Any self-respecting Floridian knows that, contrary to popular belief, summer down south is a sorely underrated time of year. As milder temperatures disappear, we also get to say goodbye to hoards of spring-breaking tourists and terrible beach traffic.
Things might slow down in summer, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering South Florida's ever-expanding menu of year-round arts, culture, and nightlife offerings. Need proof? Check out this list of this summer's can't-miss events. From ballet and theater to film screenings and festivals, there's a bit of something on deck for everyone this June through August.
Indie Craft Bazaar: Art & Handmade Festival. This long-running, single-day event celebrating local artisans and small businesses describes itself "like stepping into an in-real-life Etsy." Returning to its home at Revolution Live in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the massive craft fair (the largest of its kind in Broward County) boasts more than 65 artists, designers, and artisans, plus DIY activities, food, drink specials, and giveaways. Arrive early for a chance to snag a free swag bag. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, June 9, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; indiecraftbazaar.com. Tickets cost $5.
A Bronx Tale: The Musical. Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Tony winner Jerry Zaks direct this crowd-pleasing Broadway hit musical that transports audiences to the stoops of 1960s Bronx, New York. Follow the story of a young man caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’s striving to become, as you take in high-energy dance numbers and original doo-wop tunes from the songwriter of Beauty and the Beast. Tuesday, June 11 through Sunday, June 23, at Au-Rene Theater at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; browardcenter.org. Tickets start at $40 via ticketmaster.com.
Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade. 2019 is the 20th anniversary of the Wilton Manors Stonewall Festival and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the historic series of sometimes violent NYC demonstrations that led to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States. Celebrate Pride Month in style at one of the largest Pride parades and street festivals in the state, featuring seven themed stages with performances, music, and entertainment all day and night, plus a series of special events in the week leading up to the parade. 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, June 15, at 2000 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors; wiltonmanorsstonewall.com. Tickets start at $5 via eventbrite.com.
FlockFest. Launched by a small group of friends in 2015, FlockFest has grown from an intimate gathering into a full-fledged non-profit whose main objective is to raise money for local charity groups through its colorful daytime beach parties, now boasting over 500 floats and 1800 attendees. Bring your own float and enjoy access to the open bar, or purchase a Flamingo Package ticket that also includes a float blown up and ready to go, plus all kinds of FlockFest swag. It's a great excuse to cool down and party responsibly, with proceeds benefitting Renand Foundation, Julian's Fountain of Youth, and United Dog Rescue. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 6, at Sebastian Beach, Fort Lauderdale. Ticket start at $75 via flockfestevents.org.
A Live Conversation with John Cusack. One of the most iconic modern movie romances, the classic 1980s high school flick Say Anything launched John Cusack's career. From teen heartthrob to A-list actor, Cusack went on star in films including High Fidelity, Grosse Point Blank, and Being John Malkovich, among others. Now, he's making a one-night-only stop in Fort Lauderdale for a screening of Say Anything followed by a live, moderated Q&A about his career and the making of the film. For super-fans, a limited number of VIP tickets include a post-show photo opp with the actor. 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 26, at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222. Tickets start at $39 via ticketmaster.com.
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Jurassic Quest. Billed as the largest and most realistic dinosaur event in North America, Jurassic Quest lands in West Palm Beach this summer for a weekend of dino-sized family fun. Highlights include brand-new, 24-foot Carnotaurus and T-Rex rides and over 80 different dinosaurs ranging from life-sized, moving and "breathing" Spinosaurus, Apatosaurus, Triceratops, Giganotosaurus, Pinocchio rex, Dracorex, Ouranosaurus, and others. Activities also include fossil digs, science stations, and a dino petting zoo. Friday, August 16 through Sunday, August 18, at Expo Center at South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach; 936-588-3332; jurassicquest.com. Tickets start at $20 via maingatetickets.com.
Roar & Pour. Palm Beach Zoo's popular summer series ends with a bang during the fourth weekend of August. Offering discounted admission to the entire zoo starting at 4:30 p.m., guests can also enjoy a live tribute band jamming out to Journey's rock 'n' roll classics from 6:30 to close, plus burgers and hotdogs from the grill starting at 5 p.m. and a tiki bar with beer and wine for the adults. Guests are welcome to bring blankets and low-rise lawn chairs, which can be left in the fountain plaza as you explore the park until showtime. 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, August 24, at Palm Beach Zoo; 1301 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-547-9453; palmbeachzoo.org. Tickets start at $16.95 for non-member adults (13+).