Everything you need to know to have a blast at Orlando Fringe Festival

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Look out for Fringezilla!
Look out for Fringezilla! Photo courtesy of Orlando Fringe
through Monday, May 27
Loch Haven Park

We’ve updated our annual A-to-Z (all right, A-to-W) guide to getting the most out of the festival. Check out show details, festival policies and venue maps at orlandofringe.org, where you can also buy tickets, and keep an eye on Orlando Weekly’s show reviews at orlandoweekly.com/fringe2019.

Look for the official Orlando Fringe app on the Apple and Android stores, or log into orlandofringe.org on your mobile browser. Either way, you can search the show schedule and purchase tickets that can be stored and scanned straight from your digital wallet, with no need to print on dead trees.

Bars and restaurants
Food stalls on the Fringe Lawn include everything from carnival-style fast food to high-end treats, along with the ubiquitous beer tent and a full liquor bar. Beer and wine can also be bought in OMA, Orlando Shakes' rear courtyard and the Black Venue (aka the Venue on Virginia Drive). There are also ample opportunities to stop for a drink or a bite to eat along Orange and Mills avenues and Virginia Drive – check out page 35 for a round-up of restaurants and bars within a mile of the Shakes.

Go first, because there's no re-entry if you leave a show. The ones in Shakes and the Orlando Repertory Theatre are the best; avoid the portables on the lawn unless you are desperate.

Box office
There are three (Shakes, Rep and at the Venue on Virginia) where you can buy tickets in person, or you can buy tickets online. Tickets cost up to $12, and no matter where you purchase you'll pay a $1.25 service fee per seat.

The $10 button is a one-time purchase that funds Fringe's operations – ticket sales (minus the service fee) go directly to the shows themselves. Buttons can be purchased with cash only at any venue, or by credit card (with service fee) at a festival box office. Without a button and a ticket, no one over the age of 12 will be admitted to any show, so don't lose it.

Cash or credit
The on-site ATM tacks on fees and gets cleaned out fast on weekends, but this year you can finally swipe your card (or tap your phone) to pay for drinks and merchandise.

It's always free to hang out on the lawn, where there's food, drink and local bands playing throughout the festival. Check out the TGIFringe bash on May 17, billed as Central Florida's biggest arts industry party of the year.

Loch Haven is notoriously awful for cellular coverage (level of badness depends on your carrier). Instead of counting on your phone, pick up one of the printed Fringe guides available throughout the festival, just to be safe.

Club Fringe
Join Club Fringe with a minimum donation of $25 to access the air-conditioned private lounge inside OMA, featuring free refreshments, phone chargers, and other perks; visit orlandofringe.org/clubfringe for details.

For the first time, Fringe shows have the option of offering half-priced seats for select performances, so scan the show schedule for designated $6 showtimes. Some shows also offer $2 off to students, seniors, military and/or theme park employees. The only catch is that you must buy your tickets in person at a box office to get those savings.

Fringe Feels
Want to show your gratitude for all the hard work that goes into Fringe? Nick Georgoudious, host of WPRK's To a Certain Degree, is sponsoring a free station in the Rep lobby where you can type or scrawl a thank you note for your favorite Fringe volunteer, staffer or performer.

Fringe Lawn
Between the Shakes and the Rep lies a broad grassy swath where you'll find the beer and wine tent, food vendors, an ATM, and a new Fringe-run Booze Tent (with happy hour specials from 5-6 p.m. on weekdays), not to mention a seething mass of theatrical humanity. The lawn opens at noon on weekends, and closes at 1 a.m. nightly.

Does trying to fit all the shows you want to see into your calendar make you feel frantic? The free website fringeomatic.com will accept your wish list and availability, and output an optimal Festival itinerary for you.

Fringers of the Future
For the first time, Orlando Fringe held a special lottery for middle and high school drama troupes, offering them free slots in the festival. The teen thespians also get to take free workshops, and compete for scholarships and the Patron's Pick award. Teen shows cost just $6 each, and all proceeds support the schools' theater programs.

Help! What should I see?
Use Orlando Weekly's reviews to plan your viewing – our critics are risking life and limb to see as many shows as possible. Find reviews at orlandoweekly.com/fringe2019.

Kids Fringe
The hippest kids in town attend Kids Fringe inside the air-conditioned Orlando Garden Club, which is packed on both weekends (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) with free entertainment – puppetry, pets, concerts, hands-on art activities – that parents will enjoy too. Follow @kidsfringe on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Even if you've paid for a ticket, once the doors close, you're not getting in. Arrive at least 30 minutes before showtime and leave plenty of time to park and walk to the venue; it may be on the opposite end of the complex.

Outdoor stage
The free outdoor stage, which is booked by promoter Jessica Pawli, offers lots of live local music. This year's lineup includes the return of Swamp Sistas La La and Jambando, plus a "Jazz For All" Sunday and Swamburger-sponsored hip-hop night. Learn more about this year's Lawn Stage offerings on page 27.

Limited as always, with the Rep and Shakes lots sure to be filled to capacity at all times. Florida Hospital's garage is free on Friday nights and Saturdays ($4 maximum at other times), and Magruder Eye Institute and Florida Urology Associates (weekends only) are open for Fringe patrons; see the map on the Fringe website or in the printed guide for details.

Sign Language
To make Fringe more accessible to hearing impaired patrons, ASL interpreters from Signing Shadows attend selected performances; see the schedule for details.

Follow the festival at Facebook.com/OrlandoFringeFestival, on Instagram (@orlandofringe), and on Twitter (@OrlandoFringe) for late-breaking announcements and info. #OFringe28 #OrlandoFringe

Each venue at the Fringe has a color-coded name. Orange, Yellow, Pink, Brown, Blue, Red and Purple are all inside Orlando Shakes; Green and Silver are at the Orlando Rep; and Gold is at OMA. Black is at the Venue on Virginia Drive, and the new Rainbow venue is at The Center on Mills Avenue. BYOV shows are held at Breakthrough Theatre, Savoy and additional nearby locations. Make sure you leave enough time between shows if your venues are far apart (if you're not sure, check the map).

Visual Fringe
Fringe's art market is hosted in the hallways of Orlando Shakes, with additional works in OMA. Like the show tickets, 100% of the purchase price of any artwork goes directly to the artist.

Don't forget: hat, sunscreen, umbrella. It will be hot and it will rain. But who cares? You'll be prepared.

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