Steve and Kathy Miller opened their Winter Park home to Opera Orlando performances during the organization’s formative years. Kathy is a classically trained vocalist.


Opera Honors Hometown Hosts

Galas tend to revolve around exotic themes and distant places. Opera Orlando’s third annual gala is no exception to the rule. The difference is, for this year’s black-tie event there’s more than one reason that all the far-away make-believe will make the guests of honor feel right at home.

Una Serenata Italiana! will evoke both Italian opera and the country in which it originated four centuries ago. It will also honor Kathy and Steve Miller, whose generosity included offering their Italian-themed home in Winter Park as a performance space for Opera Orlando in the company’s formative years.

Kathy is a classically trained singer who attended Southern Methodist University; Steve is the retired founder of Sawtek, a Central Florida company that developed and marketed microelectronic communication technology.

South Dakota natives, the Millers moved to Central Florida in 1978 and immediately began to support Orlando Opera, a now defunct organization not to be confused with Opera Orlando. After Orlando Opera closed in 2009, Florida Opera Theatre, the precursor to Opera Orlando, was founded.

The black-tie affair will be held at the Alfond Inn on Friday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. Individual tickets are priced from $250 to $275. Tables are priced from $3,000 to $8,000. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

“As it should be, the whole evening will be a reflection of Kathy and Steve,” says John Wettach, president of Opera Orlando’s board of directors. “Even though they’re ubiquitous in their support of Central Florida arts and culture, opera has always been their primary passion.”

Steve and Kathy Miller’s Lake Maitland home (above left) has been the setting for several full-scale opera productions. The home’s focal point, where the performances were staged, is just inside the entranceway: a two-story grand room encircled by marble columns and a second-floor balcony. Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi was one of several productions hosted by the Millers. The cast included (above right, left to right): Austin Hallock, Jennifer A. Boles, Edward Washington, Jane Christeson, Russell Franks, Samantha Barnes, Daniel Makendy and Jacobs Daniel Johanson.

Adds Gabriel Priesser, an accomplished baritone and the opera’s executive and artistic director: “There’s hardly an opera performer in Central Florida who hasn’t been impacted by the generosity and support of Kathy and Steve — including myself.”

A quintet of singers will be featured, all of whom are favorites of Kathy Miller, who also serves as the artistic advisory chairperson of the opera’s board.

Among the singers scheduled to attend are Bridgette Gan, a critically acclaimed performer of opera who’s equally well versed in other musical genres. She sang the role of Norina in Opera Orlando’s production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.

Gan’s husband, baritone Scott Johnson, is also on the bill, along with soprano Julia Foster, a Rollins College voice professor who sang the role of Bethany Squeals in Opera Orlando’s production of Mozart’s The Impresario.

Joining them will be mezzo soprano Robyn Rocklein, who sang the lead role in Bizet’s Carmen for Florida Opera Theatre. Rocklein has previously been featured in Opera Orlando’s recital series.

Rounding out the lineup is tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro, a Rollins graduate who sang the role of Fernando in Florida Opera Theatre’s production of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. He returned to sing in Opera Orlando’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti.

Ciaramitaro has since earned a master’s degree in voice from Florida State University, and was selected to be a part of the prestigious Wolf Trap Opera Studio and San Francisco Opera Merola Program.

Pianist Robin Stamper will provide accompaniment for the singers. The gala — which will also feature a silent auction, impromptu serenades and a video tribute to the Millers — will be hosted by the Orlando Sentinel’s “Taking Names” columnist, Scott Maxwell.

Last year, Gabe Preisser, a widely traveled baritone whose extensive resumé includes more than 40 operatic and musical theater roles, officially joined forces with Opera Orlando as its general director.

Opera Orlando now presents its mainstage productions at the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, part of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts complex in downtown Orlando. It will move to Steinmetz Hall, the arts center’s third venue, when it opens in 2020.

