The Top 10 Fairs and Festivals in Orlando Florida to Feast your Eyes Upon
The Top 10 Fairs and Festivals in Orlando Florida to Feast your Eyes Upon
You can always find plenty of fun things to do in Orlando no matter what time of year you decide to visit. From theme parks and jetskiing in Orlando to year-round tourist attractions, it’s easy enough to fill up your vacation schedule without having to do much searching. But what about those activities that only pop up at certain times of the year? Those festivals and fairs that the locals may be keeping all to themselves as little hidden gems. Make some time in your visit to Orlando and check out some of these amazing fairs, festivals and carnivals for all!
Fairs Near Me
And the great thing about Orlando is that there’s a fair or festival just around every corner of the City Beautiful and neighboring spots, so you never have to drive too far to have some fun – and fantastic eats. Keep reading and discover some of the wildest, hair-raising, family welcoming, fairs and festivals in Orlando to feast your eyes upon!
1 | SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival | Already excited to visit SeaWorld for the day and looking forward to seeing all the amazing marine life and ride every roller coaster at least twice? In addition to exciting the attractions, there are also a number of seasonal events held in the park and covered with the price of admission. Those lucky enough to visit during the spring may get a chance to experience SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival. During the three-month-long celebration, there’s no need to bring any snacks with you because there are delicious food huts sprinkled throughout the park with gourmet tasting plates you won’t want to miss! Visitors even have the option of purchasing individual samples or Sampler Lanyards that cover multiple samples at a discounted price. And let’s be honest here – after trying your first plate you’re going to wish you had already purchased the lanyard because you are definitely going to want to try more!
WHEN: February 5 – May 9, 2021
2 | Orlando Chili Cook-Off | Ever been to a chili cook-off? If not, then it is about time you finally attended one! Regular attendees to this annual event will tell you why it’s so awesome and definitely worth marking on your calendar. There will be over 100 chili makin’ booths present from local eateries and nationally acclaimed chefs, offering a variety of chili creations. Now don’t be confused by the name “Chili Cook-Off” because so much more is happening at this festival than the name implies. Yes, there is chili sampling and those without an iron stomach should be sure to bring antacids - but there are also musical performances from DJs and live bands, a Kidz Zone, live wrestling (don’t worry, they don’t eat any chili beforehand…we hope) and food trucks for those who want something more than chili to munch on. And, of course, what kind of chili cook-off would it be without a Chili Eating Challenge for the truly brave (we’re talking world records here)!
WHEN: November 6, 2021
3 | Central Florida Fair | Local fairs are a staple in just about every county in the U.S. Take the Central Florida Fair, for instance, it has been occurring for over 100 years! If you’re interested in midway rides and games, carnival food vendors, live music and entertainment and arts and crafts exhibits, you will want to be sure to swing by this fair for the evening. Depending on which day you attend there are different deals offered on the entrance fee, food and rides, so be sure to check out the deals before picking your perfect date. Outside on the fairgrounds, you’ll find rides for all ages, including a huge ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl, a carousel, bumper cars, and any number of dizzying fast-paced spinning cars for those with a strong constitution. The CFF also houses a large indoor area with thousands of creative entries in every form of art – you’ll find cake decorating entries, FFA and 4H Club projects, baking entries and live demonstrations. So, whether you’re a faint of heart or a real thrill seeker, this fair has got something for everyone!
WHEN: March 3 – 13, 2022
4 | Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival | Disney’s Epcot Center already has so much to see and do while visiting the park, but they still like to switch it up throughout the year and really pull out all the stops with events like the Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This event is so huge and well organized, the gorgeous flower showcase and topiary displays are an epic sight to see every year!
Most impressive is how Disney makes sure to cover every area not used as a walkway in every possible vibrant color of flowering displays. There are luscious blooms during the entire festival, making every day a great time to visit and take swoon-worthy selfies. Be sure to check out the Butterfly House, where visitors have a chance to view an array of butterflies up close and in person. One can also pull up a list of all the topiaries throughout the park and go on a topiary scavenger hunt for characters like Mickey Mouse, Kermit and Miss Piggy, Beauty and the Beast – and Anna and Elsa for those many Frozen fanatics.
WHEN: During Spring, March 3 – July 5, 2021
5 | Orlando Electric Daisy Carnival | Those looking for an active and high-energy kind of festival, look no further than the Orlando Electric Daisy Carnival. This carnival lasts 3 days at the Tinker Field and is jam-packed with fireworks, pyrotechnics, aerialists, exhilarating music, light shows, 3-dimensional art structures, multiple stages, costumes, body painting, food and carnival rides. EDC is unlike any other festival around, providing sensory overload with a strong focus on loving one another and coming together in a shared exhilarating experience. This celebration is all about enjoying the energy around you and making new friends while collectively enjoying astounding performances. The entertainment lineup boasts booming trances, bass, techno and house musical performances designed to keep the energy going. So, mark your calendar, buy your tickets and rest up for one of the most unique carnival experiences of your life!
