Plan a patriotic holiday with our list of 10 of the best July 4th fireworks shows and events you can find in and around Orlando.
RED, HOT AND BOOM
July 3 The City of Altamonte Springs’ Independence Day Celebration includes live entertainment from today’s hottest performers, plus children’s activities, vendor booths, food, drinks and a 25-minute firework display synchronized with a mix of patriotic and contemporary hits. 4-11 p.m. 407-571-8863. Cranes Roost Park. 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs.
OLDE FASHIONED 4TH OF JULY
July 4 Wear your red, white and blues, bring a blanket and enjoy live patriotic music performed by the Bach Festival Choir Take a horse-drawn wagon ride, watch or participate in a bicycle parade, munch on free hotdogs and much more. The Morse Museum of American Art also hosts an open house from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. A bike valet is available from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Central Park, 251 S. Park Ave., Winter Park.
DISNEY’S CELEBRATE AMERICA!
July 4 Celebrate Independence Day at the Magic Kingdom with a “Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” at 9 p.m. The holiday-inspired “IllumiNations: Reflections of the Earth” at Epcot Center begins at 10 p.m., and a special fireworks presentation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes place at 10 p.m. Each event is included in regular park admission. Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista.
INDEPENDENCE DAY AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT
July 4 Enjoy a special version of Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular that combines cutting-edge projection technology with lasers and pyrotechnics. Included with regular park admission. 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, Orlando.
FIREWORKS AT THE FOUNTAIN
July 4 Celebrate the Fourth in the heart of downtown Orlando, with music, vendors and a fireworks show over the lake. Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St., Orlando. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Free.
A SCI-FI 4TH OF JULY
July 4 Celebration Town Center joins forces with MegaCon to bring the first ever Sci-Fi themed Independence Day to Central Florida. Science fiction costume contests, bounce houses, live music, games and a synchronized fireworks spectacular set to a Sci-Fi themed soundtrack. 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Free.
STAR SPANGLED SANFORD
July 4 Celebrate Independence Day in downtown Sanford, with fireworks over Lake Monroe. Fort Mellon Park, 600 E. 1st St., Sanford. 4-10 p.m. sanfordfl.gov
RED, BRICK AND BOOM
July 4-6 LEGOLAND Florida celebrates with backyard games and a party in Miniland USA. Families can build their own star to add to the park’s first American flag made of thousands of LEGO bricks. Fireworks at 9 p.m. each day.
BALDWIN PARK INDEPENDENCE DAY BASH
July 5 Afamily festival with live entertainment, an art stroll and fireworks over Lake Baldwin. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Harbor Park at Baldwin Park, 4990 New Broad St., Orlando.
COKE ZERO 400
July 5 This holiday weekend classic race features fireworks on and off the track. Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach.
ROCK, MINERAL, GEM, JEWELRY & FOSSIL SHOW
Apr. 4-6 Minerals, rocks, fossils and gems, both raw and finely crafted into jewelry, are available at the Florida National Guard Armory, 2809 S. Ferncreek Ave., Orlando. 407-816-1229.
UCF BOOK FESTIVAL
Apr 5. University of Central Florida hosts their annual book festival that hosts authors and illustrators, book signings and sales, exhibitors, cooking demonstrations, book appraisals, and literary activities for all ages. 9am-3:30p.m. 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando.
RUN OR DYE 5K
Apr. 5 More than five tons of color will coat runners as they make their way along the 5K course, with a “Color Festival” at the end of the race. Osceola Heritage Park, 1875 Silver Spur Lane, Kissimmee.
MUSTANGS & MUSTANGS
Apr. 5 Classic Ford Mustangs line up with North American P-51 WWII fighters (aka Mustangs) at Fantasy of Flight, 1400 Broadway Blvd. S.E., Polk City. 863-984-3500.
Apr. 5-6 White sails snap and billow on the blue surface of Lake Dora. The oldest sailboat regatta in Florida is sponsored by the Mount Dora Yacht Club, 351 W. Fourth Ave., Mount Dora.
FIESTA IN THE PARK
Apr. 5-6 Artists, crafters, food, music and fun abound and surround Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. All of the arts and crafts for sale are hand-made.
SPRING FEVER IN THE GARDEN
Apr. 5-6 Winter Garden blossoms with arts, flowers, live music, Chalkin’ It Up and much more. Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
STARS ON ICE 2014
Apr. 6 America’s figure skating champions, including top Olympic medal contenders at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, headline this nationwide tour. 6 p.m. Amway Center, 400 W. Church St., Orlando.
EPCOT’S INTERNATIONAL FLOWER & GARDEN FESTIVAL
Mar. 5-May 18 Kermit and Miss Piggy topiaries debut at this year’s festival, joining other character topiaries throughout the park. Guests can sample floral lemonades, get landscape tips from HGTV designers and enjoy the Flower Power Concert Series, with The Guess Who (Mar. 7-9), Gary Lewis and the Playboys (Mar. 14-16), and the Alan Parsons Live Project (May 16-18).