But in its formative years, the company staged operas at the Millers’ home, which sits along the eastern shore of Lake Maitland. It was designed and built by Nasrallah Architectural Group, a company with an impressive track record of creating homes that evoke historic architectural traditions.

The home resembles a classic Venetian palace. Its focal point is just inside the entranceway: a two-story grand room encircled by marble columns, with a massive crystal chandelier in the center.

A row of narrow, arching, velvet-draped floor-to-ceiling windows on the far wall offers an unimpeded view of the lake. The other three sides of the great room are open to the second floor, creating the effect of a wrap-around balcony.

The Millers opened their home for several intimate productions, beginning with a benefit performance in 2011 that featured Susan Neves, a powerhouse soprano with Orlando family ties.

Apart from staging performances, the Millers provided rehearsal space and a place for guest artists to stay — one at a time, Kathy Miller is quick to qualify. “Two singers in one house don’t get along,” she says. “Sharing the rehearsal time. And the refrigerator.”

She shrugs off the inconveniences.

“It got a little crazy,” she admits. “But, you know, passion overtakes you. When I go to bed at night, I hear this little voice on my shoulder, this little voice in my soul, telling me: ‘It’s all right. We need to do this.’”

Priesser says the same thing about honoring the Millers. “The Una Serenata Italiana theme affords us the opportunity to pull out all the stops and light up the gala with the glory of the Italian opera. The Millers — and everyone who attends — will love it.”

Gala sponsors include the Bryce L. West Foundation, the Dr. Phillips Charities, Sundance Printing, CNP Graphic Design Agency and Winter Park Magazine.

What: Una Serenata Italiana!

When: Friday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. (cocktails); 7:30 p.m. (dinner)

Where: The Alfond Inn

Cost: Individual tickets are priced from $250 to $275. Tables are priced from $3,000 to $8,000

Notes: Opera Orlando’s third annual gala will feature a quintet of powerhouse singers honoring Kathy and Steve Miller, Winter Park residents who held productions in their Lake Maitland home as the company was establishing itself.

Find Out More: Visit or call 407-512-1900

— Michael McLeod


Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This lakeside museum, open since 1961, is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. Running through April 15 is Island Objects: Art and Adaptation in Micronesia, which draws upon local anthropologist Barbara Wavell’s private collection of archaeological and historical objects and works of art from the Pacific islands of Micronesia. Then, from April 22 to 28, is the museum’s popular Winter Park Paint Out, during which a dozen or more professional artists paint outdoors — or en plein air — at locations throughout the city. Their finished works are immediately displayed in the museum’s “wet room,” and are available for purchase. Paint out also includes several special events and workshops. On May 8, the museum debuts a major exhibit, Arabesque: Contemporary Conversations, in partnership with Islamic Artists of Orlando. Traditional Islamic artwork calls to mind ancient art and architecture highlighting arabesque elements, which are decorations based on geometric patterns of scrolling and interlacing patterns. Arabesque continues through August 19. The Polasek offers tours of Polasek’s home Tuesday through Saturday. It also offers tours of the restored Capen-Showalter House three times weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. That historic house, built in 1885, was saved from demolition several years ago and floated across Lake Osceola to its current location on the Polasek’s grounds. Regular admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-6294.

