Back to Back Issues Page
Florida Heritage Travel, April 2011
March 29, 2011

April 2011 News And Events

Florida Heritage Travel is the companion monthly e-zine of


John Ringling did okay with his circus. The revenues from the famous Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey operation helped him build Ca d'Zan (Venetian for "house of John") on Sarasota Bay. It was completed just before Christmas Day in 1925. It was designed in the Venetian Gothic style, and cost $1.5 million in good old American dollars back when a dollar was still worth something. John and his wife Mable loved to entertain in the mansion, and their home was the cultural center of Sarasota during the Roaring Twenties.

The mansion has 36,000 square feet with 41 rooms, 15 bathrooms and a full basement. It is constructed from terra cotta blocks, concrete and brick and finished off with a stucco and terra cotta exterior. John and Mable also built the Museum of Art next door to house their private art collection, although Mable died in 1929 before the museum was completed in 1931. It houses a wonderful collection of paintings and sculptures by Old Masters like Rubens, van Dyck, Velázquez, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, El Greco, Gainsborough and many more.

The home and museum were dedicated to the State, and is now the home of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the historic Asolo Theater. It is open to the public, and is a major Sarasota cultural attraction. A Circus Museum was also built in 1948 that celebrates The Greatest Show on Earth and includes John Ringling's personal Pullman railroad car, The Wisconsin.


Thanks for continuing to subscribe to Florida Heritage monthly e-zine. Florida Backroads Travel continues to grow, and we hope you enjoy these updates.

I continue to automate Florida Backroads Travel so that any updates I make are posted automatically to my Mike Miller Facebook page and are tweeted on my Twitter page.

If you have a Facebook account, you might have fun joining the group Florida Backroads Travel. The group receives a lot of good comments and observations.

April is a great month in Florida. The weather is still tolerable, and most of us only use air conditioning about half the time. The snowbirds begin their exodous back north and things quiet down a bit. Lines at restaurants get shorter. We start to get ready for the oppressive heat and humidity that's just around the corner, and in our secret hearts we envy the snowbirds.

Here are some interesting events around Florida for April 2011.


FLORIDA WINERIES. Check the Florida winery nearest you. Many of them have wonderful weekend events that include music and wine tastings. Our site has information on 18 wineries scattered across the state.

FLORIDA FESTIVALS. The weather is still fairily cool, and it is still outdoor art festival season. There also quite a few folk and bluegrass music festivals this time of the year.

FLORIDA MUSEUMS. Many Florida art and historical museums have scheduled events. Click on the links to find out what is going on.

FLORIDA THEATER. This is an active time for plays and musical events in our many Florida theaters.. Check the links to find out what might be interesting to you.

FLORIDA AUTHORS. April is a good time to relax on a beach or in a park and read a book by a Florida author. Our most visited author page in that of Randy Wayne White, the creator of Doc Ford.


21st Annual Carrabelle Riverfront Festival. April 24 & 25. This small coastal town celebrates its culture, history and vitality each year. The annual festival offers regional arts and crafts, family friendly attractions and local culinary treats. The two-day event held each spring on Marine Street caters to locals and visitors alike and attracts crowds from across the panhandle. The unique unpretentious charm of Carrabelle is on display with unique hometown attractions like Carrabelle’s own Fishy Fashion Show, Pet Parade and the Procession of the Species. The hours of the festival are 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday and 10:00 AM to 4:00 pm on Sunday. Admission is FREE.


Santa Fe Community College Spring Arts Festival, April 9 & 10. This festival is one of the three largest annual events in Gainesville and is known for its high quality, unique artwork. It is held in the downtown historic district, nestled amid restored turn-of-the century homes, stately palms and abundant azaleas. More than 130,000 visitors are anticipated each year. Fun for the whole family, the Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival offers a wide selection of activities for all ages. Back again after a successful first year is a free jazz and blues concert at the 42nd Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival.


Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic, April 8-11. Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. This is a touring ice show aimed primarily at children. It features Disney characters in plots and performances based on Disney films and other properties. Kids love it and adults also enjoy the great skating performances.


Melbourne Art Festival, April 23&24. This annual event is held on the streets and sidewalks of beautiful historic downtown Melbourne. This year is the 27th annual show, and it features a juried art show including 250 artists in various mediums. Free workshops are also presented for children ages 6-13, along with a 5K "Flamingo Run" featuring up to 1500 competitors.


The Wedding Singer, March 25-April 10. Highlands Little Theater, Sebring. This little theater in downtown Sebring will enchant you with its cozy intimacy. The play is a muscial by Matthew Sklar, Chad Bequelin and Tim Herlihy based on the film of the same name. The setting is 1985 and rock-star wannabe Robbie is Jersey's favorite wedding singer. He's the life of the party until his own fiancee leaves him at the altar. From then on, broken hearted Robbie hilariously makes every wedding as disastrous as his own.


St. Petersburg
36th Annual Mainsail Arts Festival, April 16 & 17, Vinoy Park, downtown St. Pete. The St. Petersburg downtown waterfront provides a picturesque setting for the annual Mainsail Arts Festival. As a premier cultural event on St. Petersburg's outdoor calendar, over 100,000 visitors from near and far come to enjoy and purchase quality art and enjoy top name entertainment. This annual fine arts festival has been named by Sunshine Artist as one of the "100 Best" fine arts events in the nation. Exhibiting artists are competing for $50,000 in prize money.


Blithe Spirit, April 8 - 23. Norris Community Center at Cambier Park. The Gulfshore Playhouse presents Noel Coward's famous comedy that will be sure to lift your spirits. It is the story of a cantankerous novelist who is re-married but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, Elvira. When a "happy medium", one Madame Arcati, conjures up the specter of his former spouse, all the personalities, worldly and otherwise, clash with uproarious results.


Delray Beach
49th Annual Delray Affair, April 15-17. This is one of the most popular arts and crafts festival in Palm Beach County! The Delray Affair is held outdoors along the beautiful brick sidewalks and palm tree-lined Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach. Each year the streets are open to pedestrians only from West of Swinton Ave to the Intracoastal Waterway. The Delray Affair stretches along Atlantic Avenue over 10 city blocks and side streets, in scenic downtown Delray Beach, Florida.

Information on the towns and places hosting these events, or near them, including lodging, can be found at Florida Towns.

If these events aren't convenient for you, try here for ADDITIONAL EVENTS.

In our current slow economy, some events are cancelled on very short notice. I do my best to ensure that our information is correct and current, but I recommend you call before leaving for the event to make sure it's still on.


The Catfish Place
2324 13th Street
St. Cloud, Florida 34769

Thanks for subscribing to Florida Heritage Travel. We will see you next month with more updates and event information.

Regards, Mike Miller
Chief Backroads Traveler

Back to Back Issues Page