The Florida Renaissance Festival is a wholly different world??a world of jousts and costumes and turkey legs. Here be dragons, or so the armor-clad knights would have you believe. At the festival, live shows recreate the romance of the Renaissance with references to Shakespeare and swordplay on 12 different stages. Meanwhile, merchants share the secrets of their crafts, blowing unbreakable glass for spectators and selling hammered pewter goblets. Visitors, dressed in period garb or not, can wander on their own, exploring the shows and stalls, or trying their hands at games of chance while gnawing on scotch eggs and chocolate cheesecake.
A fund-raising event for The United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, Rocks for Education aims to draw audiences with a family-friendly mix of music, comedy, and more. Emmy winner and Local 10 News anchor Laurie Jennings will serve as the event's emcee, and stars David Henrie of Wizards of Waverly Place and Drake Bell of Drake & Josh will engage spectators with songs, comedy, and other unmimed entertainments. Performances by local dance teams and American Idol contestant Symphony Music Howlett will add to the rhythmic stew, making the event more melodic than a Broadway musical about Mozart and the pianos who loved him. The evening's beneficiary, The United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, bolsters learning for little ones with advocacy, parent/teacher training, and resources such as a demonstration school.
In Joni Sheram's one-woman play, Cups, the playwright gives audiences a peek into her packed lingerie drawer through intimate knowledge of her history and character via the progression of tangled straps and faded lace. As Sheram pulls out assorted bras, she reminisces on the myriad memories marked by the quotidian bits of fabric, from the hopeful clasp of a training bra to the daunting responsibility marked by a nursing bra. A strapless bra is used to convey coming-of-age anecdotes, and a heap of ashes commemorates a bra burned during the firewood famine of the 1960s. Hailed as hilarious by scads of reviewers and department-store managers, the play also touches on aging, loss, and decades of women's personal and collective history.
The SweetTooth Soiree spotlights the top bakeries, candy-makers, and dessert experts in South Florida. Vendors dish out samples of their signature sweets, including gooey brownies, artfully frosted cakes, and rainbow-colored candy. The entertainment ranges from DJ-spun tunes to dessert-making demos, which teach visitors to create confections more sophisticated than a mud pie covered in edible gold leaf.
The Florida Cajun Zydeco festival's seven musical acts fill the air with traditional tunes on two outdoor stages. Wooden dance floors and guided dance lessons (held in between sets) encourage rug-cuttery as the C’est Bon Cajun Dance Band wails away on fiddle and guitar, and the multi-instrumentalist Magnolia Sisters reinvigorate forgotten standards more effectively than auto-tuned re-mixes of Glen Miller's catalogue. Each band also gives a 20- to 30-minute lesson about the history of their music. Visitors can suppress unruly appetites with spicy Cajun and Creole fare while perusing the offerings of craft vendors. Pintsize patrons can revel in games and rides, while larger patrons can revel in the festival's free parking.
On Saturday, December 11, the 39th Annual Winterfest Boat Parade will delight an estimated one million guests with a nighttime march of brilliantly decorated boats, kicking off Fort Lauderdale’s Centennial celebration in the process. Today’s deal gets you an adult ticket for entry to the Grandstand viewing area, which opens at 3:30 p.m. and includes access to interactive, family-friendly games, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and refreshments. The boat parade begins its 12-mile water crawl downtown at 6:30 p.m., and by 7:30 p.m. appears at the Grandstand viewing area to astound the audience with a slow-motion stampede of brightly lit floaters, including The Clydey Foundation’s Centennial Cirque Showboat, the Sky Limo Airplane Barge, and the Baptist Health Santa Showboat, which illuminates the night with 1,500 LED lights to guide St. Nick back to his beachfront winter home.