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It's time for festival fever in Brevard

Sun, Feb 23, 2014 at 10:18AM

For Jacob Russell, bartender at Coasters Pub beachside, time passes quickly during the Belgian Beer Festival.

“I had my nose to the grindstone,” he said. “I didn’t even look up for three days” as patrons came in for the beer, chocolate and cheese. “It’s become quite a main event. People travel from all over the state and stay at hotels.”

For the next six weeks and more, festival fever will become epidemic in Brevard, with more than 20 themed events on the docket.

Take this weekend, for example. The beer fest, one of three, continues through Sunday. That’s in addition to the Greek Festival at St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Melbourne, International Festival at Florida Tech and Cocoa Village Mardi Gras.

“There’s a lot of a la carte to choose from, whether it be an arts and crafts show, a play or a music festival, or a barbecue festival or whatever,” said Bonnie King,marketing and sales director for the Space Coast Office of Tourism. “It’s nice that we have a lot of options. There’s a lot of diversity.”

Diane Buzby of West Melbourne, a frequent festivalgoer, would prefer fewer options.

“It’s not nice,” she said. “They’re making people choose. They should spread them out. It doesn’t make sense to have them all on the same weekend or in the same time frame.”

This weekend she’ll split her time between the International Festival and the Greek Fest.

But mild weather and an influx of spring breakers and snowbirds makes this prime time for outdoor fun.

The newest festival to join the March lineup is Grant BBQ Festival, which, for years was held in late September. Organizers moved the date because of the hot weather and to free up the weekend for another festival. Typically, there were one or two other main events that vied for attendance.

Here’s a snapshot of what’s going during the next six weeks, with festivals ranging from barbecue and country music to air shows and Indian cuisine. Get out the calendar and start planning.

 

This weekend

• Belgian Beer Fest: noon Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday at Coasters Pub, 971 E. Eau Gallie Blvd., Melbourne. Call 321-779-BREW (2739) or visitcoastersbrewpub.com.

• Space Coast Craft Beer Festival: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Broken Barrel Tavern, 4700 Babcock St. NE, Palm Bay. VIP admission is from 1 to 5 p.m. Some proceeds go to the Space Coast Early Intervention Center. Call 321-728-4755 or visitspacecoastcraftbeerfestival.com.

• Florida Craft Brew and Wing Fest: 11 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Royal Palm Pointe off Indian River Boulevard in Vero Beach. It’s $35 for tastings and free admission. Call 772-539-1151 or visitfloridacraftbrewandwingfest.com.

• International Festival: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Florida Tech, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne. Includes ethnic entertianment throughout the day, food vendors, and more. Admission is free. Call 321-674-8053 or visit fit.edu/isss/international-fest.php.

• Cocoa Village Mardi Gras: 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday in downtown Cocoa Village. Admission is $12. Call 321-633-0806 or visitcocoamardigras.com.

• Greek Festival: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church, 5965 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne. The cost is $2 for adults; free for children under 12. On site parking is $3. Free shuttle bus parking will be available at Imperial Plaza on Wickham Road. Call 321-254-1045 or visit saint-katherine.org.

Weekend of Feb. 28

• Port Canaveral Seafood Festival: 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Feb. 28, 10 to 11 p.m. March 1 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 2 at the Cove at the Port at Glen Cheek Drive, Port Canaveral. Includes kids zone, entertainment, arts and crafts, local seafood prepared by local chefs, chowder cook off, and more. The cost is $10 in advance; $12 at the gate. Children younger than 12 get in free. Call 321-514-8657 or visit portcanaveralseafoodfestival.com.

• Grant Seafood Festival: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 1 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 2 at 4580 First St. Admission and parking are free. Call 321-723-8687 or visit grantseafoodfestival.com.

• Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival: March 5-May 18 at 200 Epcot Center Drive, Lake Buena Vista. Features immaculate displays of flowers, topiaries, along with food and wine. Included with theme park admission, which is $90 for ages 10 and up and $84 for kids 3-9. Call 407-824-4321 or visitdisneyworld.disney.go.com.

• Spring Fine Art and Craft Fair: The 28th annual event will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 1 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 2 in Cocoa Village, U.S. 1 and the Indian River, next to SR 520 in Cocoa. Includes artists, crafters, food, and kids zone. Admission is free. Call 321-631-9075 or visit visitcocoavillage.com.

Weekend of March 7

• Indiafest: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 8 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 9 at Wickham Park Pavilion, 3845 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne. Admission is $5, $2 for children younger than 12 and free for kids under 5. Call Yasmin Majeed at 321-720-8590 or visitindiafestbrevard.org.

• North Brevard Strawberry Festival: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 7 and 8 at the Pentecoastals of Titusville, 1010 Norwood Ave. Includes yard sale, vendor exhibits, master gardener will answer questions on gardening, entertainment, strawberry-themed foods, strawberries topurchase, and more. Admission is free. Call 321-258-2081.

Weekend of March 14

• Strawberry Festival: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 15 and 16 at Wickham Park Pavilion, 3845 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne. Features include strawberry desserts, car show, vendors and kids activities. Proceeds benefit Brevard Habitat for Humanity. Admission is free. Call 321-728-4009 or visit brevardhabitat.com.

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