Five Best Food and Drink Events in South Florida This Weekend: Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival, Sweet Dreams Winter Festival, and More

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Congratulations, you made it through yet another working week. You might as well give yourself a pat on the back to celebrate -- or better yet, a drink or three.

This weekend the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival kicks off five days of food and wine everything. Follow our coverage all weekend. We'll be live Tweeting updates, Instagramming pics, and posting reviews here on the blog.

But even if you aren't attending the ultimate foodie event of the season, there's plenty more to do in South Florida. Did you hear Tracy Morgan will be Grand Marshal of the Winterfest Boat Parade? Yeah, that's happening. So much for Tori Spelling.

See also: More Food and Drink Events in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

5. Seventh-Annual Sweet Dreams Winter Festival

Dreaming of a winter wonderland? Well, we've got something that's close enough -- but with a twist! Satisfy your sweet tooth in a sugary wonderland during the two-day seventh-annual Sweet Dreams Winter Festival. Patrons can taste decadent desserts at two dozen stations -- along with coffees, teas, and Pearl Vodka -- and enjoy live music from Swing City Quartet on Friday and City Limits on Saturday. For the finishing touch, the festival will feature a backdrop of a breathtaking chocolate sculpture, Christmas carolers, and tasteful holiday décor. Attendees are also in for an extraspecial treat: an appearance by Food Network's Keegan Gerhard on Friday. Known as one of the nation's top ten pastry chefs and former host of Food Network Challenge, Gerhard will demonstrate the art of Swiss meringue. And on Saturday, Gale Gand, the former host of Food Network's Sweet Dreams, will take the spotlight to show the audience how to make two of her favorite holiday treats: chocolate mousse and ricotta doughnuts. Grab multiple slices of your favorite holiday desserts this weekend at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, located at 5550 NW 40th St. in Coconut Creek. The festival takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. both days and is open to those aged 21 and older. Tickets cost $15 each and are available at ticketmaster.com. Proceeds go to Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. -- By Gillian Speiser

See also: Winterfest Boat Parade 2013: Five Places to Eat and Watch the Show

4. 42nd-annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade

Aside from giving the residents of Fort Lauderdale another reason to get together this holiday season, the 42nd-annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade is a beloved tradition in South Florida. Since 1988, Winterfest Inc., a nonprofit organization, has hosted the famous Boat Parade to promote and honor the unique diversity and culture of South Florida, with the long-term goal of positioning Fort Lauderdale as a great place to visit, live, and work. Although other events have been added throughout the years to emphasize the objective, the Boat Parade is a cornerstone of Fort Lauderdale pride. Operated by volunteers, supporters of the cause, sponsors, and the board of directors, Winterfest Inc. wouldn't be what it is today without the backing of local and national corporate sponsors. Known as the "Greatest Show on H20," the Boat Parade spans 12 miles for all of greater Fort Lauderdale to see. Heading east on the New River in Fort Lauderdale and north on the Intracoastal to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach, the parade promises participants and onlookers a "Passport to Paradise" this holiday season. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday in downtown Fort Lauderdale. For more information, contact Winterfest Inc. at 954-767-0686. Privately owned boats may enter the parade for $35. -- By Gillian Speiser

3. Seventh-Annual Christmas Near the Beach

It may not snow in South Florida, but we at least have nice beaches on which to spend Christmas. Give your family an early gift by taking them to the seventh-annual Christmas Near the Beach variety show at ArtsPark at the Young Circle Amphitheater this Saturday. The free event will include a Christmas ballet, mime performances, hip-hop dancers, a flash mob led by "Grinchy," live music ranging from bluegrass to gospel, and an excerpt from The Nutcracker. The five-hour show will feature local artists from along the coast, Vero Beach to Miami. Kids can get their photo taken with Saint Nick at his beach house and see the results on the event's website. And one lucky raffle winner will receive a Christmas tree. Food and beverage vendors will be there too. ArtsPark is a ten-acre outdoor facility in downtown Hollywood near Hollywood Boulevard and U.S. 1. Christmas Near the Beach is presented by EOJ Productions and benefits Expressions of Joy, a local dance academy promoting the arts scene in South Florida. Visit visithollywoodfl.org. -- By David Minsky

2. OM Brew Yoga

Yoga and beer -- the two go together like milk and cereal. Our Wicked Ways is teaming up with Funky Buddha Brewery to bring yoga to beer lovers and beer to yoga lovers with OM Brew Yoga. Yoga at Funky Buddha is not a new thing, but its special holiday session will happen this Sunday. Do a little stretch; drink a little beer. It's all good. Even if you've never had an interest in yoga, maybe a little Funky Buddha brew can entice you to try it. For the experienced, well, this only reinforces what you already believe, and you get some beer to boot. Beer! Yoga! Do it. All you gotta do is bring yourself, a yoga mat or beach towel, and $15, which pays for the session and a pint of some of the most delicious beer in the world. The best part is that it's brewed locally. Registration begins at 11 a.m. Practice will begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. and will run until 2 p.m. Don't wait -- arrive early to allow for registration. Space is limited, and you should probably RSVP to be safe. If you're hungry afterward, Funky Buddha will have a food truck for your dining pleasure beginning at 1 p.m. Funky Buddha is located at 1201 NE 38th St. in Oakland Park. Call 954-440-0046, or visit funkybuddhabrewery.com. -- By David Minsky

1. Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival

Food Network and its 24/7 programming of food porn has given chefs a rock-star status they've never enjoyed before -- and the men and women behind the line have garnered some fanfare in the process. Whether you're a groupie or a "band-aide" or you just want to rub elbows, your opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the best local and national chefs is here beginning this Friday and running through Tuesday at the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival. This year's lineup includes a number of new events, such as Kids Kitchen at the Four Seasons, hosted by Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York and Robert Irvine of Restaurant: Impossible; Sustain by the Ordinary at PB Catch, a popup of the famed Charleston restaurant owned by James Beard Award winner Mike Lata; chef afterparties; a Savannah-themed dinner at the Breakers Resort dubbed "An Evening in the Garden of Good and Evil," and more. The festival also features an array of new chefs and talent, such as Ted Allen of Chopped, celebrity chef Todd English, Hedy Goldsmith of Michael's Genuine, Timon Balloo of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill, François Payard, and many others. Tickets cost $45 per person to $595 per person for a package. The Grand Tasting takes place Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at 150 Worth Ave. in Palm Beach. Visit pbfoodwinefest.com. -- By Sara Ventiera

You can contact Rebecca Dittmar, Arts & Culture Editor/Food Blog Editor at rebecca.dittmar@browardpalmbeach.com.

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