Annual Festivals/Fairs in Miami, FL
It’s art time in Miami at the beginning of December when Art Basel, the Miami Beach version of the exclusive Swiss art exhibition, hosts some 200 of the world’s best art galleries at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The fair also presents films, artist talks and conversations with collectors, critics, curators and museum directors throughout the festival. Parents visiting the art show can enroll their children in Art Kids, a daycare center run by The Miami Children’s Museum where kids participate in crafts, storytelling and learn a little art history. Make sure you venture away from the convention center to the Wynwood Arts District where many satellite fairs, including Art Miami and Scope Miami, take place at the same time as the main exhibit.
Every February, Food Network personalities, celebrity chefs and thousands of fans descend over South Beach for four days of parties, cooking demos and food-and-wine tastings. Tickets are pricey but the most coveted events, such as the Burger Bash – where attendees taste more than 20 burgers prepared by culinary heavy hitters and vote for their favorite – still sell out within hours. Still, there are plenty of smaller events, including interactive cooking demos and wine lectures that are gentler on your pocket. For kids, don’t miss the annual Fun & Fit as a Family, two days of fun activities and demos with the likes of Rachael Ray and Giada de Laurentis. If you go, make sure to get your tickets early (they usually go on sale the previous Fall) and be ready to brave the crowds.
Get a taste of the world’s best mangos at Fairchild Tropical Garden’s annual mango festival. More than 10,000 people, including mango growers from different parts of the world, attend the annual two-day festival, which offers food, music, mango tastings and a mango marketplace where you can stock up on fruit from Fairchild’s farm and other vendors to take home. Local chefs also demonstrate recipes using this so-called king of fruit that you can prepare at home. And kids will love the mango tastings, making mango-related arts and crafts and stretching a little bit during the free kids yoga classes held during the festival. If you're into gardening, buy a mango tree and attend the clinics to learn how to care for it. Also, make sure you dress light and wear sunscreen; it gets hot out there in July.
Take a step back in time during this three-day Art Deco festival held every January along Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th streets. Organized by the Miami Preservation League to raise awareness of the Art Deco era, which ranged from about the mid-20s to the mid-40s, the festival is a fun way to spend a Miami winter day. Learn about Miami Beach’s historic architecture with guided tours and lectures and don’t miss the display of gorgeous classic autos of the time. Festivities also include live music, theater and dance, as well as a parade, antiques and arts vendors and lots of food. Most events are free though there is a fee for the guided tours.
For literary types, the Miami Book Fair is a weeklong treat. Every November, the fair welcomes some 300 authors from around the world for lectures, readings and book signings. The fair concludes on the weekend with more author events and the book street fair, where you can shop for your favorite books in an outdoor marketplace set up on the streets surrounding the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus. You will also enjoy live music and food. While your kids can spend some time listening to stories, learning about different cultures and dancing at the Children’s Alley, a kids’ area set up during the street fair. Admission to most author events requires advance online reservations. Street fair admission is $8 for adults and free for kids 12 and under.