- $4 for admission for one to the Redland Blues & Barbecue Festival ($8 value)
On April 5 and 6, local vendors set up booths across Fruit & Spice Park to celebrate the fourth annual Redland Blues & Barbecue Festival, which combines the spicy taste of barbecue with the sweet sounds of live blues and country-music performances from such acts as Iko Iko and The Jay Blues Band. Families can enjoy a variety of youth activities including pony rides and a live wildlife show, and purchase items such as barbecue, funnel cake, and freshly roasted corn on the cob from local vendors. Craft beer by Anheuser-Busch is also available. Children 11 and under are admitted free. The Redland Blues & Barbecue Festival takes place on Saturday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is sponsored by Miami Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell, Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, Eagle Brands, and Community Bank of South Florida.
The Fruit and Spice Park
As you stroll across Fruit and Spice Park's grassy fields, an occasional piece of fruit falls from a neighboring tree. But it's not an apple or a berry you can easily find in a local supermarket—rather, it may be a specimen native to the Caribbean or South America, its shape foreign to your teeth, which want so badly to bite into its juicy flesh but aren't sure how. At Fruit and Spice Park, seasoned gardeners grow abundant specimens from tropical areas around the world, including 70 kinds of bamboo, 15 types of jackfruit trees, and edibles such as Fiji longan and jaboticaba across 39 acres.
Visitors meander freely through banana groves and African baobab trees, and they can also follow a guide during tours to learn more about plant species and which fruit seeds bear an uncanny likeness to Abraham Lincoln's silhouette. Throughout strolls, guests may help themselves to any of Mother Nature's home cooking that has naturally fallen to the ground, including mangoes, dragon fruit, and papayas, or venture to the tasting table at the entryway to sample the season's bounty.
Park staffers also gather visitors for a range of events such as stargazing, outdoor festivals, and plant-use tutorials, where they divulge helpful information such as which plants are medicinal and how to play dead during tree attacks. During regular park hours, chefs at the Mango Café pile plates with casual fare, often using the park's own fruit and vegetables, and the gift shop lets guests bring home harvest jams and aromatic teas.