With its packed events calendar, there is a lot more to Orlando than its range of theme parks. Indeed from folk festivals and musical celebrations to sporting events and cultural activities, the city puts on a spectacular array of festivities every year. And, with its diverse program, everyone can join in the revelries.
Kicking off the year, the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival is a great event to attend; located approximately 10 miles north of Orlando, it runs for one week in January and attracts over 100,000 people. Designed to celebrate the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston, a writer, folklorist and anthropologist, the program includes a host of activities based around African American culture.
The last three days sees the event take place outside, with its Outdoor Festival of the Arts. The organizers put on a fantastic show, with performances, concerts and workshops. There’s also an international marketplace, where you can find food and unique wares from around the world. And, if you’re lucky you may just get to rub shoulders with the stars, with previous guests having included Bobby Womack, Isaac Hayes and Ossie Davis.
The Florida Film Festival is another event not to be missed. Having been established in 1992, it runs every March/April and has grown into a massive show. Drawing crowds of over 25,000, its program is packed with an array of exciting seminars and films. In fact, from international releases to student films and local filmmakers, there is something to tickle everyone’s film fancies.
The start of spring also brings with it many festivals and events. The popular Fringe Festival is always good fun, with an extremely diverse program of events on offer. Based at Loch Haven Park, performers from across the globe head to Orlando to entertain the crowds. And, having grown in popularity, the performers are now accepted on a first-come-first-served basis, meaning you never know who you will end up seeing!
For some fun in the sun, the Wake Zone is definitely worth heading for; running every May to September, anyone can join in the excitement with the range of water slides and sports on offer. Situated on a purpose built, half-mile lake, visitors can indulge in some extreme water adventures, with those brave enough being able to waterski or skate whilst being pulled along on specially constructed cables.
And of course, no events calendar would be complete without its annual Christmas celebrations. In true American style, Orlando puts on a spectacular ice show, featuring two million pounds of ice! Starting in November, visitors can head to Gaylord Palms to witness the winter wonderland in all its glory, complete with a real ice bridge and numerous sculptures.
Indeed, with so much action and entertainment involved in a holiday to Orlando, the duration of your stay could unexpectedly extend as you continue to find more new and interesting things to do. But with a wide range of hotels in Orlando available, it should not be too difficult to find suitable accommodation should such a scenario occur. And with Orlando having something to offer everyone all year round, the most difficult decision may be choosing what time in the year to visit!