Archive | Festivals & Special Events

Halloween at Old Town – Haunts, Thrills & Zombies

Halloween at Old Town has started, just as it has within all of the Orlando theme parks. The weekend crowds are picking up, and the weekday evening events are filling up too. One of the lesser known attractions that fills up with zombies on the weekends is Old Town. This lesser-known attraction is located on Highway 192 along the Kissimmee tourist corridor.

First of all, from 8 p.m. to midnight every Friday & Saturday (mid-September to Oct. 31), Halloween at Old Town fills their streets with more than just their usual car show. The muscle & classic cars compete in a decorating contest during their nightly car cruise. Zombies linger within the park to meet guests. “Thriller” performances begin, costume contests are held, and there is trick or treating for all ages (Oct. 31 from 5pm to 7pm) in a fun, safe environment. Best of all, it’s FREE! Well, most of it anyway.

Old Town Trick-or-Treat

Children in Halloween costumes show funny faces

The Haunt Event at Old Town has been discontinued. The following information is from 2016 and kept on this post for reference only.

The Haunt Event for Halloween at Old Town

The Haunt event includes free events and ticketed attractions. There are 5 scare zones that are free, 2 haunted mazes ($6 each, or $10 for both mazes) and a new zombie tag experience ($25, with $10 rebate upon badge return. After first game: $6 per game). If you’d like to experience the entire Haunt, go for the combo ticket at $55. It includes both mazes, a zombie tag game and a limited edition Haunt shirt.

The haunted mazes are called Warehouse X and Clown Town. These are best for guests 16 years of age and up. In fact, if you want to avoid the scary sections altogether, Halloween at Old Town is set up with the front of the park less scary for the little ones. The further in, the scarier it gets.

“I think the zombie tag is what will set us apart from any other haunted attractions,” said Thearon Scurlock, Old Town’s general manager. It is an all-new interactive experience held outside. Guest try their hand at surviving a zombie apocalypse. As the evening darkens, the challenge increases. How will you fair?

Costume Contests

Be sure to stay and have the little ones take part in our annual costume contest.  Judging will be based by audience participation but everyone will walk away a winner for trying out.  Contests will include different age groups so dress up everyone for a chance to win some great prizes.

Grab your little ghoul or goblin for a night of Halloween fun at Old Town.  Bring your bags and stop by one of our many candy stations and participating merchants to load up on delicious, sugary treats. Trick or Treating and the costume contest are FREE for all ages.

Trick or Treating: 5:00pm – 7:00pm (or while supplies last)
Costume Contest: 7:00pm – 8:00pm (Old Town Main Stage)

*****Masks are not permitted on property for any age. They will be allowed during the Costume Contest at the Old Town Stage.

No Zombies at This Attraction

Finally, another lesser-known attraction is just down the road from Old Town. Capone’s Dinner & Show, is 3.1 miles east at 4740 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. Al and his gang will be entering into their 28th anniversary in 2020, but you don’t have to wait until then to see the spectacular show. The show runs nightly and is a great way to spend an evening with gangsters and dames from an era that produced its own thrills. Save a night for this fun, action-packed dinner show. It is the best bang for your buck and doesn’t include a single zombie!

Annual International Food & Wine Festival

Every year beginning mid-September to mid-November, Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival attract visitors to experience a food celebration. This year marks the 21st annual festival which features more than 270 chefs and several culinary stars. Festival guests will enjoy a variety of international cuisine during dinners and tasting events. There will also be culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars, cheese seminars, entertainment and many other food-related activities.

Tip: Buy a Food & Wine Festival gift card and pay your way around the World Showcase. It’s much easier and quicker than digging for cash or credit cards as you go from location to location.

Around 30 international marketplaces will feature bite-sized portions paired with beer, wine and inventive new cocktails. These appetizer-sized portions usually range in price from $5 to $15 and provide the perfect opportunity to try traditional cuisine from around the world. The event this year lasts from September 14 through November 14, 2016.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival

What’s New at This Year’s Food & Wine Festival?

This year there are new tasting marketplaces. Chocolate Studio will offer delectably dark and milky sweet treats. Islands of the Caribbean will feature such dishes as Jamaican Beef Patty with black beans and rice, and a seared grouper dish with coconut sauce rice. The Food & Wine Festival will also feature an all-new Wine & Dine Studio. It will offer a medley of wines paired with pork tenderloin and scallops. Keeping with a sustainable-theme in many new Epcot restaurants, Greenhouse Guru hosted by Village Farms will also have an eco-friendly kiosk.

