There are fun events happening in the Orlando area year round. To help you find your faves, we’ve put together a quick guide to some of the ones that happen around the same time every year. Note that this guide gets published at the end of July 2019, so the dates you’ll see from January through July will be for 2020. Have fun; we’ll see you out there.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
Jan. 1, 2020; Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place; buffalowildwingscitrusbowl.com
The Citrus Bowl plays host to one of the BCS games every New Year’s Day.
Central Florida Scottish Highland Games
Jan. 18-19, 2020; Central Winds Park, 1000 Central Winds Drive, Winter Springs; flascot.com
Annual weekend of caber tossing, axe throwing, sheep-herding, drinking, eating and dancing.
Jan. 17-20, 2020; Orlando Science Center, 777 E. Princeton St.; 407-514-2000; osc.org
Showcase of cutting-edge technology from industry leaders, providing a glimpse of the not-too-distant future.
January 2020 (dates TBA), downtown Eatonville, Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville, zorafestival.org
Eatonville’s most famous writer gets a festival in her honor every year featuring live music, arts and educational activities.
February 15, 2020; Mennello Museum of American Art, 900 E. Princeton St.; 407-246-4278; mennellomuseum.org
The Mennello hosts this daylong outdoor concert in the sculpture garden with food and drink vendors every Valentine’s Day weekend.
Lunar New Year Dragon Parade
February 2020 (date TBA), Fashion Square Mall, 3201 E. Colonial Drive, centralfloridadragonparade.org
Formerly taking place in Mills 50, this Lunar New Year celebration got so big that it had to move to the Fashion Square Mall in 2015.
Orlando Chili Cook-Off
February 2020 (date TBA); Festival Park, 2911 E. Robinson St.; orlandochilicookoff.com
This event brings the heat with more than 100 different types of chili to sample, the World Chili Eating Championship competition, live music and more.
Winter Park Weekend of the Arts
February 2020 (dates TBA); multiple locations, Winter Park; cityofwinterpark.org
A weekend highlighting music, theater and art in spaces across Winter Park.
Florida Strawberry Festival
February-March 2020 (dates TBA); Florida Strawberry Festival, 2209 W. Oak Ave., Plant City; 813-752-9194; flstrawberryfestival.com
One of the biggest agricultural fairs in the state routinely brings in big names for concerts, along with all the rides and festival food you can handle.
Arab Festival Orlando
March 2020 (dates TBA); Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St.; 407-246-4484; aaccflorida.org
Try plenty of Middle Eastern food while seeing live performances on the bandshell stage.
Central Florida Fair
March 2020 (dates TBA); Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; centralfloridafair.com
Showcasing the best in midway rides, live entertainment, livestock and fried foods.
Gasparilla Music Festival
March 2020 (dates TBA); Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa; gasparillamusic.com
One of Tampa’s biggest largest annual festivals draws big names and Florida favorites alike to downtown’s Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
Orlando Caribbean Festival
March 2020 (dates TBA), Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive; centralfloridafair.com
Celebration of Central Florida’s Caribbean connections, with live music, DJs, food, dancing and more.
Orlando Holi Festival
March 2020 (dates TBA); Bill Frederick Park, 3401 S. Hiawassee Road; 407-814-7501; facebook.com/indianhorizonoffloridainc
Celebrate the Hindi spring festival with dancing, music and plenty of colored powder to throw at each other.
Thundering Spirit Pow Wow
March 2020 (dates TBA); Renninger’s Antique Center, 20651 State Highway 441, Mount Dora; thunderingspiritfamily.com
Annual Native American culture festival with drumming, dancing, crafts and food.
Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival
March 2020 (dates TBA); Central Park, Winter Park; wpsaf.org
Browse through booths from tons of artists and vendors at one of the country’s oldest, largest and most prestigious juried art festivals.
Spring Fiesta in the Park
April 4-5, 2020; Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St.; 407-855-0606; fiestainthepark.com
This biannual block party brings vendors, entertainment, food and more to downtown’s Lake Eola Park.
April 16-19, 2020; Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive; megaconorlando.com
Central Florida’s largest comic and media convention brings in big names from the worlds of television, film, comics and more for a huge celebration of pop culture.
Florida Film Festival
April 17-26, 2020; Enzian Theater, 1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland; 407-629-1088; floridafilmfestival.com
Whether you’re a fan of dramas, comedies, documentaries or shorts, the Florida Film Festival has it all.
May 12-25, 2020; Loch Haven Park, 777 E. Princeton St.; orlandofringe.org
Thespians from all over the world descend on the theater complex at Loch Haven for two weeks of performances.
May 2020 (date TBA); Gaston Edwards Park, 1236 N. Orange Ave.; orlandoweeklytickets.com
Celebrating American Craft Beer Week, this daylong beer festival on the shore of Lake Ivanhoe spotlights more than 100 varieties of American craft brews, along with live music, games and giveaways.
June 1-30, 2020; multiple locations; bite30.com
A monthlong celebration of the best food Central Florida has to offer, with special prix fixe menus at each participating restaurant.
June 2020 (date and location TBA); bitenightorlando.com
Bite Night is a foodie wonderland, featuring samples from more than 20 of Orlando’s best-loved chefs and restaurants.
Big Gay Weekend
June 4-June 7, 2020; multiple locations; onemagicalweekend.com, girlsinwonderland.com
Two of the biggest LGBTQ+ gatherings in the country convene on the first weekend in June, along with associated gatherings, parties and more.
