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Fall Guide 2014: Civics 

Community, activism and political events you won’t want to miss, Sept. 24-Nov. 18

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It’s all fun and games until somebody says November. On the off chance that you’re not blissfully skipping through the dry, cool winds of autumnal reflection – likely finding your way outdoors in one of the more leisurely engagements cataloged elsewhere in this issue – you may find yourself donning your concerned face in the name of politics. This year, the headlining electoral brawl in Florida is the rather expensive match between incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and aw-shucks Democrat (and former Republican; also independent) former Gov. Charlie Crist. The gloves have already come off; we should be down to skinless knuckles by Nov. 4. By the way, here’s a short list of important voting dates to remember:

Oct. 6: Last day to register to vote or change party affiliation in the 2014 general election
Oct. 20-Nov. 2: Early voting, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (check ocfelections.com for a list of early voting locations).
Oct. 29: Last day to request an absentee ballot to be mailed (request via ocfelections.com)
Nov. 4: Election Day

Political sportsmanship aside, there are plenty of other ways to engage with your community this fall, from philanthropic jogs to charitable galas and plenty of civic substance in between. You just need to know where to look. Here’s a good place to start.

SEPT. 27
Barktoberfest

Orange County Animal Services sponsors this massive animal rescue event, which features dogs for adoption from local rescues and shelters all around the region. There will also be food trucks, a Kids Zone, free and low-cost microchipping, vendors and tons more. Adopt, don’t shop.
10 am – 4 pm, Saturday; Lake Eola Park, Rosaline Avenue and East Washington St.; free; ocfl.net/barktoberfest

OCT. 11
2014 Come Out With Pride Parade

Like Gay Days before it, the annual Come Out With Pride celebration has exploded into more than one parade in one afternoon – the full schedule of ancillary events actually stretches from Oct. 6 through Oct. 12. The parade, however, remains the centerpiece of the extravaganza, pulling, oh, roughly 100 million LGBT folks and their allies into the perimeter of Lake Eola for a couple of hours of (controlled) debauchery and spirited bead-throwing toward the right side of history. Equality is on the rise in the courts, so there couldn’t be a better time to take it to the streets. 4 p.m. Saturday, Lake Eola Park, North Rosalind Avenue and East Washington Street; free; 407-246-2827; comeoutwithpride.com

OCT. 17
Our Roaring Twenties

Last year, Roe v. Wade turned 40. Now, with reproductive rights still being tossed around legislative offices like so many other wedge issues, Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando is celebrating 20 years of health care and education in Central Florida with a flapper-themed 1920s gala. In exchange for a generous donation, you’ll be treated to an open bar, fancy food and music while surrounded by some of Florida’s most progressive movers and shakers. 7 p.m. Friday, Orchid Garden at Church Street, 126 W. Church St.; $100 minimum donation; 407-246-1788; ppgo.org/annualevent

NOV. 14
Equality Florida Greater Orlando Gala

With all eyes currently set on Florida and its multiple marriage-equality cases clogging court dockets, it’s a good time to celebrate the people waging the gay marriage war behind the scenes. Equality Florida’s annual gala is, in our experience, a not-to-be-missed evening of dressed up booziness and mingle-pussing. It’s also the night on which EQFL honors its Voices of Equality (Weekly scribe Billy Manes was honored last year, helping to raise a record-setting $139,000). This year’s honorees include Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy, Ted Maines and Jeff Miller. 8-11 p.m. Friday; The Mezz, 100 S. Eola Drive; $100; 407-462-9692; eqfl.org/orlandogala

To search for more civic-minded events, visit our calendar.

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