Culture Worthy of Your Calendar, November 2009

by Josh Garrick / Oct 23, 2009 / 0 comments

Culture Worthy of Your Calendar by Josh Garrick     

Three Art Fests – Two Art-filled Weekends
Yes Art-lovers – No matter WHERE you live in Central Florida over the next two weekends, there is an outdoor Artfest near you, and all three are free (admission).  Buying Art at a Festival means you are buying directly from a living, working Artist (always a good deal) and helping that Artist to continue doing what he/she does best – also a good deal at this time.

Fall Fiesta in the Park (Nov 7 & 8) This two-day event held at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando features over 400 juried artists in all media. In addition, the ‘Fest’ offers food and live entertainment. Check or 407-649-3152

23rd Annual Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of the Arts (Nov. 7 & 8) This very popular event features live entertainment, food and outstanding art as well as raising money for scholarships for local students. It’s located in Colonial Town Park, just a short drive from downtown Orlando. Check 407-444-0484

34th Annual Festival of the Masters (Nov 13,14, & 15)  Held at Downtown Disney West Side, this event is nationally recognized, ranking among the top 50 outdoor art festivals in the world. Along with 200 artists, you’ll find live entertainment, children’s activities (this is a Disney event), pin trading and chalk art displays. Visit disneyworldfestival-of-the-masters or call 407-824-4321.



The Color Purple – The Musical
Oprah Winfrey and the producing team of the Broadway hit THE COLOR PURPLE, ‘The Musical about Love,’ are bringing that musical to Orlando.  It will be here for eight performances from November 3 to 8.  Nominated for eleven Tony Awards (including Best Musical), The Color Purple ran for over two years on Broadway. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker (and the film by Steven Spielberg) it is the inspiring story of a woman who finds the strength to discover her unique voice in the world. With a Grammy-nominated score featuring gospel, jazz, pop and the blues, The Color Purple is about hope and the healing power of love. USA Today raved, “Pure heart!  It celebrates the inspiring relationships of faith and love, A Broadway hit!”  Tickets can be purchased at or charge-by-phone at 1-800-982-2787.



Judy Collins at the Plaza Theatre
We can thank the wonderful folks at the Plaza Theatre for continuing to bring us a series of great performers in live performance. That series continues as the legendary Judy Collins appears live at the Plaza on Saturday, November 7th at 8 pm. 

A child prodigy, Collins debuted on piano, was soon playing the guitar, and made her way performing in clubs in Greenwich Village. She signed with Elektra Records (an association that lasted 35 years) and put out her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow in 1961. It was her 1966 album, In My Life, in which she included work from sources as varied as the Beatles, Jacques Brel, and Kurt Weill, that set the course for Collins's ground-breaking career.
In 1967 Collins won the Grammy for Both Sides Now. Continuing to pull from diverse sources, she is also known for her traditional performances of Amazing Grace and the Broadway ballad Send in the Clowns (both of which were top 20 hits). She guest-starred on The Muppet Show, and while performing at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993, she sang Amazing Grace and Chelsea Morning. (The Clintons named their daughter Chelsea after Collins's recording of the song).

In 2008, she oversaw an album featuring artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Rufus Wainwright covering her songs. Also in 2008, she received an honorary doctorate from Pratt Institute thanks in part to her life-long concern for social causes. She is, today, a representative for UNICEF. The Plaza Theatre is at 425 North Bumby Avenue in Downtown Orlando. Call 407.228.1220 or visit                      



The Orlando Philharmonic at Bok Tower Gardens
Located 55 miles southwest of Orlando, the Bok Tower Gardens are a National Historic Landmark, and they were voted Florida’s Best Garden by readers of Florida Monthly magazine.  Each Fall, the ‘Gardens’ invite the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra to create a romantic evening of performance in the gardens they call “Sunset & Symphony.”  This year’s performance is scheduled for November 7th with the theme -- “Fanfare for Opera.”

Sunset & Symphony is highlighted by illuminated pathways leading to the 205-foot-tall Singing Tower that houses one of the world’s great carillons. Spotlighting the work the Philharmonic is doing to return opera to Central Florida, the Philharmonic will perform selections from “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein, “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Carmen Suite” by Georges Bizet and others under the direction of Conductor Andrew Lane. Soprano Janette Zilioli will sing selections from “La Boheme,” “The Merry Widow,” and “Porgy and Bess.” 

Gates will open at 3:30 pm. At 4:30 pm families can try their hands at a variety of instruments with the help of the Philharmonic musicians, and a picnic contest will award prizes for Most Elegant, Most Original, and Best Fall. Preordered picnic baskets are available. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, insect repellent and flashlights. For tickets call 407-770-0071 or 863-734-1222 or visit



The Annual Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art
There is no event in Central Florida that is a happier way to begin thinking about the Holidays than the annual “Festival of Trees,” created by the Council of 101 to benefit the Orlando Museum of Art. Since 1986, the magnificently decorated trees that make up the focus of this annual event have provided Central Florida with a smile-inducing holiday experience. This year's ‘green’ theme is "Home for the Holidays,” exploring new ways to decorate while reducing, reusing, recycling and rejoicing!

Scheduled from its Gala Opening on Friday, November 13, the Festival runs through Sunday, November 22. The Festival showcases designer decorated trees and holiday vignettes, while the Gingerbread Village, Toyland Town and collection of Christmas Villages are great for the young and the young at heart. Chairperson Carolyn Avallone has also announced several special events that include a Holiday Jazz Stroll, the Reindeer Romp, and daily entertainment provided by area choirs, schools, orchestras, a caroling company, and individual performers. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm with all proceeds benefiting the Orlando Museum of Art. Call 407-896-4231x254 or visit


Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators.