Pensacola, Florida
Friday November 24th 2017

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Fall Guide—Part 1 Festivals

We might be best known for beachy summer vibes, but Pensacola knows how to throw a good fall festival too. Whether you’re a foodie, a yogi or a film critic, there’s guaranteed to be at least one fest you’ll enjoy this fall.

From Taste of the Beach to Mahabhuta to Foo Foo, here’s a round-up of local festivals. Or you could think of it as your weekend to-do list for the next three months. Totally up to you.

—SEPTEMBER—

Stamped: Pensacola LGBT Film Festival
Catch a film while supporting the diversity of Pensacola. While prior years had Stamped spread out over several locations around Pensacola, this year, Pensacola’s LGBT Film Fest will be hosted over three nights solely at the Pensacola Little Theatre. The event highlights the artistic contributions both nationally and internationally of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender films and filmmakers.
Sept. 14-16, stampedfilmfest.com

Taste of the Beach
Just because summer’s almost over doesn’t mean you can’t experience Pensacola Beach and some of its best cuisine. Celebrity chefs from over 20 area restaurants will be serving up their signature dishes including Apalachicola oysters, fried mullet tacos, grilled Scottish Salmon, Jamaican bread pudding and fresh Gulf Coast shrimp. The best part? Each dish is only $5. The 10th Annual Taste of the Beach will also feature live music, beer tastings and cooking demonstrations by the celebrity chefs, as well as a competition for bragging rights.
Sept. 15-16, tasteofpensacolabeach.com

Pensacola Seafood Festival
The 40th annual Pensacola Seafood Festival, hosted by Fiesta of Five Flags, will have exactly what you’ve come to expect: tons of great seafood, art and live music. The fest’s Gulf to Table attraction will offer seafood dishes prepared by Pensacola’s best chefs. The fest lineup includes performers Brooke Eden, Jordan Davis, The London Souls and Leah Seawright. Don’t forget to bring a non-perishable item or monetary donation to the Feeding the Gulf Coast Booth in support of Hunger Action Month.
Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, pensacolaseafoodfestival.com

—OCTOBER

Pensacola Beach Songwriter’s Festival
Pensacola Beach Songwriter’s Festival pays tribute to the poet behind the song. The festival spans over the course of five days, with a chance to meet songwriters and discover the stories behind the music. The fest will take place at venues across Pensacola Beach including Bamboo Willies, Hemingway’s, Margaritaville, Holiday Inn Resort, Paradise Bar and Grill and more. Studio Amped at the WSRE Studio at Pensacola State College will also serve as a venue.
Oct. 4-8, pensacolabeachsongwritersfestival.com

Pensacola Greek Festival
Once again, Pensacola’s own little piece of Greece will take over three days in mid-October at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Experience the culture as you sample some authentic Greek dishes like pastitsio, spanakopita, dolmathes, gyros, and of course baklava, while enjoying live Greek music and some traditional folk dancing. This year, the fest will be accepting donations to Manna Food Pantries.
Oct. 13-15, pensacolagreekfestival.com

WSRE Wine & Food Classic
Join WSRE as they celebrate 50 years of public television with the 29th Annual Wine and Food Classic. Special guest Lidia Bastianich, renowned chef, best-selling author and Emmy-winning host of the PBS cooking show “Lidia’s Kitchen,” will be giving a gourmet presentation. Events include a walkabout tasting, black tie gala at the Hilton Pensacola Beach and wine tasting at So Gourmet and Kitchenry downtown.
Oct. 20-22, wsre.org/wineandfood

Pensacola Interstate Fair
It’s just not fall in Pensacola without a trip to the fair. This year, fair goers have 11 days to ride rides like The Zipper and Fireball, visit the petting zoo and exhibits, play games and eat funnel cakes and fried Oreos to their hearts’ content. Entertainment this year includes Trace Adkins, Candlebox, Bret Micheals and A Thousand Horses.
Oct. 19-29, pensacolafair.com

Festa Italiana
In the mood for Italian? Check out the two-day event Festa Italiana at St. Joseph Church downtown for some authentic Italian cuisine, music and Tarantella dancers. Pensacola’s chapter of Sons of Italy, the oldest and largest fraternal order of Italian Americans in North America, puts on the fest.
Oct. 20-21, soibuonafortuna.org

