Since 2003, the Jacksonville Film Festival has annually served as one of the city's most anticipated cultural events, screening international and independent films and hosting some of Hollywood's most accomplished names. The first deal plunks cinephiles squarely on the red carpet with access to Saturday's special event, a screening of The Six Wives of Henry Lefay, starring Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, and Andie MacDowell. Young film critics that already possess Roger Ebert's critical eye and Gene Shalit's bushy mustache can attend the kids' red-carpet event, which will screen the zany kid-friendly comedy Finn on the Fly. The third options gets you into the world premiere of Thespians, which documents the theater programs at two Duval County high schools as they prepare for the Florida State Thespians theater festival. Afterward, stay for a Q&A with the filmmakers and special guests.
At Jaxtoberfest, it's easy to eat bratwurst and drink beer casually—or competitively. The German-themed festival's brat-eating contest tests participants' stomach capacity, whereas the 5K Beer Run challengs runners to down brews at "chug stations" lining the race course. Revelers can also test their wits in games of oversize beer pong, beer barrel racing, and stein hoisting. Classic Bavarian music complements the games and food, providing an ideal backdrop for chicken dancing and polka. The family-friendly event also hosts fall-themed activities for kids, such as pumpkin bowling and pumpkin painting.
Beaches Oktoberfest combines Jacksonville's beach views with a drinking tour of Germany?one that even includes a (fake) passport. Travelers each receive a passport upon arrival, and get a stamp when they visit?and try regional beers from?each of the four major German cities: Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt.
Visits, of course, are symbolic. Instead of setting foot on German turf, participants travel with their taste buds, sampling beers to the tune of live polka. And for food to go with their brews, they simply stop by the onsite food truck village, rather than hoping someone will pass them a beer mug made of steak. The two-day event also includes a 5K Chug N' Run race and a special fun area meant for kids.
For one day, Northeast Florida could easily be one of Europe's seven Celtic nations. The Jacksonville Celtic Festival celebrates the culture, music, and heritage of the Celtic people. The event lineup brings together musicians with bagpipes, guitars, fiddles, and all sorts of other instruments that can be powered by Guinness. Traditional Scottish and Irish dancers complement the musical performances.
For three days, the Jacksonville International Car & Truck Show turns the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center into the nation’s most exciting parking lot. Deluxe rides from the likes of Lotus, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche dazzle attendees with sleek lines and plush interiors, and innovative autos such as the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt show off their efficient electric engines. The newest models from more than 25 other manufacturers line the floor, doors open for guests to lean back in the seats or measure how large a ham can fit in the glove compartment. During daylight hours, a lineup of drivable cars idle outside to give curious patrons the chance to try their dream rides.
The Jacksonville RollerGirls’ derby divas, members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, deliver fast-paced, four-wheeled fun to crash-craving audiences. The group of more than 70 wheeled warriors is split into four teams, composed of hip-checking hustlers such as Crash Register and Kat Von Skratchereyezout, who whip around corners toppling opponents like human bowling pins in search of points and respect in the streets. This year’s home-opening bout features two of the Jacksonville RollerGirls’ teams—the River City Rat Pack and New Jax City Rollers—skating against Knoxville’s Hard Knox Roller Girls to determine which team gets to join the NFL.