Celebrate the opening of stone crab season this October by heading out to one of Florida's annual food festivals highlighting this succulent seafood. Or chow down on some grouper, mullet, shrimp, crab, oysters, and an assortment of other seafood favorites.
"If you love seafood, but feel queasy on the waterways, Floridas seafood festivals are your Dramamine," writes Joan Steinbacher, author of "Food Fest! Your Complete Guide to Florida's Food Festivals."
Florida stone crabs are one of the best varieties to eat, with their firm texture and sweet flavor. But shrimp is the top seafood harvested in Florida by dollar amount and weight. And Floridas most popular fish is grouper -- Floridians catch more than 90 percent of the nations supply.
So spend a day or weekend at these festivals and get your fill of tasty Florida fare while enjoying a variety of entertainment, children's activities, arts and crafts, and much more.
For those who don't like seafood, chili cook-offs and barbecue contests are also plentiful this month. Or if you prefer vegetables, head out to one of the peanut festivals to honor peanut growers and to celebrate the harvest season. And for hard-core food-lovers, Epcot continues its 11-day food and wine festival throughout the month.
October's a great month to enjoy a fun and food-filled spontaneous day trip or weekend getaway with your family and friends! Here's a sampling of what's coming to Florida:
* Orlando Epcot Food and Wine Festival (September 28 November 11)
* Destin Seafood Festival (October 5-7)
* Williston Central Florida Peanut Festival (October 6)
* De Land Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff (October 6)
* Orlando Florida Cracker Oyster Festival (October 6)
* Jay Gabbert Farm Peanut Festival (October 6-7)
* Panama City Beach Indian Summer Seafood Festival (October 12-14)
* Brooksville Hernando County BBQ & Rodeo Festival (October 12-14)
* Homosassa Southeast Chili Cookoff (October 13)
* Ocala Marion County Chili Cook-Off (October 13)
* Homosassa Waterfront Chili Cookoff (October 14)
* Brooksville Blazin' Butts-n-Briskets (October 19-20)
* Niceville Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival (October 19-21)
* Clearwater Beach Frenchy's Stone Crab Festival (October 19-21)
* Bradenton Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival (October 19-28)
* Wilton Manors Hospice Chili Cookoff (October 20)
* Clearwater Beach Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art Stone Crab Fest (October 20)
* Cedar Key Seafood Festival (October 20-21)
* Longboat Key Stone Crab, Seafood, and Wine Festival (October 25-28)
* Minneola Fall Fest BBQ Contest (October 26-27)
* Kissimmee Pig at the Park (October 26-28)
* Madeira Beach John's Pass Seafood Festival (October 27-28)
Don't miss out on another fun Florida food event! For additional information and more events, visit "Food Fest!"--the ultimate "foodies" travel guide--at www.FoodFestGuide.com