7 events to enjoy during Gators’ weekend off

Dragon at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
The Dragon at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. (Courtesy of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens)

Fall brings more than Gator football. But even the Orange and Blue need time off. The Gators have a bye week on Oct. 22, and organizations have packed the calendar to keep locals busy, from concerts to books to bats.

Here’s a roundup of activities to enjoy, whether you spend the day at one or hop between a few.

European Car Show at Butler Plaza: Gainesville, 9 a.m. to noon

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The Europeans are coming to Butler Plaza with more than 120 cars and motorcycles. The event will feature vintage and modern models from brands like Mercedes, Audi, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The event will fill up two parking lots and include vendors and music. The free car show benefits the United Way of North Central Florida. Find more details online.

Butler Plaza's European Car Show will feature more than 120 vehicles Saturday.
Courtesy of Butler Enterprises Butler Plaza’s European Car Show.

Kanapaha Botanical Orchid Show: Gainesville, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In celebration of Kanapaha Botanical Garden’s birthday, the gardens and the Gainesville Orchid Society host an open house and plant sale every October.

The event will feature 50 booths selling a variety of plants. Admission is free. Find more information online.

Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale: Gainesville, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hosted every six months, the Friends of the Library stock the shelves with thousands upon thousands of books along with artwork, records, puzzles, CDs and DVDs. All proceeds benefit the Alachua County Library District, and attendees line up early to be the first through the doors.

The sale runs from Saturday through Wednesday, so plan accordingly with other one-off events.

Prices range from a quarter to a $4 on average with a 10-cent day on Wednesday. The Collector’s Corner is set apart, containing first editions and signed copies with higher price tags.

The sale happens at 430 N. Main St. in Gainesville.

Gateway City Craft Beer and Wine Festival: Lake City, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Gateway City Craft Beer & Wine Festival
Courtesy Lake City-Columbia County Chamber The Lake City-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Gateway City Craft Beer & Wine Festival on Oct. 22.

Live music and food trucks will accompany the beer and wine at Lake City’s annual festival, located downtown at the Darby Pavilion.

The festival drew in more than 600 ticket holders last year. Tickets cost $30 for general admission and $50 for VIP admission.

18th Annual Florida Bat Festival: Gainesville, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If bats with six-foot wingspans don’t give you the heebie-jeebies, you’ve got nothing else to fear from the Lubee Bat Conservancy’s annual Bat Fest. And if mention of the world’s largest species of bat does cause goosebumps, the festival has plenty of other activities to enjoy.

The event will have a kids activity area, artisan vendors, food trucks, live music and a beer garden.

Visitors can also talk with bat experts about their conservation efforts. Proceeds further the conservancy’s work, and tickets cost $5 for kids and $8 for adults with the beer garden costing $28. Kids 4-years-old and under get in free.

Find more information at the Lubee Bat Conservancy website.

Kirby Family Farm Jeeptoberfest: Williston, Friday to Sunday

Another full weekend event, the 25th annual Jeeptoberfest will feature stock and modified obstacle courses for Jeeps from all over the Southeast.

Besides Jeeps, visitors can ride the farm’s historic train to view the course, and the farm will also provide music, food, vendors and a kid’s playground.

Find more information at the event website.

Rocktoberfest at the Y: Gainesville, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The YMCA will kick off its inaugural Rocktoberfest with food, music and dancing at the North Central Florida YMCA.

With heavy hors d’oeuvres by Prime & Pearl and DJ Elio Piedra providing the music, the event looks to raise funds for local programming. Tickets cost $75.

Find more details and buy tickets online.

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