Spring Guide 2023: The best reasons to leave the house between now and May 26

Okechobee Arts & Music Festival, March 2-5
Okechobee Arts & Music Festival, March 2-5 Photo by Alex Perez/Insomniac Events

As spring gradually heats up into summer, it's the best time of the year to hang out outside. Here's our guide to all the festivals, parties and fairs happening in Orlando this spring.

FEB. 16

SheBelieves Cup Canada Women's National Team vs. USWNT. 4 pm; Exploria Stadium, 655 W. Church St.; $30-$200; 855-675-2489; orlandocitysc.com.

FEB. 17

Mardi Gras NOLA Nite DJ Party DJ Grape La Flame playing New Orleans bounce, king cakes for sale, dinner service until 10:30 pm. Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen, 2203 Aloma Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-672-5753.

FEB. 17-19

150th Silver Spurs Rodeo Bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, and barrel racing, plus rodeo clowns and the famous Silver Spurs Quadrille team. Osceola Heritage Park, 1875 Silver Spur Lane, Kissimmee; $20-$25; 321-697-3495; silverspursrodeo.com.

Antiques & Collectors Extravaganza More than 800 vendors of vintage and antique furniture, decor, collectibles and fashion from around the country. 8 am-5 pm; Renninger's Antique Center, 20651 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora; free; 352-383-8393; renningers.net.

click to enlarge Sanford Porchfest, Feb. 25 - Photo by Jim Leatherman
Photo by Jim Leatherman
Sanford Porchfest, Feb. 25

FEB. 18

The 8th Annual MLK Concert: "I Am Enough, You Are Enough, Together We Shall Overcome!" Produced and directed by Grammy Award-winner Dr. Jeffrey Redding. Admission will be nonperishable food donations. 7 pm; Steinmetz Hall, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; free; 407-358-6603; orlando.gov.

The 9th Annual Mardi Gras Street Party Great food, music and fun for a cause at this beloved community event. 3:30 pm; Historic Downtown Sanford, Second Street and Sanford Avenue; 407-339-0879; sanfordfl.gov.

American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb Climb 25 flights or 512 steps up to the top of the iconic City National Bank Building. All are welcome to help raise funds for lung health. 8 am; City National Bank Building, 390 North Orange Avenue; $35; 704-340-3273.

Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball Dinner, drinks, and a program that includes dance music by the Europa Band, sing-alongs, and a costume contest. 5:30 pm; German American Society of Central Florida, 381 Orange Lane, Casselberry; $13-$30; 407-834-0574; orlandogermanclub.com.

Mardi Gras Music Festival Free concert, local vendors, food trucks, and dance performances. 5 pm; Lake Concord Park, 95 Triplet Lake Drive, Casselberry; free; 407-262-7700; casselberry.org.

Orlando Wetlands Festival Explore environmental exhibits, guided hikes and tours, live animals, native plant giveaway and more. 9 am-3 pm; Orlando Wetlands Park, 25155 Wheeler Road, Christmas; 407-568-1706; orlando.gov.

FEB. 18-19

The 4th Annual 1619 Fest The theme is "Black History Month Health Check." Festival starts after Rebel Run 5K and yoga. 7 am Saturday and noon Sunday; Winter Park Community Center, 721 New England Ave., Winter Park; free-$45; 407-490-2902; equitycouncilcorp.org.

HeartSupport Fest: Rise Against, Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside, Dance Gavin Dance, Spiritbox, August Burns Red, Silverstein, Memphis May Fire, The Devil Wears Prada, Hawthorne Heights 1:30 pm; Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; $85-$330; 407-295-3247; heartsupportfest.com.

Mount Dora Scottish Highland Festival Celtic music, dancing, a Scottish re-enactment village, vendors, beverages and all the bagpipes you can eat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Donnelly Park, North Baker Street and East Fifth Avenue, Mount Dora, mountdorascot.com, $15.

click to enlarge MegaCon, March 30-April 2 - Photo by JD Casto
Photo by JD Casto
MegaCon, March 30-April 2

FEB. 21

Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Block Party Live band and DJ. Happy hour is all day! 5 pm; Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen, 2203 Aloma Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-672-5753.

