Nestled along the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach are hidden treasures in the heart of Florida's Panhandle. While these coastal havens may be best known for their sun-drenched beaches and tranquil ambiance, there's another dimension to their allure – a tapestry of annual events that celebrate the very soul of this region. From the adrenaline-pumping Kingfish Tournament to the harmonious notes of the Forgotten Music Festival, the annual Scallop, Music, and Arts Festival, the laid-back Blast on the Bay, and the artistic beauty of the Forgotten Coast Plein Air, these communities come to life each year with a diverse array of experiences. Join us on a journey through these captivating events that showcase the heart and spirit of Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach, revealing the vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and the unmistakable coastal charm that make these destinations truly unforgettable.
The Forgotten Coast en Plein Air Festival, a beloved March tradition, has captured the hearts of artists and enthusiasts for nearly two decades. Now in its 19th year, this festival is a living testament to the authentic charm of "Old Florida." It is a celebration of both the landscape and culture of this last vestige of the state's untouched heritage. What sets this event apart is its unwavering commitment to artistic excellence, where the creation of investment-quality art is more than a goal; it's a tradition.
Over the years, the festival has attracted renowned artists from all corners of the world, each bringing their unique perspectives and talents to capture the unspoiled beauty of the Forgotten Coast. These artists have joined together to document the landscape and culture of this region, creating a rich tapestry of visual storytelling that preserves the very essence of "Old Florida." Their works stand as a testament to the timeless allure of this coastal haven, drawing inspiration from the sun-drenched beaches, the tranquil waters, and the picturesque towns that define the Forgotten Coast.
During this ten-day extravaganza, the region comes alive with a captivating blend of free and ticketed events. The festival offers a kaleidoscope of exhibitions, activities, and experiences that cater to art lovers, collectors, artists, and anyone who has a passion for the creative spirit. It's a chance to immerse oneself in the artistic process, witness masterpieces coming to life on canvas, and even acquire unique pieces of art that capture the essence of the Forgotten Coast. With its rich history and commitment to preserving the beauty of "Old Florida," the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air Festival has earned its place as one of the world's most prestigious plein air events, making it an unmissable destination for those who appreciate art and culture. This annual celebration stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of the Forgotten Coast and the passion of the artists who come to tell its story.
The MBARA Kingfish Tournament, held annually in Mexico Beach, Florida, in the scorching heat of July, has become a beloved tradition for both anglers and enthusiasts of the coastal lifestyle. In 2022, this exciting event saw a remarkable participation of 130 boats, with over 800 attendees gathering to revel in the exhilarating atmosphere of the Captains' Party. What made the previous edition truly special was the triumph of a first-time tournament angler in the new recreational division, adding an element of surprise and highlighting the tournament's accessibility to anglers of varying experience levels.
The format of this year's tournament remains consistent with the previous year. Boats measuring under 26 feet, without professional anglers on board, can opt for the Recreational Division, while boats exceeding 26 feet or those with professional anglers, irrespective of their size, are directed to compete in the Open Division. This divisional distinction adds a layer of competition that caters to a wide range of participants, making the tournament inclusive and accessible to both seasoned competitors and those looking to test the waters for the first time.
However, the MBARA Kingfish Tournament isn't just about the thrill of the competition; it serves a significant purpose. This event stands as the largest fundraising effort for the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (MBARA). Every registration fee contributes directly to supporting the association's vital mission. For over two decades, the MBARA has been tirelessly devoted to building and deploying artificial reefs off the stunning coast of Mexico Beach. These efforts are not only about creating artificial marine reef systems but also play a pivotal role in the conservation and environmental enhancement of the region's marine ecosystem.
As a non-profit organization, the MBARA's dedication has borne fruit through the deployment of over 275 reefs, comprising more than 4,000 individual structures since its inception in 1997. These artificial reefs have served as vital hubs of marine life, fostering a thriving fish habitat. They've also become a source of socio-economic benefits for local coastal communities, providing recreational opportunities for fishing and diving enthusiasts, and enhancing the overall marine ecosystem in the region. The MBARA Kingfish Tournament, therefore, serves not only as a thrilling event but also as a crucial contributor to the long-term sustainability and well-being of Mexico Beach's marine environment, making it an event that anglers and conservationists alike eagerly anticipate each year.
The Florida Scallop, Music & Arts Festival continues its legacy every September, blending the flavors of the Gulf Coast's bountiful scalloping season with a rich cultural and artistic tapestry. This festival has a history of delighting attendees with a lineup of stellar musical acts. In the past, the festival has seen the likes of acclaimed bands and musicians who've added their melodies to the coastal symphony, creating an unforgettable atmosphere for festival-goers.
The past musical performers have been a diverse range of artists from various genres. Folk, rock, blues, and country musicians have all graced the stage, appealing to a wide spectrum of musical tastes. Local and regional talent often takes the spotlight, infusing the event with the authentic and soulful sounds of the Gulf Coast.
Scallop enthusiasts, young and old, flock to the pristine waters of St. Joseph Bay to partake in this cherished summer pastime. With snorkel in hand, they search for these hidden treasures, a tradition that not only connects people with nature but also yields a delicious harvest for all to savor.
But the festival is not solely about the scallops; it's a multifaceted celebration of art and music as well. Visitors can expect a visual feast of creativity, as local artists and craftsmen showcase their talents through a diverse array of paintings, sculptures, and crafts. The festival provides a platform for artists to display their work, adding a rich cultural dimension to the event.