WHEN: November 12 – 14, 2021
6 | Florida Film Festival | Come be among the first to view over 150 international films during their world premieres at the Florida Film Festival. Art film fanatics have been attending this festival at the Enzian Theater, for decades. Here you’ll hobnob with like-minded movie buffs, celebrities and even the filmmakers themselves. This festival has been operating for decades and shows the best films that current, independent and international cinemas have to offer. One can purchase tickets to individual films or passes to see all offered films premiering over 14 exciting days. Due to the ever changing landscape of film viewing avenues, there are now even options to stream films from the comfort of your own home. So, check the list of films, buy your tickets and come see what these Oscar film candidates are just waiting to share with you!
WHEN: April 9 – 22, 2021
7 | Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando | New Orleans is no longer the only place one has to visit these days in order to experience some serious Mardi Gras partying. Just swing by Universal Studios Orlando in the spring to see authentic Mardi Gras designed parade floats make their way through the park - accompanied by dancers, stilt walkers, and character performers. Festive jazz music keeps the party going strong in the streets as the parade launches thousands upon thousands of colorful beads to the crowd. Now, what Mardi Gras festival is complete without N’awlins food and musical performers? There’s Carnaval food throughout the park and on the weekends, Universal sets up an impressive lineup of current and past chart-topping musical artists – which means live concerts included in your park admission!! One can also purchase a scavenger hunt map that takes visitors all over the park to find the different locations, learn some Mardi Gras history and get the map stamped at each location to win some specialty festival beads. So, go soak up some excitement at Universal while trying to collect the most beads in your group!
WHEN: February 6 – May 2, 2021
8 | Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando | Halloween Horror Nights started back in the 90s and still boasts the best haunted houses and biggest scare fest around! You have not experienced true Halloween thrills until they have spent a night running from some of the most iconic movie monsters ever created!! Each year HHN creates brand new themed haunted houses filled with cinema worthy horror décor and creepy characters around every corner – both in and out of the haunted houses. Once the sun goes down, Universal takes great care in bringing the creepy atmosphere to life with fog, laser lights, spine-tingling music and sounds, special effects and gruesome scare zones with equally horrific monsters ready to follow you home!
WHEN: September 3 – October 31, 2021
9 | Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival | Fringe Festivals have been going on around the country for many, many years and the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is one of the biggest and longest running ones in the country! This festival takes place at Loch Haven Park, appealing to all ages and allowing those that love live performances of all varieties to soak up their fill for the entire year. This art festival runs 14 action-packed days and allows attendees to purchase tickets to view one or all of the performances with the knowledge that 100% of ticket sales are returned to the artists and performers. This festival focuses on loving one another and inclusiveness with a welcoming atmosphere demonstrated by all in attendance. While there are kid-friendly areas – Kids Fringe – there are also performances that are no holds barred and anything goes in the performances done by independent artists. Come all to support the arts and enjoy one of the most unique experiences Orlando has to offer!
WHEN: May 18 – 31, 2021
10 | Orlando’s Fiesta in the Park | Who doesn’t enjoy a pet-friendly festival in a park?! Orlando’s Fiesta in the Park takes place each year at Downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park – known for its beautiful swans and clamshell amphitheater. This fall festival has taken place every year for the past 50 years and has enabled countless creative artists to display their work for all to see – and buy. Artists and Crafters have the opportunity to set up booths at the festival to display their artwork for display and sale. Since the focus of this event “is to bring family and pet-friendly arts and entertainment to downtown Orlando…while promoting local urban development” all are welcome to present their talents or show up as an attendee of the fiesta. It’s highly recommended that one wears their best walking shoes as this Fiesta encircles the entire lake with hundreds of booths and food vendors along the way. Don’t forget to bring your wallet either, as you’re bound to find some of the most talented artists and one-of-a-kind pieces of art that you never knew existed and will never have the great luck of finding again!
WHEN: November 6 – 7, 2021
You really can’t go wrong with grabbing your posse and hitting up any of these events. Plus, since they occur all throughout the year, you don’t even need to try and decide which one to attend – just visit them all!
And if fairs and festivals are not your jam – or you're ready to try something different, check out our Travel Blog for other great vacation ideas and things to do.
* Westgate Resorts is in no way affiliated with the attractions featured in this article. Items or places listed are current as of the publishing date of this article. Please call or visit the respective website for the most up-to-date offerings and details.