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Annual Festivals and Spring Events in Lakeland + Polk County

Lakeland Best Spring Events

Here in Lakeland and across Polk County we have fantastic annual events that happen every spring!  Art festivals, plant sales, events in Munn Park, Lakeland Pigfest, SUN ‘n FUN Fly In, Mayfaire-by-the-Lake, the Swan Derby, outdoor concerts, BBQ Competitions, and much more. Locals look forward to these favorite annual events every year.

Below you’ll find highlights from some of the most popular festivals and spring events in our community. If you prefer to see all of the events listed by date, there is a calendar of spring events at the bottom. Get out your calendar and save the date for these festivals in Lakeland FL + Polk County!

Don’t miss our Spring Fun Guide for more things to do this spring including U-Pick Strawberries, Blueberries, Peaches + Sunflowers, Spring Break Activities, Easter Egg Hunts, and more.

Please check directly with event organizers for specific dates, discounts, current ticket prices, advance registration, and any last-minute changes. While we do our best to provide accurate information, we include an outside link so you can verify the details for all events and activities.

2024 Annual Spring Festivals in Lakeland + Polk County

Alafia River Rendezvous

Step back in time at the Alafia River RendezvousThis annual event in Polk County is a living portrayal of pre-1840 America where children and families can enjoy a living history lesson one weekend each January. While the full event covers 10 days, there are 2 days that the public is invited to join the participants for demonstrations, tours, food, memorabilia, and a historical experience unlike any other. One of the highlights is artisans demonstrating crafts, such as flint knapping, broom making, blacksmithing, soap making, and more. 

Cost: $10 Adults, $5 Children + Seniors
Tips: Read our separate article for tips on attending the Alafia River Rendezvous
Event Dates: Friday + Saturday – January 26 – 27, 2024
Learn More: Alafia River Rendezvous Article + Video

Lakeland Pigfest BBQ Festival

For over 20 years, Pigfest has been an annual event that Lakelanders look forward to each January. You can eat a variety of finger lickin’ BBQ, hang out with friends, listen to live music, and each more BBQ. Held at the SUN ‘n FUN campus (previously held at Tigertown). It is a KCBS Sanctioned event, plus a Backyard Competition for local teams, and kids can even get involved with the Kids-Q competition. This two-day BBQ event is held on a Friday night and all-day Saturday near the end of January each year.

Cost: Parking is FREE, Admission is $5 for ages 13+, Free 12 and under. You’ll also want to exchange some dollars for Pig Bucks (the official currency of Pig Fest) to use at the BBQ booths.
Fun Fact: Your support goes back to local charities who volunteer at the event with more than one million dollars going back to the community over Pigfest’s 25-year history.
Event Dates: Friday + Saturday – January 26 – 27, 2024
Learn More: Pigfest Website

In addition to Pigfest, we have a full list of local BBQ Festivals in Lakeland + Polk County.

SyFy Bartow

If you love movies, science fiction, cosplay, cool movie props, and more, you don’t want to miss SyFy Bartow – held one day each year in Downtown Bartow. This is a FREE family-friendly outdoor street fair type science fiction convention, which includes a huge movie/television themed car show, food trucks, 100’s of vendors, music and lots of costumed characters {as they say – think Renaissance Fair meets a Science Fiction convention}.

Cost: FREE
Event Date: Saturday, February 17, 2024 (Opening party on Friday night)
Learn More: SyFy Bartow Facebook Page

Lake Wales Mardi Gras

Lake Wales Mardi Gras is back for its annual family-friendly celebration on February 9-10, 2024. Since 1984, the annual Mardi Gras parade and festival has entertained thousands of residents and visitors in Lake Wales with floats, beads, live music, food and spirits. Lake Wales Mardi Gras draws estimated crowds of 20,000 people to Lake Wales over the 2-day event with festivities on Friday night, all day Saturday, a 5k Glow race, and a parade Saturday afternoon. Lake Wales Mardi Gras is one of the largest events of its kind outside of New Orleans!

Cost: FREE
Event Date: Friday + Saturday – February 9 – 10, 2024
Learn More: Lake Wales Mardi Gras

Bloomin’ Arts Festival

The Bloomin’ Arts Festival is a juried Fine Arts festival and is Bartow’s premier event of the year. It is held on the first full weekend each March. You’ll find over 100 artists – painters, sculptors, jewelers, wood workers, metal artists, clay artists, mixed media, and fiber – with artwork to view and buy. The festival takes place along several blocks of historic downtown Bartow and includes food vendors, a car show, a quilt exhibit, student artwork on display, and a hands-on art tent for kids. Don’t miss this event – one of the most popular Polk County festivals each year!

