Lake Eola Park Events: A Visitor's Overview
In the center of downtown Orlando lies Lake Eola, a beautiful and pristine body of water surrounded by a park that hosts many local events throughout the year.
Lake Eola is a staple of downtown Orlando tourism. If the city proper is the heart of central Florida, then Lake Eola provides the heartbeat. Many local events take place in the large park surrounding this beautiful natural lake, and no matter what time of year you plan to visit Orlando, there is sure to be something going on that you and your family can enjoy at this excellent lakefront locale. Check out this list of the 3 best events at Lake Eola Park and plan to visit at least one of them during your next trip!
Every Sunday, Lake Eola Park plays host to the largest farmer’s market in central Florida. In this case, bigger definitely means better, as it is repeatedly named as the best of the area’s markets as well. Stop by the Lake Eola Sunday Market to enjoy live music, discount craft beers from local breweries, tasty food trucks and stalls, and of course, all the souvenirs you could possibly want.
Be sure to stop by some of the produce stands and pick up some fresh Florida fruits and veggies. If you happen to visit during orange season, you’ll have the added benefit of getting some real fresh-from-the-grove Florida oranges to take back home. Do bear in mind that it is against the law in Florida to ship citrus fruits by mail out of the state, so if you want to take them home with you, you’ll have to fit them into your luggage! Check out the kids’ play area near the shores of the beautiful lake and give the children a chance to play away some of their energy in the splash park.
Lake Eola Park’s massive amphitheater is the home base for one of central Florida’s largest tree lighting ceremonies. At this celebration, the mayor flips the switch to light up the 72-foot Christmas tree that stands in the park, while visitors watch from the amphitheater seats. This is a major event in central Florida, and it gets very busy. It is usually televised on one of the local news channels, but nothing beats seeing it in person!
After the tree has been lit, stick around to enjoy some of the live performances that take place every year. You might hear from some of the local performing arts centers, school groups putting on Christmas plays or singing holiday favorites, or local musicians playing tunes to get you in the mood for the Christmas season.
For all the dog lovers out there, don’t miss Paws in the Park, one of Lake Eola Park’s furriest events! Paws in the Park is a pet walk and dog festival that takes place annually on the paved trails surrounding the park itself. Like a marathon, walk participants sign up to walk on behalf of a specific group or cause. The only catch is that the cause must support animals in some way, and that you must bring your dog, if you have one! In 2014, over 12,000 humans participated in the Paws in the Park walk, and raised money for the Orlando Pet Alliance to help support the group’s mission of providing veterinary care to homeless animals and helping them get adopted.
Paws in the Park is the most fun when you can sign up with a group. Even if you are a visitor to the area, most groups are more than happy to welcome you to their masses! The group that raises the most money wins a grand prize, which usually consists of a couple of nights in a Walt Disney World hotel.
When in Orlando, don’t pass up Lake Eola. This park and natural landscape is always booked full of fun family-friendly events that can make your vacation that much brighter. Although you might not choose to structure your entire trip around one of these events, at least consider fitting on into your itinerary! You, your family, and possibly your furry friends will all be glad you did.
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