Fireworks at the Fountain
July 4, 2020; Lake Eola Park, North Eola Drive and East Robinson Street; orlando.gov
Nothing says patriotism like the “oohs” and “ahhs” elicited by the choreographed firework and light show at Lake Eola each year.
Tacos & Tequila
July 2020 (date and location TBA); tacosandtequilaorlando.com
Peak-taco deniers get to try dozens of takes on everyone’s favorite Tex-Mex one-handed treat – along with plenty of tequila and cerveza.
Sick ’n’ Wrong Film Festival
Aug. 9-11, 2019; CityArts, 39 S. Magnolia Ave.; sick-n-wrong.com
This film festival is open to shorts, features, live action or animation from around the world, as long as they induce a state of WTF in the audience. It’s more fun than that sounds.
Best of Orlando
Aug. 21, 2019; The Beacham, 46 N. Orange Ave.; orlandoweekly.com
Annual party in honor of Orlando Weekly
’s Best of Orlando winners. If you snag a ticket to this exclusive party, congratulations: We like you.
Halloween Horror Nights
Sept. 6-Nov. 2, 2019; Universal Studios, 6000 Universal Blvd.; halloweenhorrornights.com
This year’s Halloween Horror Nights features a Stranger Things
house, and that’s probably all you need to know.
Orlando Taco Week
Sept. 20-29, 2019; multiple locations; orlandoweekly.com
Restaurants across the area offer special takes on their favorite taco recipes at reduced prices, and you get to try them all!
Come Out With Pride
Oct. 12, 2019; Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St.; comeoutwithpride.com
Our favorite downtown parade party celebrates the LGBTQ community.
Big Gay Brunch
Oct. 12, 2019; The Abbey, 100 S. Eola Drive; orlandoweekly.com
Before the big gay parade, come eat and drink with Orlando Weekly
and check out surprise performances at our big gay brunch.
Orlando Film Festival
Oct. 17-24, 2019; Cobb Plaza Cinema Café, 155 S. Orange Ave.; orlandofilmfest.com
The Orlando Film Festival has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and now brings hundreds of independent films and filmmakers downtown for a week of screenings, panels and parties.
Creative City Project: Immerse
Oct. 18-19, 2019; Downtown Orlando; creativecityproject.com
The Creative City Project offers up a whole weekend of live performing arts scattered throughout public spaces in the heart of downtown Orlando.
Central Florida Veg Fest
Oct. 26, 2019; Festival Park, 2911 E. Robinson St.; cfvegfest.org
Chow down on some cruelty-free cooking at this event for vegetarians, vegans and open-minded omnivores. Learn about veg living and get an up-close look at some of the animals spared when you opt for a salad instead of a Baconator.
Fall Fiesta in the Park
Nov. 2-3, 2019; Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St.; 407-855-0606; fiestainthepark.com
This biannual block party brings vendors, entertainment, food and more to downtown’s Lake Eola Park.
Orlando Greek Fest
Nov. 1-3, 2019; Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 1217 Trinity Woods Lane, Maitland; 407-331-4687; orlandogreekfest.com
Enjoy authentic Greek food, music and dancing, along with a huge indoor market for Greek goods, including imported olives.
Electric Daisy Carnival
Nov. 8-10, 2019; Tinker Field, Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place; orlando.electricdaisycarnival.com
The premiere EDM festival makes a stop at historic Tinker Field every year to showcase the best in contemporary dance music, otherworldly scenery and psychedelic lightshows. Even if you don’t attend, you’re likely to hear it if you’re anywhere near downtown.
Orlando Beer Festival
Nov. 16, 2019; Festival Park, 2911 E. Robinson St.; orlandobeerfestival.com
Orlando’s only large-scale legitimate craft beer festival that attracts brewers and guests from all over Florida.
Florida Blue Florida Classic
Nov. 23, 2019; Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place; floridaclassic.org
Annual football game between Bethune-Cookman University and Florida A&M.
Tom & Dan Bad at Business Beerfest
Nov. 23, 2019; West End Trading Co., 202 S. Sanford Ave.; tomanddan.com
Every year, local podcast “A Mediocre Time With Tom & Dan” throws a huge beer festival in Sanford and conveniently “forgets” to charge anyone to attend.
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2019; Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; fusionfest.org
Multicultural celebration in downtown Orlando that features an array of aromas, sights, sounds, tastes, textures and films that represent the diverse origins and ethnicities of the community.
Sweet and Savory
Dec. 5, 2019; location TBA; orlandoweekly.com
A night of desserts, drinks and delicious dishes, served up by top local and regional artisans.
Christmas in the Park
Dec. 5, 2019; Central Park, North Park Avenue and West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park; morsemuseum.org
The Morse Museum decorates Central Park with stained glass windows and the Bach Festival Choir performs a Christmas concert.
Dec. 13-15, 2019; Orlando World Center Marriott, 8701 World Center Drive; holidaymatsuri.com
An adorably holiday-themed anime convention with unique programming, tons of vendors and late-night parties.
Grandma Party Bazaar
December 15, 2019; Stardust Video & Coffee, 1842 E. Winter Park Road; stardustie.com
Handmade crafts from local artisans and live music from local bands make this our favorite stop for holiday shopping.
–This story is from the Aug. 8, 2019, print issue of
Orlando Weekly's Newcomers Guide 2019. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.