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February and March Festivals from the Emerald Coast to the Forgotten Coast

Whether you’re a local looking for something to do, a snowbird in town for the winter, or a family visiting for the weekend, there are fun and safe festivals on tap from the Emerald Coast to the Forgotten Coast! No matter where you are along the coast, these events are all within a two-hour day trip.


2nd Annual Shrimp & Grits Festival

Destin Boardwalk (Behind Brotula’s) | February 27th 12:00pm to 4:00pm

Join in for year two of this special celebration of one of the South’s most famous and beloved dishes! A friendly competition between local restaurateurs and chefs from Fort Walton Beach to 30A for the best Shrimp & Grits on the Harbor, enjoy outstanding food, delicious drinks, and live music on the beautiful Destin Harbor with profits of the festival benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast.

3rd Annual Mac & Cheese Festival

Destin Commons | March 7th 12:30pm to 4:00pm

Not just for kids! The 3rd Annual Mac & Cheese Festival is a family-friendly event featuring gourmet, chef-inspired twists on the South’s favorite comfort food. Local restaurants compete to win the title of best mac in town. Sample all the dishes and cast your photo at this fun-filled festival benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast!

South Walton

Sandestin Gumbo Festival

The Village of Baytowne Wharf | February 19th – 20th

One of the largest and most popular winter events on the Emerald Coast, the Sandestin Gumbo Festival returns to the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort to tantalize your tastebuds! The weekend begins with a delicious Seafood Boil at Hammerhead’s Bar & Grill. Then on Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, festival guests can enjoy live music from Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe, family activities, and the best gumbo cook-off on the Gulf Coast. Sample the gumbo and then vote for your favorite for the “People’s Choice Award.” Celebrity judges will name the “Area’s Best,” and award the most creative set-up as “Best Display.”

30A Wine Festival Intermezzo

Alys Beach | February 18th – 21st

A note from Alys Beach regarding the 30A Wine Festival: Here at Alys Beach in 2021, we continue to adjust our approach to events and gatherings with the health and safety of our families and guests as our highest priority. For our annual 30A Wine Festival, we have opted to pause our beloved, large-scale event with a placeholder of sorts – Intermezzo. Intermezzo will honor our annual festival with a series of small, intimate dinners and lunches that reflect the format of 30AWF, but it will not replace it.

Panama City Beach

Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show

Aaron Bessant Park | March 5th – 7th

This land-based boat show features boat displays from all major manufacturers and top deals for boats, high tech engines, electronics, and marine accessories but offers so much more than that features everything for outdoor beach living! Peruse the latest in stand-up paddleboards, fishing kayaks, outdoor kitchens, diving, active wear, beach cruising bicycles, and more.

Emerald Coast Cruizin’

Aaron Bessant Park | March 11th – 13th

Fast, furious and ready to rev up for you! Take in a classic car show with thousands of classic cars, hot rods, custom cars and trucks on 17 acres of luscious green grass, with sidewalks, shade trees, park benches, and clean air-conditioned restrooms. Emerald Coast Cruizin’ also features a center stage for live music and show awards. The whole family can enjoy this festival with a special ladies section with great crafts, jewelry, and a kid area with fun rides, games, and more!

Forgotten Coast

St. George Island Chili Cook-Off

St. George Island | March 4th – 6th

A note from the St. George Island Chili Cook-Off organizers: We are so happy to see everyone’s excitement about the Chili Cookoff. As you know, it’s a critical fundraiser for our volunteer fire department and this island. As of right now we ARE PLANNING on having the 39th Annual event! 

We are planning as best we can around Covid and safe gathering guidance. We depend heavily on volunteers to make the event run and are first and foremost concerned with everyone’s safety. I feel confident in saying this event will happen, but perhaps in altered ways allowing for increased safety. We are working diligently to plan and will be communicating as decisions are made.  Please follow the Facebook page for updates!

Forgotten Coast en Plein Air

Multiple Locations | March 19th – 28th

Considered one of the world’s most prestigious plein air events, Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, America’s Great Paint-Out, returns for the 16th year to document the landscape and culture of authentic “Old Florida.” The 10-day invitational features 20 internationally acclaimed artists along with several “Florida’s Finest en Plein Air” artists honored as Plein Air Ambassadors. For this year’s festival, find expanded exhibits, a Collectors’ Forum, distinguished guest speakers, and surprises that will be fresh and new to the plein air community are all in the making!

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