In addition to world-class theme parks such as Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando, the Orlando area offers a variety of festivals, events and fairs in 2008 that are sure to please visitors and residents alike. On most weekends throughout 2008, but especially during spring, you’ll discover lively festivals and events going on somewhere in Orlando.
Many of Orlando’s most popular spring festivals and events are hosted by area theme parks and the 2008 lineup includes Mardi Gras at Universal Studios, the largest Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans, from February 2 through April 19, 2008; and the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which features world-class flower and horticultural displays, from March 19 through June 1, 2008.
“In most cases, these special events at Disney World and Universal Orlando during 2008 are included in the cost of the base ticket, providing an added benefit to your theme park excursion,” said Kyle Collins, Director of Interactive Marketing for HotelsCorp.com. “And spring is a great time to visit Orlando since the weather is perfect and you can get a jump on the summer crowds.”
Outside of the theme parks, major spring festivals and events in the Orlando area include the Arnold Palmer Invitational (formerly known as the Bay Hill Invitational), which draws top professional golfers on the PGA Tour such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, from March 13-16, 2008; the 11-day Central Florida Fair, which features carnival rides, live music, regional arts and crafts, food, livestock shows and amazing interactive exhibits from April 17-27, 2008; and the Central Florida Home & Garden Show, the region’s largest consumer home and garden showcase, from March 7-9, 2008.
Art and culture lovers will enjoy such Orlando festivals as the internationally acclaimed Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, which runs from February 6 through March 9, 2008; the 15th-annual Florida Film Festival, which was voted as the 8th-best film festival in the United States by the Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide to Film Festivals, from March 28 through April 6, 2008; Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, one of the country’s most prestigious outdoor art festivals, from March 14-16, 2008; Spring Fiesta in the Park, which displays the talents of more than 200 artists and craftspeople from all over the country during the first weekend in April 2008; and JazzFest Kissimmee, which features regional entertainers and high school musicians, in late April 2008.
Other not-to-be-missed Central Florida events and festivals include the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City from February 28-March 9, 2008; Kissimmee Kiwanis Bluegrass Festival at Osceola Heritage Park from February 22-24, 2008; and the; Leesburg Fine Art Festival from March 1-2, 2008.
Good sources for more information on upcoming Orlando festivals and events include the “Orlando Seasonal Events” section of the Orlando, Florida Guide, as well as the Friday entertainment sections of the Orlando Sentinel and the Orlando Weekly, a weekly arts and entertainment publication. In addition, check out Orlando’s online calendar at orlandoinfo.com, the official website of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Orlando, Florida Guide, the most comprehensive online guide to Orlando, offers discount Disney World tickets, discount Universal Orlando tickets and discount Sea World Orlando tickets, as well as discount Orlando hotels and individually tailored Orlando vacation packages.