Panama City Beach:
The 18 Best Events to Experience in 2018
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla., November 29, 2017 – With more exciting events planned for 2018 than ever before, Panama City Beach lives up to its reputation as a Real. Fun. Beach. year-round. Offering much more than 27 miles of award-winning beaches, there’s always something for locals and visitors of all ages to see and do at this picturesque coastal community. 2018 will mark the debut of the SandJam Music Festival which will bring a whole new crowd to the beach to experience headline musical acts from the destination’s sugar white, sandy shores. Also, returning for its second year is the award-winning UNwineD festival, bringing some of the South’s best chefs, mixologists and tastemakers to Aaron Bessant Park.
“We’re proud to offer a jam-packed event schedule in 2018 with some exciting new events joined by many beloved annual favorites,” shares President and CEO of Visit Panama City Beach Dan Rowe. “Our destination is thrilled to host a lineup of award-winning events ranging from music festivals to culinary celebrations from January to December and we can’t wait for all the fun that’s in store in 2018.”
Debuting with a New Year’s Celebration featuring the drop of 10,000 inflatable beach balls and concluding with the destination’s Marathon and 5K in December, please see below for an overview of the best 18 events being held in Panama City Beach in 2018:
1. New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop: December 31, 2017
Tens of thousands of visitors are estimated to head to Panama City Beach for the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop, which features a countdown, fireworks, and 10,000 inflatable beach balls being released from nets stretched over the streets of Pier Park. The 8 p.m. Beach Ball Drop gives young revelers the chance to experience the fun before they head to bed and let their parents continue the celebration. More entertainment and live music will follow during the build up to midnight, when a dazzling fireworks display will accompany the lowering of a giant LED-lit beach ball to signify the beginning of 2018. For more information, please click here.
2. PCB Mardi Gras and Music Festival: February 9-10, 2018
The excitement of the authentic Mardi Gras celebration is combined with the spectacular views of Panama City Beach’s emerald green water and sugar white sand for the destination’s Mardi Gras and Music Festival. In conjunction with the 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 entire family. For more information, please click here.
3. Emerald Coast Boat and Lifestyle Show: March 2-4, 2018
This land based event features boat displays from all major manufacturers and top dealers representing the latest in boats, high tech engines, electronics and marine accessories. Showcasing more than just boats, the Emerald Coast Boat and Lifestyle Show also features everything for the kind of active, outdoor beach living that is so popular along the Emerald Coast, from stand up paddleboards and fishing kayaks to outdoor kitchens, diving, active wear and beach cruising bicycles. For more information, please click here.
4. Panama City Beach Scottish Festival: March 3, 2018
The 26th annual Panama City Beach Scottish Festival will take place at Frank Brown Park and will feature Scottish athletic competitions, Scottish & Irish musical performances (such as bagpipe bands and Irish 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. For more information, click here.
5. UNwineD: March 23-24, 2018
This award-winning event takes place at Aaron Bessant Park and features craft beer, spirits and wine from around the world, culinary creations by the region’s leading chefs and a Southern garden party presented by Southern Living. Guests can raise a glass at the Friday Night Kickoff Party, a time to mix and mingle with some of the South’s most elite chefs, mixologists and tastemakers. The celebration continues on Saturday with the Grand Afternoon Tasting & Cocktail Competition followed by a live concert and picnic in the park. For more information, please click here.
6. SandJam Music Festival: April 26-28, 2018
From the same producers of Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam and Spring Jam comes Panama City Beach’s first annual SandJam Music Festival, taking place on the sand by the County Pier. Music lovers will enjoy live performances from some of America’s best adult rock bands. Stay tuned for more information!
7. Seabreeze Jazz Festival: April 18-22, 2018:
Named a “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 top national smooth jazz artists for a full weekend of fun, sun, great beaches and good times. The 20th annual event is held in the Pier Park Amphitheater, featuring international known acts as well as local performers. For more information, click here.
8. Thunder Beach Spring Motorcycle Rally: May 2-6, 2018:
The most biker-friendly rally in the country, the free four-day Thunder Beach Spring Motorcycle Rally will feature 200 vendors and exhibitors, a bike parade, beauty pageants, poker runs, motorcycle stunt shows, tattoo contests, bike shows with category judging and much more. Event happenings will take place at multiple venues throughout the Panama City Beach area. For more information, click here.
9. Jeep Beach Jam: May 15-20, 2018
Thousands of jeep owners and enthusiasts will gather in Panama City Beach for the third annual Jeep Beach Jam. This five-day family event, organized by the JBJ Productions, Inc. team, will be filled with many fun-in-the-sun activities including concerts, scavenger hunts, off-road excursions, bonfires and more. Events will take place at many locations throughout the beach. For more information, click here.
10. Summer Concert Series: June-August, 2018:
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 Summer Concert Series takes place every Thursday night June through August. Friends and families love bringing their blankets or lawn chairs and relaxing under the stars to great performances. For more information, click here.
11. Real.Fun.Fourth: July 4, 2018
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 gear and gather on the sand to enjoy an electrifying firework show. For more information, click here.
12. Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam: August 31-September 2, 2018:
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, with previous artists including Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and Eric Church, just to name a few. As the sun begins to set, patrons can ride free shuttles to the headline stage at Frank Brown Park. For more information, click here.
13. Pirates of the High Seas Fest: October 5-7, 2018:
Columbus Day weekend will bring a treasure trove of fun-filled adventures to Panama City Beach with the Pirates of the High Seas Fest. Taking place throughout the coastal community, the Festival includes an ensemble of parades and sword-swinging showdowns, a Treasure Drop and fireworks display. For more information, click here.
14. Panama City Beach Oktoberfest: October, 2018:
Locals and visitors alike will raise a glass and don their lederhosen for this annual celebration of German heritage. Beer and brats are the star of the show, while this year’s festivities will feature stein hosting competitions, live music, and plenty of activities for the kids. For more information, click here.
15. Ironman 70.3 Florida: November 3, 2018:
What began as a challenge between groups of Navy SEALS has become one of the most recognized endurance events in the world. The Ironman 70.3 Florida 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, click here.
16. Emerald Coast Cruzin’: March 7-10, 2018 / November 8-11, 2018:
The bi-annual car show at Aaron Bessant Park is perfect for families and features thousands of hot rods and classic cars. Events include a swap meet, parade, cruiz-ins, block party and more. Live music will also be provided during the event. For more information, click here.
17. Beach Home for the Holidays: November 23-24, 2018:
A great new holiday tradition for the family, locals and visitors can kick off the most wonderful time of the year with free holiday concerts at Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater, free seasonal-themed events like campfires and s’mores, meeting with Santa, a Christmas tree-lighting celebration and more. For more information, click here.
18. Panama City Beach Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K- December 2, 2018:
Hosted by the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, guests can run through paradise and alongside award-winning beaches in the annual Marathon, Half- Marathon and 5K. The 26.2-mile race attracts thousands of both residents and visitors to the destination year after year. For more information, click here.