Get ready for all the exciting – and occasionally spooky – events on deck this season.
As the sweltering heat starts to subside, and the outdoors prove more inviting, the Oviedo-Winter Springs community comes alive with a number of festivals and special events. Whether you are a runner, a professional or emerging artist, a quaffer of strong German beer, or someone who likes a little spookiness in your entertainment, you will find something to enjoy.
Let’s take a look at some of the good times to be had by all this fall:
Lift a Stein
Oviedo Oktoberfest - Center Lake Park
After a decade on hiatus, Oviedo’s Oktoberfest event came back with a vengeance last year. So successful was that mix of beer, bratwurst, and German-themed contests, that this year’s festival is expanding from two days to three.
A soft opening from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 27 will coincide with the city’s weekly Food Truck Thursday event. Oktoberfest will officially kick into high gear from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29, with a German Biergarten, authentic food, and kid-friendly events at Center Lake Park. There will also be entertainment from such groups as the Swinging Bavarians, Brad Turk Polka Band, and King Guys German Band.
Oktoberfest was originally scheduled to return to Oviedo in 2016, but the event was cancelled because of an oncoming hurricane, says Terri Martini Ash, recreation events supervisor for the City of Oviedo. By the following year, residents were anxious to raise their steins again, and they turned out in droves for the event’s relaunch.
“It was so phenomenal,” Terri says, “we added another day this year.”
Best Day Ever
Great Day in the Country
Center Lake Park
More than 300 vendors will be on hand for the Great Day in the Country festival, Saturday November 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Center Lake Park.
Food courts and beer stands will ensure no one goes hungry or thirsty as guests browse through all the arts and crafts. Student artwork will also be on display.
The community services area has featured such organizations as Boys Town Central Florida, the Oviedo Police Department, and the Scottish American Society of Central Florida.
The event is sponsored by the Oviedo Woman’s Club, and shuttles will be available to take you to the festival site. To check shuttle locations, go to GreatDayOviedo.org. The event will take place rain or shine.
Meet the Past
The Rising Run 5K and Cemetery Tour
First United Methodist Church and the Oviedo Cemetery
Fitness and the ghosts of Oviedo past will come together for the popular Rising Run 5K Halloween-themed extravaganza.
The cornerstones of this event are a 5K run that begins and ends at the First United Methodist Church of Oviedo. Start time is bright and early, 7:34 a.m., on Saturday, October 27. The next day, history buffs and Halloween enthusiasts will enjoy the Twilight Tour of the Oviedo Cemetery (across from Oviedo High School) under the guidance of volunteers portraying historic Oviedo figures.
Past characters have included the likes of Meredith Brock, an Oviedo man who found church to be so boring that he would keep a snake in his beard to entertain children (and himself) in the congregation, says Megan Sladek, Oviedo City Councilwoman and one of the event’s coordinators. Some of this year’s actors will also add some ambiance to the breakfast served before the 5K.
African-Americans were not originally permitted burial in Oviedo Cemetery, so this year’s event will also feature characters who were buried at Boston Hill Cemetery, as well as Slavia Cemetery.
The all-volunteer show is a delight as visitors move from station to station throughout the cemetery to hear all the harrowing, historic tales.
The Twilight Tour takes place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 28. A $3 donation is requested, with all proceeds going to charity.
Admission to the Rising Run 5K is $25 or $32 after Tuesday, September 4. A Kids Fun Run (up to one mile) will begin at 8:45 a.m. Admission to the Fun Run is free, and registration ends on October 25.
You can also sign up to be a race supporter or volunteer. Call 407-365-8888 or email Megan@OviedoTraditions.org.
Art and Beer
Winter Springs Town Center
Combine a love of fine arts with good German beer and food, and you get ARToberFEST, the annual Winter Springs Festival of the Arts.
This festival, which takes place October 20 and 21 at Winter Springs Town Center, typically draws between 15,000 to 20,000 visitors. This is the 11th year of the event, which is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. both days.
The family-friendly event showcases around 100 local and nationally recognized artists, with special venues for senior art and artwork created by high-school and college students, says organizer Paige Grasso.
“For some students, this is their first exposure to an art show,” Paige says.
Artists will be competing for $11,000 in prize money.
Being October, visitors can quench their thirst with the German beer Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen. Those wanting something locally brewed – and with fewer consonants – can enjoy beer by Winter Springs’s own Red Cypress Brewery.
One new event this year is a champagne stroll through the art festival, featuring bottomless mimosas from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Sunday.
“I’m really excited by that,” Paige says. “It should be a fun time.”
Hay Hay, Good Times
Winter Springs Hometown Harvest
Winter Springs Town Center
The City of Winter Springs will celebrate its 13th annual Hometown Harvest from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, at the Winter Springs Town Center.
The event is free and includes live musical performances from hometown favorite Bailey Callahan, The Music Box, and winners of the Winter Springs Got Talent competition. You can also join a line dance led by the city’s own Dancers With Class.
Children will love the kids’ area with pumpkin painting, hayrides, and a hay playground, and everyone will enjoy seasonal arts and crafts and food vendors.
The event is produced in partnership with the Winter Springs Police Department and its National Night Out program, as well as Hope Helps, Inc. and its food drive.
Bring a nonperishable food donation for a chance to win grand prizes.
Carnival of Screams and Teenie Weenie Halloweenie - Riverside Park
Finally, Oviedo’s Riverside Park (1600 Lockwood Boulevard) will be the location for two Halloween-flavored events with something for every age group – Carnival of Screams and the G-rated Teenie Weenie Halloweenie.
Carnival of Screams is a three-day haunted house event. On the first night (6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 25), the focus is just on the haunted house. The following two nights (5:00 to 10:00 p.m. on October 26 and 27), you’ll get a full-blown carnival with a ring toss, pizza toss, and other games.
During the first hour of each night, the lights will be turned on in the haunted house to keep things extra-family-friendly. After that, the lights go out, and, well, watch your step. This event typically draws about 6,000 visitors.
Teenie Weenie Halloweenie takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, October 26, and is aimed at kids two to five. There will be a bounce house, crafts, and entertainment.
Admission is one big bag of candy per family, and the candy will be doled out to trick-or-treaters and used to reward winners of a costume contest.
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