Art & History Museums — Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums anchoring the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, is the Orlando area’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. Continuing through April 22 is the exhibit Art31: Fiber, featuring the work of three internationally recognized artists — Alisha McCurdy, Hye Shin and Carrie Sieh — each of whom use materials such as cloth and paper, and techniques such as stitching and quilting. The three women worked at the art center daily throughout March, creating new works to be displayed. Admission to the center is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and children ages 4 to 18, and free for children age 3 and under. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and the Telephone Museum, both at 221 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, and the Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. In April, Springtime at the Waterhouse features the Victorian-era home decked out for Easter. On April 21 from 6 to 9 p.m., the Maitland museums will celebrate art and history with Participation 2018, their annual fundraising dinner, with live entertainment, a silent auction, and opportunities to mingle with local artists including Anthony Deal, Matt Duke, Richard Munster, Suzanne Oberholtzer, Tory Tepp and Hye Shin. Tickets to the reception and dinner are $125 each. 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. Ongoing is 19th-Century American Landscapes, which illustrates the affinity between the French Barbizon School (French painters of nature who were active from 1830-1870) and American painters of the late 1800s whose works are in the museum’s permanent collection, including Otto Heinigke, William Louis Sonntag and George Inness. The exhibit complements Towards Impressionism: Landscape Painting from Corot to Monet, a concurrent exhibit at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. Meanwhile, the largest known painting by American landscape artist Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) is on display at the Morse through early July courtesy of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont, which owns the work. The Domes of the Yosemite, an 1867 oil painting measuring almost 10 by 15 feet, just underwent refurbishment by conservation experts in Miami and is making its first appearance since 1873 outside St. Johnsbury (not coincidentally, Charles Hosmer Morse’s hometown). And as part of the museum’s 2017 diamond anniversary, the Morse continues to showcase the breadth of its eclectic collection with Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum, which includes portraits, landscape paintings, pottery and works on paper assembled by founders Hugh and Jeannette McKean. That exhibit continues through September 23. Admission to the museum is free through April on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m.; otherwise, the cost is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students, and free for children younger than age 12. 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the museum houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Free tours take place at 1 p.m. on Saturdays at the on-campus facility, and at 1 p.m. on Sundays at the nearby Alfond Inn, which displays dozens of works 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. Continuing through April 8 is the exhibit Towards Impressionism: Landscape Painting from Corot to Monet, which features 45 works from the Musée des Beaux Arts, which owns one of the world’s largest collections of French 19th-century landscape paintings. (A complementary exhibition, 19th-Century American Landscapes, is simultaneously on display at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.) The exhibit Picturing War presents an array of objects — drawn entirely from the museum’s permanent collection — created in response to U.S. involvement in global conflicts since the end of World War I. It runs through May 13. A third exhibit, Ria Brodell: Devotion, features works from two series of paintings by the Boston artist — The Handsome & The Holy and Butch Heroes — both of which showcase real people, including some historical figures, who challenged gender norms. These exhibits also continue through May 13. A new, long-term exhibit whose works periodically change — Ruptures and Remnants: Selections from the Permanent Collection — offers material manifestations, from antiquity to present day, of ruptures both tiny and momentous, from personal crises to nation-state upheavals. It replaces the museum’s long-running Conversations exhibit, and continues through December 31, 2020. There’s also the 2018 Senior Studio Exhibition (April 14 to May 13), with works by Rollins College graduating seniors, and the 2018 Rollins Faculty Exhibition (also April 14 to May 13), featuring works by the school’s faculty members. Following are two exhibits that open May 25 and continue through August 26: Margaret Bourke-White’s Different World, which examines the trailblazing photographer’s overseas work, including selected images from the museum’s collection of photographs she took in Russia; and My Myopia, a series of decorated windows by artist Trong Gia Nguyen, who went on to earn art degrees at the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida in the 1990s after his  family fled South Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in 1975. Admission to the museum is free, courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2526.

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. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, though there are fees for art classes. Recent work from Crealdé’s faculty is on display through April 28 in Director’s Choice VII, an exhibit featuring photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, glass and fiber arts. A major educational exhibit, Honoring Two Winter Park Legends: The Paintings of Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean, continues through May 19 both at the school’s Jenkins Gallery and at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center’s visiting-exhibition gallery on Winter Park’s west side. The exhibit features works on loan from the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which the McKeans founded. Forty paintings by the couple, both of whom were formally trained artists, will be on display at the two venues. Also, from June 8 through September 1, the 37th Annual Juried Student Exhibition will feature some of the year’s best work by Crealdé students in various media, including paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, sculptures, jewelry and fiber pieces. 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 archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents that are together known as the Heritage Collection. Through May 19, the center’s visiting-exhibition gallery hosts, along with the Crealdé School of Art on the city’s east side, Honoring Two Winter Park Legends: The Paintings of Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean. Ongoing at the center is the Hannibal Square Timeline, which documents significant local and national events in African-American history since the Emancipation Proclamation. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-539-2680.


