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Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Pensacola could be named the Festival City, since every month of the year residents and visitors find something to celebrate. There are refined events such as the wine and jazz festival and wacky events such as the mullet toss. There are food festivals for seafood, sausage, bushwackers and crawfish, and there are fitness events such as the Double Bridge Run and the St. Patty’s prediction race. There are lively parades, whether it’s Mardi Gras floats or a decked-out boats. Whatever your style, there’s a special event for you in the Pensacola Bay Area.

Polar Bear Dip. Jan. 1. The Flora-Bama Lounge at the Florida-Alabama line hosts this popular, annual splash-around in the Gulf of Mexico. (850) 492-0611.

Mardi Gras. Feb. 12-14. One of the country’s original celebration sites, Pensacola hosts family-oriented Mardi Gras fun at numerous parades with lots of beads and moonpies. (850) 436-7638, www.pensacolamardigras.com.

McGuire’s 5K Prediction Run. March 13. With more than 5,000 participants, it is Pensacola’s largest run and the nation’s largest prediction run. Awards go to the fastest as well as the most accurate in predicting the time it will take to complete the course. (850) 433-6789, www.mcguiresirishpub.com.

Beulah Sausage Festival. March 19-21. Enjoy some of Nashville’s hottest country music stars, arts and crafts, carnival-style rides and of course, great sausage. (850) 944-3167, www.beulahsausagefest.com.

Pensacola Wine Festival. April 2-4. Sample more than 100 wines from around the world while Pensacola’s top restaurants lead cooking demonstrations. (850) 434-5371, www.pensacolawinefestival.com.

Pensacola JazzFest. April 10-11. Pensacola’s historic Seville Square hosts an event filled with great jazz performed by local and national talents. (850) 433-8382, www.jazzpensacola.com.

26th Annual Interstate Mullet Toss. April 23-25. Perdido Key’s Flora-Bama Lounge on the Florida-Alabama state line hosts this wacky annual tournament that has participants compete in tossing an actual mullet. Live music, food and drinks. (850) 492-0611.

26th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival. May 7-9. Held along the bay in Bartram Park, indulge at one of the largest crawfish boils in Florida. (850) 433-6512, www.fiestaoffiveflags.org.

7th Annual Outside Art Fair. May 15-16. Celebrate warm spring weather with nearly 100 local artists, live entertainment, good food and children’s activities on the bay at Bartram Park. (850) 432-9906, www.artsnwfl.org.

Evenings in Olde Seville Square. Thursdays, May-Aug. This well-attended summer concert series in Seville Square features a variety of musical styles from big band and jazz to rock-n-roll. (850) 438-6505.

Bands on the Beach. Tuesdays, May-Sept. Celebrate summer at the Gulfside Pavilion on Pensacola Beach with local musical favorites. (850) 932-2257.

Fiesta Days Celebration and Boat Parade. June 3-12. This annual event celebrates the founding of Pensacola, the first European settlement in the U.S., in 1559 by Spanish Conquistador Don Tristan de Luna. (850) 433-6512, www.fiestaoffiveflags.org.

Sounds of Summer. June-Aug. The beat goes on in Pensacola Beach with this free concert series most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Quietwater Shell on the Boardwalk. (850) 932-1500

Pensacola Beach Air Show. July. This must-see event features a show by the world-famous Blue Angels. (850) 932-2257.

Pensacola Seafood Festival. Sept. 24-26. Sample a variety of mouth-watering seafood dishes, enjoy continuous live entertainment, shop at the many arts and crafts vendors, and participate in a 5K. (850) 433-6512

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show. Nov. With Pensacola as its home base, the Blue Angels perform the season’s final show at Naval Air Station Pensacola. (850) 452-2583, www.blueangels.navy.mil.

Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. Nov. Talented artists bring new music to the Gulf Coast. (850) 492-7664, www.fbisf.com.

Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival. Nov. 5-7. Browse more than 200 fine art and hand-made craft exhibitors in Pensacola’s historic Seville Square. www.ggaf.org.

Holiday Evening in Olde Seville Square. Dec. Get in the holiday spirit with the Christmas concert outdoors under the oaks. (850) 438-6505.

Lighted Boat Parade. Dec. Decorated vessels parading against the dark December sky delight those watching from the shores along Portofino Boardwalk. The nautical parade officially delivers Santa Claus to the Island. (850) 932-1500.

For information on the top annual vents and festivals in Florida, visit http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-florida.html

For more information about Pensacola please visit http://www.visitpensacola.com/