Explore the World With Multicultural Festivals in Orlando
The whole world doesn't just vacation in Orlando — it's also represented at multicultural festivals throughout the area.
Want an easy way to travel the world? Come to Orlando! Throughout the year, theme parks and local groups honor a wide range of cultures with events featuring authentic art, music, performances, food and more. From can't-miss galas at our theme parks, to a celebration of historic author Zora Neale Hurston, to the wildest Latin music event in Central Florida, here are 12 festivals where you can broaden your cultural horizons in Orlando!
Multicultural Festivals at Orlando Theme Parks
Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida™ in Orlando
1. Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Resort™
New Orleans' biggest party of the year comes to Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort every spring, with 2019's edition set for Feb. 9 – Apr. 4. Included with Universal Studios Florida regular park admission or an Annual Pass*, this lively event features a nightly parade, live concerts by top names in music on select nights, authentic Cajun cooking, a recreation of New Orleans' French Quarter, and — of course — plenty of beads! (*Seasonal blockout dates apply.) Performers scheduled to appear this year include Macklemore (Feb. 23), Steve Miller Band (Mar. 16), Pitbull (Mar. 24) and more.
2. Seven Seas Food Festival at SeaWorld® Orlando
Serving "street food" from around the world, plus limited-time menus showcasing Latin and local fare, this weekends-only culinary event at SeaWorld returns from Feb. 9 – May 5. In addition to the food, you can look forward to local and seasonal craft brews, as well as live music performances on Saturdays. All entertainment is included with regular admission, and food and beverages are available for purchase.
Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando Hosts the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival Every Fall
3. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Held every fall at Walt Disney World Resort's Epcot, this festival celebrates the worldwide diversity of food, wine and other beverages, and all entertainment is included with regular admission. In 2018, the 75-day event hosted more than 30 Global Marketplaces, plus live music, cooking demonstrations, and appearances from celebrity chefs. Expect a similar footprint when it returns later this year.
More Multicultural Festivals in Orlando
Zora! Festival in Historic Eatonville Near Orlando (Photo: On Track Media)
4. Zora! Festival
Celebrating the works and influences of prominent author Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God), and scheduled for Jan. 26 – Feb. 3, the annual Zora! Festival takes place in Hurston's hometown of Eatonville, about 15 minutes north of downtown Orlando. From Feb. 1-3, the event's Outdoor Festival of the Arts offers art, culture, heritage and STEM activities and information, plus food and merchandise booths.
Learn more: Zora! Festival
5. Central Florida Scottish Highland Games
Presented by the Scottish-American Society of Central Florida, the 2019 Scottish Highland Games are scheduled for Jan. 19-20 in Winter Springs, about 30 minutes from downtown Orlando. In addition to promoting Scottish history and culture, the event features traditional Scottish athletics — including caber-tossing and hammer-throwing — plus dance, art, music and food.
Central Florida Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival (© AsiaTrend.org)
6. Central Florida Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival
Held in downtown Orlando’s Mills 50 district, and scheduled for Feb. 17 in 2019, this vibrant festival brings East Asia to Central Florida. Celebrating the Year of the Pig, the event will feature martial artists, taiko drummers and ample food vendors in addition to the signature parade. Parking and admission are free.
7. Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival
On Apr. 27, this event will start with a vibrant parade through downtown Orlando, culminating at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The fun then continues at that venue's Seneff Arts Plaza with food, live music, arts and crafts, and vendors. It's part of the statewide Puerto Rican Parade initiative, which holds simultaneous parades in cities across Florida.
8. Salsa y Sazón
Recognized as one of the largest salsa dance festivals in the country, this fun April event takes place in Cranes Roost Park in the city of Altamonte Springs, about 20 minutes north of downtown Orlando. In addition to plenty of dancing, the event features authentic Latin food and drink.
9. India Independence Day Celebration
Hosted by the Indian Cultural Society of Orlando, this annual celebration is held in Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs every August. Free to attend, it showcases cultural dancing and an eclectic array of vendors, and food and beverages are available for purchase.
10. Asian Cultural Expo
Produced in conjunction with the Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival, and scheduled for Oct. 19, this free, one-day event showcases the wonders of Asian culture through exhibitions, performances and crafts. Expect to see demonstrations by martial-arts groups, dance troupes, vocalists and musicians. Both celebrations are held in Bill Frederick Park, about 15 minutes from downtown Orlando, and parking is also free.
11. Festival Calle Orange
On Oct. 27, this massive, one-day celebration of music will take over 10 blocks of downtown Orlando with dozens of national and international artists on three action-packed stages, representing musical styles such as salsa, merengue and bachata. Traditional Latin food and beverages will also be available.
Come thirsty and hungry to this two-weekend festival, which is scheduled for Oct. 4-5 and Oct. 25-26 in the city of Casselberry, about 20 minutes from downtown Orlando. It's presented by the German American Society of Central Florida, which goes to great lengths to provide authentic German beer, food, music and entertainment.
Written by Nate Shelton, consumer content writer at Visit Orlando. He's an experienced journalist and native Floridian who enjoys the entertainment, cultural and culinary aspects of Orlando and Orange County.
Cover image: Asian Cultural Expo (© AsiaTrend.org)
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