FEB. 23

Candlelight: The Best of Hans Zimmer 6:30 & 9 pm; Azalea Lodge at Mead Botanical Garden, 1300 S. Denning Drive, Winter Park; $45-$55.

Whiskey Business More than 70 whiskeys, Scotches, bourbons & ryes, plus craft beer and wine, bites from top Orlando restaurants, live music & performances, local vendors and much more. Ages 21+. 7 pm; Winter Park Civic Center, 1050 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park; $35-$70; whiskeybusinessorlando.com.

FEB. 24

A Joy-Filled Noise: A Musical Celebration of Black History Music director Kevin Harris leads a vocal and instrumental ensemble of some of the region's top talent in a survey of Black American music, from South African hymns, to African American. 7:30 pm; Timucua Arts Foundation, 2000 S. Summerlin Ave.; $7.50; 407-595-2713; timucua.com.

FEB. 25

6th Annual Sanford Porchfest Music Festival One community, 17 porches, over 70 bands, one cause. Cat Ridgeway & the Tourists, Eugene Snowden, Wilted Chilis, Harber Wynn Oak Hill Drifters, Jordan Foley & the Wheelhouse and more. 11 am; Sanford Porchfest Music Festival, 800 S. Park Ave., Sanford; 321-356-2210; sanfordporchfest.org.

Collect-A-Con The nation's largest trading card, anime & pop culture convention. 10 am; Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive; $25-$100; 407-685-9800.

HeART and Soul Music, spoken word, dance, and art, paying homage to the beauty of Black culture across the Diaspora. 2 pm; Winter Park Library and Events Center, 1052 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park; free; 407-623-3300; winterparklibrary.org.

FEB. 26-MARCH 4

Wekiva Island Paint Out A weeklong art exhibit featuring dozens of artists painting outdoors. Wekiva Island, 1014 Miami Springs Road, Longwood; free-$90; wekivapaintout.com.

MARCH 2-5

Okeechobee Arts and Music Festival: Excision, Odesza, Griz, Baby Keem, Peekaboo, Lil Yachty, Earth, Wind & Fire, Turnstile Sunshine Grove, 12517 NE 91st Ave., Okeechobee; $129-$369; okeechobeefest.com.

MARCH 2-12

Central Florida Fair Rides, games, and food, along with live music and entertainment, animals, livestock exhibitions and more. Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; $10-$125; 407-295-3247; centralfloridafair.com.

The Florida Strawberry Festival Eleven full days of strawberries, shortcake, big name concerts, rides, stage shows, attractions, food galore, exhibits, displays, contests, competitions and a berry sweet time for the whole family. Florida Strawberry Festival, 303 BerryFest Place, Plant City; $10; flstrawberryfestival.com.

MARCH 3-5

Thundering Spirit Family Pow-Wow Intertribal Native American pow-wow. Renninger's Antique Center, 20651 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora; $10-$15; 352-383-8393.

MARCH 4

Ecos Fest Celebrating music, dance, theater and visual arts from the local Latinx community. 2-8 pm; CityArts, 39 S. Magnolia Ave.; $5; downtownartsdistrict.com.

Mayor's Jazz in the Park Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings invites you, your family and friends to attend a free evening of jazz. 2-6 pm; Cypress Grove Park, 290 Holden Ave.; free.

Miss Rose Dynasty Pageant 6:30 pm; Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; $37.50; drphillipscenter.org.

Monster Jam Experience full-throttle fun as 12,000-pound monster trucks tear up the dirt in wide-open competitions of speed and skill. 7 pm; Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place; $15-$100; 407-423-2476; campingworldstadium.com.

click to enlarge Beer 'Merica, May 20 - Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly
Beer 'Merica, May 20

MARCH 5

8th Annual It's Just Yoga Health & Fitness Festival For yogis of all experience levels, ages, shapes and sizes. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Lake Eola Park, North Eola Drive and East Robinson Street, ijyconnects.com, free

DeLand Indie Market Spring Edition Vintage, handcrafted, art and boutique items. 11 am; Downtown DeLand, Indiana Avenue and South Woodland Boulevard; facebook.com/delandindiemarketatartisanalley.

The Pegasus String Quartet 2 pm; Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, 633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park; $40; 407-647-6294; polasek.org.

