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Ten reasons to get off campus

Halloween Horror Nights
  • Halloween Horror Nights

Feeling stir crazy on your academic island? Sick of seeing the same faces everywhere you go? Here are 10 awesome events that take place in Orlando that’ll help you break up the monotony of the dorm-class-study-bar-repeat lifestyle. And don’t forget: We update our event listings at calendar.orlandoweekly.com all the time, and we always know where the best stuff is happening.

1. Halloween Horror Nights
Sept. 20-Nov. 2, 2013
Universal Studios at Universal Orlando
1000 Universal Studios Plaza
Orlando is a town that loves Halloween, and Halloween Horror Nights is the big boss of all the spooky attractions. The monthlong frightfest features scare zones, haunted houses based on pop culture (like Cabin in the Woods, The Walking Dead and Resident Evil) and plenty of skin-crawling, spine-
tingling startles and jumps.

2. Come Out With Pride
Oct. 1-6, 2013
Lake Eola Park
A celebration of equality and a lot of fun, Pride features a colorful downtown parade and a festival in Lake Eola Park every year; 2013 also brings a food and wine festival,
a comedy night, a production of Broadway show Mamma Mia and a meetup at Halloween Horror Nights.

3. Solar Bears
season starts Oct. 19, 2013
You might not expect a city with warm weather year-round to support an ice hockey team, but the Orlando Solar Bears, founded in 2011, play a full season at the Amway Center. So far they don’t have a sterling record (28 won and 37 lost in the 2012-2013 season), but games are just as much rowdy fun as any hockey fan would expect.

4. Central Florida Veg Fest
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday,
Oct. 26, 2013
Orlando Festival Park
2911 E. Robinson St.
An outdoor festival devoted to all things vegetarian and vegan, with speakers, product vendors, animals, a free concert and dozens of food stands. Committed veggies and meat-eaters alike are welcome to enjoy tasty vegetable-based cuisine outdoors in the sunshine.

5. Renninger’s Markets Extravaganza
Nov. 15-17, 2013; Jan. 17-19, 2014;
Feb. 14-16, 2014
20651 U.S. 441, Mount Dora
Liven up your dorm room or apartment with some vintage flair. Renninger’s Twin Markets – one side is a flea market, one side is full of vintage furniture and collectibles – are open every weekend, but three or four times a year, hundreds of out-of-state dealers set up shop offering goods at every price point.

6. Christmas in the Park
6:15-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013
Central Park, Winter Park
The Morse Museum brings some of its world-renowned collection of antique Tiffany windows into the park along with members of the Bach Festival Choir; allow yourself to be filled with the holiday spirit at this free concert as the chorus sings carols in front of the glorious backlit stained glass.

7. Florida Film Festival
April 4-13, 2014
Enzian Theater
1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland
Central Florida’s best-established and beloved film festival premieres current, independent and international films, along with a slate of special events and parties. You might get to shake hands with a movie star at a fancy brunch, or just revel in the movies and the smell of popcorn for 10 days.

8. Florida Music Festival
April 2014 (dates TBD)
various venues
FMF is the longest-running music festival in Orlando, featuring national and local acts, both established and emerging. Industry types congregate at panels and networking events by day, but most of us just take advantage of the chance to see multiple bands every night in venues all over downtown for a three-day-long musical pub crawl.

9. Orlando Weekly Restaurant Week
May 1-31, 2014
various restaurants
Orlando Weekly sponsors this annual event, which celebrates the fine art of eating out without going broke. Dozens of area restaurants offer special lunch and dinner menus, often at a fraction of their usual prices, giving you the chance to experience new flavors with little risk to the wallet.

10. Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival
May 17-24, 2014
Loch Haven Park
900 E. Princeton St.
Theater groups descend upon the Orlando Shakespeare Center and various spaces in the arts complex at Loch Haven Park, presenting offbeat, original, fiercely independent plays and performances. Tickets are cheap, with 100 percent of proceeds going back to the artists, and the outdoors food-and-beer tents create a 10-day party on the lawn.

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