Rockin' Burger Block Party

Also new at this year’s Food & Wine Festival is a Rockin’ Burger Block Party. It will be held on 3 different dates from 7-9pm at World ShowPlace. Celebrity chefs will amp up this traditional sandwich like never before!

Celebrity chef appearances include Masaharu Morimoto, Paul Wahlburg, Maneet Chauhan, Graham Elliot, Geoffrey Zakarian, Fabio Bongianni, Elliott Farmer and dozens of others. ABC’s hit daytime talk show The Chew will also be broadcasting live and sharing recipes. Five shows will be taped on October 5 to October 7, 2016.

The Chew cast at Food & Wine Festival

ABC’s The CHEW – Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival

Eat to the Beat Concert Series

In addition to great food, some pretty awesome entertainment is offered as well. This ‘ultimate dinner show’ features new entertainment each year. These acts join popular acts that have performed in years past to create an entertainment lineup that is sure to please event attendees. A wide range of musical genres are offered – all top-notch performers. New acts this year include:

  • Wang Chung – Sept. 14 & 15, 2016 – known for their song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”
  • BoDeans – Sept. 21 – 23, 2016 – Known for their song “Good Things”
  • Plain White T’s – Oct. 7 – 9, 2016 – Known for their song “Hey There Delilah”
  • Jeffrey Osborne – Oct. 12 – 13, 2016 – Known for his song “On the Wings of Love”
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket – Oct. 22 – 23, 2016 – Known for their song “All I Want”
  • Living Colour – Oct. 28 – 29, 2016 – Known for their song “Cult of Personality”
  • Soul Asylum – Nov. 2 – 3, 2016 – Known for their song “Runaway Train”
  • Delta Rae – Nov. 4 – 6, 2016 – Known for their song “Run”

Of course there are many popular artists returning on the other days during the special event at this Orlando theme park. They include Fuel, Air Supply, Sister Hazel, 38 Special, Boyz II Men, Los Lobos, Chaka Khan and several others. Concerts are usually scheduled three times per day at the America Gardens Theater and last about a half hour. The concerts are included in regular Epcot admission!

Discount Tickets

If you are a Walt Disney World pass holder, you may be able to get discounts for a select number of events held Monday through Thursday. These festival specials include mixology seminars, culinary demonstrations and wine/beverage seminars. You must call 407-939-3378 to make reservations for special events and programs and to receive any discount offered. Florida residents may also get discounted tickets – at least into the theme park for the day. Discounts may also be available if you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel. Be sure to inquire when checking in.

Admission to Epcot is required in addition to the Food & Wine Festival event charge. Ticket prices vary according to what you want to experience. For example, the Rockin’ Burger Block Party tickets go anywhere from $99 to $199! Festival event updates and details are posted at While this festival is rather expensive, the event is well worth experiencing if you are already planning on attending Epcot during this time. If you opt out of buying the festival ticket, you’ll still be able to enjoy some of the book signings, concerts and taste seminars.

If you don’t get filled up at the International Food & Wine Festival, come on down the road to Capone’s Dinner & Show and enjoy our delicious Italian/American buffet. We also serve White Zinfandel, Merlot and Chardonnay Wines. Our tickets can be purchased at half price every day of the year! If you do attend the festival, be sure to save a night for Capone’s… you’ll be glad you did!

Shrimp & Seafood Festival in New Smyrna Beach

Shrimp & Seafood Festival in New Smyrna BeachAre you ready for a road trip? If you like seafood and want to experience a small-town seafood festival, New Smyrna Beach is the place to be this coming Thursday, August 4, 2016. The Annual Shrimp & Seafood Festival takes place on Flagler Avenue (beachside) from 5pm – 9pm. During this festival, the street is blocked off and food, art and craft vendors are set up outside along the street. Live performances are featured on a small outdoor stage and visitors are free to wander around, sample the great food selections and enjoy an adult beverage (if old enough). Flagler merchants open their doors for guests to shop and escape the warm air.

Award winning area restaurants will be in attendance serving up the best seafood samples. Local restaurants as well as a few from the Daytona area are expected to have booths. Prices of these samples usually range from $3 to $6. Some are smaller than others, but by consuming 2 or 3 samples, you’ll manage to consume a nice meal at a fraction of the cost to dine at any one restaurant.

