The season will offer more of what you’ve loved, with some new twists.

The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park’s 2024–25 season has something for everyone, but during every anniversary season Artistic Director John V. Sinclair makes certain to “go back to the three B’s.” That would be, of course, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law; the “Black Sunday” dust storm displaced an estimated 300 million tons of topsoil in New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma; Babe Ruth hit his 714th and final career home run at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh; and the most popular recording artists were Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby.

Also, on the campus of Rollins College, a group of musicians performed Bach’s Mass in B Minor in Knowles Memorial Chapel. This event, organized by snowbird Isabelle Sprague-Smith, an educator and philanthropist from New York, was Winter Park’s first Bach Festival. 

So, to be precise about it, 2024–25 marks the 90th season of the Bach Festival — which will run from February 15 to March 2, 2025 — and the 85th anniversary of the society, which was incorporated in 1940 and presents musical programming year-round.

Amazingly, Artistic Director John V. Sinclair wasn’t around for the first concert or the first organizational meeting of the society under whose auspices it operates. That wouldn’t have been possible for someone who wasn’t even born until 1956. 

However, most locals can’t remember a time when the society’s creative force was anyone other than Sinclair, who is marking his own anniversaries: 35 years with the society — which today encompasses a 175-member choir and a full orchestra — and 40 years as director of music at Rollins. 

(Although the society is a fully independent nonprofit, it maintains its historic partnership with the college, which hosts performances at Knowles Memorial Chapel and the John M. Tiedtke Concert Hall.)

“This is a year where I thought we should remember who we are,” says the energetic Sinclair, who is arguably whomever the classical music equivalent is of the hardest working man in show business (apologies to James Brown). “Every anniversary year, we go back to the three B’s — Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.”

With Sinclair, though, you can always expect the unexpected. In addition to welcoming back some of the most popular visiting artists in recent years, this season he’ll offer everything from classical music by unjustly forgotten composers to spirituals with big-band arrangements. 

In addition, he’ll introduce the 1st Bach Festival Society National Oratorio Competition, which Sinclair believes will immediately become the largest oratorio competition in the country. “We’re the perfect organization to do this,” he adds.

The program is geared toward young professionals looking to launch their careers, comparable to the breakthrough-seeking opera singers who participate in the Metropolitan Opera’s annual Laffont Competition. (Laffont regionals were held earlier this year in Tiedtke Hall.) 

The society expects between 150 and 200 applicants, who will submit their works online. Finalists will compete in Winter Park, and the winner will receive a financial prize and the guarantee of a society-related professional engagement. 

Here, then, is the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park’s 2024–25 season, with events listed chronologically (including the stand-alone Bach Festival). The music will get underway soon with the city’s annual Fourth of July Celebration (Thursday, July 4, 2024), which features the choir performing patriotic music on the Central Park Stage.

Next, kicking off the Visiting Artist Series, will be Voctave: The Corner of Broadway and Main Street (Friday, September 13, 2024, 7:30 p.m., Steinmetz Hall at Dr. Phillips Center). 

There won’t be an empty seat in the house for this nationally renowned a cappella group, which was formed a decade ago by composer and arranger extraordinaire Jamey Ray, an associate professor of music at Rollins, and features primarily singers from Disney World.

The first installment of the Insights & Sounds Series will follow with The Greatest Composers You’ve Never Heard Of: Volume 2 (Thursday, October 3, 2024, 7:30 p.m., Tiedtke Concert Hall). 

You’ll discover the forgotten melodies and intricate harmonies of brilliant composers who, often due to a lack of patronage, have slipped through the cracks of history. “This is the music that composers like Mozart and Beethoven heard,” says Sinclair. “They loved these guys.”

Insights & Sounds will continue with Jiji Guitar: Chamber Concertos (Thursday, October 17, 2024, 7:30 p.m., Tiedtke Concert Hall). Sure, she has a stage name — Jiji Guitar is actually Jiyeon Kim — but she’s the real deal otherwise. 

“Jiji is the future of classical guitar,” says Sinclair. “She can play everything from jazz to Bach.”

