PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – Famous for its emerald-green waters and white sand beaches, Panama City Beach continues to thrive as a REAL.FUN.BEACH and has become the ultimate playground on the Gulf of Mexico for its array of year-round events and Southern hospitality. There are more fun-filled events for all ages in 2016 than ever before as the destination will host an exciting lineup of concerts, festivals and plenty of Florida sunshine.
“We’re thrilled to give a glimpse into next year’s fantastic schedule of family-friendly events,” shares President and CEO of Visit Panama City Beach Dan Rowe. “We invite visitors of all ages to come explore the many offerings of our beautiful destination at any time of the year.”
Below is an overview of 16 events being held in Panama City Beach in 2016:
1. Winter Resident Events: Homecoming Social, Jan. 10; Senior Prom, Feb. 13; Grand Finale, Feb. 24
A series of events made especially for the Winter Residents and sometimes known as High School 2.0, this is a time for fun and socializing for those trading the cold of their home states (or countries) for the sunny Panama City Beach winter. Events include food, fun, and dancing. For more information, go to www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
2. Panama City Beach Mardi Gras & Music Festival, Feb. 5-6, 2016
The two-day festival and parade which takes place in and around Pier Park is one of the most fun Mardi Gras events in the Southeast. The event is perfect for the whole family and includes a Mardi Gras Kidz Zone, float tours, Fat Tuesday Street Fair and live music, including headlining performances by Victor Wainright and the WildRoots, and Sammy Kershaw. For more information, go to www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
3. SpringJam Music Festival April 7-9, 2016
This three-day country music festival kicks off the spring season with headlining acts including Chris Young, Thomas Rhett and Rascal Flatts. Tickets and lodging packages for the inaugural festival are on sale now and may be purchased at www.springjampcb.com.
4. Seabreeze Jazz Festival, April 20-24, 2016
Named "Top 10 Jazz Festival in the USA" by JazzIZ Magazine and recently nominated as "Best Jazz Festival" at the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards, the Seabreeze Jazz Festival combines the top national smooth jazz artists with a full weekend of fun, sun, great beaches, and good times - all on the west end of Panama City Beach. Michael McDonald (of the Doobie Brothers) is an early announced headliner. The event attracts fans from across the USA, Canada, and Europe for the ultimate performance-packed weekend of jazz. For more information, visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com.
5. Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally, April 27-May 1 / Oct. 19-23, 2016
Known as "The Most Biker Friendly FREE Rally in the United States,” the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally is held twice yearly in Panama City Beach. Bikers from around the country can enjoy scenic rides along the Emerald Coast, live entertainment and local cuisine. For more information, visit www.thunderbeachproductions.com.
6. There’s Music in the Air in Panama City Beach, Summer 2016
Throughout the summer, visitors and locals alike gather for the free summer concert series at Aaron Bessant Park amphitheater, where live performances in the open-air amphitheater set the tone for summer. The PCB Summer Concert Series takes place every Thursday night, and Groovin’ on the Green offers a scaled down version of the open-air concert series on Monday nights at the Carillon Beach neighborhood.
7. 4th of July Star Spangled Spectacular, July 4, 2016
Panama City Beach celebrates the 4th of July with the largest fireworks display on the Gulf Coast at Pier Park. Families can enjoy a day filled with live entertainment, children’s activities, tasty food and drinks, as well as breathtaking fireworks displays at multiple locations.
8. Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, Sept. 2-4, 2016
This Labor Day weekend, the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam will bring the best of today’s country music to the beach. Festival-goers will get a chance to see many of the biggest names in country music as they take to the stage on the beach then, as the sun begins to set, patrons can ride free shuttles to the headline stage at Frank Brown Park. For more information, visit www.gulfcoastjam.com.
9. Lobster Festival and Tournament, Sept 2016 (dates announced after Jan. 1)
Schooners sets the stage for the largest lobster festival in Florida as the 27th Annual Lobster Festival & Tournament gives divers a chance to compete and attendees a chance to enjoy dozens of amazing lobster dishes. Tournament participants compete in a variety of categories including Spiny lobster, Shovelnose lobster and Big 6. Weigh-ins begin on Saturday and end Sunday with grand prizes and a Lobster Feast. The popular Sand Sculpting Contest is now in its 19th year, and takes place on the beach behind Schooners. For more information, visit www.schooners.com.
10. The 3rd Annual Chasin’ the Sun Music Festival, Sept. 2016 (exact date TBD)
Stretch your summer by chasin’ the sun to the area’s newest concert tradition. The concert will be held just steps from the beach at the beautiful Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater. For more information, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
11. Pirates of the High Seas Festival, Oct. 7-9, 2016
Columbus Day weekend will bring a wave of fun-filled adventures to Panama City Beach with the Pirates of the High Seas Fest. Taking place throughout the coastal community, the festival will include an ensemble of parades and sword-swinging showdowns, culminating with a dueling fireworks display reenacting The Battle of the Seven Seas. For more information, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
12. UNwineD, Oct. 2016
The Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce’s “UNwineD: Vines to Steins” celebrates wine, craft beer, gourmet coastal fare and live music. Visit www.unwinedpcb.com for the 2016 lineup when it becomes available.
13. Ironman Florida, Nov. 5, 2016
What began as a challenge between groups of Navy Seals has become one of the most recognized endurance events in the world. The Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run, with the Florida edition of the challenge serving as one of the most popular races on the circuit. For more information, visit www.ironmanflorida.com.
14. Emerald Coast Cruizin’, Nov. 7-12, 2016
The annual event at Aaron Bessant Park is perfect for families and attracts thousands of classic cars, hot rods, custom cars and trucks. Live music will also be provided during the event. For more information, visit www.emeraldcoastcruizin.com.
15. Beach Home for the Holidays, Thanksgiving Weekend
A great new holiday tradition for your family, kick off the holiday season with free holiday concerts at Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater, free themed events like campfires and s’mores, meeting with Santa, a Christmas tree-lighting and more.
16. Ninth Annual Beach Ball Drop, Dec. 31, 2016
Celebrate New Year’s on the beach! A family-friendly countdown at 8 p.m. culminates with fireworks and 10,000 beach balls released over the crowd. As the seconds tick down to midnight, thousands of revelers watch as an 800-pound glowing beach ball descends from the sky signifying the start of a New Year and igniting a second round of fireworks. For more information, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.