DATE NIGHT AT LEU GARDENS
Mar. 7 To Have and Have Not, classic Bogie and Bacall. 7:30 p.m., weather permitting. 1920 N. Forest Ave., Orlando. 407-246-2620.
Mar. 8 This one-mile race is open to children ages five to 11. Start times vary; participants must report to the starting line 15 minutes before their race. Orlando Fashion Square, 3201 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando. trackshack.com
Mar. 8 Canines compete with dogs of a similar size in a single-elimination, 25-yard sprint race. Proceeds benefit local students through Brightside Events’ Stock the Pantry Program. Champions are declared, and trophies and prizes awarded in each of the four weight divisions, and the overall winner receives the Grand Prize. Viewing is free, but there is a $15 fee to register your dog. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Corrine Commons at Baldwin Park, 1913 Meeting Place, Orlando.
Mar. 8 Orlando Ballet partners with the Orlando Philharmonic to bring to the stage the best of ballet music and dance, including Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Choreographed by Artistic Director Robert Hill. 8 p.m. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., Orlando. 407-246-4262.
DISNEY JUNIOR LIVE ON TOUR
Mar. 9 This live family entertainment follows Pirate Jake, Sofia the First, and other Disney characters as they embark on a journey to the magical world of Enchancia for a friendship festival. Danger, thrills, interaction with the audience, and Tinker Bell’s pixie dust aid in a heroic quest to find a mysterious treasure-filled volcano. 1, 4 and 7 p.m. CFE Arena, UCF campus, 12777 Gemini Blvd. North, Orlando. 800-745-3000.
DARK SKY FESTIVAL
Feb. 28-Mar. 1 The town of Harmony in Osceola County turns down the wattage for this 11th annual festival dedicated to star-gazing. Millions of stars are visible through telescopes. Live music, NASA exhibits, guest speakers (including astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave), and the Starlab Mobile Planetarium add to the low-light action. Downtown Harmony Town Square, southeast of St. Cloud.
SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS
Mar 1. Watch your favorite Looney Tunes cartoons at the History Center while enjoying a pancake breakfast with the kids. Pajamas welcome. Afterwards, tour the The Art of Warner Bros Cartoons exhibit. 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. 65 East Central Blvd., Orlando.
PORT IN THE STORM
Mar. 1 Locally based men’s e-commerce site Cloak & Dapper will host its one year anniversary event—complete with a runway show of their 2014 Spring Collection, plus tasty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres—at Orange Studio. 7 p.m. 1121 N. Mills Ave., Orlando.
Mar. 1 Celebrate the restoration of Lake Apopka and the more than 360 species of birds that have returned to this environmentally retored area. This is a free festival, with over 75 exhibitors, bird tours, food and entertainment. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Magnolia Park, 2929 S. Binion Road, Apopka.
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY AT MOVIE IN THE PARK
Mar. 1 7 p.m at Quinn Strong Park, 347 S. Maitland Ave., between Packwood and Ventris, Maitland.
35th ANNUAL ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
Mar 2. The City of Winter Park hosts the only St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Central Florida. Get your green on and head from the Winter Park Country Club to Lyman Avenue. 2 p.m. Park Avenue in Downtown Winter Park.
ORLANDO MAGIC VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ers
Mar 2. The Magic take on the 76ers at the Amway Center. 6 p.m. 400 W Church St., Orlando.
OSCAR WATCH PARTY AT THE ENZIAN
Mar 2. The independent theater is showing the 86th Academy Awards. Enjoy dinner and drink specials, a paparazzi-lined red carpet, and the big show on Enzian’s screen and outdoors at Eden Bar. Free. 6:30 p.m. Enzian Theater, 1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland
WAR HORSE AT BOB CARR PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE
Through Mar. 2 The musical version of the movie utilizes large-scale wooden puppet horses that interact with the human cast. The story focuses on Albert and his beloved horse Joey, who is sold to the English Cavalry and shipped to France during World War I. Joey’s epic journey, his will to survive, and Albert’s determination to find his horse takes him on an adventure through war-torn Europe. Tuesdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., Sundays at 1 and 8:30 p.m. 401 W. Livingston St., Orlando. 800-745-3000.
THE MUSIC MAN AT THEATRE UCF
Through Mar. 2 There’s trouble in River City, and Harold Hill is in town to make it better or worse, depending on your perspective. The university’s theater and music departments collaborated to revive this classic American musical. Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. UCF campus, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando. 407-823-1500.
Getting original on Valentine’s Day isn’t always easy, but any of these events will make for pretty special plans. Take advantage of these local festivals, galleries, walks, and performances tomorrow night and, for some, throughout the weekend.
Feb. 13-15 Hundreds of artists descend on downtown Orlando for three nights of performance art, paintings and sculptures—all in some way celebrating the human form. Strolling musicians, live body-painting and food and drink combine for a creative atmosphere. Check website for location.
