What’s Good Guide of Weekly Events in Gainesville and Alachua County, May 18-24, 2023

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Add sweet celebrations to your weekend with What’s Good. The Newberry Watermelon Festival returns for its 78th year with over 100 craft and gift vendors, delicious treats, a parade and fun for the entire family. Enjoy a special evening of roots and Americana music with a masterful combination of award-winning artists and local favorites at First Night at Hogtown Opry.

Commemorate Florida Emancipation Day with an outdoor festival at the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center. Discover a majestic endangered species with the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo at World Tree Kangaroo Day. Cruise by classic and custom cars at the 3rd Annual Waldo Car Show. Explore the Cade Museum with free admission and celebrate their 5th birthday bash at Cade After Dark or take stroll through charming and historic High Springs and view the High Springs Artwalk, and the Walldogs mural series. 

Read on for more of What’s Good!

Be safe and be well,
Your partners at Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

Be Informed.
The below information was accurate at the time of publishing. Please contact organizers directly to double-check details.

newberry watermelon festival with illustration of watermelon

Celebrate the Sweet Life at the 78th Annual Newberry Watermelon Festival
Saturday, May 20, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | CountryWay Town Square
1739 SW NW 248 Terr., Suite 20, Newberry, FL 32669

child eating watermelon

Nothing says summer is on the way like the annual Newberry Watermelon Festival! Sample delicious watermelon and enjoy family fun with over 100 craft and gift vendors, food, kids zone with pony rides, carnival games and more. The watermelon parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Admission is free, parking is $5 cash per vehicle.
Sponsored in part by Visit Alachua County

montage of musicians

Enjoy a Special Evening of Roots and Americana Music with Award-Winning Artists and Local Favorites at First Night at Hogtown Opry
Saturday, May 20, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. | University Auditorium
333 Newell Dr., Gainesville, FL 32611

interior of university auditorium

The Hogtown Opry Band opens the show in the historic University Auditorium (pictured left). The band is composed of Patchwork (top left), Cathy DeWitt, Annie McPherson and Janet Rucker, along with Brink Brinkman on guitar, Geof Perry on violin/fiddle and vocals from Maggie Rucker. Special guests with Gainesville roots Nancy Luca and Anna Marie Kirkpatrick join the band on stage to close out the set. 

After intermission, two-time national fingerpicking and flatpicking guitar winners Will Maring and Robert Bowlin combine talents to create a signature sound including bluegrass, jazz, Celtic and country.

The evening concludes with bluegrass pioneer and Grammy award-winning Louisa Branscomb (top center), Grammy, IBMA award-nominated Valerie Smith, master guitarist Allen Shadd (top right), Josh Harris, Barbara Johnson on bass, vocals and fiddle from emerging artist Lucy Becker with special guests Valerie Smith and Joe Zauner.

Gainesville boasts a rich musical history, producing national recording artists and 9 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musicians and noteworthy memorable performances. With a lineup of highly talented local musicians and national award-winning artists, Hogtown Opry aims to create another musical milestone and a new tradition.

Learn more about featured musicians at

For tickets and seat selection click here.

world tree kangaroo day

Discover a Majestic Endangered Species at World Tree Kangaroo Day
Sunday, May 21, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo
3000 NW 83rd St., Gainesville, FL 32606

The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is home to the Matschie’s tree kangaroo, an endangered species native to a small area of Papua New Guinea. Learn from zookeepers with training demonstrations, keeper talks and amazing animal ambassadors. See these rare, majestic animals and learn how you can help them in the wild. Kids can enjoy fun kangaroo themed crafts and games, while the adults can savor a sample of Caffe Vita’s Papua New Guinea Yopno Uruwa Som coffee.

Gainesville is home to the only teaching zoo on a college campus accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in the nation, training future zookeepers in the highest standards of animal care.
Sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

waldo car show

Get Up Close to Classic and Custom Cars at the 3rd Annual Waldo Car Show
Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Waldo City Square
14450 NE 148th Ave., Waldo, FL 32694

The 3rd Annual Waldo Car Show features a unique display of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Awards are announced at 2:30 p.m. Enjoy food and refreshments with music from a live DJ. Admission and parking are free.

cade museum at night

Celebrate the Cade Museum’s Birthday at Cade After Dark: Family Fun Night and 5th Birthday Bash
Friday, May 19, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. | Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
811 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601

Join the Cade Museum after hours for a birthday bash. Explore the museum and enjoy snacks and drinks from the cash bar, visit the face painting booth and see the cutest animals around at the petting zoo. Admission is free.

opening reception of we are here

Connect with Diverse Local Experiences at the Opening Reception for “We Are Here: Stories from Multilingual Speakers in North Central Florida”
Friday, May 19, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Matheson History Museum
513 E University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

The new, original exhibition features stories from speakers of multiple languages in North Central Florida. Through visual collages that centralize cultural images, We Are Here illustrates the immigration journeys of the North Central Florida community. The reception opens early for museum members at 6:30 p.m. 