Winter Park St. Patrick's Day Parade One of the longest-running St. Patrick's Day parades in Central Florida. 2-4 pm; Downtown Winter Park, North Park Avenue; free; cityofwinterpark.org.

MARCH 7

2023 BBQ in the Park More than 800 of Orlando's top business leaders and elected officials come together for a barbecue. 5-8 pm; Luminary Green Park, 437 N. Terry Ave.; $75-$175; 407-422-7159; orlando.org.

Cult Classics: Spring Breakers College students are short of the cash they need for a spring-break trip, so they rob a diner and head down to Florida. 9:30 pm; Enzian Theater, 1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland; $11; 407-629-1088; enzian.org.

MARCH 10

Candlelight: A Tribute to Beyoncé The magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations. 6:30 & 9 pm; Azalea Lodge at Mead Botanical Garden, 1300 S. Denning Drive, Winter Park; $50-$60.

MARCH 10-11

Ocoee Music Fest: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Night Ranger, The Mavericks, Rocktown, Chris Janson, Niko Moon, Chapel Hart, Walker Montgomery, Mark Houghton Bill Breeze Park, 125 N. Lakeshore Drive, Ocoee; free-$40; 407-877-5803; ocoeemusicfestival.com.

MARCH 11

Smile Mile A running festival just for kids ages 5 to 11. Mile and half-mile runners receive a bib, T-shirt, and finisher medal. 8 am; Lake Baldwin Upper Park, Upper Park Road and South Lakemont Avenue; $10-$20; 407-896-1160; trackshack.com.

MARCH 11-12

Leu Gardens Plant Sale Plant and outdoor accessories sale featuring more than 50 local growers and vendors. 9 am-5 pm; Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 N. Forest Ave.; free; 407-246-2620; leugardens.org.

MARCH 16

Candlelight: Favorite Anime Themes Discover the music of anime. 6:30 & 9 pm; Azalea Lodge at Mead Botanical Garden, 1300 S. Denning Drive, Winter Park; $50-$60.

MARCH 16-19

Mighty St. Patrick's Day Festival Live entertainment, including Irish music and Irish dancers, food, craft beer and more. Raglan Road Irish Pub, 1640 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista; 407-938-0300; raglanroad.com.

MARCH 17-18

Lucky's St. Patrick's Day Crawl Enjoy drinks, food, costumes and more on this themed pub crawl. 4 pm; Underground Public House, 19 S. Orange Ave.; $15; crawlwith.us.

MARCH 17-19

Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival One of the nation's oldest, largest and most prestigious outdoor art festivals. Central Park, Park Avenue, Winter Park; free; wpsaf.org.

MARCH 18-19

Mount Dora Spring Festival More than 200 artists, craft exhibitors and musicians fill the historic streets of downtown Mount Dora. 9 am-5 pm; Downtown Mount Dora, East Fifth Avenue and North Donnelly Street; free; 352-217-8390; mountdoraspringfest.com.

MARCH 22

Winter Park Wine & Dine Unlimited tastings from more than 35 restaurants, plus craft beers, wine and live music. 6:30-9:30 pm; Winter Park Farmers Market, 200 W. New England Ave., Winter Park; $75-$500; cityofwinterpark.org.

MARCH 23-26

Sunnyland Antique and Classic Boat Festival View more than 70 classic and antique boats. 100 E. Ruby St., Tavares; acbs-sunnyland.org.

MARCH 24-26

Art in Bloom An annual springtime fundraiser since 1983 showcasing an array of fine quality antiques, paintings, jewelry, porcelain, vintage collectibles and much more. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.; $12-$20; 407-896-4231; councilof101.org.

Uptown Art Expo Over 140 art exhibits, chalk street paintings, festival foods, and live music all weekend long. Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; free; 407-592-0002; uptownartexpo.com.

MARCH 25

The 29th Annual Taste of Oviedo Learn new cooking techniques, sip on adult beverages, discover your new favorite food, dance to live music and more. 10 am; Oviedo Mall, 1700 Oviedo Marketplace Blvd., Oviedo; free-$20; owsrcc.org/tasteofoviedo.

