The Florida Renaissance Festival is a wholly different world??a world of jousts and costumes and turkey legs. Here be dragons, or so the armor-clad knights would have you believe. At the festival, live shows recreate the romance of the Renaissance with references to Shakespeare and swordplay on 12 different stages. Meanwhile, merchants share the secrets of their crafts, blowing unbreakable glass for spectators and selling hammered pewter goblets. Visitors, dressed in period garb or not, can wander on their own, exploring the shows and stalls, or trying their hands at games of chance while gnawing on scotch eggs and chocolate cheesecake.
A fund-raising event for The United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, Rocks for Education aims to draw audiences with a family-friendly mix of music, comedy, and more. Emmy winner and Local 10 News anchor Laurie Jennings will serve as the event's emcee, and stars David Henrie of Wizards of Waverly Place and Drake Bell of Drake & Josh will engage spectators with songs, comedy, and other unmimed entertainments. Performances by local dance teams and American Idol contestant Symphony Music Howlett will add to the rhythmic stew, making the event more melodic than a Broadway musical about Mozart and the pianos who loved him. The evening's beneficiary, The United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, bolsters learning for little ones with advocacy, parent/teacher training, and resources such as a demonstration school.
The Florida Cajun Zydeco festival's seven musical acts fill the air with traditional tunes on two outdoor stages. Wooden dance floors and guided dance lessons (held in between sets) encourage rug-cuttery as the C’est Bon Cajun Dance Band wails away on fiddle and guitar, and the multi-instrumentalist Magnolia Sisters reinvigorate forgotten standards more effectively than auto-tuned re-mixes of Glen Miller's catalogue. Each band also gives a 20- to 30-minute lesson about the history of their music. Visitors can suppress unruly appetites with spicy Cajun and Creole fare while perusing the offerings of craft vendors. Pintsize patrons can revel in games and rides, while larger patrons can revel in the festival's free parking.
On Saturday, December 11, the 39th Annual Winterfest Boat Parade will delight an estimated one million guests with a nighttime march of brilliantly decorated boats, kicking off Fort Lauderdale’s Centennial celebration in the process. Today’s deal gets you an adult ticket for entry to the Grandstand viewing area, which opens at 3:30 p.m. and includes access to interactive, family-friendly games, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and refreshments. The boat parade begins its 12-mile water crawl downtown at 6:30 p.m., and by 7:30 p.m. appears at the Grandstand viewing area to astound the audience with a slow-motion stampede of brightly lit floaters, including The Clydey Foundation’s Centennial Cirque Showboat, the Sky Limo Airplane Barge, and the Baptist Health Santa Showboat, which illuminates the night with 1,500 LED lights to guide St. Nick back to his beachfront winter home.
Once a year, the The Huizenga Plaza in Fort Lauderdale transforms into a high-powered magnet that reaches throughout South Florida. The outdoor venue doesn't attract metal, though. Instead, it draws in carrots, lettuce, and other healthy foods from dozens of local farms and restaurants during The Fort Lauderdale Health Food Expo, which celebrates the benefits of healthy diets and lifestyles. The event's vendors supply attendees with everything from individual pieces of produce to full meals, and its presenters teach attendees how to pick out the healthiest items at the grocery store. Other presentations expand into topics such as fitness and yoga, as well as planting a home garden, which can be done even if you're living in a small condo or a genie's subleased bottle. While most of the focus remains on food and nutrition, contests and live entertainment add to the festivities.
Part art exhibit, part educational event, and part film festival, Caribe Arts Fest corrals all three elements and sets them to a soundtrack of live music during a full weekend that celebrates Caribbean culture. Thursday and Friday arm guests with learning opportunities during workshops that tackle financial issues, personal marketing plans, and creating for-profit artist businesses. On Saturday, participants can head to interactive art stations, get their faces painted to cover up any extra faces, and sample Caribbean cuisine. They can also take Zumba lessons and groove to live music from Rootz Underground and Spam Allstars. Sunday ushers in films including RasTa: A Soul's Journey, which follows Rita and Bob Marley's granddaughter on a global journey exploring Rastafari's impact, and Better Mus' Come, a love story set amid political and social turmoil in Jamaica.