Hailing from the streets of Nashville, this diverse group of artists is set to deliver a musical experience that is second to none. The festival showcases musicians who have collectively penned hundreds of chart-topping hits, with songwriting credits spanning from Faith Hill and George Strait to Jason Aldean and Garth Brooks. What makes this event particularly special is the return of many songwriters who have graced the festival's stage in past editions, along with the addition of several new faces, promising a dynamic and fresh musical lineup for the celebration.
The heart of this festival lies in the magic of music and storytelling. Songwriters from across the nation converge on Port St. Joe to create an intimate and soulful atmosphere that allows attendees to connect with the essence of the songs and their creators. This festival, as described by one of its founding writers, is an opportunity to "reconnect to that skinny 18-year-old who wanted to be a rock star." It is an event that brings together music lovers and enthusiasts, granting them access to the artistry and stories behind the songs they adore.
What sets the Blast on the Bay apart is its boutique festival charm. Unlike larger, more sprawling events, the organizers prefer to keep it small, preserving a close-knit community ambiance. The venues, the local charm, and the friendly atmosphere add a unique and personal touch to the festival experience, making it a truly exceptional gathering for both artists and attendees. The festival continues to evolve, attracting not only music aficionados but anyone who appreciates the art of songwriting.
Over the years, the event has grown significantly, featuring more than 30 prolific songwriters performing at numerous venues. This expansion is a testament to the festival's enduring popularity and its commitment to providing attendees with an unforgettable musical experience. Blast on the Bay has transitioned into a ticketed event to accommodate its growth. The proceeds from this event serve a noble purpose, benefiting the Coastal Songwriters Education Coalition Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. The festival also partners with various civic and non-profit groups in the area, extending its influence and impact to support educational initiatives, arts, and the local community.
If there's one weekend a year to mark on your calendar for the annual Blast on the Bay Songwriters' Festival. This event promises to deliver an extraordinary musical journey that will resonate with your heart and soul. As the festival date approaches, keep an eye out for updates on the schedule and the artist lineup, ensuring that you won't miss this fantastic celebration of songwriting talent. Blast on the Bay stands as a testament to the power of music, storytelling, and community, making it an unmissable event for anyone who appreciates great music and the art of songwriting.
The Forgotten Music Festival, with its rich history and growing reputation, has earned a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors to the Florida Panhandle. As the festival approaches its next installment, anticipation builds, and there are countless reasons why people eagerly return to this event year after year.
First and foremost, the festival is a remarkable celebration of music that pays homage to an array of genres, from blues and rock to folk and soul. Its eclectic lineup features both nationally recognized acts and local gems, creating a harmonious blend that caters to diverse musical tastes. This variety ensures that every festival-goer finds something that resonates with them, making it an inclusive and appealing event for music enthusiasts of all kinds.
One of the standout features of the Forgotten Music Festival is its idyllic location on the Gulf Coast, nestled amidst the natural beauty of Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach. The festival venue, with its breathtaking coastal backdrop and gentle sea breezes, sets a serene and intimate stage for the music, creating a unique and unforgettable atmosphere that is distinct from larger, more urban festivals. This natural setting allows festival-goers to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, offering a serene retreat where they can immerse themselves in the music, connect with fellow music lovers, and rejuvenate their spirits.
The festival also stands out as a family-friendly and community-driven event. It fosters a sense of togetherness and camaraderie, as families and friends gather to enjoy the music and engage in various activities, such as yoga sessions, art exhibitions, and local food vendors. It's a celebration of the local community, showcasing the talents of regional artists and offering a platform for them to share their work. This sense of community and collaboration creates an inviting and welcoming atmosphere that is cherished by festival attendees.
When it comes to the roster of past performers, the Forgotten Music Festival has showcased a remarkable array of artists. These have included both established acts and emerging talents, such as The War and Treaty, JJ Grey & Mofro, North Mississippi Allstars, and John Nemeth, to name a few. These artists bring their unique styles and captivating performances to the stage, enhancing the festival's appeal and contributing to its growing reputation.
The Forgotten Music Festival has a track record of presenting exceptional talent, blending the traditions of the past with the vibrant energy of the present. As the festival continues to evolve, it maintains its commitment to delivering high-quality music, and festival-goers can look forward to an ever-expanding list of performers, promising an unforgettable musical journey. Each year the Forgotten Music Festival is poised to be yet another remarkable chapter in the festival's legacy, offering a unique combination of exceptional music, natural beauty, and a strong sense of community, making it an event that captures the hearts of all who attend.
When it comes to choosing your next festival adventure, the Gulf Coast offers an enchanting blend of music, art, and natural beauty that's hard to resist. Whether you're attending the Forgotten Music Festival or the Scallop, Music & Arts Festival, the promise of a memorable experience awaits. To make your visit truly exceptional, Pristine Properties invites you to discover our selection of vacation rentals that offer the perfect retreat during your festival escapades.
From cozy beachfront cottages to spacious coastal homes, our diverse portfolio of rentals ensures that you find the perfect accommodation to suit your needs. Whether you're planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a group excursion, our vacation homes provide a comfortable and convenient home base. With amenities that include fully-equipped kitchens, private pools, hot tubs, and stunning Gulf views, you'll have the perfect place to relax and recharge between festival activities.
By choosing Pristine Properties, you'll not only experience the festivals and the coastal beauty of Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach but also enjoy the comfort and convenience of our vacation rentals. Your journey to the Gulf Coast is a seamless fusion of music, art, and serenity, and we're here to ensure that it's an experience you'll cherish. So, pack your bags, embrace the festival spirit, and let Pristine Properties be your trusted partner in making your Gulf Coast adventure truly unforgettable.