Shrimp & Seafood Festival Favorites

Shrimp & Seafood Festival favorite restuarantThere are many restaurants along Flagler Avenue in New Smyrna Beach. The Gnarly Surf Bar & Grill at the end of the north causeway is one of the favorites at the Shrimp & Seafood Festival. Their booth will be along the avenue, or you can check out their restaurant location. Surf boards decorate the upper balcony with colorful paint. It is a fun location to sit outside and enjoy live music. The inside of the Gnarly Surf Bar & Grill is decorated tastefully in surfer fashion. Try the fish tacos. Some folks say they are the best EVER! The empañadas and hamburger are excellent too. Dishes from various regions are featured on the menu.

Flagler Tavern deckThe Bounty BarAlso located on Flagler Avenue is a newly renovated restaurant, the Flagler Tavern. While this location has been here for decades, this past year the restaurant added onto the front, side and top floor. Popular for its deck, this Shrimp & Seafood Festival vendor is a favorite among locals and visitors. Enjoy people watching from the deck, or sneak upstairs for a quite brunch or adult beverage at the bar.

Wide Variety of Samples

In addition to the local restaurants, the Shrimp & Seafood Festival also features restaurants from nearby Daytona, DeLand and others known for their excellent seafood. The festival offers a great opportunity to sample their dishes at one time and one location. With such a wide variety offered, you are sure to find several to sample.

New Smyrna Beach is about an hour’s drive from Orlando. Go early to get a parking place. Enjoy the seafood and the beach. If you can’t make it to this festival, try for another one. The merchants in NSB host a street festival almost on a monthly basis. They’re worth the drive!

SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ

SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQSeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ event has gotten underway. This annual event offers a great incentive to visit this Orlando theme park in the month of February and early March. For one, the concert is included in the price of regular admission. Secondly, special activities are scheduled during the weekends of the event which make attending even more fun. While adults can sample the various brews, kids can enjoy special activities set up just for them, and everyone will enjoy great BBQ and music.

If you live in the area or plan to stay in Orlando for an extended stay, the best way to enjoy SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ event is to purchase a Fun Card for $94. If purchased before March 6,  you’ll pay less than what you’d pay for a single day and be able to visit the theme park for an entire year! Even if you only have a couple of days set aside for theme parks, you can’t beat this deal. Attend a less crowded day during the week to see the animals, then attend on a Saturday or Sunday to enjoy SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ event. Come back to the park late in the Summer and enjoy MAKO, the new ride that is sure to thrill. With the Fun Card, there are no blackout dates.

The performers for SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ are announced a few weeks in advance. This makes it somewhat difficult to plan too far ahead, however, all of the performers are top notch. This is another reason a Fun Card is good to have… Favorite performer coming? No problem. You have a Fun Card and can pop into the park to see the concert!

Performers for 2016 SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ

  • Saturday, February 13 – Smash Mouth
  • Sunday, February 14 – Gladys Knight
  • Saturday, February 20 – Scotty McCreery
  • Sunday, February 21 – Dennis DeYoung (founding member of the rock group Styx)
  • Saturday, February 27 – ALABAMA
  • Sunday, February 28 – Foreigner
  • Saturday, March 5 – Steve Miller Band
  • Sunday, March 6 – Daughtry

Event festivities begin at 12 p.m. noon each weekend, with concerts at 4 p.m. at the Bayside Stadium. There is also a stage for local bands and a live DJ. Just look for the Harley-Davidson motorcycles and classic cars. While this event is free, you should consider purchasing reserved seats if you really want to experience the concert. To get the most out of the food & brew, there are also ticket packages available. Here are the basic options:

  • Tasting Sampler package for all ages (3 & up) that include 5 food items –   Choose up to 5 food items – $20.00
  • Craft Brew Sampler (21 & up) – sample 10 (5oz) brew samples – $30.00
  • Tasting and Craft Brew Sampler (21 & up) – 5 food items and 5 brew samples – $35.00
  • Floor Seat Package – one reserved floor seat to the main concert on a specific day on a first come, first served basis – $10
  • Floor Seat Package with Quick Queue – one reserved concert floor seat and one Quick Queue unlimited product valid for front of line access at all major rides on date of reservation. Seating is available first come, first served.  Prices start at $24.00
  • VIP Front Row Seating Package with Quick Queue Unlimited and Food Sampler – one reserved front row concert seat, a delicious BBQ food sampler and one Quick Queue unlimited product valid on date of reservation. Prices start at $40.00

If you have young children, be sure to check out the USO Family Garden. Explore Zones will be set up for kids with loads of activities to keep them entertained. They’ll have fun learning at the animal encounters too. Because the USO is a sponsor of SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ all veterans receive a 10% discount on the days of the event (with ID).

