5 free events to look forward to this summer in Orlando 

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Photo by Gary J. Wood

Summers can be oppressive – scratch that: are oppressive – in Central Florida. Between the 100-degree blanket of suck outdoors and the sporadic end-times thunderstorms, most Orlandoans devolve into swamp-crotched complaint beasts who would rather stay at home with a good A/C unit than venture into the perpetually moist miasma of summer. Here are a few events that may inspire you to buck up, towel off and appreciate all the great stuff that happens in your town. But appreciation is always easier with good air conditioning, so we took that into account.

The Pink Fire Revue

Not only does the Gallery at Avalon Island have a decent air conditioner, but they also have nice big windows. Which means you can look out onto the street and experience the schadenfreude of watching people walk around downtown in the heat while you keep cool inside with this cross-disciplinary art event. Experience visual depictions of sound from Synthestruct while poets like John King and Tod Caviness read poetry over a backing of icy improvised electronic music from the likes of Jon Curtis and Pressurewave. Presented by Functionally Literate, the Drunken Odyssey and the In-Between Series, this event brings together some of our favorite local artists for a special experience.

7 p.m. Saturday, June 4 | The Gallery at Avalon Island, 37 S. Magnolia Ave. | avalongallery.org | free

Finding the Fountain of Youth Tacky Tourist Party

The Orange County Regional History Center celebrates the opening of a new exhibit with this free party that skewers and celebrates Florida's tourism culture in equal measure. Dress to offend in the costume contest for best/worst tourist get-up and test your knowledge of Florida trivia. This is one time you should not leave your fanny pack at home.

6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 9 | Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E. Central Blvd. | 407-836-8500 | thehistorycenter.org | free

Gods & Monsters Anniversary Celebration

The largest comic, toy and gaming shop in the area celebrates its first birthday with what is essentially a mini convention. Artists, writers and publishers set up tables to exhibit and sign their wares while the store hosts panels, workshops and more. Plus, you can roll a d20 at checkout for a chance to win up to 40 percent off any purchases.

11 a.m. Saturday, June 11 | Gods & Monsters, Artegon Marketplace, 5250 International Drive | godmonsters.com | free

New Smyrna Beach Bicycle Bar Tour

Yes, this is a little out of the way, and yes, it is outside. But we think the combination of the sea breeze and the wind generated by pedaling your bike around NSB – not to mention the frequent stops for refreshments – should keep you cool. This informal group of cyclists takes a tour of the bars of New Smyrna Beach, including plenty of stops on beautiful Flagler Avenue. They depart from J.B.'s Fish Camp in the morning, but they shouldn't be hard to find if you get to town late. You may want to book a room, though, as most Uber drivers will not take you and your bike back to Orange County.

11 a.m. Saturday, June 18 | J.B.'s Fish Camp, 859 Pompano Ave., New Smyrna Beach | 386-427-5747 | free

Bastille Day Celebration

Every year, the Audubon Park Garden District screams, "Vive le France!" for Bastille Day with a celebration of French culture that often includes baguette fencing, mimes and surrendering. But this year, they're expanding that celebration across four days. While some of the auxiliary events, like La Femme du Fromage's cheese and wine pairing, cost extra, most of the activities are free. Keep an eye on their website for a full schedule later this summer.

Thursday-Sunday, July 14-17 | Audubon Park Garden District, East Winter Park Road and Corrine Drive | apgardens.com | free

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