The South Korean guitarist and composer is best known as a member of the Grammy-nominated musical collective Wild Up, which in 2019 earned a Grammy nomination for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. She’ll also perform a recital on Sunday, October 20, 2024, at 3 p.m. That’s also in Tiedtke Concert Hall.

Now, how about a little pump organ music? The Bach Vocal Artists — an elite professional vocal chamber ensemble — will perform Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle (Thursday, October 24, 2024, 7:30 p.m., Tiedtke Concert Hall) accompanied by a piano and, yes, a pump organ — just as Gioachino Antonio Rossini wrote it.

“This one is more fun, I think, than the law allows,” says Sinclair, who salvaged the pump organ when it was about to be discarded by its owner. “I said, ‘Wait! I need this! Rossini!” 

On the keyboards will be Gloria Cook, a professor of music at Rollins, and her sister, Cynthia Lawing, an artist associate at Davidson College in North Carolina. (Lawing will get to play the pump organ.)

The Choral Masterworks Series will begin with Mozart’s Requiem; Sibelius’s Finlandia; and Ricketts’s Songs of War and Peace (Sunday, November 3, 2024, 3 p.m., Steinmetz Hall at Dr. Phillips Center). Of course, you recognize the names of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Jean Sibelius. But who is Ricketts?

That would be Santa Rosa, California-based Ted Ricketts, a longtime music director and producer at Walt Disney World. Songs of War and Peace, his new work was inspired by the wartime correspondence of writers Stephen Crane and Walt Whitman. It was written specifically for the society’s choir and orchestra.

The Visiting Artist Series will continue with Edgar Meyer with Tessa Lark and Joshua Roman: String Trio (Sunday, November 10, 2024, 3 p.m., Tiedtke Concert Hall). Meyer, a renowned bassist whose repertoire includes everything from classical to bluegrass, has been nominated for 17 Grammys and won 10. He’ll be joined by violinist Tessa Lark and cellist Joshua Roman.

Then comes Christmas. Which can only mean that it’s time to enjoy Christmas in the Park (Thursday, December 5, 2024, 6:15 p.m., Central Park Stage). This huge event fills the city’s downtown district and features the full choir and an ensemble of the orchestra. 

Other reasons to attend: There’ll be lighted Tiffany stained-glass windows, courtesy of the Charles Hosmer Morse of American Art, displayed throughout the park. And the City Commission has approved enchantment to its usual holiday decorations — as if it could get any more charming along Park Avenue.

Still can’t get enough good cheer? The Choral Masterworks Series will offer another helping of holiday spirit with A Classic Christmas (Saturday, December 14, 2024, 2 and 5 p.m., and Sunday, December 15, 2024, 2 and 5 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). 

This concert, which features the full choir and orchestra as well as the youth choir, last year was filmed for national broadcast on PBS. It’s a cherished annual tradition in Winter Park.

Next, the Visiting Artist Series will continue with the Boulder, Colorado-based Takács Quartet with David Requiro, Cellist (Sunday, January 19, 2025, 3 p.m., Tiedtke Concert Hall). 

The quartet — co-founded in Budapest, Hungary, by violinist Gábor Takács-Nagy — notched a 2017 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance. Requiro, who’ll be sitting in, is an associate professor of cello at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Then, a free concert, Paul Jacobs, Organ Recital (Friday, February 7, 2025, 7:30 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel), will showcase the artist who became the first organist to win a Grammy when he took home an award in 2011 for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance. 

Jacobs’s recital will be followed by Spiritual Spaces (Saturday, February 8, 2025, 5 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel), which will offer a yet-to-be-announced program of soothing music — something everyone could use from time to time. 

The last concert before the actual Bach Festival gets underway will be Big Band Spirituals (Thursday, February 13, 2025, 7:30 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). Bassist Chuck Archard, artist in residence at Rollins, wrote the new arrangements and will gather a team of players to perform them. 

“This will be so joyous,” says Sinclair. “The sincerity of these spirituals is so deep. It’s our most profound music and truly reflects the soul of this country.”