Barktoberfest
This one’s for the dogs, but don’t worry, owners are invited too. Strut your pup around in their best getup while raising funds and awareness for the Pensacola Humane Society. Don’t miss the Most Adorable Pet Contest, agility display, doggie races, vendors and food (for you and your pup.) Still looking for your fur bestie? Local shelters and rescues will have pooches available for adoption on site.
Oct. 28, pensacolahumane.org

NOVEMBER

Foo Foo Festival
Pensacola’s newest and most expansive festival offers 12 days of arts, music, food and more to highlight our cultural arts scene. Dozens of events will happen during that 12-day span, and one we’re most excited about is this year’s live art portion—Cubed—which will be a 12-day outdoor mural installation. The Pensacola Umbrella Sky Project and Busker Festival will also be events not to miss, as spectators will be able to walk through the streets of downtown shaded by hundreds of colorful umbrellas suspended in the air. There’s also a planned 24-hour Art-A-Thon at Long Hollow Park in an effort to revitalize the space.
Nov. 2-13, foofoofest.com

Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival
One of the most popular and well-regarded arts festivals in the U.S. happens right here in Pensacola every fall. The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival features more than 200 of the nation’s best painters, potters, sculptors, jewelers, graphic artists and craftsmen in Seville Square for a three-day event. Live music will include jazz, classical and bluegrass as craft artists demonstrate traditional trades including blacksmithing, spinning, weaving and engraving in the Heritage Arts Area.
Nov. 3-5, ggaf.org

Mahabhuta Yoga Festival
From seasoned yogis to beginners, the Mahabhuta Yoga Fest has something for everyone. This three-day fest offers workshops, meditation, sound healing, all-natural food and group yoga including vinyasa, kundalini, restorative and yin.
Nov. 17-19, mahabhutayogafestival.com

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Regional Round Up

Want an excuse to take a mini road trip this fall? We’ve got you covered.

These fests aren’t too far from home and will make for the perfect day or weekend getaway if you’re itching to get out of town.

—Mobile—

Ten Sixty Five
The only thing better than a fall festival is a free fall festival and this music-centric one in Mobile is just that. The lineup includes Cage The Elephant and St. Paul & The Broken Bones, plus tons of after parties at various venues around downtown Mobile.
Sept. 29-Oc. 1, tensixtyfive.com

Mobile International Festival
Now in its 34th year, this fest is all about the diversity and international culture. Attendees can expect to meet people from over 70 countries, visit some educational exhibits, sample authentic cuisine, watch traditional Japanese Taiko drummers and listen to international storytellers and musicians without ever leaving the Gulf Coast.
Nov. 18, mobileinternationalfestival.org

—Fairhope—

Fairhope Film Festival
After checking out our very own local LGBT film fest Stamped, visit Fairhope for a four-day event featuring over 70 award-winning films. The focus is on national and international film festival competition finalists of the past year, including notable foreign and feature films, documentaries and shorts—many that never made it to big box theaters or were only there briefly.
Nov. 9-12, fairhopefilmfestival.org

—Perdido Key/Gulf Shores/Orange Beach—

The Wharf Uncorked Food & Wine Festival
This event features a dynamic roster of culinary talent from the Gulf Coast and beyond serving up samples of their signature dishes and demonstrating their skills. This year’s guest list includes James Briscione, Brooke Parkhurst and Chef Jim Smith (who fans of Top Chef will probably recognize).
Sept. 14-16, thewharfuncorked.com

Flora-Bama’s Oktoberfest
Brats, sauerkraut and a variety of German beer will flow during this festival. German style musical acts will also be on hand. Children are welcome during the day, when the event is free and family-friendly. After 6 p.m., it’s strictly 18 and up though, plus a cover charge.
Oct. 7, florabama.com/events/Oktoberfest

Hangout Oyster Cook-Off & Craft Beer Weekend
Come for the beer on Friday night and stay for the oysters on Saturday—that’s our advice when it comes to this festival. The Friday craft beer event will feature dozens of beers from breweries such as Oskar Blues, Good People, Abita, Big Beach Brewing, Kona Brewing and Avondale Brewing. Saturday is all about oysters and will include tastings, celebrity cooking demos, live music and beachside football viewing tents.
Nov. 3-4, hangoutcookoff.com

Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival
The 33rd annual Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival will feature more than 200 nationally acclaimed songwriters performing along the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast in over two dozen venues from downtown Pensacola, Perdido Key, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Bon Secour and Silverhill, Alabama. The 11-day festival is an opportunity for seasoned and aspiring songwriters and musicians from all over the world to have their songs heard. From the Ground Up Community Garden in Pensacola will be an official venue this year, as well as Seville Quarter.
Nov. 9-19, frankbrownsongwriters.com

—Destin/30A/Seaside—

Destin Seafood Festival
We aren’t the only ones with seafood worth celebrating. Our neighbors in the Emerald Coast highlight their fresh-caught local seafood at this event with three days of good food and live music. Destin Harbor and HarborWalk Village restaurants including AJ’s, Tailfins Alehouse and Oyster Bar, Harry T’s Lighthouse and Brotula’s Seafood House will be serving up their signature dishes at the fest.
Oct. 6-8, destinseafoodfestival.com

Baytown Wharf Beer Fest
This event is actually two beer fests in one. Friday night is all about locals with the “Beer From Around Here” tasting. Saturday is the main festival event, which will feature 40 breweries, offering close to 200 domestic and international craft beers for tasting.  And because beer tastes better with live music, there will be plenty of that on tap too.
Oct. 13-14, baytownewharfbeerfestival.com

Seeing Red Wine Festival
This four-day Seaside fest includes wine tastings, winemaker dinners and a Sunday brunch. Seaside’s restaurants showcase how their farm-to-fork and gulf-to-table offerings pair beautifully with the featured wines. Guest Chef Ryan Smith of Atlanta’s Staplehouse Restaurant will join Chef Jim Shirley for a new event called Gulf Coast-to-Table Dinner. A portion of this year’s proceeds will benefit the Seaside Neighborhood School and the Seaside Institute.
Nov. 9-12, seeingredwinefestival.com

—New Orleans—

Fried Chicken Festival
This festival is exactly what the name implies: a free outdoor event in NOLA’s Woldenberg Park celebrating fried chicken in all it’s glory. There’s a chicken tender eating contest and a best fried chicken competition, the latter will be judged by local and national food writers, bloggers and critics.
Sept. 23-24, friedchickenfestival.com

NOLA on Tap Beer Fest
The Eighth Annual NOLA on Tap will feature over 400 local, national and home-brewed beers. Added bonus: it’s a dog-friendly festival and the largest annual fundraiser for the Louisiana SPCA.
Sept. 23, nolaontap.org

Treme Festival
The Treme Festival was developed by the Historic Faubourg Treme Association to benefit the many cultural destinations found within the historic neighborhood. This year’s proceeds will benefit the St. Augustine Church and the Tomb of the Unknown Slave. Expect art, music and food, including performances by Treme Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, John Boutte and James Andrews.
Sept. 29- Oct. 1, tremefest.com

New Orleans Film Festival
People who know the film industry already know that Louisiana is the third-largest filming destination in America, behind only Los Angeles and New York City. So it makes sense that the “Hollywood of the South” would play host to a serious film fest. Now in its 28th year, the fest has grown into an internationally-respected annual event that attracts over 20,000 people, 400 filmmakers and shows over 200 films each year.
Oct. 11-19, neworleansfilmsociety.org

Louisiana Seafood Festival
This three-day festival offers tons of Louisiana seafood dishes, live music, celebrity chef demonstrations and an arts village. The festival is produced by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation and proceeds from the festival benefit the organization.
Oct. 27-29, louisianaseafoodfestival.com

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is returning to City Park this October for three days of music, food and costumes. Headliners for this year’s fest include Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, The Killers and LCD Soundsystem. And it gets even better: Inweekly has partnered with Voodoo to give away a pair of general admission 3-day passes to the festival. You can enter the contest here by searching “Voodoo Music + Arts Experience” on inweekly.net.
Oct. 27-29, voodoofestival.com