artwalk downtown high springs

Meet Artists and Stroll Through a Charming Downtown at High Springs Artwalk
Saturday, May 20, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Downtown High Springs

Historic downtown High Springs hosts over 15 artists and makers. See art demonstrations, browse eclectic shops and dine at local cafes and restaurants. At Lanza Gallery and Art Supplies, don’t miss the last weekend to view the Santa Fe Plein Air Exhibit featuring paintings created last month during artist visits to the springs. Good New Arts features several artists, the ongoing show “Obscured Messages” and an embroidery workshop 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

sippin even alachua county ale trail

Attendees can join the Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail digital pass at participating brewery High Springs Brewing Company. Learn more at

hands breaking free of chains

Commemorate Florida Emancipation Day with the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center
Saturday, May 20, 9 a.m. | Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center
837 SE 7th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

Join the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center and celebrate May 20th as the day when Florida enslaved people read the Emancipation Proclamation on the steps of the Knott’s Building in Tallahassee, Florida. The outdoor festival includes food and fun for the whole family with vendors, music, dancing, drumming, spoken word poetry and memorial presentations.

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Pop-Up Markets

108 vine

First Anniversary Sunset Market at 108 Vine
Saturday, May 20, 6 p.m.

Shop local boutiques and national brands at Butler Enterprises, Celebration Pointe, The Oaks Mall and Shoppes at Thornebrook.

Arts & Theatre

illustration of man with city of los angeles in the background

Musical Comedy City of Angels at Santa Fe College Jackson N. Sasser Fine Arts Hall
Friday, May 19 – Saturday, May 27

Dance Sun Country’s 16th Annual Recital “Let’s Go to the Movies” at UF Phillips Center
Saturday, May 20, 1 p.m.

the tempest

Acrosstown Repertory Theatre Presents Shakespeare’s The Tempest at 4th Ave Food Park
Sunday, May 21, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Events & Festivals

journey to juneteenth kickoff event

Join the Annual Celebration of Emancipation at “Journey to Juneteenth” Events
Journey to Juneteenth Kickoff at City of Gainesville City Hall

Friday, May 19, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
The month-long Journey to Juneteenth celebration starts with reading the Juneteenth Proclamation and raising the Juneteenth flag.

View the full schedule of events leading up to the Juneteenth federal holiday on June 19.

Spring Extravaganza with U-Pick Sunflowers at Hollow Oaks
Open Tuesday – Friday, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Horse Shows in the Park at Alachua County Agriculture and Equestrian Center
Saturday, May 20 – Sunday, May 21

Embroidery Techniques Workshop with Elizabeth at Good News Arts
Saturday, May 20, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

(sold out) Mural Painting Class at Painting with a Purpose with Mindful Messages and Jenna Horner Art
Sunday, May 21, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m

Music & Performance

Caribbean with Tropic Wave at Bahama Breeze
Thursday, May 18, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Americana with The Front Porch Backsteppers at Lightnin’ Salvage
Friday, May 19, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Classic Rock with Enlightened Rogues at One Love Café
Friday, May 19, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

musicians grant peeples and flagship romance

Singer-Songwriters Flagship Romance and Grant Peeples at Heartwood Soundstage
Friday, May 19, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Punk with Trash The Rental at Loosey’s Downtown
Friday, May 19, 8 p.m.

Pop Punk Emo Night at High Dive
Friday, May 19, 9 p.m.

Saturday Features a Day of Classic Hits with Two Performances at One Love Cafe:

musicians anna marie kirkpatrick and nancy luca

Rock and Blues with Nancy Luca and Anna Marie Kirkpatrick at One Love Café
Saturday, May 20, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Photo by Suzanna Mars

Classic Rock with The Shambles at One Love Café
Saturday, May 20, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

musician with guitar

Panhandle Roots and Blues with D. Scott Riggs at Lightnin’ Salvage
Saturday, May 20, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Jazz with Edward White and Rafael Abdalla at Beaker and Flask Wine Co.
Saturday, May 20, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Classic Rock with The Medicine Show at Pink Flamingo
Saturday, May 20, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The Ultimate Rush Tribute at High Dive
Saturday, May 20, 7 p.m.

dylan fest ii

Tributes to the Music of Bob Dylan at Dylan Fest II at Heartwood Soundstage
Sunday, May 21, 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Jazz with The Oak Trio at Covey Kitchen and Cocktails
Sunday, May 21, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Sally B’s Dashing Revue Live Burlesque with Swing Theory at High Dive
Sunday, May 21, 6:30 p.m.

New Folk Revival with Quincy Allen Flint at Lightnin’ Salvage
Tuesday, May 23, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Metallica Tribute with The Four Horsemen at High Dive
Wednesday, May 24, 7 p.m.

man and woman dressed in blue and white

Indie Pop with Pearl and the Oysters at Heartwood Soundstage
Wednesday, May 24, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Craft Breweries

sippin seven alachua county ale trail

During American Craft Beer Week, check in at local craft breweries with the Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail free digital pass. Earn points and redeem for Sippin’ Seven merch. Learn more and sign up for free at

Click here and check out the latest edition of the Sippin’ Seven On Tap newsletter.

