Our 2019 picks for the best things to see and hear in Central Florida’s best season 

Fall Arts Guide 2019

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click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ADOBE STOCK
  • Photo via Adobe Stock
Nov. 14-17

Orlando Balloon Glow

5 p.m. at Blue Jacket Park, facebook.com/orlandoballoonglow, $1-$75

Get a new perspective on the Orlando skyline at Baldwin Park's annual hot air balloon festival at Blue Jacket Park. Gather on the lawn to view a picturesque spread of lit-up balloons, then get yourself a ticket for a tethered ride. You can even spring for a private launch with just you and your sweetheart. Get your head in the clouds.

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ORLANDO BEER FESTIVAL
  • Photo via Orlando Beer Festival
Nov. 16

Orlando Beer Festival

2-5 p.m. at Orlando Festival Park, orlandobeerfestival.com, $40-$99.83

For the fifth year in a row, Orlando Weekly brings you unlimited tastings of more than 200 beers from local, regional, national and international breweries. Along with the beer, you'll also get live music, broadcasts of college football games, a curated selection of food trucks and more. You're gonna want to hire a driver.

click to enlarge PORTRAIT OF BERLIOZ BY EMILE SIGNOL
  • Portrait of Berlioz by Emile Signol
Nov. 17

Inside the Score: Symphonie Fantastique

3 p.m., Bob Carr Theater, orlandophil.org, $27-$90

Orlando Philharmonic music director Eric Jacobsen leads a guided journey through Hector Berlioz's best-known work, the Symphonie Fantastique. In the first half of the program Jacobsen uses visual aids and highlighted bits of the composition to explicate Berlioz's romantic-verging-on-overwrought "fever dream," a story of unrequited love written while the composer was high AF on opium. In his essential Young People's Concerts, Leonard Bernstein called Fantastique "the first psychedelic symphony in history" and observed that when "you take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral." To make a day of it (and contribute to the Phil), buy tickets to the pre-concert brunch, where opium will not be served. (We think?)

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ADOBE STOCK
  • Photo via Adobe Stock
Nov. 22-24

Free Play Florida

Caribe Royale Resort, wp.freeplayflorida.com, $25-$60

One of our favorite annual fall events, Free Play Florida, returns to the Caribe Royale Resort this year. The weekend-long exhibition brings tons of vintage and modern pinball and arcade machines together to create the ultimate arcade. Along with the games, you can sign up for competitions, watch world record attempts, meet the designers behind classic games and more. Best of all: No quarters needed.

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ADOBE STOCK
  • Photo via Adobe Stock
Nov. 22-24

Tiny Living Festival Florida

Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, unitedtinyhouse.com, $15-$20

The fourth annual "world's largest tiny house festival" is headed to Orlando and will feature tiny residences, micro-homes, presentations, workshops and children's activities. Don't miss the Tiny House Band on stage Saturday night. Concessions will be available too, and you can bet they won't be the smallest things you'll see all day. Speaker topics include weathering a natural disaster in your tiny home and how to successfully go off-grid. You won't want to miss hearing tiny home owners' inspirational and humorous personal stories. Pro tip: Start to Konmari your life now so you can visualize a future in one of these amazing creations.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY DR. PHILLIPS CENTER
  • Photo courtesy Dr. Phillips Center
Nov. 23

Jonathan Van Ness

8 & 10:30 p.m. at Walt Disney Theater, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, drphillipscenter.org, $45-$125

Strap on your heels and tame that bird's nest on your head for a night you'll never forget. Van Ness catwalked onto the scene in Netflix's Emmy Award-winning Queer Eye (the next generation) as the one who does the hair. Y'all know who I'm talking about. #LegsForDays and a hair toss that makes the meanest of mean girls jealous as hell. Authentic realness paired with a desire to try everything makes the gender-bendy Van Ness a great entertainer and an extraordinary show. Grab a VIP ticket if you want a meet-and-greet photo op with this beautiful (inside and out) person. Pro tip: Uber or Lyft to avoid bizarrely high parking and valet fees.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY SHOUT! FACTORY
  • Photo courtesy Shout! Factory
Nov. 30

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live

8 p.m. at Hard Rock Live, hardrock.com, $33-$63

Get your popcorn – and hankies – ready! The mad geniuses behind the seminal Mystery Science Theater 3000 are taking their show on the road and bringing it to Orlando, and it's going to be the curtain call for one of the most important members of their cast. The MST3K "Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour" comes to Hard Rock Live in November, and this will be original host and series creator Joel Hodgson's final tour as part of this ensemble. Hodgson and his 'bots will be cackling over and roasting two new films, and though it sadly looks like we will never hear "Hike Your Pants Up" live, Jean Claude Van Damme is in one of the films featured, so all is right with the world.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PATRICK SCOTT BARNES
  • Photo by Patrick Scott Barnes
Dec. 5

Sweet & Savory

7:30 p.m. at the Wellborn Boutique Hotel, sweetandsavoryorlando.com, $35-$65

Forget your company's annual holiday party: Sweet & Savory is where you'll want to be. The night features desserts from top local and regional artisans, along with some savory dishes to cleanse your palate, presented by Publix Aprons Catering. Throw special cocktails, live music and dancing on top of that, and you've got a holiday celebration par excellence – there's no reason to eat a crumbly Christmas-tree cookie ever again.

This story is from the Sept. 25, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.

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