- 2014 - February - 18th -

Warmer weather means festivals coming soon to Downtown

By Max Marbut, Staff Writer

As the calendar creeps further into the year, daylight increases and the weather gets warmer.

The progression of the year also means it’s that much closer to the debut of Downtown’s 2014 festival season.

For the ninth consecutive year, the local Jimmy Buffet fan club, Parrot Heads in Natural Settings, will host the spring’s first festival.

The celebration of Cajun cookery begins at 8 p.m. March 14 when the Mango Margarita Band goes on stage in the courtyard at the Jacksonville Landing. Also scheduled for that evening is a pub crawl.

The PHINS and their friends will gather at the Landing early the next morning to begin competitive gumbo cooking.

More than a dozen teams participate each year, and when the gumbo is done around noon, for a suggested $10 donation, spectators may sample each chef’s concoction and vote for their favorite.

All proceeds this year benefit the Mandarin Food Bank.

Prizes are awarded in four categories, including the people’s choice based on flavor and showmanship for how the teams decorate their festival booths and costumes.

The George Aspinall Band will perform its repertoire of Buffett songs from noon-4 p.m. during the tabulation of votes.

For more details, visit phinsjax.org.

The second annual One Spark crowdfunding festival is scheduled April 9-13 with more than $3.5 million in potential capital investment for exhibitors at the festival.

In addition to hundreds of exhibits and a lineup of guest speakers, the festival also has scheduled nightly “After Dark” parties at the Jacksonville Jaguars International Plaza along East Bay Street adjacent to the JAX Chamber building.

After all the votes are counted, this year’s winners will be announced at 5 p.m. April 13 in Hemming Plaza during the One Spark closing ceremony.

For more information, visit beonespark.com.

Four days of jazz begins May 22 with the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition at the Florida Theatre.

It’s the prelude to AARP presents the Jacksonville Jazz Festival May 23-25, Memorial Day weekend.

The festival moved in 2009 from Metropolitan Park to the heart of Downtown along

Laura and Adams streets and

will have a new layout this year.

The main stage will be set up at the Shipyards property, with another stage at the intersection of Bay and Newnan streets. The Landing is the location for a third stage.

The free festival each year offers a range of jazz performers along with food and beverage vendors.

The “Art in the Heart of Downtown” art show and sale, “Jazz After Dark” in Downtown nightlife venues, a jazz jam at the Landing and a youth talent showcase at Hemming Plaza also are on this year’s schedule.

For details, visit makescenedowntown.com.


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