Clearwater Signature Events: Top Festivals for Locals and Visitors

Consistently named America’s No. 1 Beach, Clearwater provides a Gulf Coast backdrop for beach-lovers. While beaches remain the biggest attraction, the city also hosts fun festivals for the community. Food, music and friendly vibes – it’s all here. To find an excuse to visit, or just have a good time, here are some top Clearwater signature events.

Top Clearwater Signature Events and Festivals

clearwater festival family sand castle

Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival (April)

As one of the top sand-sculpting festivals in Florida, Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival brings two full weeks of events and fun to Clearwater. The event welcomes professional sand sculptures to create magnificent art right on the beach.

In between admiring artists, visitors enjoy free live music, fireworks, building sand castles, and kids play areas. Other fun activities include watching street performers, playing cornhole, climbing mounds of sand, watching movies on the beach and shopping local vendors.

Tampa Bay Blues Festival (April)

For over 25 years, Tampa Bay Blues Festival has brought big names in blues to the Tampa-Clearwater area. This top among the Clearwater signature events features three days of talented musicians. Shows kick off around noon and run until 10 p.m.

Headliners have included Jonny Lang, Shemekia Copeland, Boz Scaggs and Tab Benoit. In addition to live shows, Tampa Bay Blues Festival has a pre-show party and after shows held at various venues in nearby St. Petersburg, Florida.

clearwater signature events seafood festival

Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week (September)

Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week offers 10 days of culinary excellence and local favorites. The event encourages foodies to try something new while promoting area restaurants and chefs.

During restaurant week, participating restaurants offer fixed-price menus ranging from $15 to $35, with lunch specials $10 to $15. Diners can sample the best of the area and vote for their favorites for the chance to win prizes. Experts recommend selecting restaurants in advance and making reservations to ensure a table. See which ones rank among the best Clearwater seafood restaurants.

Clearwater Jazz Holiday (October)

Every fall, over 35,000 people come to Clearwater to celebrate music and culture. The festival occurs four days and nights, and features musicians from all over the country.

Clearwater Jazz Holiday showcases jazz musicians of all ages and supports educating students about the culture, history and sounds of jazz. In between sets, guests can visit local vendors, shop, eat, dance and play. Don’t forget to meet musicians and local vendors, and buy some merch.

clearwater signature event chalk art

Photo: Clearwater Chalk Art Festival 2018

Chalk Art Festival (October)

Get your hands dirty at the annual Chalk Art Festival in October. The free event showcases over 40 chalk artists who create large pieces of art that seem to come alive. Every year, they transform the sidewalks of Beach Walk and South Clearwater Beach, and guests watch the process and vote for their favorites.

Clearwater Chalk Festival grows every year, and welcomes local and regional artists, students and artist groups. While watching participants, visitors enjoy play zones, arts and craft vendors, live music, and beach-loving vibes.

Light It Up Clearwater (December)

Ring in New Year’s at the beach! Light It Up Clearwater ranks among the top Clearwater festivals due to its kid-friendly activities and fun-filled vibes. Every year on New Year’s Eve thousands gather to watch the sunset, eat local food, and watch fireworks at midnight.

In addition to the main event, area restaurants, resorts, hotels, and tour operators host New Year’s Eve events. Couples can celebrate at Jimmy’s Fish House for live entertainment, filet mignon and lobster. Families can make reservations for the three-hour New Year’s Eve Fireworks cruise. And guests 21 and up can party at Shepard’s Beach Resort during Rock the New Year.

Want to attend these Clearwater signature events? Book a vacation rental in Clearwater, and plan a quick trip.