Six Annual Cultural Festivals Worth Making the Trip

Each year, to help promote Jacksonville’s cultural diversity, Jacksonville hosts some of the Southeast’s most visited and exciting events aimed at showcasing local, national, and international talent in budget-friendly, even free venues.

Jacksonville, with its vast cultural and ethnic heritage, is truly a city that represents the many splendors of the world. You’ll find historical treasures throughout the region, each evident of the various people and heritages that have shaped the destination. We encourage you to visit our historic sites and landmarks, participate in our many festivals and enjoy your visit in Jacksonville to its fullest.

A feeling of excitement permeates the air in Jacksonville as the region plays hosts to an astounding array of cultural celebrations throughout the year. These festivals pay homage to our roots and heritage as we embrace the beauty of traditions, homelands, and ancestors. Whatever your interest, there is probably a local festival or celebration occurring just about any time of the year.

Here are 6 celebrations of cultures:

World of Nations

Get your passport ready to go around the world in just two days. Each spring, Jacksonville celebrates its cultural diversity with the World of Nations Celebration, presented by the City of Jacksonville. It’s a weekend event that takes you around the globe to celebrate the many cultures that make up the city. Metropolitan Park transforms into a multi-ethnic marketplace of cuisine, crafts, and entertainment of people from throughout the world with more than 30 countries represented. At the World of Nations, visitors wander through the nations, enjoying fine food, music and learning about their cultures

Jacksonville Jazz Festival

The Jacksonville Jazz Fest, which began in 1981, is one of the largest free jazz fests in the country. The eclectic sounds of jazz roll off the St. Johns River each spring in Downtown Jacksonville. The three-day festival of live, free entertainment on two stages is a spectacular event each and every year. The Jazz Fest has attracted some of the biggest names in jazz over the course of its 40-year history, including Miles Davis, Tony Bennett and Shiela E.

Jacksonville Film Festival

Gaining increasing recognition as a regional destination for the independent film community, the festival connects Jacksonville to its early moviemaking roots while paving the way for a new generation of talent. Don’t miss access to film screenings, short films debuts from up-and-coming producers and parties with celebrity guests and award-winning filmmakers.

Jacksonville Caribbean Carnival Weekend

This annual event has taken place in Jacksonville since. 2005. This multiple day event includes a festival, parade, entertainment and much more which showcases and promotes Caribbean owned businesses. To learn more about this year's event, click here.

Springing in the Blues

A free three-day oceanfront festival in Jacksonville Beach featuring a number of renowned blues performers as well as numerous vendors and activities geared for the entire family. Stroll along the Seawalk Pavilion as you listen to an incredible line-up of musicians and sample delicacies such as empanadas and fried plantains.

Festivals at James Weldon Johnson Park

Our oldest city park, James Weldon Johnson Park, located in the heart of Downtown has become a cultural and entertainment family hub with daily programming, food trucks, and special events every weekend. With many cultural festivals planned throughout the year, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and cuisines of these cultures in James Weldon Johnson Park. Past festivals have included the Viva La Fiesta, Cajun Fest, Bluegreen + Beer + Barbeque Festival and many more. Check out their calendar of events for when you’re traveling to Jacksonville.

Visitors will find that Jacksonville offers days packed with exciting and varied sights and sounds of a city that celebrates its heritage. Jacksonville’s diversity of culture and art is on display for all to enjoy at the region’s many museums and galleries. Jacksonville was the birthplace of James Weldon Johnson, first executive secretary of the NAACP, and is home to Kingsley Plantation, the oldest plantation house in Florida. To learn more about Jacksonville’s history, click here.

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