Annie Russell Theatre. The next show at “The Annie,” the historic jewel box of a theater on the campus of Rollins College, is 9 to 5: The Musical, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and based on the hit 1980 film starring Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as three oppressed but determined working women. The show runs April 20 to 28. There are eight performances, with most shows at 8 p.m. plus matinees at 2 or 4 p.m. Tickets are $20. The Second Stage Series, in the nearby Fred Stone Theater, features student-produced and student-directed plays. Upcoming is On the Verge or The Geography of Yearning, a jaunt through a continuum of space, time, feminism and fashion by three intrepid women from the Victorian era. It runs April 11 to 14 at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee April 14. Admission to Second Stage shows is free to the public, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park. 407-646-2145.

Center for Contemporary Dance. A not-for-profit organization focused on dance education, incubation and production, the center designs its programs and performances to provide students of all ages, from novice to professional, with experience in classical, post-classical and world dance forms. During the past 15 years, the center has supported artists in the creation and presentation of more than 250 new works from its home studio at 3580 Aloma Avenue. This year’s spring production, An Evening of Dance, features students in the organization’s Classical Ballet, Contemporary and Competitive Dance Ensembles, but also includes works by students in tap, jazz and musical-theater classes. Pre-professional students perform solo and small-group works. Tickets for the April 15 production are $12 to $25. The performance, which begins at 7 p.m., is in the auditorium at Trinity Preparatory School, 5700 Trinity Prep Lane. 407-695-8366.

Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, nonprofit theater continues its 2017-18 mainstage season April 5 to 21 with Nunsense A-Men!, an off-Broadway musical comedy in which all of the characters are portrayed by men. The premise: When the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the nuns, they organize a variety show to raise money for the burials. The next production, The Honky Tonk Angels, is a whimsical musical comedy (by the creator of Always ... Patsy Cline) about three women determined to follow their musical dreams to Nashville. The score features more than 30 classic country tunes. Performances are May 11 to 20 and May 31 to June 10. Both musicals run Thursdays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets range in price from $15 for students to $42 for evening performances. 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-0145.


Florida Film Festival.  Now in its 27th year, this Oscar-qualifying festival premieres some of the best in current, independent and international films. It’s an international affair, drawing about 180 independent feature films, documentaries, shorts and animated movies from across the U.S. and worldwide. This year, the 10-day extravaganza — which includes a host of film seminars, parties, celebrity appearances and other events — will take place April 6 to 15, mostly on the grounds of the Enzian, a single-screen art-movie house nestled in a three-acre, oak-shaded Maitland enclave with an outdoor restaurant and bar. (Some of the films will be shown at the Regal Cinemas megaplex in Winter Park Village.) Enzian, a nonprofit that hosts several other, smaller film festivals as well as numerous educational and social-service events, is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to add a pair of smaller theaters to the complex and broaden its programming in coming years. Both single tickets and packages for this year’s festival events are available. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-1088.

Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk & Urban Art Festival. This annual festival, now in its ninth year, celebrates culture and diversity through art and music. More than 25 Florida artists will offer their works for sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 21; participants include members of the original Florida Highwaymen, a loosely organized but now famous group of African-American landscape artists. The event includes live music, arts-and-crafts demonstrations, a soul-food truck, and both a Puerto Rican Vejigante mask-making workshop and a “Kid-folk” workshop that culminate with a public parade. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue.


