Festivals, conventions and other events you won't want to miss this fall

Fall Guide 2016

Stranger Things cast at Spooky Empire
Stranger Things cast at Spooky Empire

Fall is the season when Central Florida explodes with community events of every size and color. For the morbid minds among us, there are a plethora of Halloween events all throughout the month of October. The annual Spooky Empire convention has done so well in previous years at I-Drive hotels that it's expanded into a full-fledged con. (Oct. 7-9, Orange County Convention Center). The convention scored a coup by booking nearly the whole cast of Stranger Things, the cultural sensation that debuted on Netflix this summer. Hopefully someone lets those kids take a nap afterwards; they have to be exhausted.

click to enlarge Oktoberfest - Leigh Wolf
Leigh Wolf
Oktoberfest

October also means Oktoberfest, and there are two significant celebrations for German-Americans – though you're allowed to partake even if you just love schnitzel and Spaten. Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café;, the area's mecca for authentic Teutonic fare, hosts a lederhosen-laden party (Oct. 14). And Casselberry's German American Society of Central Florida repeats their oompah-driven tent party later in the month (Oct. 22).

click to enlarge Maker Faire
Maker Faire

Those who find the slightly less inclement weather of fall not enough of a reason to tear themselves away from technology may want to take a look at OrlandoiX, a three-day expo celebrating digital innovation, tech startups, gaming and more (Oct. 14-16, Orange County Convention Center). Meanwhile, techies who lean more toward physical applications would do well to check out the annual Maker Faire, where garage-based mad scientists show off 3-D printers, robots, homemade electronic instruments and other projects (Oct. 22-23, Central Florida Fairgrounds).

Epicureans will find no shortage of cuisine and quaffs to quench their cravings. Central Florida Veg Fest offers plenty of cruelty-free food demonstrations, along with face-to-snout interactions with creatures who would prefer to stay off your plate (Oct. 22, Festival Park). Many a gyro and gyoza can be crammed down your gullet at either the Orlando Greek Fest (Nov. 4-6, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church) or the Orlando Japan Festival (Nov. 13, the Village at Hunter's Creek). And we'd be remiss if we didn't remind you that one of our favorite events to throw, the Orlando Beer Fest, returns just after Armistice Day, just in time for peak holiday beer season (Nov. 12, Festival Park).

Keep checking our online calendar at orlandoweekly.com for an even more comprehensive list.

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