This Weekend (3/1-3/2)

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.

BIRDAPALOOZA
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.

Good Enough to Eat

by Hancel Deaton

You may have already guessed that we’re talking about our pure chocolate cover for our February issue feature, “Chocolate Unwrapped,” which was created from scratch in the kitchen of Peterbrooke Chocolatier in Winter Park.

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After Orlando magazine’s creative director, Jenifer Kresge, and art director, Christine Dupont, came up with the design concept, the idea was presented to the artisans at Peterbrooke, who made two molds of the design. The next step involved hand-painting white chocolate into one of the molds to create the white lettering. Then, milk chocolate was poured into it and evenly distributed by placing the mold onto a vibrating table. Dark chocolate was painted into the swirls of the second mold; and both were left to cool.

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Our photographer, Roberto Gonzalez, photographed both molds, which were later composited into one image and edited in Photoshop by the art director.

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A last-minute decision by our creative team gave the edible cover the crowning touch: a broken corner with a few chocolate crumbs to give the appearance that it had been nibbled. And in truth, it had been.  The cover barely lasted the day in our office–it was just that good. You can find Peterbrooke at 300 S Park Ave. in Winter Park, FL.

Orlando Takes Over American Idol

by Alexis Senior
Two of Orlando’s own have officially made it into the top 30–er, 31–contestants on American Idol. Kristen O’Connor, a 24-year-old University of Central Florida graduate, and Emily Piriz, a 17-year-old Bishop Moore High School student, sang their ways to success last week and will be up for official voting to stay in the competition starting this Wednesday at 8 p.m. on FOX. Learn more about them and watch them receive their golden tickets to Hollywood, then tell us: Who are you going to vote for?

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Top: Kristen O’Connor; Bottom: Emily Piriz

Valentine’s Day in Orlando

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.

NUDE NITE
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.

CULTURE POP!
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.

WINEFEST XXIV
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.

THIS WEEKEND!

Check out some of the biggest events happening in Central Florida this weekend:

DELAND CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
F
eb. 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

Super Bowl Ad Hits Home

by Kourtney Destefano
Budweiser is known to opt for sentimental Super Bowl commercials, specifically last year’s memorable ad featuring the Clydesdale horse. This year, Orlando residents were surprised by “A Hero’s Welcome,” a commercial showing a parade in downtown Winter Park for twenty-four-year old Lt. Chuck Nadd, a soldier previously stationed in Afghanistan.

Nadd was selected to be honored with the parade in his hometown after his girlfriend, Shannon Cantwell, secretly nominated him for a Veterans of Foreign Wars contest. Set to the song, “Coming Home,” the commercial not only celebrated the soldier’s return, but showcased support from Nadd’s family, friends, and fellow locals of Winter Park. The ad reached 1.44 million Super Bowl viewers in Orlando alone, and was watched nationwide by over 97 million. Check it out here:

Meet Food Network Chef Scott Conant

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Experience a fun getaway evening curated by Food Network star and celebrity judge on Chopped, Chef Scott Conant, at the nearby Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa on Thursday, February 20th. Chef Conant will be conducting a meet and greet with guests and preparing a three ­course dinner, complete with sommelier hand­selected wines. The event will be located in the casino’s Council Oak Steaks & Seafood restaurant. For more info and to purchase tickets call Event Fest at 813­-251-­4330.