Enzian. This cozy, nonprofit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Tickets are usually $11 for regular admission; $9 for matinees, students, seniors and military (with ID); and $8.50 for Enzian Film Society members. But children under age 12 are admitted free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films, shown the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Upcoming shows include Short Circuit (April 29), Coraline (May 27) and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (June 24). Saturday Matinee Classics are shown the second Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. Upcoming shows include The Right Stuff (May 12) and Ran (June 9). Cult Classics are shown the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m. Upcoming shows include Pretty in Pink (April 24). FilmSlam, which spotlights Florida-made short films, takes place most months on the first or second Sunday at 1 p.m.; the next scheduled dates are May 6 and June 10. Music Mondays present new and classic concert-music documentaries and music-focused films, usually on the third Monday of the month at 9:30 p.m. Midnight Movies are an occasional series of envelope-pushing classic and cutting-edge films that start at 11:59 p.m. Other special showings include: The Muppets (Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt, April 1, 10:30 a.m.), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (National Theatre Live, April 28, 11 a.m.), Oklahoma! (Mother’s Day, May 13, 11 a.m.), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Father’s Day, June 17, 11:30 a.m.), and Julius Caesar (National Theatre Live, June 23, 11 a.m.). 1300 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 usually on the second Thursday of each month, and start whenever it gets dark — figure 8 p.m. this time of year. Upcoming films include Willow (April 5), Planet of the Apes (May 10) and Enchanted (June 14). Bring a snack plus a blanket or chairs. 407-629-1088.

Screen on the Green. The City of Maitland offers a free outdoor film most months on the field at Maitland Middle School. Bring a blanket or chairs. The next films include Sing (April 7, 7:30 p.m.) and Moana (May 12, 8:15 p.m.); check the city website’s special events calendar for future dates, times and titles. 1901 Choctaw Trail, Maitland. 407-539-0042.

Friday Brown Bag Matinees. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art presents three film series each year on topics related to the museum’s collection as well as art in general. Admission is free to these lunchtime screenings, which span the noon hour on select Fridays in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion, just behind the museum on Canton Avenue. Bring a lunch; the museum provides soft drinks and themed refreshments. The Spring Series explores American art from some of the earliest European pioneers in the 16th century to modern-day art and architecture through the three-part BBC documentary Art of America and the PBS documentary The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers. The series starts April 13 with Art of America: Looking for Paradise and continues with The Hudson River School (April 20), Art of America: Modern Dreams (April 27) and Art of America: What Lies Beneath (May 4). 161 West Canton Avenue. 407-645-5311.


Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. 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 trained docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. (see “Music”). 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 anti-Semitism, 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. Continuing through April 27 is the exhibit Parallel Journeys, which tells the stories of six teenagers who were victims, witnesses or perpetrators of the Holocaust or other Nazi oppression during World War II. The museum’s ongoing exhibit, Tribute to the Holocaust, is a presentation of artifacts, videos, text, photographs and other artwork. Admission is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555.

Winter Park History Museum. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Its current exhibit, Winter Park: The War Years, 1941-1945 — Home Front Life in an American Small Town, explores the ways in which World War II affected Winter Parkers. Its upcoming exhibition, Wish You Were Here: The Hotels & Motels of Winter Park, opens June 7. 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; it also sponsors exhibits featuring the works of African-American artists and is an integral part of the annual, weeklong Zora! Festival each January. Continuing through September is the exhibit The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community: The Early Years, 1987-1997. The multimedia presentation is based upon material from the organization’s archives. Admission to the museum at other times is also free, though group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188.,


64th Annual Winter Park Easter Egg Hunt. A Winter Park tradition dating back to President Eisenhower’s first term in office, the hunt is held the day before Easter — this year, that’s Saturday, March 31. More than 10,000 eggs are hidden in Central Park’s West Meadow, and several hundred children usually show up to try and find them. (Children are asked to bring a basket with them.) The fun begins at 10 a.m., with kids age 10 and under allowed to begin lining up at 9:30 a.m. Children with special needs are encouraged to participate. Extra treats will be on hand afterward for those left eggless. Corner of New York Avenue and Morse Boulevard. 407-599-3463.

