By Andy Romero and Dan Voss | STC Student Member and STC Fellow
Enjoy a myriad of attractions and diverse events during your stay in Central Florida. Be entertained, enriched, and “epicureanized” with your family and friends while exploring unique neighborhood establishments and events, as well as major amusement park attractions. So Stay Awhile! See all Orlando has to offer.
5–6, 12–13, and 19–20 May. LEGOLAND Star Wars. Guests enjoy seven famous scenes from six Star Wars movies in LEGOLAND. This family-friendly attraction lets guests experience major events in the beloved saga and unveils The Force Awakens MINILAND Model Display.
5, 12, and 19 May. Viva La Musica, SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Guests celebrate the annual Latin-themed music event with food, fun, and fabulous concerts.
10–13 May. Jazz New Smyrna Beach Blues Festival. Immerse yourself in one of America’s most celebrated music genres in a music-filled journey rich with history, tradition, and diversity, featuring scores of bands at multiple locations.
11–13 May. Dare to Dream Disney on Ice. Disney lights up the Orlando Amway Center with this curtain-raising Moana live production. Magical Disney characters like Belle and Mickey pursue their dreams in an unforgettable figure-skating extravaganza.
15–28 May. Fringe Festival. Celebrating its 27th year, the Orlando Fringe Festival, set in multiple venues at Loch Haven Park, features a broad spectrum of avant garde theater and unique entertainment ranging from family-friendly to adult-only. It also includes a fine arts exhibit, a “Kids Fringe,” food trucks, and a beer and wine tent.
18 May. Dr. Phillips Fast Forward. Audiences experience the passionate, talented dancers of the Orlando Ballet School and classical and contemporary music of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra in a showcase event at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
24–27 May. Megacon. Just a stone’s throw down International Drive from the Hyatt Regency Orlando, this four-day event focuses on comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming. It’s the largest event of its kind in the Southeast, attracting 100,000+ fans each year.
25–27 May. Country 500, Daytona Beach. The world-famous Daytona International Speedway exchanges race cars for marquee country music stars (Toby Keith, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington, Tyler Farr, Randy Houser, and more) in the 3rd annual Great American Music Fest.
26–27 May. Tampa Bay Margarita Festival. Everclear headlines an all-star entertainment cast as you “waste away” on multifarious margaritas and a tempting tequila tasting.
Thru 28 May. EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival. This must-see event enables adults and kids alike to enjoy inspirational exhibits, outdoor concerts, and breathtaking garden spaces and wildlife habitats.
Thru May. Orlando Jazz Events. For events at nine local jazz clubs, as well as free 24-hour jazz broadcasting, check WUCF 89.9 at https://tunein.com/radio/WUCF-899-s23356/.
18 May–10 June. The Glass Menagerie. Tennessee Williams, Sonnetag Theater at the Icehouse, Mt. Dora, FL.
4–20 May. So far, five May events are scheduled at this world-class entertainment complex at Dr. Phillips Center, downtown Orlando. For updates, see https://www.drphillipscenter.org/events/.
May TBD. Bob Carr Auditorium, downtown Orlando. May show at this storied Orlando theater is not yet announced: check https://www.drphillipscenter.org/explore/theaters-spaces/bob-carr-theater/
12 April–18 May. Annual Juried Digital, Graphic, and Fine Art Exhibition, Valencia College. Just up Kirkman Road from International Drive, enjoy a fine art collection of photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and graphic design, including interactive works by talented VCC students.
12–13 May. Polk Museum of Art Mayfaire-by-the-Lake. A short drive down I-4 to Lakeland, FL, one of Florida’s oldest and largest outdoor art shows features 165 exhibits, showcasing a broad spectrum of arts and crafts and other festival events.
13 May. Free Family Funday Presented by Mennello Museum of American Art. Create a miniature fine art project with family and friends and free docket touring. Each Free Family Funday has a different theme based on the current exhibition in the museum.
17 May. Third Thursday Gallery Hop Downtown. This art celebration features numerous galleries and non-traditional art venues that spotlight the best of established and emerging Central Florida artists.
27 May. Orlando Downtown Carnival. The original Orlando Carnival Association hosts its 31st annual Big Carnival Celebration. This year’s family-friendly festival celebrates Caribbean culture with pageantry, arts, crafts, music, and cuisine.
Thru May. The Mt. Dora Experience. Featuring art galleries, unique shops, top-notch restaurants, and more, this quaint “artsy” little town off the beaten path northeast of Orlando is a miniature version of world-famous Winter Park.
Thru May. Harry P. Leu Gardens. May is an ideal time to experience fragrant, floral Florida by exploring this amazing 50-acre botanical oasis. Roses will be in full bloom—and moms enter free on 13 May!
Thru May. Museum of Seminole County History. The 1-hour History and Paranormal Tours at this hidden little gem in Sanford, FL, offer fascinating insight into Central Florida history, including Native American artifacts, military memorabilia, historical documents, hauntings, and more.
Thru May. Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. While of modest size, this family-friendly attraction off I-4 in Sanford, FL, offers a fascinating look at Florida flora and fauna, including endangered species from Florida and around the world.
12 May. Second Annual Taste of Soul. Located at Festival Park in downtown Orlando, this family feast features sights, sounds, and tastes of the African American and diverse cultures that bring us soul food.
12–13 May. Jazz on the Vineyard Green, Lakeridge Winery. Wine, dine, and enjoy talented jazz musicians and complimentary winery tours and wine tastings in the scenic rolling hills of Clermont, FL, west of Orlando.
19 May. Beer ’Merica. Celebrating American Craft Beer Week, Beer ’Merica at Gaston Edwards Park on Lake Ivanhoe in Orlando features 100 craft U.S.A. brews to sample, plus live music, food trucks, an adult Play Zone, and more!
25–27 May. Palatka Blue Crab Festival. Just two hours north of Orlando, this annual Memorial Day Weekend event is a must-see for all who love sun, seafood, country music, and arts and crafts.
25–27 May. Florida Folk Festival, White Springs. Feast on collard greens and cornbread, chicken pilau and hoppin’ john, shrimp gumbo, barbecue, curries, gyros, kumquat pie, and lime fizzes at one of America’s oldest folk festivals, way down upon the Suwannee River west of Jacksonville.