Dedicated to exposing local audiences to diverse stories told by artists from around the globe, the Orlando Film Festival attracts film-industry insiders, actors, and audiences for five packed days of movie-centric events. Filmmakers attend many of the festival's screenings to give audience members new perspectives on features or to challenge them to a round of "Trivial Pursuit: Stanley Kubrick Edition." Complimentary drinks and appetizers fuel the energy reserves of VIP-pass holders throughout the festival, but attendees can also find food and drink specials at nearby restaurants and bars.
Helmed by coaching wunderkind Guy Boucher and managed by Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman, the ice-carving squad enthralls fans with powerful slapshots and magical hat tricks. Groupon getters can toast NHL history as they drink in the league's first bout at the new Amway Center, or anxiously gnaw lower-terrace seats as players slam into the glass just a few feet away. Center Steven Stamkos looks to lead the league in scoring after his 45 goals nabbed the No. 2 spot in the NHL last season. Veteran right-winger Martin St. Louis returns as well, after having filled up stat sheets with 68 assists, 99 points, and drawings of his pet kitty cat in 2010.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Spun sugar crystals float by spinning horses and pools of docile magnetic sharks beneath the glittering midway lights of Carol Stream Amusements' lively traveling carnival. The nearly 110-year-old fair company's third-generation of stewards bring rides, games, and snacks to states such as Florida, North Carolina, and New York, where it operates the state fair in Syracuse. A 65-foot century wheel soars above the bustle of the music-filled midway, where LED lights twinkle in patterns of white, green, blue, and red around its gondola cars. A merry-go-round sends fantastical steeds cantering around in a stately circle, while bumper cars careen around their nearby enclosure. Carnival games such as squirt-gun races and fishing for magnetized sharks yield prizes such as stuffed animals and inflatable Scooby-Doo, SpongeBob, and Henry VIII dolls, while flurries of corn dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, and taffy apples fall constantly on hungry fair-goers.
The Global Peace Film Festival celebrates and furthers messages of peace and environmentalism with 40 films screened at venues across Orlando. Documentaries, narrative full lengths, and short films from around the globe spare cinephiles from direct sunlight while filmmakers, special guests, and local activists educate attendees about the power of the medium in special panel discussions. The peace it champions as a whole goes beyond anti-war, often touching on a more personal well-being that's reflected in the lives of individuals and communities.
Fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero shows, movies, and comics gather to celebrate their shared interests at CONjure. For three days, costumed guests mingle with new friends and old pals, shop for paintings and drawings from professional artists, and play tabletop, board, and console games for hours on end. Panel discussions and seminars from experts such as Space Ghost: Coast to Coast's George Lowe and The Legend of Neil director and writer Sandeep Parikh inform visitors of new trends in costuming, special effects, and media. Attendees can also compare their posters and life-size cardboard cutouts to the real-life forms of stars such as Mark Sheppard from Firefly and Supernatural, Kelly Hu from Arrow and X-Men 2, and Joel Hodgson from Mystery Science Theater 3000.