Earth Day in the Park. This free, fun-filled event by the main stage in Central Park features a kids’ zone with games, tie-dye T-shirts, do-it-yourself art with help from the Crealdé School of Art, a “quick draw” art competition organized by the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, live music all day, child and adult yoga (bring a mat), composting and recycling education, and a bike-valet service along with food-and-beverage vendors. The April 15 event (one week before the worldwide Earth Day) starts at 11 a.m. — though the “quick draw” competition begins with registration at 9 a.m. for a 10 a.m. start — and winds down at 3 p.m. In celebration of Arbor Day (April 27), certified arborists from Winter Park’s Urban Forestry Division will give away an assortment of young trees in one-gallon containers for city residents to plant at home. Park Avenue at Garfield Avenue. 407-599-3364.

Memorial Day Service. The ceremony in Winter Park’s Glen Haven Memorial Park cemetery usually includes an honor guard, music and a guest speaker. May 28 at 11 a.m. Admission is free. 2300 Temple Drive. 407-647-1100.


Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. Each year, the institute presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. The sixth and final lecture of the 2017-18 season, on April 4, is Writings on the Wall: An Evening with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the legendary National Basketball League star, social and cultural activist, and New York Times best-selling author. His lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Warden Arena at the Alfond Sports Center on the Rollins College campus. Ticket prices range from $15 to $50. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145.


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. at the old railroad depot, which also houses the Winter Park History Museum. The open-air market 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.


Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. The society’s 2017-18 season starts winding down April 5 with the final installment of its Insights & Sounds series, which spotlights the genius of J.S. Bach through several of his compositions, including a Brandenburg concerto and his only surviving solo cantata for tenor. The 7 p.m. concert in Tiedtke Concert Hall, on the Rollins College campus, features tenor John Grau. The season closes April 21 and 22 with the final installment of the society’s Choral Masterworks series, African-American Masterpieces: Symphonic Spirituals. The program, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., presents provocative and passionate works by three of the 20th century’s most important African-American composers: William L. Dawson’s Negro Symphony, William Grant Still’s And They Lynched Him on a Tree and R. Nathaniel Dett’s The Ordering of Moses. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in Knowles Memorial Chapel, also on the Rollins campus. Tickets range in price from $25 to $65. 1000 Holt Avenue. 407-646-2182.

Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue is part concert hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music — although theater, dance and spoken-word presentations are also on the schedule. Upcoming musical dates include vocalist Edie Carey (April 14, 8 p.m.), the Seminole Community College Big Band Reunion under the direction of Dr. William J. Hinkle (May 19, 8 p.m.), and current Grass Roots lead singer/bassist Mark Dawson (June 17, 6 p.m.). 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-636-9951.

Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based nonprofit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts on the last Sunday of each month (except May, when the Florida Folk Festival takes center stage). The group’s primary venue is the Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. The next three library concerts are: Curtis and Loretta, plus Steve Erickson (April 29); Bing Futch, plus Lauren Heintz (May 20); and Del Suggs, plus Lee Hunter (June 24). Shows start at 2 p.m. A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426.

Dexter’s of Winter Park. This well-known restaurant in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square neighborhood occasionally has live musical acts, with no cover charge. Upcoming events include party band Speakeasy (April 6, 8:45 to 11:45 p.m.). 558 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-629-1150.

Get Your Jazz On. The Alfond Inn continues its concert series on April 27, with live jazz under the stars that includes not only music but roasted pig, a vegetarian alternative, wine, beer, cocktails and cigars. The outdoor event (which moves indoors if it rains) runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 in advance, valet parking included. Alfond Inn, 300 East New England Avenue. 407-998-8090.

Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum regularly presents free acoustic-instrument performances on Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. in the home’s cozy main parlor. Upcoming performances include: violinist Lisa Ferrigno & Friends (April 8), harpist Catherine Way (April 15), singer-guitarist Rev. Shawn Garvey (April 22), classical guitarist Brian Hayes (April 29), Shannon Caine with a Beautiful Music quartet (May 6), Classern Quartet (May 20), flamenco guitarist Omar Blanco (May 27), classical guitarists Troy Gifford and Chris Belt (June 3), and Alborea Dances Flamenco (June 10). 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200.


17th Annual Dinner on the Avenue. The city supplies the tables, chairs, white linen tablecloths and, of course, the outdoor setting while you and your friends, family or co-workers supply fellowship and clever conversation while dining in the middle of closed-off Park Avenue opposite Central Park. The annual event is also a friendly competition, with awards for table decorations in such categories as “Most Colorful,” “Most Elegant” and “Most Original.” This year’s April 14 event, already sold out at $125 a table, is from 6 to 10 p.m. 407-599-3334.

33rd Annual Taste of Winter Park. Sample all the best food that Winter Park has to offer on April 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. More than 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, caterers, bakers, brewers, vintners and confectioners bring their best noshes and beverages to “Winter Park’s ultimate foodie festival.” Tickets range in price from $35 to $50. Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 West New England Avenue. 407-644-8281.

Florida Writers Association. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area Chapter meets the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for guest speakers and discussions organized by author and “book coach” Rik Feeney. Upcoming discussions include: Systematic Book Editing with book editor Kristen Stieffel (April 4), Marketing Extravaganza with Florida Writers Association Marketing Vice President Shannon Bell (May 2), and The Writer as Presenter with speaker and author Mary Flynn (June 6). University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-529-8539.

Maitland Public Library 5K. This annual 3.1-mile run is mainly a community-building effort. This year’s foot race is on May 19 at 7:30 a.m., starting and ending in Quinn Strong Park, 347 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-647-7700.

Nerd Nite Orlando. This monthly gathering is based on a simple premise: Learning is more fun when you’re drinking with friends and colleagues. Introduced to the Orlando area in 2013, Nerd Nites operate in more than 100 cities worldwide, offering participants an evening of entertaining yet thought-provoking presentations in a casual setting. The local version takes place on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Upcoming dates include April 12, May 10 and June 14. The Geek Easy, 114 South Semoran Boulevard, No. 6, Winter Park. 407- 332-9636.

Playwrights Round Table. This play-reading workshop, usually held on the second Sunday of each month on the campus of Rollins College, invites area writers to bring any piece they’re working on for review and discussion. Upcoming dates include April 15 (the third Sunday) and May 13, both from 7 to 9 p.m. Those planning to read their work aloud should email to schedule a time slot. It’s free, though memberships with added benefits are available. Fred Stone Theater, 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-761-2683.

Wednesday Open Words. One of the area’s longest-running open-mic poetry nights takes place every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park. The free readings are hosted by Curtis Meyer. 407-975-3364.

Work in Progress: A Group for Writers. This monthly discussion group is for writers in any genre, who offer and receive feedback from their writing peers. Guest speakers are often invited. Upcoming dates include April 7 and June 2, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Those planning to read their work should register with organizer and host Gerald Schiffhorst, a University of Central Florida professor emeritus of English, by emailing Conference Room, Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park.

Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts. This group offers various free open-mic programs that attract writers of all stripes. Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour ... or Thereabouts, a literary open-mic night, usually meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 7 p.m. It’s for authors, poets, filmmakers, comedians, musicians, bloggers and others. Upcoming meetups include April 11, April 25, May 9, May 23, June 13 and June 27. A new series sponsored by the group, Touch the Heart, aims for works that reach audiences and readers emotionally. Upcoming meetups include April 18, May 16 and June 20. Stardust Video & Coffee, 1842 Winter Park Road, Winter Park.,


Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract business- and civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Typically scheduled for the second Friday of each month, upcoming dates include April 13, May 11 and June 8. Networking begins at 8 a.m., followed by a 45-minute program at 8:30 a.m. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281.

