Pensacola, Florida
Sunday December 17th 2017

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Fall Guide Part 2: Festivals

By Joani Delezen and Peyton Banfell

Forget pumpkin spice mania, fall on the Gulf Coast is all about festival fever. Starting this weekend with Emerald Coast Beer Festival and going all the way through mid-November with Foo Foo Festival, there’s pretty much a festival every weekend, sometimes even more than one. So get out your calendars out and start planning your own perfectly festive fall.

—September—

Emerald Coast Beer Festival
Sept. 8-9
emeraldcoastbeerfest.com
Pensacola’s most popular beer festival returns this weekend with a two-day event at Seville Quarter. On Thursday, there will be a five-course beer pairing dinner (reservations required) and the main event on Friday boasts over 150 different craft beers from both domestic and international breweries, as well as from several local home brew clubs. The charities benefiting from the 2016 festival are Alfred-Washburn Center and Seville Rotary Club.

Pensacola Dragon Boat Race and Festival
Sept. 10
pensacoladragonboatfestival.com
The Third Annual Pensacola Dragon Boat Race and Festival will benefit Gulf Coast Kids’ House and features teams racing in canoes with decorative Chinese dragonheads and tails in Bayou Texar just off Bayview Park. The event will also feature a children’s festival and vendor fair throughout the day.

Taste of the Beach
Sept. 23-24
tasteofpensacolabeach.com
Sip, savor and surf with Pensacola celebrity chefs as they take over the beach for the Ninth Annual Taste of the Beach. The two-day festival will be filled with cooking demos, tastings, live entertainment, and kid-friendly activities.

Pensacola Seafood Festival
Sept. 30-Oct. 2
fiestaoffiveflags.org
Seafood, arts and crafts, and live entertainment are all on the menu for this year’s Pensacola Seafood Festival, hosted by Fiesta of Five Flags. The festival has also partnered with Feeding the Gulf Coast, so you can bring a canned goods or any non-perishable item to this year’s event and help support Hunger Action Month. Smithfield, Quaker City Night Hawks, The Hip Abduction, and Moon Taxi are all already confirmed for the weekend’s live music lineup.

Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival
Sept. 29 – Oct. 2
pensacolabeachsongfest.com
Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival gives fest-goers the opportunity to meet the people putting pen to paper. Songwriters will give the backstory behind their music at a variety of stages around the beach, including some of your favorite bars like Paddy O’Leary’s Irish Pub and Bamboo Willie’s.

—October —

Pensacola Greek Festival
Oct. 7-9
pensacolagreekfestival.com
What started in 1959 as a simple luncheon has become one of Pensacola’s most beloved festivals. Come see why and get a taste of Greek culture as the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church hosts its 57th Annual event this fall. There will be music, dancing, and of course, tons of Greek food. You can even take a tour of the church if you can manage to tear yourself away from the baklava long enough.

Stamped | Pensacola LGBT Film Festival
Oct. 13-15
stampedfilmfest.com
In an effort to keep the dialogue open about LGBT issues locally, Stamped is once again honoring LGBT films and filmmakers at this annual event. The festival will feature short and feature-length films. To see an archive of past films the festival has shown, go to stampedfilmfest.com/films.

WSRE’S Wine & Food Classic
Oct. 14-15
wsre.org/wineandfood
North Carolina’s Chef Troy Gagliardo will be WSRE’s special guest for the 28th Annual Wine & Food Classic. This year’s theme is “Seasoned in the South” and includes the traditional Grand Southern Tasting on Friday and the VIP Cuisine Scene on Saturday.

Pensacola Interstate Fair
Oct. 20-30
pensacolafair.com
Funnel cakes and Ferris wheels—proof that nothing says “fall” like a night at the fair. This year’s 10-day run will feature all the usual Pensacola Interstate Fair staples, plus live music from Bret Michaels and Smash Mouth just to name a few.

