crafts marketplace and a pub tent, where attendees devour Irish cuisine such as bangers and mash, or if they're feeling rebellious, mash and bangers. Everyone from fiddlers to Celtic rock bands to accordion players keep the crowds dancing to live music throughout the weekend. The Keltic Kids’ Korner ensures little ones also stay entertained with bounce castles and kid-friendly shows.
Jazz at the Zoo was founded in 2012 by Coconut Palm Events to support Wheels for Kids, a nonprofit that provides custom wheelchairs to children and young adults in need. During the annual charity event, patrons are invited to the Palm Beach Zoo for a night of live jazz, silent auctions, and exotic-animal sightings. The event will help fund one custom wheelchair for two children in need, and a portion of each ticket sale sends one child and caregiver to the Palm Beach Zoo.
Though Christopher Columbus is best known for discovering America, he also inadvertently spawned West Palm Beach’s Tropical Rum Festival. Columbus introduced sugar cane to the Caribbean region on his famous voyages, and sugar’s byproduct, molasses, is what gets distilled into rum. The festival celebrates the now-popular spirit’s diverse styles. And as rum flows, revelers can dance to reggae, dubstep and hip-hop tunes, rather than the strange music of the late 1400s, which was created by tickling ducks.
For two weekends every October, the sounds of laughter and German folk music echo across a field in Lake Worth. The American German Club's traditional Oktoberfest celebration, which sprawls across 10 acres under an open-air pavilion and a tent, has been going on for 40 years now and doesn't show any signs of stopping. Each day kicks off with the parade of flags and, sometimes, a ceremonial keg-tapping. Afterward, indoor and outdoor kitchens perpetually sizzle up authentic German bratwurst, leberkäse, and pastries. Meanwhile, bartenders pour four styles of Hofbräu Bier, as well as imported liquors and domestic brews. While vendors display traditional German crafts, the festival's stages erupt with folk-dancing, choral singing, and Bavarian tunes from two German groups, Heldensteiner Band and Die Lustigen Bayern.
As the Delray Beach Garlic Fest proves, garlic is more than just the cornerstone to a great meal. It can also be a melee weapon. In the festival's Garlic Chef Stadium, seasoned chefs have one hour to prepare a unique three-course gourmet feast using garlic and a mystery ingredient in each course. They might also use the cloves to cleave any salivating fan who tries to sneak up and snatch a bite. Luckily, those fans can nurse their hunger at Gourmet Alley, which features samples of more than two dozen garlic-seasoned items, such as blackened mahi mahi, gator, and marinated vegetable paninis. Similarly spicing the air are live sets from Collective Soul, Amber Leigh, Andy Childs, and tributes to U2 and Bruce Springsteen.
A group of locals founded the Garlic Fest to help raise money for local organizations dedicated to promoting youth arts and education. Through the nonprofit organization Delray Beach Arts, Inc., the festival has raised more than $390,000 in charitable donations.