Conventional wisdom may tell you that spring doesn't exist as a season in summer-all-the-time Central Florida. Though we may see plenty of blooming tabebuia trees filling up with bright yellow flowers (and spreading those flowers all over our driveways), the visual cues to the beginning of spring are easily missed in a place where everything is green all the time. But check out the calendar during the spring months and you'll notice a sudden burst of outdoor activity. Festivals of all kinds dot the social landscape, whether they're devoted to live music, delicious food and drink, cultural heritage, or conspicuous consumption. We've chosen to highlight a few of our perennial favorites in this guide, along with a list of similar events to get you stretching your legs and taking in the best the area has to offer. Be sure to keep an eye on our online calendar for more to keep you busy for the rest of the year.
Through March 4
Annual Bach Festival The Bach Festival Society of Central Florida stages performances, master classes, discussions and more, all related to classical music. Multiple locations; various prices; bachfestivalflorida.org.
Through April 7
Universal Mardi Gras Enjoy parades each night along with live entertainment and special dining options. Universal Studios, 6000 Universal Blvd.; price of admission; 407-363-8000; universalorlando.com.
Through April 15
Seven Seas Food Festival Sip and sample your way around SeaWorld with special food and drink offerings along with live concerts, entertainment and more. SeaWorld, 7007 SeaWorld Drive; price of admission; 407-363-2613; seaworld.com.
Through May 28
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Annual festival of creative garden displays, along with special dining options and live entertainment. Epcot, 200 Epcot Center Drive, Lake Buena Vista; price of admission; 407-824-4321; disneyworld.disney.go.com.
Wednesday, Feb. 28
Chili For Charity Featuring creative chili dishes by popular restaurants and other contenders. 5 pm; Winter Park Farmers Market, 200 W. New England Ave., Winter Park; $35-$40; 407-399-1296; chiliforcharity.org.
Thursday, March 1
Bar Louie Grand Toasting The first 100 people through the door receive a VIP swag bag at this grand opening event. 5 pm; Bar Louie, 8510 International Drive; various menu prices; barlouie.com.
Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival A four-day music and arts festival featuring bands, DJs, themed areas, food, camping and more. Sunshine Grove, 12517 NE 91st Ave., Okeechobee; $289-$699; okeechobeefest.com.
Orlando Indie Comedy Fest Four nights of stand-up comedians from more than 40 national touring comics and a select handful of Central Florida performers. Takes place at various venues in the Milk District, downtown and Mills 50. Multiple locations; $15-$60; orlandoindiecomedy.com.
Florida Strawberry Festival Agricultural fair with entertainment, rides and games, food and drink, and strawberries. 10 am-10 pm; Florida Strawberry Festival, 2209 W. Oak Ave., Plant City; $8-$10; 813-752-9194; flstrawberryfestival.com.
Central Florida Fair Two weeks of rides, games, concerts, agricultural exhibitions and more. Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; $8-$95; 407-295-3247; centralfloridafair.com.
March 2-April 22
Art31: Fiber More than a month of art exhibitions, workshops, artist talks and demonstrations themed around fiber arts. Art & History Museums – Maitland, 231 W. Packwood Ave., Maitland; free-$180; 407-539-2181; art31.org.
Friday, March 2
Baldwin Park First Friday Festival & Art Stroll More than 60 local artisans display their art while guests shop and stroll through the heart of downtown Baldwin Park. 5:30-9:30 pm; Baldwin Park, New Broad Street and Jake Street; free; 407-443-6110; baldwinparkevents.com.
Saturday, March 3
AdVintage Fair & Flea Market Recurring market with vintage finds and food. 9 am-2 pm; Elks Lodge No. 1079, 12 N. Primrose Drive; free; 407-678-0943.
Eat Local, Sip Local Stroll Wine and food stroll with locally sourced produce, meat, cheese, beer, wine and spirits. 2-5 pm; Audubon Park Garden District, East Winter Park Road and Corrine Drive; $25-$35; audubonparkgardens.com.
Mayor Teresa Jacobs' Jazz in the Park Outdoor jazz concert and food truck pod. 2-6 pm; Cypress Grove Park, 290 Holden Ave.; free; orangecountyfl.net.
Sonny's Smokin' Showdown Invitational Barbecue festival with competitions between pitmasters from across the nation, tastings, and live music from Rodney Atkins and more. 11 am; Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place; $15; 407-423-2476; sonnysshowdown.com.
UF/IFAS Master Gardener Plant Sale & Garden Festival Fundraiser with a plant sale, free education workshops, a tour of the gardens and more. 9 am-4 pm; UF/IFAS Extension Education Center, 6021 South Conway Road; free; 407-254-9200; ocplantandgardenfestival.eventbrite.com.
Lake Mary Heathrow Festival of the Arts A fun-filled weekend featuring fine art and craft exhibits, food trucks, beer & wine, a student art tent and a kids zone. 10 am-4 pm; Oval Park, West Lake Mary Boulevard and International Parkway, Lake Mary; free; 407-585-1421; lakemaryheathrowarts.com.