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.
CELEBRATE MOMS AT LEU GARDENS
May 11 Enjoy a stroll through 50 acres of gardens, including Florida’s largest rose garden, the butterfly garden and the historic Leu House Museum. Free for mothers. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 N. Forest Ave., Orlando.
MOTHER’S DAY ON THE WATER
May 11 Eat, drink and relax while listening to live music with views of Lake Barton. Enjoy a mimosa or go for a boat ride around the lake. Reservations are preferred. 12 p.m. $23.95 plus tax. Reservations are strongly recommended by calling (407) 996-63385310 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando.
MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH AT ROSEN SHINGLE CREEK
May 11 Treat mom to brunch at Rosen Shingle Creek’s Café Osceola. Enjoy 44 edible selections, including traditional breakfast items, unlimited champagne, and an abundance of desserts. Reservations are strongly recommended by calling (407) 996-6338. 11:30 a.m.-7:30p.m. 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando.
MOTHER’S DAY IMPROV SHOW
May 11 Grab tickets to SAK Comedy Lab’s Mother’s Day show. The best and brightest performers improvise a comedy show for Mom and the whole family. Reservations are highly recommended. $12-15. 2 p.m. 29 S. Orange Ave. Orlando
EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FLOWER & GARDEN FESTIVAL
Through May 18 There’s still time to surprise Mom with a trip to Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, where the topiaries are the biggest draw. Check out the fascinating plant life and munch on food from one of the many outdoor kitchens. 200 Epcot Center Dr., Lake Buena Vista.
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.
by Alexis Senior
As a publication that includes dining reviews in every issue we put out, we think it’s important to support National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. So we’ll be taking our love of food writing one step further and sharing some healthy recipes with our readers over the next few weeks. For our first recipe, High Plains Bison, which can be found locally at The Meat House, has given us a delicious, low-fat take on artichoke dip.
1 bison hickory smoked sausage link, ¼ inch diced
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (packed)
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons light sour cream
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts packed in water, well drained, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
¼ teaspoon paprika
Preheat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, oregano, pepper, and garlic until blended. Stir in chopped artichoke hearts and diced bison sausage, and then transfer mixture into a small casserole dish. (Can be prepared one day ahead. Cover mixture and refrigerate). Bake dip until heated through, about 20 minutes (30 minutes if chilled). Preheat broiler. Sprinkle dip with remaining tablespoon of parmesan cheese and paprika. Broil until cheese melts. Serve with tortilla chips.
To learn more about bison, its health benefits, and to find other recipes, visit http://www.thebisoncouncil.com. And if you decide to try this dip, let us know what you think in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter using #omagchat. Your thoughts may get published in an upcoming issue of Orlando magazine!
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.
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?
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.