How to do Orlando Fringe Festival like an expert

It’s the biggest event of the summer — don’t screw it up

Jennica McCleary, Midnight Flashlight Cabaret (2022)
Jennica McCleary, Midnight Flashlight Cabaret (2022) Photo by Brian Harris/Orlando Fringe

Brace yourself! From now through May 29, the 32nd annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is back. This year more than 120 shows, presented across 14 days by hundreds of local, North American and international performers, come together in Central Florida's biggest annual cultural convergence.

Orlando Fringe Festival will return to its home at Loch Haven Park: show venues in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, Orlando Repertory Theatre and Orlando Museum of Art surrounding the lawn, a broad grassy swath where you'll find the beer and wine tents, food vendors, an ATM, and a full liquor bar, not to mention a seething mass of theatrical humanity, plus an outdoor stage with a busy nightly schedule of local musicians, comedians, dancers and more.

Fringe spreads throughout the City Beautiful with more venues — at the Fringe ArtSpace downtown on Church Street, at the Renaissance Theater, the Starlite Room at Savoy, the Abbey and Hamburger Mary's. As always there are also a few site-specific works, plus the return of PeeVira's "Scare-a-Van," an immersive sing-along experience on wheels. And there's a shuttle service that will whisk festivalgoers between the Lowndes Center, ArtSpace and the Abbey.

Kids Fringe weekends and the Visual Fringe gallery also return, as does the required, collectible Fringe button. It's a $10 one-time purchase that funds Fringe's operations — all the proceeds of ticket sales (minus the service fee) go directly to the shows themselves.

Pro tips: How to Fringe

Pay up: In addition to the button, you'll need to buy tickets to the shows themselves. Show prices range from free to $15 and are set by the artists, who keep 100% of the take. There are fees, however, even if you buy in person, so keep your eye on and take advantage of any discounts offered by the artists (and there are often several). A word to the wise: WiFi and cell service in the Lowndes and Loch Haven Park are, not to put too fine a point on it, crappy. Go for printed tickets when and if you can to avoid frustration and wasted time.

Put together a show schedule: You could always — gasp — use paper. But we are enamored of a new app this year called the Refringerator, designed by Sunset Sky Creative and somewhat reminiscent of the old Fringe-o-Matic. Go to to download the app and use it to build your schedule and share it with others.

Parking sucks: Use a ride app, ride your bike, use public transit or an e-scooter share ... anything to avoid driving. But if you must, consult the FAQ at festivals to find a list of this year's approved parking lots.

Don't be late: Even if you've paid for a ticket, once the doors close, you're not getting in.

Weather: Don't forget to bring a hat, sunscreen and an umbrella. It will be hot and it will rain. Be prepared!


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Jessica Bryce Young

Jessica Bryce Young has been working with Orlando Weekly since 2003, serving as copy editor, dining editor and arts editor before becoming editor in chief in 2016.
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