Happy New Year, Orlando! It feels great to be back bringing you all the best events that have occurred throughout the City Beautiful since our December/January Double Issue. Keep on reading for all the highlights, just in case you missed it!

Fields Automotive Group presented the 14th Annual Festivals of Speed at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes on Sunday, December 15th. The luxury lifestyle display showcased over 250 exotic cars, motorcycles, watercraft and luxury brands. The Festivals of Speed show field has become known for its unique diversity, showcasing both vintage and contemporary vehicles of all makes and models placed for display amongst the splendor and hospitality of the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Guests experienced automotive designs by Porsche, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Aston-Martin, BMW, Mercedes, McLaren, and more all while enjoying fine wines, exciting culinary offerings, cigar lounge, on site cafes, smooth jazz in the gardens, and much more.

More than 150 crawlers turned out for the Annual Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl on Saturday, December 21st. The crawl took participants to eight different downtown Orlando bars while donning their best ugly sweater. Sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a $10 donation secured drink specials at each bar and even some awesome swag. The winner of the Ugly Sweater contest won a $100 Amazon gift card and all event proceeds benefited the Adult Literacy League of Orlando. Together, participants raised $1,455 for the non-profit that provides opportunities for individuals and families in Central Florida to develop their reading and writing skills. 

On Tuesday, December 31, the Orlando Museum of Art helped swing into the ’20s with a roaring celebration! The Roaring Twenties: A Fashionable Affair was a spectacular evening featuring full museum access, special guests and much more to help Orlando countdown to the new year! With their all-inclusive ticket, attendees enjoyed open cocktail bar all evening, a delectable array of hors d’oeuvres by Arthur’s Catering, a magnificent champagne toast and even fireworks at midnight to ignite an era of glitz ‘n glam. Entertainment and live music by Paradise Band and Premiere DJ kept the party pumping while guests mixed and mingled all night long.

Each Saturday afternoon during the month of January, Lakeridge Winery held its famous Winter Music Series. The live musicians featured were all fantastic performers, hand-picked from the wealth of talent located throughout Central Florida. Guests were encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the outdoor stage entertainment in addition to live music in the Wine & Cheese Bar by some of the area’s hottest solo acts. To add to the fun, Lakeridge Winery set up a large number of cornhole games for everyone to play and enjoy for free. As always, Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food were available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and tasting. 

On January 6th, the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour finally made its way to Orlando’s Enzian Theatre! Sundance Shorts is a 97-minute theatrical program of seven short films selected from this year’s Festival, widely considered the premier showcase for short films and the launchpad for many now-prominent independent filmmakers for more than 30 years. From sharply-written comedy and drama to edgy genre and an intimate family saga, the seven films making up this year’s screening included: sometimes, i think about dying; Fast Horse, Suicide by Sunlight; Muteum; Crude Oil; The MINORS; and Brotherhood.

Each year, tens of thousands visit the ZORA! Festival to celebrate the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston, to celebrate the historic significance of Eatonville, and to celebrate the cultural contributions which people of African ancestry have made to the United States and to world culture. The outdoor Festival of the Arts is a multi-day, multi-disciplinary, intergenerational event composed of public talks, museum exhibitions, theatrical productions, and arts education programming. The 31st Annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities began on January 25th and continues through February 2nd. 

The inaugural SeaWorld Rescue Run took place bright and early on January 25th and saw hundreds of attendees running, skipping, jogging, and strolling their way through the theme park! Participants enjoyed the relaxing ambiance of the park’s picturesque pathways and caught a glimpse of SeaWorld’s animals before they crossed the finish line at Shamu Stadium where an exclusive Killer Whale Show was waiting for them. With SeaWorld Rescue-themed awards, medals for all participants, and plenty of surprises along the way, it was certainly a memorable day for racers of all ages. This event benefited the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund with 100% of every penny going toward conservation projects that support animal rescue, habitat protection and conservation education programs in the U.S. and around the world.