Festa Italiana
Oct. 21-22
soibuonafortuna.org
What can you expect at Festa Italiana? Authentic Italian food, a spaghetti sauce cook-off, Tarantella dancers and much more.

Barktoberfest
Oct. 22
pensacolahumane.org
For dogs and dog lovers alike, it really doesn’t get much better than Barktoberfest when it comes to annual events. The day-long festival includes games, demonstrations, adoptions and plenty of pups in their Halloween best.

—November —

Foo Foo Festival
Nov. 3-14
foofoofest.com
Foo Foo Festival is back for year three and is once again playing host to a variety of arts and culture events during a 12-day span. Art, Culture and Entertainment (ACE), Inc. selected 21 organizations to receive grant funding for this year’s festival. Highlighting the list of grant recipients are the Friends of Downtown Pensacola—who have been awarded an $88,250 mega-grant to paint a mural of Pensacola imagery on the Jefferson Street parking garage.

Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival
Nov. 4-6
ggaf.org
One of Pensacola’s largest and most anticipated festivals is GGAF—which brings over 200 painters, sculptors, potters, graphic artists, jewelers, and craftsmen to Seville Square. The three-day festival also offers music, dance, food, and a kid’s area that’s perfect for aspiring creatives to test their skills.

Mahabhuta Yoga Festival
Nov. 18-20
mahabhutayogafestival.com
A festival for all the true and wannabe yogis in town. The 3-day event’s mission is “Celebrate Yoga, Unite Communities & Inspire Greatness” which sounds like a win-win-win to us.

————————-

Make A Day Of It
Thanks to our proximity to neighboring cities like Destin and Gulf Shores, it’s easy to plan a day trip any time of year, especially during fall festival season. And don’t worry; if you enjoy too much at a beer or wine at an event or just decide you want to stay a while, all of the following day trip destinations are definitely worthy of longer visits too.

Mobile

Mobile International Festival
Nov. 19
mobileinternationalfestival.org
The theme for the 33rd Annual Mobile International Festival is “The Art of Architecture.” In addition to a parade of flags, the festival will feature entertainment, cuisine, and cultural traditions from dozens of countries.

Fairhope

Fairhope Film Festival
Nov. 10-13
fairhopefilmfestival.org
For all the film fans who can’t make it Sundance, the Fairhope Film Festival is the next best thing. The festival selection committee carefully chooses the films, and the screening venues are located throughout downtown Fairhope.

Perdido Key/ Gulf Shores

Perdido Key Oktoberfest
Oct. 8
florabama.com/events/Oktoberfest
Channel your inner German for the 3rd Annual Perdido Key Oktoberfest. The party will take place in three different places: Flora-Bama, Flora-Bama Yacht Club, and Flora-Bama Ole River Bar. The daytime festivities are free and kid-friendly. A small fee will be charged for entry after 6 p.m. for those 18 years and older.

Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival
Nov. 3-13
frankbrownsongwriters.com
The Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival is a celebration of songwriters and singers. It is an 11-day event hosted in 30 different venues, spread from downtown Pensacola to Gulf Shores.

Hangout Oyster Cook-Off & Craft Beer Weekend
Nov. 4-5
hangoutcookoff.com
This event is pretty much an oyster lover’s heaven. The same is true for craft beer aficionados. Celebrity cooking demos, live music and big-screen football viewing tents will surely draw crowds again this year, so be sure to get your tickets early.

Destin/ 30A/ Seaside

Destin Seafood Festival
Sept. 30–Oct. 2
destinseafoodfestival.com
The 38th Annual Destin Seafood Festival is the perfect excuse to venture over to Destin. Bring the family for a stroll along the Destin Harborwalk Boardwalk for art, music, live entertainment, of course, and tons of fresh gulf seafood.

Seeing Red Wine Festival
Nov. 4-6
seeingredwinefestival.com
Get your tickets quick because the Seeing Red Wine Festival has become a sell-out event. The four days of festivities include wine tastings and dinners with guest winemakers, perfect for wine connoisseurs and novices alike.