ZORA!™ Festival: A Celebration of Education, Arts and Culture in Orlando

More than half a century before construction began on Magic Kingdom® Park at Walt Disney World® Resort, celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston grew up in Eatonville, Florida, just 30 minutes from our tourism district. Today, the historic town — one of the first self-governing, all-Black communities in the U.S. — honors Hurston’s memory with the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, aka The Hurston, and the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities, aka ZORA! Festival.

Here’s what you can expect from this multifaceted celebration of education, culture and the arts when it returns to Eatonville in 2021!

32nd Annual Zora Neale Hurston™ Festival of the Arts and Humanities

Jan. 7-31, 2021

First presented in 1990, ZORA! Festival is a multi-day, multi-disciplinary, intergenerational event composed of public talks, conferences, movie screenings, arts education programming and more. The celebration takes place primarily in Eatonville and throughout Orange County.

For 2021, organizers are hosting the following month-long series of virtual and in-person events, with face masks and social distancing required at the latter. (Hand sanitizer will also be available.) For complete details, visit ZORAFestival.org/Schedule!

Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021

  • 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Happy Birthday Zora: 1st in a series of “Experiencing Historic Eatonville”

Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021

  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Experiencing Historic Eatonville

Sundays, Jan. 10-31, 2021

Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

  • 3-5 p.m.: Yards & Gardens of Historic Eatonville Tour

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021

  • 5-8 p.m.: Your Afrofuturism Experience: A Personal Touch at the Bronze Kingdom (Fee Required, Details TBD)

Monday, Jan. 25, 2021

  • 2-2:45 p.m.: Sankofa! Cooking Class with Chef Jenn (Fee Required, Details TBD)

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

  • 7-9 p.m.: Community Conversations: William A. Darity, Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public PolicyAfrican and African American Studies, and Economics at Duke University (Virtual Event; 1st of a 3-Part Series on Race and Economic Realities in 21st Century America)

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021

  • 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Afrofuturism Conference, Day 1 of 2 — University of Central Florida, Downtown Campus (Virtual & Limited In-Person Event)
  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Africa – America Women’s Economic Forum: The Sequel (Virtual & Limited In-Person Event)

Friday, Jan. 29, 2021

  • 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Afrofuturism Conference, Day 2 of 2 — University of Central Florida, Downtown Campus (Virtual & Limited In-Person Event)

Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021

Eatonville and The Hurston Museum

If you can’t make it to Orlando during ZORA! Festival, note that historic Eatonville and The Hurston are worth visiting whenever you’re in Orlando.

Learn more: Orlando History

2018 Zora Festival in Eatonville
On Track Media

Eatonville was one of hundreds of communities founded by and for African-Americans in the southern U.S. between the 1880s and 1930s, and one of a handful still remaining. Encompassing about 20 acres, the town is home to several buildings that were constructed between 1882 and 1946.

In addition to honoring its namesake, The Hurston provides information about the community and displays work by legendary and emerging artists of African descent. Also available from the museum are tour brochures for the Zora Neale Hurston Trail, which ties Hurston’s writing to 16 sites related to Hurston’s life and 10 markers with her writing.