MOUNT DORA 2ND FRIDAY GALLERY WALK
Feb. 14 Explore art galleries, studios and shops as artists take over downtown Mount Dora. Free. 6 p.m. 341 N. Alexander St., Mount Dora.
Feb. 14 Culture Pop! is an artsy evening under the stars with an art show, food trucks and a cash bar. Literature Out Loud for the evening features spoken-word poetry by local poets. Maitland Art Center, 231 W. Packwood Ave., Maitland. 407-539-2181.
ROMEO AND JULIET
Feb. 14-16 Celebrate Valentine’s Day with this classic ballet. Shakespeare’s quintessential love story is brought to life with Prokofiev’s rich score and Orlando Ballet Artistic Director Robert Hill’s choreography. Friday and Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., Orlando. 407-426-1739.
COUNCIL OF 101 ANTIQUES SHOW & SALE
Feb. 14-16 Antique dealers from the Eastern United States display their wares. Come to window-shop or purchase. Loch Haven Park, 2416 N. Mills Ave., Orlando. 407-896-4231.
Feb. 14-16 This festival is an opportunity to sample various table wines from Lakeridge Winery. Live music, works by artists and crafters, food and drink are also available, as well as complimentary winery tours and tastings. Lakeridge Winery, 19239 U.S. 27 North, Clermont. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 800-768-9463.
LOVE YOUR SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL
Feb. 14-16 Panel discussions and parties make for a film shorts festival that is long on fun. Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, 201-203 S. Magnolia Ave., Sanford. Check website for screenings and event times.
Check out some of the biggest events happening in Central Florida this weekend:
DELAND CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
Feb. 8 All you ever wanted to know—and taste—about the art of craft beers can be discovered in Artisan Alley, downtown Deland. This event is for adults over 21 only; no pets or children allowed. There is a “gluten-free” area and a cider corner, as well as a homebrew competition and live music. 1-5 p.m.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS MARDI GRAS
Feb. 8-May 31 New Awlins comes to Central Florida as Universal Studios celebrates Mardi Gras on Saturdays and select nights. A traditional parade with floats, colorful costumes and lots of beads gets things rolling. Cajun food and live concerts, including Robin Thicke on Feb. 22, complete the party.
ORLANDO FOLK FESTIVAL
Feb. 8-9 It’s a celebration of folk art, music and dance, with traditional craft demonstrations and storytelling. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mennello Museum of American Art, Loch Haven Park, 900 E. Princeton St. 407-246-4278. orlandofolkfestival.wordpress.com
DRAGON PARADE & LUNAR NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
Feb. 9 A community parade and fair featuring cultural performances, exotic Asian food, arts and crafts and exhibitions. Admission is free. 11a.m.-4pm. Colonial Photo & Hobby parking lot. 634 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, FL 32803
Orlando is a prime location for all kinds of musicians, whether they’re big names or new faces. Every two weeks we’ll compile a list of local shows that you won’t want to miss. Check out what’s going on in music around town during the first couple weeks of February:
THE ABBEY – 100 S. Eola Drive, Orlando
Feb. 6 Robin De Jesus: Crush to Crushed, 10 p.m.
Feb. 9 Central Florida Jazz Society with Scotty Barnhart, 3 p.m.
BOB CARR PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE – 401 W. Livingston St., Orlando
Feb. 7 The New Jack Swing Tour with Salt-N-Pepa, Guy and more, 7 p.m.
HARD ROCK LIVE– 6050 Universal Blvd., Orlando
Feb. 7 Queens of the Stone Age, 8 p.m.
HOUSE OF BLUES – Downtown Disney West Side, Walt Disney World
Feb. 1 Sevendust, 8:30 p.m.
Feb. 6 Walk Off The Earth—Gang of Rhythm Tour, 8 p.m.
Feb. 7 Big Head Todd & The Monsters, 8 p.m.
Feb. 8 Pat Metheny, 8 p.m.
Feb. 9 Panic! At The Disco, 7 p.m.
Feb. 11 Trey Anastasio Band, 8:30 p.m.
THE PLAZA LIVE – 425 N. Bumby Ave., Orlando
Feb. 2 Bring Me The Horizon The American Dream Tour, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 9 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 Cat Power 8 p.m.
Feb. 14 Alan Parsons Live Project, with the Orlando Philharmonic, 8 p.m.
THE SOCIAL – 54 N. Orange Ave., Orlando
Feb. 5 Turquoise Jeep with Yip Deceiver, 8 p.m.
Feb. 7 J Boog, 9 p.m.
Feb. 8 Ralphfest 3 featuring Sebadoh, 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 The Slackers, 8 p.m.
Feb. 13 Mason Jennings with Rebecca Pidgeon, 7 p.m.
Feb. 14 Shovels & Rope with Shakey Graves, 9 p.m.
TIMUCUA ARTS FOUNDATION – 2000 S. Summerlin Ave., Orlando
Feb. 2 Jazz vocalist Whitney James, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 9 Chie Suzuki, vibrophonist, 7:30 p.m.