Central Florida Soul Fest Fantasia, Babyface, Goodie Mob, Lyfe Jennings and more. 1 pm; Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; $50-$145; 407-295-3247; centralfloridasoulfest.com.

Florida Wildflower and Garden Festival A forum to promote environmentally friendly sustainable gardening practices featuring an array of vendors and presentations by experts. 9 am; Downtown DeLand, Indiana Avenue and South Woodland Boulevard; free; mainstreetdeland.org.

Longwood Pirate Seafood Festival Enjoy a great variety of food vendors and pirates and mermaids and more at this family-friendly event. 10 am; Reiter Park, 301 W. Warren Ave., Longwood; free; longwoodfestival.com.

Pints N Paws Craft Beer Festival Interact with other pet lovers while enjoying unlimited beer sampling from over 100 breweries. 1-6 pm; Historic Downtown Sanford; $40-$65; pintsandpaws.com.

click to enlarge Monster Jam, March 4 - courtesy image
courtesy image
Monster Jam, March 4

MARCH 27

Taste of Lake Mary Gourmet food and wine tasting alongside live entertainment. 5:30-8 pm; Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary; $55; 407-995-1100; lakemaryrotary.com.

MARCH 30-APRIL 2

MegaCon James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Christina Ricci, Vincent D'Onofrio, Hayden Christensen, and Steve Burns from Blue's Clues are among the many guests appearing this year. 4 pm; Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive; 407-685-9800; fanexpohq.com/megaconorlando.

MARCH 31-APRIL 1

Maitland Jazz and Blues Festival Pat Travers, Lucy Yeghiazaryan, Michelle Amato, Bobby Blackmon, The Jake and Elwood Blues Revue, UCF's Flying Horse Big Band and more. 6 pm; Independence Square, 1776 Independence Lane, Maitland; free; 407-539-6223; maitlandjazzandblues.com.

APRIL 1-2

34th Annual Spring Fiesta in the Park Mingle with artists and crafters from around the country as they line the streets around the park, savor the flavors from a variety of food vendors, and enjoy live entertainment for the whole family. 10 am; Lake Eola Park, North Rosalind Avenue and East Washington Street; fiestainthepark.com.

Vintage Garden Show Displays of vintage and antique garden decor, plants and herbs. 8 am-5 pm; Renninger's Antique Center, 20651 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora; free; 352-383-8393; renningers.net.

APRIL 2-15

UCF Celebrates the Arts Almost 40 different events showcasing creativity: theater, dance, visual arts, architecture, storytelling, literature, opera, classical, jazz and more. Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; free; 407-358-6603; arts.cah.ucf.edu.

Orlando Record and CD Show 7 am; Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; $3; 407-295-3247; facebook.com/lpand45man.

Sanford Indie Market Spring Edition Vintage, handcrafted, art and boutique items. 11 am; Tuffy's Music Box, 200 Myrtle Ave., Sanford; facebook.com/tuffysmusicbox.

APRIL 14

Sideline Wine & Dine Enjoy wine and bites in the suites at Camping World Stadium. 7-10 pm; Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place; price TBA; 407-423-2476; floridacitrussports.com.

APRIL 14-15

Tampa Bay Screams Horror Convention Film fest with special guests Fred Olen Ray, Tamara Glynn, April Hunter, Denice Duff and more. Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore, 700 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa; $35; gatorbladefilms.com/tampa-bay-screams.

APRIL 14-23

32nd Annual Florida Film Festival Ten days and more than 160 films plus first-class events where film lovers mingle with filmmakers and celebrities. Enzian Theater, 1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland; 407-629-1088; floridafilmfestival.com.

APRIL 15

28th Annual Earth Day Mount Dora 9 am; Downtown Mount Dora, East Fifth Avenue and North Donnelly Street, Mount Dora; mountdoraenvironment.org.

Orlando Book Festival A day-long celebration of books. Panels and talks from bestselling authors from all over the state, including a keynote from R.L. Stine. 10:30 am; Orlando Public Library, 101 E. Central Blvd.; free; 407-835-7323; ocls.info.

Spring Jazz 'n Blues Concert Outdoor concert featuring multiple jazz artists. 7-10 pm; Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 N. Forest Ave.; $18; 407-246-2620; leugardens.org.