If you don’t get your fill of BBQ during the day, or have another evening that you’d like to fill with some great fun, be sure to make reservations at Capone’s Dinner & Show. As a 5-year winner of Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame Award your gang can be sure that this Orlando dinner show is a great addition to your vacation line-up. Your ticket will include everything – food, show, drinks, parking and a great time!

Pioneer Day in Kissimmee – Fun & Free

Pioneer Day offers cracker house tours

Pioneer homes were moved to Shingle Creek after months of collecting them from all over Osceola County.

Pioneer Day Shares Kissimmee’s History

Over 100 years before Capone’s Dinner & Show started entertaining tourist in Kissimmee, Florida, settlers in this area used their talents to survive and thrive. They even did a little entertaining! History tells us our location was a much different place back then, however, this Saturday, why not see for yourself? Pioneer Day is this Saturday, November 14 at the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek.

Something to do that is Fun & Free

It has been a year since the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek opened to the public. It is a great small attraction which many locals and tourists have yet to visit. This event is a great reason to check it out. Not only is it fun, it is also free! Although the regular price of admission is only $7/adult and $3/child, hey, free is even better, right? Add in the special demonstrations, food and entertainment, and you’ll have a great day which also includes a history lesson.

Pioneer Days aims to summon us from our fast-paced lives back to a time when life was simpler. Step back in time to the late 19th century and tour the homes that the earlier settlers lived in. Did you know? These homes were moved to Shingle Creek after months of collecting them from all over Osceola County. Now that they have been gently preserved, history can be experienced and stories can be shared.

Tours & Live Demonstrations

Not only will you be able to tour the “cracker houses” and other buildings, you’ll also be able to watch live demonstrations. You’ll learn firsthand how the pioneers survived with so little compared to what we have today. The history behind each structure at this local attraction is very interesting. It includes farmers, ranchers, fruit growers, investors and Indians (sorry, no “wise guys” are mentioned at this point in our history). The homes and demonstrations include:

  • Partin Family Caretaker’s House
  • Blacksmith’s Shop (with a demonstration)
  • Lanier “Cracker House”
  • Tyson House (with a soap maker demonstration)
  • Cow Camp with a cow hunter demonstration
  • Seminole Villiage Chickee with a Seminole family demonstration
  • Cadman Complex, Bungalow & Bachelor’s Quarters (meet Mrs. Cadman)

Kids Zone with Stories and Crafts

Be sure to bring the kids. At 11:30 a.m.  and 1:30 p.m. children will be able to listen to stories which are always fun when told by an excellent story-teller! If you can’t get them to do chores around your house, be prepared to see them having FUN doing “chores” as the pioneer children did. There will be a craft area as well. It’s a great event that your children will enjoy – with plenty of playing outside!

Market & Bake Sale

Not only will the gift shop at the Pioneer Village be open, a Real Florida Market will be set up during this special event. Art, crafts and baked goodies from local Florida residents will be offered for sale. Seasonal gifts will be a hit. Lunch is available too with the option of a hamburger from Southern Breeze or a BBQ Sandwich from Big John’s Rockin’ BBQ.

VIP Area

This event is free, however, upper level Patrons, Partners and special guests will have VIP tickets. An exclusive tent area will provide a catered breakfast, lunch, drinks, designated seating area and a special raffle. Supporters can help fund future projects which include a general store, a schoolhouse, a church, and train depot. Be sure to look into becoming a VIP at Pioneer Day (check out VIP tickets at Capone’s too)!

If you miss Pioneer Day, you can tour this piece of Kissimmee history any day between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Regular admission will be required. Pioneer Village is located at 2491 Babb Rd. in Kissimmee FL 34746. For more information visit their website at or call 407-396-8644.

Dinner Plans After Pioneer Day

After a day of living in the 1800’s, fast-forward to an evening in the early 1930’s. Join Al and his gang for a night to remember at Capone’s Dinner & Show. Get half-price tickets which include a delicious dinner buffet and a show that all ages enjoy. Introduce your kids to pioneers, Indians and silly gangsters all in one day!