ZORA!® Festival Season
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 historic Eatonville, Florida, just 30 minutes from Orlando's tourism districts. Today, the historic town — one of the first self-governing African American 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! Festival Season.
Eatonville’s signature event includes the Outdoor Festival of the Arts (Jan. 26 – 28, 2024), HATitude Cultural Flair (Oct. 19, 2024), and many other things to do. Here’s what you can expect from these multifaceted celebrations of education, culture and the arts the next time you experience them in Orlando.
First presented in 1990, the ZORA! Festival Season is a multi-disciplinary, intergenerational series of events that include public talks, conferences, movie screenings, arts education programming and more. The celebration takes place primarily in Eatonville and throughout Orange County.
Discover: Orlando Events
Kicking off on Hurston’s birthday (January 7), the ZORA! Festival Season offers a wealth of enriching programs. The celebration’s main event is the open-air Outdoor Festival of the Arts in Eatonville (Jan. 26 – 28, 2024). Other January 2024 programming includes:
- Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston’s Birthday (Jan. 7, Orlando Public Library)
- Opening Exhibition, Voices: The Art of Louise Deininger (Jan. 20, Zora Neale Hurston Museum of Fine Arts aka The Hurston)
- Art-Ful Eatonville (Jan. 21, The Hurston Museum and St. Lawrence African Methodist Church)
- Dinner & A Class With Chef Jenn (Jan. 22, DaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery)
- Cultural Heritage Tourism Summit: Models for Economic Prosperity (Jan. 24, In-Person & Virtual)
- Afrofuturism Conference (Jan. 25 – 26, In-Person & Virtual)
- Progressive Reception: A Collaboration Between The Hurston Museum and Art & History Museums of Maitland (Jan. 25)
Cultural Heritage Group Tours
From February through August 2024, the Association to Preserve Eatonville Community will host a series of paid Cultural Heritage group tours available by reservation. Please email Cynthia@PreserveEatonville.org or call (407) 647-3307 for more information.
HATitude Cultural Flair
Coming to the Winter Park Events Center on Oct. 19, 2024, HATitude Cultural Flair supports the ZORA! Festival’s after-school and summer academic programs for K-12 students.
Additional 2024 Events
- Gathering & Gabbing: Zora Neale Hurston Book Club, A Readers’ Choice Session (Feb. 17, Via Zoom)
- A Farewell to Artist Louise Deininger (Feb. 22, The Hurston Museum)
- Gathering & Gabbing: Zora Neale Hurston Book Club, A Readers’ Choice Session (March 16, Via Zoom)
- Gathering & Gabbing: Zora Neale Hurston Book Club, A Readers’ Choice Session (May 18, Via Zoom)
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.
Discover: Orlando History
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 remaining. Encompassing about 20 acres, the town is home to several buildings that were constructed between 1882 and 1946.
Discover: Black History Month in Orlando
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.
Discover: Juneteenth in Orlando
Orlando for All
Discover more ways to celebrate diversity and inclusion in the Theme Park Capital of the World, and take advantage of our free planning resources before you attend these ZORA! Festival Season events in Orlando.