The Hot Seat. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, this quarterly business-oriented series puts local executives in the spotlight as they offer advice and discuss entrepreneurism, leadership and sales-and-marketing techniques. The next scheduled gathering is May 23 from noon to 1:15 p.m.; check the chamber website for the featured speaker. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281.

Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings — 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 revolve around leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Scheduled dates include: April 2, when Dr. Linda E. Jaffe of Orlando Health’s Heart Institute Cardiology Group will discuss heart health; May 7, when speaker and author Claudia Jean of Claudia Jean Consulting will present “Let’s Chat: Taking Communication to the Next Level!” and June 4 (check the chamber website for speaker). Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 for members, $50 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281.


Relay for Life. This signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society takes place each year in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries. Participants form teams whose members take turns walking around a track or designated path. A relay can last anywhere from six to 24 hours, and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. The local event, the Relay for Life of Orlando North, is April 14 starting at 10 a.m. at Lake Lily Park, Maitland. 407-581-2501.

Lake Virginia Watershed Cleanup. The city’s Keep Winter Park Beautiful program is seeking volunteers to help clean up Lake Virginia, starting just a minute’s walk from Aloma Avenue at the east end of the Rollins College campus. The April 7 project, which runs from 8 to 11 a.m., involves picking up litter in and around the lake. Kayakers and paddle-boarders are welcome. Volunteers are asked to meet at Dinky Dock Park (410 Ollie Avenue); there they will be provided with breakfast, a T-shirt, snacks and water. The city will also supply litter grabbers, safety vests, gloves and garbage bags. Participants are urged to carpool, to bring a reusable water bottle and to wear closed-toe shoes plus a hat and long pants. Also, used shoes will be collected as a donation to the charity Shoes4Kids. 407-599-3364. To register for this free event, visit

Art of the Vine. Those with a sense of style and culture will want to eat, drink and be colorful at the 17th annual Art of the Vine, which pairs amazing food and fine wine with great original art and radiant colors. The April 20 event, which starts at 6 p.m., benefits New Hope for Kids, which helps Central Florida children coping with life-threatening illnesses or grieving the death of loved ones. Tickets are $85 in advance, $100 at the door. Fields BMW, 963 Wymore Road, Maitland. 407-331-3059, Ext. 12.

Central Florida Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis. This April 28 fundraising and public-awareness walk around Lake Lily benefits the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Central Florida chapter. Check-in and the festival start at 9:30 a.m.; the walk to fight these bowel diseases starts at 11 a.m. Lake Lily Park, Maitland. 813-693-2546.

Ice Cream Social. Enjoy an assortment of ice cream from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center on April 8. The eighth annual event, which benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida, also features live entertainment, face painting, a cake walk, games, door prizes, a silent auction and more. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. (Tickets for seniors are $7 at the door.) Children under 3 are admitted free. Tickets are on sale at all three Ronald McDonald houses in Orlando. 1050 West Morse Boulevard. 407-206-0957, Ext. 110.

Run for the Trees: Jeannette Genius McKean Memorial 5K. This popular foot race, held this year on April 28 at 7:30 a.m., begins at Showalter Field, 2525 Cady Way. But the last mile and the finish are along a privately owned portion of Genius Drive that’s open to the public only once a year, for this event. Shuttle buses return runners to the starting line and parking lot; all finishers receive a young tree to plant. Registration, which ranges from $23 to $40 per person, is limited to 1,800 people. Proceeds support the Winter Park Tree Replacement Fund. 407-896-1160.

Baby Owl Shower. The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey — which focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Florida’s raptors, such as bald eagles, ospreys, owls and falcons — throws a Baby Owl Shower each spring as a fundraiser to help cover the facility’s increased costs during baby-bird season. Non-releasable baby raptors are usually available to view, and other organizations present various educational activities and programs. This year’s shower, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 12, is free if you bring an item from the center’s online wish list. 1101 Audubon Way, Maitland. 407-644-0190.