Ten Good Reasons to Visit Lauderdale This Season
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -This year’s winter line-up in sun-kissed Greater Fort Lauderdale offers fun-filled events and cultural activities. So pack your bikini, suntan lotion and flip flops and check out this season’s signature celebrations, parades as well as new international exhibitions. In addition, there’s 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, world-class arts and entertainment, exceptional shopping and dining options, and the following calendar listings you won’t want to miss:
1. The 24th Annual Las Olas Art Fair are free two-day events held on January 7-8 (Part I) and on March 3-4 (Part II) attracting 150,000 visitors and 280 artists. The festival features vendors from across the country selling paintings, sculptures, photography, crafted jewelry, pottery and other creations and is held in downtown Fort Lauderdale along boutique and restaurant-lined Las Olas Boulevard. Visit www.artfestival.com.
2. Want to be swept off your feet with a memorable Valentine’s Day this February 14? Why not try the ultimate trifecta - a romantic stroll along a sandy beach, followed by alfresco dining, then finish the night with tickets for you and your loved one to see Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, performing an encore Valentine’s concert again this year at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise for one night only. Other highlights on-tour this season at the Center include Rock ’n’ Roll legend Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band, January 12 and comedian Jeff Dunham, February 11. Visit www.bankatlanticcenter.com.
3. Battle reenactments from the 2nd Seminole War, authentic weapons, warrior attire, music, Seminole food, Seminole and pioneer artisans, alligator wrestling and venomous snake shows make up a completely one-of-a-kind Everglades experience at Big Cypress Shootout, Billie Swamp Safari, February 24-26. Visit www.billieswamp.com.
4. With ocean breezes, palm trees and one of the most scenic byways in America, it’s no wonder that the Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon on February 19 is the perfect setting for runners and spectators. The 26.2-mile course attracts athletes from South Florida, 40-plus states and 12 foreign countries. Visit www.a1amarathon.com
5. The Sistrunk Parade and Festival on February 25 is presented by the Sistrunk Historical Festival - a cultural organization that celebrates the accomplishments of people of African descent - featuring floats, marching bands, drill teams, step dancers, and vibrant Caribbean Carnival dancers. Visit www.sistrunkfestival.org
6. Step back in medieval time at the 20th anniversary of the Florida Renaissance Festival at Deerfield Beach, February 11-March 11. This festival, attended by more than one million people in South Florida, is a 16th-century production featuring costumed performers, live stage acts from around the world, sword fighting, Celtic music, and the world’s largest rocking horse. Visit www.ren-fest.com.
7. The 17th Annual Wine & Culinary Celebration, on March 30 at the Museum of Discovery and Science, is a mouthwatering and much anticipated annual event. Nominated as one of the "10 Best Annual Fort Lauderdale Events" in 2010 by Gold Coast Magazine, it features a progressive sequence of wine and food pairings. More than 30 of South Florida’s top restaurants and chefs are represented, as well as wines from wineries around the world, courtesy of Southern Wine and Spirits. Visit www.mods.org.
8. At the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, upcoming notable performances include Jersey Boys, January 11-29; Billy Elliot The Musical, February 9-March 11; and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, April 10-22. Besides Broadway shows, there is a fun oldies line-up including Motown legends The Four Tops and The Temptations, February 1 and American country music icon Willie Nelson and Family, February 7. Visit www.browardcenter.org.
9. Offering of the Angels: Old Master Paintings and Tapestries from the Uffizi Gallery is a renowned art collection from Florence, Italy making its American debut at The Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale now through April 8. The Uffizi houses one of the world’s greatest collections of paintings and tapestries, many of which were originally commissioned by members of the Medici family. "Offering of the Angels" features works by some of the greatest artists of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including Boticelli, Parmigianino, Allori, Giordano, and Monaco. Visit www.moafl.org.
10. The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center’s (AARLCC) Fabulous Forties on the Avenue, celebrating 10 years, takes a 1940’s retrospective look at the African-American community in Fort Lauderdale. The museum’s gallery features a replica of an iconic stretch of road that was the commerce hub of the community replete with a 1941 Lincoln Convertible; interactive video games; and a video-capturing area for on-the-spot commentaries and reminiscences. The year-long exhibit will have a series of events including a fashion show (March 17), speech and reception with professor and author Khalil Gibran Muhammad, PhD (January 25) and a Scholar Series presentation on segregation transformation (March 31). Visit www.broward.org/library.
Haven’t had enough? There are more festivals not to miss, including the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Craft Festival, March 10-11 and the Coral Springs Festival of Arts, March 17-18.
For more information about Greater Fort Lauderdale and its upcoming events, visit www.sunny.org.
From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping.
For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.
To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone application, iVisitLauderdale at www.sunny.org/iphone.