Caribbean Soul with Lionel Jr at Swamp Head Brewery
Friday, May 19, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Jazz Bandits at Cypress and Grove Brewing Company
Friday, May 19, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

mama jama

Market Vendors, Food Trucks and Psychedelic Alternative-Indie Pop with Madwoman at Mama Jama at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Saturday, May 20, 4 p.m.

Classic Rock and Pop with Chasing Rabbits at High Springs Brewing Company
Saturday, May 20, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Brunch with Cheffreys at Swamp Head Brewery
Sunday, May 21, 11 a.m.

big sandwich

Vegan Comfort Food with Southern Fried Vegan at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Sunday, May 21, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

U-Picks & Farmers Markets

strawberry you pick

Strawberry U-Pick at Frog Song Organics
Saturday, May 20, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Grove Street Farmers Market with Live Music
Mondays, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Archer Farmers Market Spring Plant Sale at Archer Historical Society Railroad Museum
Tuesday, March 7, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

gnv market

GNV Market at South Main Station Featuring Classic Rock with The Shambles
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

High Springs Farmers Market
Fridays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Alachua County Farmers Market
Saturdays 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Newberry Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Haile Village Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Waldo Farmers Market
Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Bites and Brunch

Wine Tasting at Superette Wine and Provisions
Thursday, May 18, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

Wine Tasting at Beaker and Flask Wine Co.
Thursday, May 18, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

decorated cookies

Spring Cookie Decorating Class with Amazing Grace Confections at Tipple’s Brew and Wine
Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

22nd Annual Hog Roast at Gainesville Harley-Davidson
Saturday, May 20, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Launch Event for Spurrier’s Barrel Select Piggyback Rye with Pig Roast, BBQ Buffet, Drinks and More at Visors Rooftop
Sunday, May 21, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

(sold out) Making Focaccia Bread Cooking Class at The Fat Tuscan
Sunday, May 21, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.


Jacksonville Magic Basketball Tournament of Champions at Legacy Park Multipurpose Center
Friday, May 19 – Sunday, May 21

Florida PGF Unity Invitational Softball Tournament at Champions Park
Saturday, May 20 – Sunday, May 21

archery targets

Funtastic Fridays Archery at Easton Newberry Archery Center
Friday, May 19, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Parks & Trails

Accessible Tram Tours at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, Ongoing, Check for Availability
Thursday, May 18, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tuesday, May 23, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

History and Lore Hike with Adventure Outpost at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Friday, May 20, 10 a.m. 

(sold out) Citizen Science Sundays for Kids: RADICAL Reptiles! at Hogtown Creek Headwaters Nature Park
Sunday, May 21, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

colorful bird at sweetwater wetlands park

Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Wednesday, May 24, 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

River & Springs

Paddling on the Santa Fe River

Paddle 8 Springs in 8 Miles or Slowly Float Down the Santa Fe River at Poe Springs Park with Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures
Friday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Float or Splash Into Freshwater Springs
North Florida is home to the largest collection of first-magnitude springs in the United States.

Museums & Galleries

profile of model wearing hoop earings

Now on View at the Harn Museum of Art: Posing Beauty in African American Culture at the Harn Museum of Art
Tuesdays – Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fridays – Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sundays, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Posing Beauty in African American Culture explores the ways in which African and African American beauty has been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through a diverse range of media including photography, video, fashion and advertising.

spiders exhibit

Get Up Close and Explore the World of Arachnids at Spiders Alive! at the Florida Museum of Natural History
With more than a dozen live species from around the world, the new exhibit dives into the world of spiders, scorpions and their relatives. Featured animals on display include the Asian Forest Scorpion, Brazilian Red and White Tarantula, Southern Black Widow, Wolf Spider and more. Go hands-on with large touchable models revealing a closer look at spider anatomy. Plan your visit online.
Photo courtesy Florida Museum / Jeff Gage

Discover a Unique African American Culture at Gullah Geechee – African Connections and Cultural Traditions in America at the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center
Open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Save The Date

Grassroots Motorsports $2000 Challenge at Gainesville Raceway, May 27-28

Artwalk Gainesville, May 26

Free Friday Concert Series, June 2 – August 25

Swallowtail Farm Food is Medicine Conference, June 10-11

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House at Alachua County Sports and Event Center, June 10

Journey to Juneteenth Freedom Walk and Festival, June 17

For a complete list of events please visit

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Put simply, the more you share with us, the more we have to promote. Please read the attached PDF document for additional ways in which your organization can participate.

Visit Gainesville, Alachua County | (352) 374-5260 | 33 North Main Street, Gainesville 32601 Never miss an event: Follow Visit Gainesville, Alachua County on social media.

This publication contains information about events, venues and activities in Alachua County, Florida. Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the information is accurate. We are not responsible for errors or omissions in the information provided. For complete details, contact the host directly. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not represent, warrant, undertake or guarantee that the information is correct, accurate, complete or non-misleading. We will not be liable to you in respect of any special, indirect or consequential loss or damage. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.  

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