Cost: FREE
Event Dates: Saturday + Sunday – March 2 – 3, 2024
Learn More: Bloomin’ Arts Festival Website

Other popular spring art festivals include the Lake Wales Art Festival (February 24-25, 2024) and the Central Park Art Festival in Winter Haven (March 9-10, 2024)

SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo

Did you know the 2nd largest fly-in event in the world is held right here in Lakeland?? The SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo is host to approximately 200,000 guests, volunteers, sponsors, performers, and exhibitors over the 6 day event at the SUN ‘n FUN Campus at the Lakeland Linder Airport. Whether you are a pilot, aviation enthusiast, or just looking for a fun family-friendly event, SUN n FUN has something for everyone. You can view more than 4,500 aircraft from homebuilts to warbirds, attend kids workshops, browse vendor booths, watch the afternoon Air Shows, Saturday morning hot air balloon launch, nighttime Air Shows Wednesday and Saturday, and MUCH MORE!

Cost: Price varies by day, Florida Resident discounts available. Check the website for prices.
Tips: Read our tips for taking kids to SUN ‘n FUN and learn more about the event.
Fun Fact: During the week of SUN ‘n FUN the Lakeland Airport becomes the world’s busiest airport with over 14,000 aircraft operations within the span of a week.
Event Dates: April 9 – 14, 2024
Learn More: SUN ‘n FUN Details

World of Reading Festival

At the World of Reading Festival you’ll find crafts, kids’ activities, balloon artists, face painters, Jack Hartmann, snacks and drinks, and a chance to meet a Featured Author. Each child that attends the event will also receive FREE books. This family event is a local tradition, loved by local moms, dads, grandparents and most importantly – KIDS!

Cost: FREE
Date: Saturday, April 6, 2024
Learn More: Junior League World of Reading Festival

LVIM Swan Derby

Put on your fancy hat and head to the Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror to watch the swan boat races! The Swan Derby is an annual community event to raise funds for Lakeland Volunteers In Medicine, is a volunteer-run medical clinic that provides free quality medical care to the working uninsured of Polk County.

Cost: FREE
Date: Friday, April 26, 2024
Learn More: LVIM Swan Derby

Mayfaire By-The Lake

If we were to make a list of “Lakeland Traditions,” the annual Mayfaire by-the-Lake presented by the Polk Museum of Art, would be at the top of the list! This outdoor art festival in Lakeland, FL started in 1971, and is one of the premier art festivals in Florida. It is held on Mother’s Day Weekend each year and is family-friendly and fun for all ages. You can browse (and purchase) amazing artwork, check out the food vendors, watch performances on the lawn of the library, and stop at the children’s art tents for hands-on projects.

Tips: Read our tips for taking kids to Mayfaire and learn more about the event.
Dates: May 11 – 12, 2024
Learn More: Mayfaire Information

Florida State Fair

Donut Dogs, Fried Oreos, Funnel Cake Tacos… the Florida State Fair is Florida’s fried food capital! In addition to a crazy food adventure, you can also ride carnival rides, check out the live entertainment, watch demonstrations, see agriculture exhibits, visit Cracker Country, and so much more. Located at the Florida State Fairgrounds on I-4.

Event Dates: February 8 – 19, 2024
Learn More: Florida State Fair

Florida Strawberry Festival

While it isn’t in Polk County, the Florida Strawberry Festival is just a hop and a skip away in Plant City. This annual festival that celebrates strawberry season in Florida is a local favorite for rides, fair food, agriculture exhibits, vendors, and a fantastic lineup of concerts and live entertainment.

Event Dates: February 29 – March 10, 2024
Learn More: Strawberry Festival

2024 Calendar of Annual Spring Events

The events below feed from our calendar and only select annual events are shown. We will continue to add and update events into May. Click here to add your free Spring event to our calendar. See a full list of all upcoming events on our Calendar.

Click on the name of any event for additional details. Please check directly with event organizers for last-minute changes.

Visit our Calendar for a full list of upcoming events.

Spring Activities Guide

Check out our full Spring Activities Guide for more things to do in Lakeland, Polk County, and Central Florida from January – May. BBQ Festivals, Valentine’s Day, 5k races, seasonal events, annual favorites, SUN ‘n FUN, Easter Egg Hunts, Mother’s Day, and more.