Dunedin is an incredibly wonderful place to live. It is a unique little city with activities year ’round for the residents and our winter visitors, or Snowbirds, to enjoy.
The winter kicks off with the Dunedin Christmas Boat Parade, with dozens of brightly lit, and some stunningly decorated, boats of all sizes. They sail along the intra-coastal waterway and come into the Dunedin Marina to the oohs and aahs of the spectators in the grandstand and lining the docks. The very last boat brings in the guest of honor, Santa Claus. He and Mrs Claus disembark to great cheering and applause, and take the short walk over to the concert stage. There several local dignitaries are introduced, a little music plays, and then the main event! The countdown from ten ends with Santa turning on the Dunedin Holiday Tree in Edgewater Park. After the tree lighting, the people enjoy s’mores, laughter.
Another holiday fun event in downtown Dunedin is the Old Fashion Christmas, with lots more family fun and entertainment. There are games for the kids, hayrides (since we don’t have snow), s’mores again, and plenty of food and drink for the grownups. The shops stay open to add to the festivities, there are craftspeople selling their wares for those looking for truly interesting gifts, and the restaurants are happy to provide their delicious menus to the festival attendees.
Since Dunedin is a golf cart community, why not have a Christmas golf cart parade? Well, Dunedin Goes Carting does just that and organizes an incredible and fun parade. The carts are all registered with the City of Dunedin, and the decorations are as fascinating as the imaginations of each golf cart owner will allow.
The carts stage at the VFW parking lot, where there is judging, there is food available for all the participants and parade viewers. Then the hundreds of decorated and lighted golf carts exit the staging area, and run through the streets of downtown, tooting their horns, tossing candy to the kids along the route, and generally have a great time.
Another big event is the Mardi Gras Parade. Groups from all over the area enter floats and stage at the Dunedin Stadium, home of the Dunedin Blue Jays baseball team, where the Toronto Blue Jays play their spring training games. The Mardi Gras parade goes right down to Main Street, and the crews on the floats throw beads and candy to the thousands of bystanders lining the parade route.
Sandwiched in between these events are numerous arts and crafts fairs with plenty of options for food and beverages for the attendees. Craftpeople from all over the country come to downtown Dunedin to display and sell their works of art.
In the springtime, another event that closes Main Street to car traffic happens, the huge St. Patrick’s Day party. There are bands playing, great food being eaten, and of course a wee bit ‘o green beer gets consumed. Your host for the St. Patrick’s Day party is Flanagan’s Irish Pub, located right in the middle of the action on Main Street.
What month of May would be complete without a Cinco de Mayo celebration? Well, Dunedin has one of those too. The host for this wonderful party is Casa Tina Authentic Mexican Restaurant. Tina brings in real folk dancers from Mexico to give demonstrations of folklorico dances and authentic costumes. There is terrific Mexican food available and Casa Tina’s is right in the middle of the action on Main Street.
Not everything happens on downtown’s Main Street. There is the Dunedin Seafood Festival Weekend, usually in March. The host for this event is Olde Bay Cafe. The fun happens in Edgewater Park, by the Dunedin Marina. There is music on the bandstand in the park, with a playground for the children. Several vendors have delicious food available, including fresh seafood, crab legs and several local craft brewers are selling their custom brewed beers. Admission to the seafood festival, and all the other festivals, is free.
Then, usually in April, come the Highland Games. There will be a bagpipe parade, featuring the Dunedin World Champion pipe band. In addition to the pipe bands, there are Scottish games, the cabre toss, lots of food, and beverages. There is a parade through downtown Dunedin with several excellent pipe bands, vintage cars, and more than a few Scottish clans parading in their kilts.
For music lovers, especially if you like the blues, there is the Dunedin Wines the Blues festival, again on downtown Main Street. There are at least three bandstands set up for blues, the main stage in Pioneer Park on Main Street is where the featured entertainment plays, with bands brought in from New Orleans for that real blues flavor. Food vendors will be available for those who get hungry, and there will be beer and wine vendors with beverages to keep everyone happy.
If festivals and crafts fairs aren’t for you, there are plenty of other things to do. Delightful Dunedin offers great weather just about year ’round, amazing white sand beaches, fishing, boating, great places to wind surf or kite board, not to mention restaurants from beach side snack bars to white table cloth fine dining, overlooking the water with breath-taking views of the sunsets.
For those looking for quiet recreation, there is the Pinellas Bike Trail that passes through downtown Dunedin. This trail is a network of more than 40 miles of bike riding with no cars, except cross streets. Bicycles and pedestrians share the trail and there are restaurants all along the way for folks to take rest stops and grab a bite. A wonderful spot along the trail in Dunedin is Eli’s Bar-b-Que, just off Skinner and the Trail. If you are a BBQ fan, this is a must stop for an out of this world lunch, Thurday thru Saturday.
There are other ways to spend your relaxing time, Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island, the Dunedin Causeway beaches, rent a kayak or bring your own, catch your own dinner right in the grass flats from your canoe or kayak, or head off shore a bit for grouper, mahi-mahi, or an occasional shark.
These are just a few reasons you might want to live in Dunedin. If you need information on the housing market in our fabulous little city, reach out and contact us.