The second half of February will be consumed by the 90th Annual Bach Festival, which will revisit great masterworks with the usual extravaganzas that feature both the choir and the orchestra — including an oratorio performed at the first festival in 1935 — and guest artists galore.

As part of the Choral Masterworks Series, Handel’s Cantata La resurrezione, HWV 47 (Saturday, February 15, 2025, 7:30 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel) will open the festival and feature the full choir and orchestra and guest artists — who’ll later serve as judges in the oratorio competition referenced in the accompanying story.

The Visiting Artist Series will continue with The King’s Singers (Sunday, February 16, 2025, 3 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). The world-renowned, all-male British male a cappella group performed at the festival to great acclaim in 2023. 

But their visit to the Sunshine State was marred at their next stop, Pensacola Christian College. The Baptist institution canceled the group’s scheduled concert two hours before curtain because, according to a press statement, one of the members “was living as a gay person in violation of Scripture.” 

The snub garnered media coverage all over the country and made Sinclair even more eager to have the group back. “They were so popular when they were here,” he notes. “And I wanted to thumb my nose at the people up north.” 

Next will be the 1st Bach Festival Society National Oratorio Competition (Monday, February 17, to Wednesday, February 19, 2025, location to be determined). What is known so far was described earlier in this story.


When the entire Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra is assembled, they provide a feast for the eye and the ear in a magnificent setting — the Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus. Sinclair (center) is marking his 35th season at the helm of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park.

In the meantime, Insights & Sounds will return with Dashon Burton, Brick by Brick: Changing America by Song (Tuesday, February 18, 2025, 7:30 p.m., Tiedtke Concert Hall).

Burton, a bass-baritone with three Grammys to his credit, performed as a soloist last year at the festival in Sanctuary Road, which librettist Mark Campbell created using slave narratives published in 1872. This year, he’ll perform a recital of his own choosing that portrays the “brick by brick” journey of African Americans. 

Continuing the Choral Masterworks Series will be the Bach Vocal Artists, along with the choir and orchestra, performing Bach’s Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (Friday, February 21, 2025, 7:30 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). The choir and orchestra will also perform Beethoven’s Mass in C, Opus 86; and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (Saturday, February 22, 2025, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 23, 2025,
3 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel).

The Bach work is a nod to the festival’s history: It was performed at the first Bach Festival in 1935. “It’s the greatest piece of music ever written,” says Sinclair. And the Beethoven work, he adds, “is one of the few times he wrote a piece when he wasn’t mad at anybody.” 

Now, how about a trip around the world? A Musical Travelogue (Friday, February 28, 2025, 7:30 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel) will feature works by George Gershwin, Johannes Brahms, Franz von Suppé, Aaron Copland and others. “Bach is an international festival, after all,” notes Sinclair. “People come here from all over.” 

So you’ll experience the romance of the Danube, the mystique of Fingal’s Cave and the vibrant energy of the Seine as well as the charm of our own hometown, when composer Michael Creighton, a graduate of Winter Park High School and St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, debuts his Winter Park Fanfare.

Following is another installment in The Choral Masterworks Series, Brahms’s German Requiem, Opus 45; and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Opus 23 (Saturday, March 1, 2025, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 2, 2025, 3 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). 

“The Brahms work is the most sincere, profound requiem ever written,” says Sinclair. “It rachets up intellect and spirituality like nothing else.”

Additional festival activities will include guest lectures, master classes and other special events. In residence during the festival will be musicologist Jan Swafford, a biographer of Brahms and a commentator on NPR and the BBC. 

Following the conclusion of the Bach Festival will be Bach to the Future, a trio of free concerts — all of them in Tiedtke Concert Hall — that will include a Bach Festival Choir Alumni Recital (Thursday, March 20, 2025, 7:30 p.m.); a Bach Festival Orchestra Virtuosos Recital (Sunday, March 23, 2025, 3 p.m.); and a Bach Chamber Singers Concert (Thursday, April 10, 2025, 7:30 p.m.). 

