By D. Channing Muller Posted March 29, 2010, 9:50 AM EDT
1. Carnaval Miami
This 17-day festival in Little Havana culminates with Calle Ocho, a 23-block street party that attracts nearly one million revelers and big-name performers like Shaggy. Considered the top event in the Hispanic market, Carnaval 2010 took place February 26 to March 14.
2. White Party Week
This weeklong gay and lesbian event culminates with the renowned White Party at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. The 25th annual fund-raiser for Care Resource took place in late November and attracted more than 10,000 people, raising $155,000. This year’s celebration is scheduled for November 24 to 27.
3. Delray Affair
The 47th installment of this three-day fair, held the first weekend after Easter, takes place along 10 blocks in downtown Delray Beach. More than 300,000 people stopped by and 840 vendors participated in 2009. The next affair is scheduled for April 9 to 11.
4. Urban Beach Week
Held over Memorial Day weekend on South Beach, this event has become a major attraction for young African-Americans, drawing as many as 500,000 people. Nightclubs around the beach host concerts put on by top promoters, who in turn bring in celebrities and models.
5. Winterfest Boat Parade
On December 12, Kim Kardashian and Alonzo Mourning served as grand marshals for this parade of 100 decorated boats, sponsored by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood. Rain reduced the number of spectators along the 12-mile route, though six million Floridians watched live broadcasts. The 2010 parade is planned for December 11.
6. Florida Renaissance Festival
This event’s 16th installment moved to Miami for the first time. The event took place at Virginia Key Beach Park on Key Biscayne from January 9 to 24 and included more than 100 costumed performers and entertainment on 12 stages. A separate festival in Deerfield Beach took place from February 13 to March 14.
7. Miami Book Fair International
The 26th edition of the country’s largest book fair took place November 8 to 15 in downtown Miami, combining seminars, readings, and discussions with a two-day street fair. In 2009, nearly 225,000 people attended over eight days, about 50,000 fewer than in 2008. This year’s fair is planned for November 14 to 21.
8. South Beach Comedy Festival
Combining big names with up-and-coming entertainers at four performance halls in South Beach, this four-day event attracted a steady 19,000 people in January. Comedy Central serves as the event’s national media partner, and Live Nation joined as a producing partner last year.
9. Miami-Dade County Fair and Expo
This 18-day event experienced a 5 percent drop in attendance to 560,000 people in 2009. Sponsorship dollars, however, increased 39 percent, and Miami-Dade Volkswagen Dealers served as the fair’s first presenting sponsor. The fair returns March 25 to April 11.
10. King Mango Strut
The 28th installment of this satirical costume parade took place in Coconut Grove on December 27, attracting about 5,000 people, including 500 participants. The 2010 event is scheduled for December 26.
11. Junior Orange Bowl Parade
Part of the celebration leading up to the FedEx Orange Bowl football game, the 2010 event took place January 2, with nearly 8,500 people from 65 organizations parading a mile through Coral Gables.
12. Miami Carnival
This October parade and Caribbean festival marks the end of the Caribbean Carnival season, which began in Trinidad and Tobago in February. The Miami and Broward events combined for the first time in 2009, attracting 40,000 people to Bicentennial Park for a calypso parade and Caribbean food, music, and culture.
13. The Great Grove Bed Race
Local businesses compete as they race beds on wheels down a set course at this community gathering, which returned in 2009 after a six-year hiatus. Nearly 14,000 spectators—4,000 more than expected—and 42 bed entries, 17 more than anticipated, turned out for the Coconut Grove event. The next race is September 5.