APRIL 15-16

Florida Groves Fest Tunes, cannabis, live art, tattooing, glassblowing, sneakerheads, foodies and more. Noon; Orlando Amphitheater, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; $45-$1200; 954-294-4915; floridagrovesfest.com.

APRIL 16

Taco and Margarita Festival Tantalizing tacos and myriad margaritas, live professional wrestling, live DJs and musical performances, local arts and crafts artists, kids activities. Noon; Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place; $12-$79; 407-423-2476; campingworldstadium.com.

APRIL 22

The 18th Annual Central Florida Earth Day An exciting day of colorful and educational exhibits and activities. 10 am; Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St.; free; cfearthday.org.

Earthday Birthday: Breaking Benjamin, Falling in Reverse, The Pretty Reckless, Beartooth, Sevendust, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Bad Wolves, Dorothy, New Years Day 11 am; Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; $55-$199; 407-295-3247; wjrr.iheart.com.

Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk & Urban Art Festival A celebration of Central Florida's richly diverse culture through art, music, food and more. 10 am-4 pm; Hannibal Square Heritage Center, 642 W. New England Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-539-2680; cityofwinterpark.org.

NAMIWalks A 5K walk and community event through the National Alliance on Mental Illness supporting mental health awareness. 8 am; Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; free; 407-253-1900; namiwalks.org.

Record Store Day The 16th annual celebration of the brick-and-mortar record store and the music, art and entertainment you take home. 8 am; Park Ave CDs, 2916 Corrine Drive; 407-447-7275; facebook.com/parkavecds.

APRIL 23-29

Winter Park Paint Out Live painting event. Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, 633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-647-6294; polasek.org.

APRIL 29

Orlando Pottery Festival Spring Arts Market 9 am-5 pm; Florida National Guard Armory, 2809 S. Ferncreek Ave.; free; 407-897-2713; orlandopotteryfestival.org.

APRIL 29-30

11th Annual St. Johns River Festival of the Arts A fine arts and crafts event with artwork from some of the best artists in the country. 10 am; Historic Downtown Sanford, First Street; 407-416-1779; stjohnsriverartfest.com.

MAY 1-2

APC National Pie Championships Pies from across the country go crust-to-crust for the national title. Embassy Suites South of Lake Buena Vista, 4955 Kyngs Heath Road, Kissimmee, 407-597-4000; free; piecouncil.org.

MAY 13

Bizarre World A unique vendor experience for the strange and unusual artist or merchants. Bring your wares and tears to this one-day extravaganza of all things odd and unusual. 10 am; Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; $5; 407-295-3247; lunattix.com.

MAY 16-29

The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival Hundreds of ticketed performances from playwrights, performance artists and musicians from around the world will be on offer, along with food, drink and hobnobbing on the Fringe lawn. Various times and venues; ticket prices TBA; orlandofringe.org.

MAY 18

Bach Vocal Artists: Marriage of Music and Poetry 7:30 pm; Tiedtke Concert Hall, Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park; $15; 407-646-2000; bachfestivalflorida.org.

MAY 18-21

Welcome to Rockville: Tool, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Pantera, Rob Zombie, Godsmack, Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach; $289.99-$1,079.96; 904-253-7223; welcometorockville.com.

MAY 19-21

Spooky Empire An enormous room of vendors, a film and tattoo festival, music, celebrity speakers, and more to satiate even the most diehard aficionados of the spooky season. 1 pm; DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando, 5780 Major Boulevard; $40-$250; spookyempire.com.

MAY 20

Beer 'Merica 100 different craft brews to sample from, all from the good ol' U.S. of A. Ages 21+. 3 pm; Gaston Edwards Park, 1236 N. Orange Ave.; $30-$65; beermericaorlando.com.

MAY 26

Culture Fete Weekend The biggest soca artists from around the Caribbean perform live. 8 pm; Culture Fete Village, 9755 Delegates Drive; $50-$100; 352-874-3304; culturefeteweekend.com.

MAY 26-28

Orlando Carnival Downtown Caribbean American festival with a wide assortment of DJs, Caribbean cuisine, and an enormous music lineup. Lorna Doone Park, 1519 W. Church St.; price TBA; orlandocarnivaldowntown.com.

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