The Chamber Singers will offer a look into the festival’s future by presenting selections from works that are scheduled to be presented in full over the next three years. Says Sinclair:  “This is all about who are, and have been — and what we’ll be in the future.”

Then, when Choral Masterworks returns, make sure you’ve got a hearty appetite (for great music, we mean). The full-to-bursting program will include Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast; Shostakovich: Festive Overture, Op. 96; Bloch’s Schelomo; and Crozier’s Piano Concerto (Saturday, April 26, 2025, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 27, 2025, 3 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel).

William Walton’s biblically based cantata, says Sinclair, was supposed to be performed during his first year as artistic director. John Tiedtke, president of the society’s board and its primary funder, had asked about the possibility of scheduling the work. “I don’t think we have a choir yet that can do it,” Sinclair recalls replying to Tiedtke. “I think we should wait.”

And that’s what they did — for 35 years. But expect Belshazzar to have been worth waiting for. It’s a feast for the ear with its rich orchestration (plenty of brass) and jazz-influenced rhythms and harmonies. 

Based on the Book of Daniel and Psalm 137, the complex cantata — which was banned from cathedrals by the Church of England — certainly won’t be “weighed in the balance and found wanting.” 

Joining Walton, Dmitri Shostakovich and Ernest Bloch on the bill will be Daniel Crozier, an acclaimed composer and associate professor of theory and composition at Rollins, who’ll debut a new piano concert. After consuming all that, you ought to walk out of the chapel filled to the brim.

The 2024–25 season will conclude with a return of the Bach Vocal Artists, who will perform Vivaldi’s Choral Works (Thursday, May 1, 2025, 7:30 p.m., Tiedtke Concert Hall). The concert will be a celebration of Antonio Vivaldi’s lesser-known compositions.

You can customize your season tickets to include everything or fewer selected performances during the year. You can also buy tickets for only the Bach Festival. For more information, call 407.646.2182. or visit 

—Randy Noles



Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This lakeside museum, open since 1961, is dedicated to preserving works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. The museum offers tours of Polasek’s home Tuesdays to Saturdays. And it offers tours of the adjacent Capen-Showalter House three times weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. Built in 1885, the Capen-Showalter House was saved from demolition several years ago and floated across Lake Osceola to its current location on the Polasek’s grounds. Continuing through August 18 at the Polasek is The Power of Photography, a 1943 photo essay by noted African American photographer Gordon Parks that documents life in the segregated 1940s in Daytona Beach and at Bethune-Cookman University. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-6294.

The Art & History Museums — Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums that anchor the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, is Central Florida’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. Continuing through July 14 at the art center is The View from Within, an introduction to the works of artists Nneka Jones and Shannon Elyse. That’s followed by A Bright Light from the Embers: A Story of Love, Art & Place (July 27 to September 29), which showcases the work of late Central Florida artists Que Throm and Cicero Greathouse, whose legacy gift helped fund the art center’s upcoming campus expansion. Admission to the art center’s galleries is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students (ages 5 to 17) and free for children ages 4 and under. Maitland residents receive a $1 discount. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and Telephone Museum at 221 West Packwood Avenue, and the Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive. 407-539-2181.

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the Morse houses the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and an entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The museum’s latest exhibitions are The American Arts & Crafts Movement, which features distinctive furniture, metalwork and design created during the turn of last century; and Fascinating Clutter: American Taste During the Reign of Victoria, which explores the rich, romantic aesthetic landscape of the 19th century and how industry, expansion and war influenced personal and artistic expression. Also currently on view are Lamps & Lighting: Tiffany and His Contemporaries, a showcase of Tiffany’s most innovative and iconic designs; and Vignette, a collection of decor items from the Ayer Mansion in Chicago, one of Tiffany’s most complete residential design commissions. Also ongoing is Revival & Reform: Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment, which provides a rare look at the diversity of decorative arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with pieces by Tiffany, William Morris, Frank Lloyd Wright and others. Additional displays include Watercolors from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s “Little Arcadia,” which invites visitors to look beyond Tiffany’s legacy to discover the gifts of other talented artists — especially women — who worked in his studios. Regular admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than age 12. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311. 

Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this nonprofit arts organization on Winter Park’s east side offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. Visitors may take a self-guided tour through the campus’s lakeside sculpture garden, which includes more than 60 three-dimensional pieces of contemporary outdoor art and related educational panels. Continuing exhibitions include the 43rd Annual Juried Student Exhibition, which features the school’s best works in a variety of media (through August 3) and See Through Our Eyes: Storytellers in Sanford & Eatonville by members of the Crealdé Storytellers Teen Documentary Photography Program. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-671-1886.

Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African American west side with hundreds of archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents that are collectively known as the Heritage Collection. The center also offers a walking tour of Hannibal Square, Now and Then, with Fairolyn Livingston, chief historian. The tour, offered on the third Saturday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m., requires reservations; the cost is $10, or $5 for those with student IDs. 642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-539-2680.

Rollins Museum of Art. The Rollins College campus is home to one of the most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida, including ancient artifacts, contemporary collections and Central Florida’s only collection of paintings by European Old Masters. Continuing through January 5, 2025, are The Fantastical Mundane: Selections from the Grasset Collection, a selection of 17th-century Dutch paintings that feature lush still lives, detailed landscapes and rich domestic scenes; and Book Arts, which explores the ways in which text can function as image. Debuting September 15 is Nostalgia for My Island, a collection of works by Puerto Rican artists from the late 18th century through the 1960s loaned by the Museo de Arte de Ponce. Guided tours take place at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at the nearby Alfond Inn, where a selection of more than 400 works is on view from the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. Happy Hour tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted on the first Wednesday of most months at 5:30 p.m. If you prefer historic works, Throwback Thursday tours are offered at the museum from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of most months. Admission is free, courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2526.


Annie Russell Theatre. “The Annie,” on the campus of Rollins College and in continuous operation since 1932, opens its 92nd season with Mike Lew’s Bike America (October 3 to 6), a contemporary off-Broadway production about a young woman who joins a cross-country cycling excursion in search of a place that feels like home. That’s followed by Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Regency classic Pride & Prejudice (November 21 to 24); Anthony Neilson’s Narrative, an absurdist comedy/drama from London’s Royal Court Theatre (February 20 to 23, 2025); and Michael Gore’s Carrie: The Musical, based on Stephen King’s legendary horror novel (April 24 to 27, 2025). Curtain times are 7:30 p.m., 4 p.m. or 2 p.m., depending upon the day of the week. Individual tickets are $25. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145. 

Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, nonprofit theater kicks off its 2024-25 season with 8 Track: The Sounds of the ‘70s (August 2 to 25), a jukebox musical featuring the music of The Carpenters, Marvin Gaye and The Bee Gees, among others. That’s followed by Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook (September 20 to October 13), which incorporates more than two dozen of Stephen Schwartz’s beloved showtunes from Wicked, Pippin, Godspell and more; Wreck the Halls (November 15 to December 21), a musical comedy about the holiday season; The Bikinis (January 24 to February 22, 2025), about the reunion of a girl group from the 1960s that features hits from the era; Gigolo: The New Cole Porter Revue (March 14 to April 12, 2025), which uses the composer’s iconic songs to tell the story of an international playboy and his relationships with four beautiful women; and Route 66 (May 9 to June 8, 2025), a musical journey across the country set to pop favorites from the 1950s and 1960s. Performances are Thursdays to Sundays, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets range in price from $20 for students to $46 for evening shows. 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-0145. 


Enzian. This cozy, nonprofit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Tickets are usually $12 for regular admission; $10 for matinees, students, seniors and service members (with ID); and $9.50 for Enzian Film Society members. Children under age 12 are admitted free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films, shown on the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Other series include Saturday Matinee Classics (the second Saturday of each month at noon), Cult Classics (the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m.) and Midnight Movies (every Saturday night). FilmSlam, which spotlights Florida-made short films, takes place most months on the second or third Sunday at 1 p.m. 300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices).

Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, family-friendly films free in Central Park on Park Avenue. These outdoor screenings are typically held the second Thursday of each month and start at 7 or 8 p.m. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and bring blankets or chairs. 407-629-1088.


Casa Feliz Historic Home & Venue. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home, designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200.

Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating antisemitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, archives and a research library. The museum’s ongoing exhibition, Tribute to the Holocaust, is a presentation of artifacts, videos, text, photographs and other works of art. In addition, running through September is The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland. Admission is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555.

Winter Park History Museum. The museum’s current exhibition, Hello Sunshine: Selling Florida Through the Art of Postcards, offers a colorful look at local history through vintage postcards from the collection of Rick Frazee, owner of the fondly remembered Best Western Mount Vernon Inn, who gifted more than 1,000 fun and kitschy images to the museum. Partnerships with the Orange County Regional History Center, the Winter Garden Heritage Museum and the Henry B. Plant Museum in Tampa expands the exhibition to take on a statewide focus. A visitor center-style display contains brochures that represent a variety of attractions, while a timeline marks notable dates in local history. A rotating installation — currently a look back at area hotels — focuses on a new topic each quarter. Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-2330.

Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information about the historic city and sponsors exhibitions that feature the works of African American artists. Admission is free, although group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 344 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188.


29th Annual 4th of July Celebration. Head to Central Park West Meadow on July 4 for patriotic music performed by the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble. There’ll also be apple pie (of course) and watermelon ices along with games and other kids’ activities from 9 to 11 a.m. If you want to start celebrating even earlier, enter the annual Watermelon 5K run, which begins at 7:30 a.m. on Park Avenue. Military personnel and their family members receive a race bib and a $10 discount on the 5K registration fee. 407-599-3463. For information about the race, check For information about other Independence Day activities, check


Central Florida Anthropological Society. Do you want to preserve Florida’s historic heritage? Are you curious about prehistoric Florida? Join the CFAS for this new lecture series at the Winter Park Library that will highlight current anthropological and archaeological investigations with a special focus on Central Florida. The next meeting is scheduled for September 16. Enjoy light refreshments and socializing when the doors open at 6:30 p.m., followed by a presentation at 7 p.m. Admission is free. 1050 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park.

Life Explorers Speakers Series. Hosted by Mead Botanical Garden, this speaker series features programs for adults interested in expanding their knowledge on a variety of environmental and cultural topics. Meetings are typically held on the third Thursday of the month; upcoming dates are July 11, August 8 and September 12. Admission is free. 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park. 407-622-6323.

Morse Museum Wednesday Lecture Series. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art regularly invites recognized scholars in the field of late 19th- and early 20th-century art to speak on topics related to the museum’s collection and exhibitions. Call or check the website for upcoming dates and subjects. Programs take place at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free. 161 West Canton Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311.

University Club of Winter Park. Nestled among the oaks and palms at the north end of Park Avenue’s downtown shopping district — a block beyond Casa Feliz — is another historic James Gamble Rogers II building, this one home to the University Club of Winter Park. Members are dedicated to the enjoyment of intellectual activities and socializing with one another. The club’s various activities, including lectures, are open to the public, although nonmembers are asked to make a $5 donation each time they attend. (Some events include a buffet lunch for an added fee.) For a full schedule of events and speakers, check the website. 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-6149.


Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. Central Florida’s longest-running performing arts organization and one of America’s first festivals to celebrate the works of Johann Sebastian Bach (and others), the society kicks off its 90th season on September 13 (see page 88). Performances are usually held in Knowles Memorial Chapel or the John M. Tiedtke Concert Hall on the campus of Rollins College. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2182.

Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based nonprofit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts usually held on the last Saturday of each month (unless a holiday intervenes) at 2 p.m. Upcoming dates are July 27, August 31 and September 28. The group’s primary venue is the Winter Park Library, 1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426.

Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home and Venue presents acoustic performances on most Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. in the museum’s cozy main parlor. Past performers include opera singers, jazz guitarists and flamenco dancers. A $5 donation is suggested. For a full schedule of performances, check the website. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200.

Performing Arts of Maitland. This nonprofit organization works with the City of Maitland and other organizations to promote performances for and by local musicians. It supports various groups, including the Maitland Symphony Orchestra, Maitland Market Music, the Maitland Stage Band and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra. For a full schedule of events, check the website. 407-339-5984, ext. 219.


Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, open-air market — held each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses as well as plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music by Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a boardwalk, jogging trails, a playground and picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland.

Winter Park Farmers’ Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers’ market is held every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Central Park West Meadow — located at the corner of New York Avenue and Morse Boulevard — and offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park.


Florida Writers Association. Join fellow scribes for lectures by guest speakers and discussions led by local authors. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area chapter meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m. at the Winter Park Library, 1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. Upcoming meetings are July 16, August 20 and September 17. Another chapter, the Maitland Writers Group, meets on the second Thursday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Upcoming meetings are July 11, August 8 and September 12 at the Maitland Public Library, 501 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland.

Storytellers of Central Florida. Experienced and fledgling storytellers gather to share stories and practice their craft on the first Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Winter Park Library. Upcoming meetings are July 2, August 6 and September 3. 1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. 321-439-6020.

Wednesday Open Words. One of the area’s longest-running open-mic poetry nights is held every Wednesday, 9 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park. 407-975-3364.

Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts. This group offers various free programs that attract writers of all stripes. Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour, a literary open-mic night, meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of most months at Stardust Coffee (1842 Winter Park Road, Winter Park). It’s for authors, poets, filmmakers, comedians, musicians, bloggers and others who enjoy creative pursuits. Upcoming meetings are July 10, August 14 and September 11. Orlando WordLab, a workshop that challenges writers to experiment with new techniques or methods, meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Winter Park Library (1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park). Upcoming meetings are set for July 24, August 28 and September 25.


Connections. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce at local eateries, Connections provides local businesspeople and entrepreneurs an opportunity to network, socialize and share ideas. Held the fourth Wednesday of most months, upcoming events are July 31, August 21 and September 25 at Las Carretas Mexican Restaurant (4030 North Goldenrod Road, Winter Park). Admission is $35 for members and $50 for non-members. 407-599-3580.

Good Morning, Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings feature coffee and conversation about community issues. Held the first Friday of most months, upcoming events are July 12, August 2 and September 6. Networking begins at 8:45 a.m. followed at 9:15 a.m. by a 45-minute program. Admission, which includes coffee, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3580.

Soirée: A Summer Happening. Meet new people, sip a mocktail and learn some fresh ideas about how to put your best self forward on July 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Center for Health & Wellbeing. This fun and informative gathering — sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce — will feature exciting speakers, demonstrations and vendors sharing presentations on food, drink, fashion, lifestyle, personal branding and more. Tickets are $55. Register on the website. 2005 Mizell Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3580.

Winter Park Outlook. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce’s annual regional issues summit will take place September 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Alfond Inn. The focus will be the local shortage of attainable housing. 300 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3580.

Winter Park Professional Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these meetings — held the first Monday of most months from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — feature guest speakers and provide networking opportunities for women business owners. Topics are related to leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Upcoming events are August 5 and September 9. Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 for chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3580.


Keep Winter Park Beautiful. Volunteer to help the city keep local watersheds beautiful all season long with cleanups held throughout the year. Call or check the website for dates and locations. Litter grabbers, safety vests, gloves and garbage bags are provided at City Hall, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. Volunteers should contact kwpb@ for more details and to complete a waiver. 407-599-3364.

Winter Park Garden Club. The club’s general membership meetings, which always offer something intriguing for lovers of gardening and the great outdoors, are typically held on the second Wednesday of each month from September to May at 10 a.m. Field trips and other community events are also held throughout the year. All meetings are at the club’s headquarters at 1300 South Denning Drive. For more information about the club, which was founded in 1922, and upcoming programs, call 407-644-5770, check or email