Panama City Beach Signature Events to Experience
Panama City Beach lives up to its reputation as a Real. Fun. Beach. year-round with an exciting lineup of events, festivals and concerts. Offering more than 27 miles of award-winning beaches, bright sand and turquoise waters, there’s nearly endless options to experience art, dining, music, scenic beauty, tradition, celebration and fun. Need more info? Here’s an overview of the top Panama City Beach signature events.
Panama City Beach Signature Events You Can’t Miss
New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop: December
Tens of thousands of visitors head to Panama City Beach for New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop, which features a countdown, fireworks and 10,000 inflatable beach balls released over Pier Park. The Beach Ball Drop gives youngsters the chance to experience fun before they head to bed. More entertainment and live music follow during the build up to midnight, when a dazzling fireworks display accompanies a giant LED-lit beach ball to signify the new year.
PCB Mardi Gras and Music Festival: March
Mardi Gras combines with spectacular views of Panama City Beach’s emerald green water and sugar white sand during Mardi Gras and Music Festival. In conjunction with Krewe of Domonique Youx’s great Mardi Gras at the Beach Parade, the annual festival takes place the weekend before Fat Tuesday and features entertainment for the family.
Emerald Coast Boat and Lifestyle Show: March
This land-based event features displays from major manufacturers and top dealers representing the latest in boats, high-tech engines, electronics and marine accessories. Emerald Coast Boat and Lifestyle Show also features active, outdoor beach living that is popular along Emerald Coast — from standup paddleboards and kayaks to outdoor kitchens, diving, active wear and beach-cruising bicycles.
Panama City Beach Scottish Festival: March
Panama City Beach Scottish Festival takes place at Frank Brown Park and features Scottish athletic competitions, Scottish and Irish musical performances (such as bagpipes and step dancers), a British car club show, children’s activities, and Scottish and Irish food and drink. The family-friendly event kicks off with a welcoming ceremony and parade of Tartans.
This award-winning event returns to Aaron Bessant Park and showcases craft beer, spirits and wine from around the world. Then sample culinary creations by leading chefs, and attend a garden party presented by Southern Living.
Additionally, guests raise a glass at Friday Night Kickoff Party, a time to mix and mingle with some of the South’s most elite chefs, mixologists and tastemakers. The Unwined celebration continues on Saturday with Grand Afternoon Tasting and Cocktail Competition followed by a live concert and picnic in the park.
SandJam Music Festival: April
Panama City Beach’s annual alternative rock music festival sets up on the beaches, providing a beautiful backdrop for the spring’s biggest festival. Music lovers of all ages are invited to make long-lasting memories at SandJam presented by Pepsi.
Seabreeze Jazz Festival: April
Named a Top 10 Jazz Festival in the U.S. by JazzIZ Magazine and nominated as Best Jazz Festival at Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards, Seabreeze Jazz Fest combines national smooth jazz artists for a weekend of fun, sun, beaches and good times. The event is held in Pier Park Amphitheater, featuring internationally known acts as well as local performers.
Thunder Beach Spring Motorcycle Rally: May and October
The free four-day Thunder Beach Spring Motorcycle Rally features 200 vendors and exhibitors, a bike parade, beauty pageants, poker runs, live music, motorcycle stunt shows, tattoo contests, bike shows and more. Event happenings take place at multiple venues throughout the area.
JEEP Beach Jam: May
Thousands of JEEP owners and enthusiasts gather in Panama City Beach for Jeep Beach Jam. This five-day family event — organized by JBJ Productions Inc. team — offers fun-in-the-sun activities including concerts, scavenger hunts, off-road excursions and bonfires. Events take place at locations throughout the beach.
Summer Concert Series: June Thru August
Throughout the summer, gather for the free concert series at Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater, where live performances set the tone. Summer Concert Series takes place every Thursday night June through August. Friends and families love bringing blankets or lawn chairs, and relaxing under the stars to special performances.
Real.Fun.Fourth: July 4
Home to the largest display of fireworks on the Gulf Coast, Panama City Beach offers an All-American weekend of Independence Day celebrations. Friends and family put on their red, white and blue, and enjoy an electrifying firework show. Read more about Real.Fun.Fourth.
Lobster Festival and Tournament: September
This week-long celebration welcomes lobster lovers for the biggest lobster tournament and festival in Panama City Beach. Attendees can expect live music, contests and lots of delicious Florida lobster! Held at Schooners Last Local Beach Club, this event is a must for foodies.
Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam: August/September
On Labor Day weekend, Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam brings the best of today’s country music to the beach. Festival-goers get a chance to see big names in country music as they take to the stage, with previous artists including Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and Eric Church. As the sun begins to set, patrons ride free shuttles to the headline stage at Frank Brown Park.
Pirates of the High Seas Fest: October
Columbus Day weekend brings a treasure trove of adventure to Panama City Beach with Pirates of the High Seas Fest. Taking place throughout Grand Lagoon and Pier Park, the festival includes an ensemble of parades and sword-swinging showdowns, a pirate invasion, a treasure drop, and fireworks display.
Panama City Beach Oktoberfest: October
Locals and visitors alike don their lederhosen for this celebration of German heritage. Authentic German beer and brats are the star of Oktoberfest, while other festivities feature stein hosting competitions, live music, and plenty of kids activities.
IRONMAN Florida: November / IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast: April
What began as a challenge between Navy SEALS has become one of the most recognized endurance events in the world. IRONMAN is a statement of excellence, passion, and commitment that is a true test of mental and physical toughness. The Florida edition of Ironman serves as one of the most popular races on the circuit.
Emerald Coast Cruzin’: November and March
The bi-annual car show at Aaron Bessant Park is perfect for families, and features thousands of hot rods and classic cars. Ranked among the top Panama City beach signature events, attend a swap meet, parade, cruiz-ins and block party. Live music is also a hit during Emerald Coast Cruzin’.
Beach Home for the Holidays: November
An exciting holiday tradition for the family, locals and visitors kick off the most wonderful time of the year with free holiday concerts at Aaron Bessant Park and free seasonal-themed events. Don’t miss Santa, a Christmas tree-lighting and other festivities.
Panama City Beach Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K: December
Hosted by Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, guests run through paradise alongside beaches in the annual Marathon, Half- Marathon and 5K. The 26.2-mile race attracts thousands of runners to the destination year after year.
Original article submitted by: Lou Hammond Group/Panama City CVB
Photos courtesy of: Panama City Beach
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