Beat the Winter Blues at the Clearwater Sea Blues Festival

For many of my friends up north, winter is looked upon as a necessary evil they must endure until they can once again experience the delightful days of spring. I keep telling them that they don’t have to wait; all they have to do is head down to Florida and they’ll be able to bask in the warm sun, enjoy the beautiful beaches, and attend lots of fun events and activities.

One event I am especially looking forward to is the Clearwater Sea Blues Festival, which takes place February 19 – 21 at Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater.  Clearwater is situated on Florida’s stunning West Coast and is a popular year-round destination. It’s a beautiful area, known for its outdoor activities, world class entertainment, fine and casual dining, and some of the best beaches America has to offer.

Clearwater Sea Blues Festival posterThe Clearwater Sea Blues Festival is one of the area’s most anticipated events, a celebration of the fabulous seafood proffered by the crystal clear waters and the rich, musical heritage of the south. I went last year and I had a blast! This year, the festivities start on Friday, February 19, with the 5th Annual Blues Walk, a fun restaurant crawl where you get to listen to some incredible blues acts and eat seafood and other fine dishes at various venues along Cleveland Street — the perfect way to kick-off what promises to be a fantastic weekend!

On Saturday and Sunday, the party moves to Coachman Park, a wonderful venue for an event like this. The wide variety of seafood they serve is really quite impressive…and delicious! I loved the lobster rolls and the fried shrimp, but I think my favorite dish was the fried gator on a stick. And I wasn’t alone-it appeared to be one of the most popular delicacies of the Festival. I also really enjoyed the craft beers, including some fine selections brewed right in Florida…which, by the way, paired perfectly with my fried gator!

But I didn’t just spend the weekend stuffing my face; I saw some really great concerts, too, all in a spectacular waterfront, open-air setting. And check this out…the concerts are free! You can purchase reserved seating and a VIP package, but I was fine hanging out with the other revelers on our lawn chairs and blankets.

So, you can stay indoors bundled up by the fireplace waiting for winter to end, or you can hop a flight to sunny Clearwater, Florida this weekend (which, by the way, was voted Florida’s Best Beach Town by USA Today in 2013) and hang out in a beautiful park with waterfront views while listening to nationally acclaimed blues artists as you feast on seafood delicacies. I know what I’ll be doing!

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