It is the time of the year that Orlandoans look forward to the most: fall! While the temps finally begin to dip, the calendar kicks into high gear with some of the best events of the year. From food festivals to Halloween celebrations, we share some of our favorites.
Through October 13: Desperate Measures. This award-winning, off-Broadway musical comedy set in the 1890s gets its inspiration from Shakespeare’s comedy “Measure for Measure.”
Weekends Through October 27: SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival. Swig a beer or three at this festival spanning four weekends and more than 100 craft beers from Florida breweries, plus domestic and international craft favorites.
All Month: Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Taste your way around the world and celebrate innovative regional cuisines at this popular annual event, this year a whopping 87 days of festivities. Enjoy live music, watch culinary demonstrations, attend seminars and book and bottle signings, shop foodie merchandise, and dine with a celebrity chef.
Select Nights All Month: Not-So-Scary. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party boasts a new fireworks and laser show, plus trick-or-treating, dessert parties, the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and a Halloween parade.
Select Nights All Month: Halloween Horror Nights. Universal Orlando ups the fright factor this year with 10 haunted houses inspired by 1980s classic horror flicks, five scare zones and spooky live entertainment. This year’s horror fest also features Stranger Things (Netflix) in an all-new haunted house. Not recommended for children under 13. No costumes or masks allowed.
Weekends Through Oct. 27: Spooktacular. Family-friendly live shows, trick-or-treating and Sesame Street friends including Elmo, the Count and Cookie Monster keep the scare factor minimal and the fun factor high.
October 6-12: Come Out With Pride Week. Celebrating the LGBTQ community, this week-long festival features daily events including the Drag Race 5k, Game Night with Pepe, Block Party and the parade on Saturday.
October 11-13: BBQ and Blues Festival. Feast on delicous barbecue, courtesy of some of the nation’s top BBQ rib competitors, while you enjoy tunes by the area’s blues artists. Arts and crafts vendors, free winery tours, and a variety of delicious treats round out the fun.
October 11-13: Hollerbach’s Oktoberfest. A Central Florida tradition, this celebration of Bavarian culture is brought to you by Hollerbach’s Willow Tree in Sanford, and promises to be a family-friendly rip roaring good time. Enjoy traditional music, dancing and plenty of food and beer during the three-day event.
October 12-13: Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. Beautiful Winter Park hosts the only juried fine arts festival featuring exclusively Florida artists, taking place in Central Park.
October 18-20: 5th Annual Crooked Can Oktoberfest. Winter Garden’s own Crooked Can Brewery puts on its own Oktoberfest celebration, which has quickly become a staple of this charming historic downtown district.
October 19: Jazz ‘n Blues Concert. Stroll from band to band throughout the stunning Leu Gardens. Pack a picnic of your favorite foods and bring seating. Alcohol is permitted. 7-10 p.m.
October 22-27: Les Misérables. Award winning musical Les Misérables comes to town compliments of Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando. New, vibrant staging and scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo bring the 19th-century epic drama to life. Seen by more than 70 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages, this timeless classic tale of poverty, sacrifice, crime and redemption is the world’s most popular musical.