Events & Entertainment

Each SouthShore community hosts special events throughout the year. Among the most popular of these is the Apollo Manatee Arts Festival, an event hosted by the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce that takes place the second weekend in March. The two-day event draws a crowd of 10,000+ to see juried fine arts and fine craftsmen. Children enjoy a hands-on creativity center where the youngsters create fun craft items to carry home with them. Entertainment combined with environmental displays, and shuttle service to the nearby Manatee Viewing Center keep visitors coming back each year. The chamber also hosts a number of other annual activities, including a golf tournament, casino night and silent auction, to name a few. At Christmas, the lighted boat parade is a spectacular event, which you won’t want to miss!

The Riverview Chamber hosts an annual Honorary Mayor of Riverview competition, a festive silent auction and Hog Roast, Trick or Treat Street and a golf tournament. For the sports enthusiasts, Riverview sponsors an annual Boat Parade. The Alafia River also offers year-round fishing.

For two days in early November the Ruskin community celebrates seafood, the arts and nature–elements that Ruskin has in abundance. Highlights of the festival include fresh seafood and an assortment of foods, fine arts and crafts exhibits, an environmental expo, live music and entertainment, and a Children’s Court with fun activities. Beginning 2001, Ruskin and the SouthShore communities will begin hosting a summertime fishing tournament.

Also, in November, the Sun City Center Chamber hosts a regional Business Expo in which area businesses introduce their products and services to SouthShore residents. This is a large-scale event that offers entertainment, educational classes, and hundreds of prizes to bargain shoppers and information seekers while showcasing some of South-Shore’s best businesses.

In each community, the holiday season brings a variety of events, with something for virtually everyone. Family-oriented events celebrate the season with tree-lighting ceremonies. Waterfront communities show off their vessels in lighted boat parades. Businesses and residents alike participate in lighting and decorating contests and it all kicks off on the 1st day of December in Sun City Center, with hundreds of decorated golf carts, marching bands and entertainers taking to the streets for a good old—fashioned parade.

In February, Tampa Bay hosts the Florida State Fair — one of the largest midways in the country and nationally known entertainers, food, arts and crafts, livestock and agricultural exhibits. From February through March, Tampa hosts Gasparilla events that include boat and street parades, a sidewalk art show, the Gasparilla Distance Classic, and more. graphic

Strawberries show their colors during the Strawberry Festival in early March in nearby Plant City. Daily entertainment by country music’s biggest stars and exhibits focusing on agriculture, commerce, education, industry, the arts and livestock are the hallmarks of this annual festival.

May brings us back, to Ruskin for the Ruskin Tomato & Heritage Festival, which highlights the area’s most famous agricultural commodity. Lots of fresh Ruskin tomatoes are featured along with a classic car show, entertainment, The Great Tomato Cook Off recipe contest, and Tomato Festival Queen pageant.


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