If you’re a longtime fan of the ZORA! Festival, you probably know your way around the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts. However, if this is your first time at the ZORA! Festival, you will want to get the rundown on the Festival and what to expect.
First, let’s get it clear about the difference between the ZORA! Festival and the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts.
The ZORA! Festival is also known as the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. It is an annual 9-day festival celebrating the life and work of 20th century writer, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Huston; her hometown Eatonville which is the nation’s oldest incorporated African American municipality; and the cultural contributions to the United States and the world by people of African ancestry.
Now in its 31st year, the festival runs from January 25 through February 2, 2020. It is produced by the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.), a 501 (c)3, historic preservation and cultural arts organization, which was created in 1987. P.E.C.’s mission is to enhance the resources of Eatonville, to educate the public about the town’s historic and cultural significance, and to use the community’s heritage and cultural vibrancy for its economic development. Over the 9 days, there is a mix of free and ticketed events to satisfy all artistic pursuits. Whether your interests lie in literature, art, music, cinematic arts, economic development or even entrepreneurship, there is an event for you. Click here to visit the website to see the entire lineup for the ZORA! Festival.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts. The ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts is a 3-day celebration of the visual and performing arts within the 9-day ZORA! Festival, typically held on the last weekend of the ZORA! Festival. This year, the dates are January 31 through February 2, 2020. As the name suggests, it is the outdoor component of the Festival, and this year, the programming at the ZORA!
Outdoor Festival of the Arts includes an African Trade Expo; the Afro-futurism Pavilion; a Make and Take tent; the ZORA! STEM Activity Hub; the International Food Court; Fine Arts and Master Crafts Artisans and merchandise from vendors from around the world.
In addition to these activities available every day during the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts, there is unique programming each day of the Outdoor Festival.
Friday January 31 is Education Day, where students are encouraged to attend, either with their schools, home study groups or with their parents to learn from master crafters who will be onsite to demonstrate their talents. Admission on Education Day is free and open to the public.
The concert occurs during the Saturday edition of the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts, at the Zora Neale Hurston Square located on Kennedy Blvd., between the Eatonville Branch Library and the grounds of the Robert Hungerford Memorial Auditorium, starting at 1pm. Howard Hewett, followed his 6-year run as the lead singer of the R&B group Shalamar with chart-toppers such as “Make That Move”, “Second Time Around” and “A Night To Remember”, with a successful solo career crooning R&B, gospel and jazz hits. He is sure to delight the crowds. Michel’le known for her distinctive voice and her songs, “No More Lies”, ”Nicety” and “Something in my Heart”, and Public Announcement with their discography including “Slow Dance”, “She’s Got That Vibe” and “Honey Love” round out the afternoon’s entertainment.
General admission to Saturday’s Outdoor Festival of the Arts is $20 per person (plus transaction fees) for adults. Children and youths under age 18 are free with an accompanying adult. Older students should bring a current form of I.D. such as their school I.D. to prove their age. General admission on Saturday includes standing room access during the concert, but it does not guarantee an unrestricted view of the stage. If you want to see the concerts, your best bet is to pick up VIP tickets for everyone in your party. VIP admission to Saturday’s concerts is $75 per person (plus transaction fees) which includes a reserved seat in full view of the stage, catering and 2 drinks.
The Sunday edition of the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts is called Super Shoppers Sunday at the Outdoor Festival of the Arts. The gates open at 10am and festival goers will be able to shop to their heart’s content. General admission to Super Shoppers Sunday is $10 at the gate, and parking is free at the nearby Wymore field.
At 1pm that afternoon, the Gospel Hour and Southern Soul Concert begins. Alonzo and Charlyce Simmons, Kemuel “KT” Jones, 1Voice (featuring John Polk), THE ROSES, Kris Henderson and James Alderman are on the show’s lineup. VIP admission for the Gospel Hour and Southern Soul Concert is $30 at the gate, which includes reserved seating in full view of the stage, catering and a beverage.
Obviously, the music performances are a huge part of the experience at the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts. However, we should not forget the other programming that appeals to all ages, especially families. The ZORA! STEM Activity Hub will help make the link between science fiction and current and future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) applications, bringing to life the world of science and technology.
The African Trade Expo at the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts is the culmination of the inaugural Africa – America Women’s Economic Forum, an initiative associated with the DOOR of Our Return movement which commemorates the solemn 400th anniversary of enslaved Africans landing on the American shores, by forging new connections between African and America. You won’t want to miss the authentic African wares made available by female entrepreneurs from Africa.
Before you set out to the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts, plan your route to Eatonville using the toll-free 511 Traveler Information Service at fl511.com to find the shortest way to Eatonville. The mobile app will create customized travel routes and email, text and phone call alerts to inform you about the roadways and any delays. Alternate routes will also be provided, allowing you to safely get to the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts. For your planning purposes, you can use the address of the Eatonville Branch Library in the Zora Neale Hurston Square, 200 East Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville FL 32751 as your destination to help set your bearings.
So there you have it! Whether you visit the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts for the food at the International Food Court, the merchandise from vendors from around the world, the great music from the 80’s, 90’s and today, the activities for the whole family, or just to see the great mass of humanity, there is certainly something for everyone. We hope to see you at the ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts this year!