We've updated our annual A-to-Z (all right, B-to-W) guide to getting the most out of Fringe, which has finally spread to all four corners of Loch Haven Park. Check out show details, festival policies and venue maps at orlandofringe.org, where you can also buy tickets.
Bars and restaurants Food stalls on the Fringe Lawn include everything from carnival-style fast food to high-end treats (courtesy of "Foodies at the Fringe") along with the ubiquitous beer tent and a full liquor bar. Beer and wine can also be bought in OMA, Orlando Shakes' rear courtyard and the Black Venue (aka the Venue on Virginia Drive). There are also ample opportunities to stop for a drink or a bite to eat along Orange and Mills avenues and Virginia Drive.
Bathroom Go first, because there's no re-entry if you leave a show.
Box office There are five (Shakes, Rep, OMA, on the lawn and at the Venue on Virginia), plus you can buy tickets online.
Button The $9 button is a one-time purchase that funds Fringe's operations – ticket sales (minus the service fee) go directly to the shows themselves. Buttons can only be purchased at a festival box office (cash only!). Without a button and a ticket, you will not be admitted to any show, so don't lose it.
Cash Bring it. The on-site ATM tacks on fees and gets cleaned out fast on weekends.
Cheapness It's always free to hang out on the lawn, where there's food, drink and local bands playing throughout the festival.
Discounts Fringe's discounted 10-packs of tickets sold out before the Festival started this year, but some shows offer $2 off to students, seniors, military and/or theme park employees. The only catch is that you must buy your tickets in person to get the savings.
Fringe Lawn Between the Shakes and the Rep lies a broad grassy swath where you'll find the beer and wine tent, Stonewall's full liquor bar, food vendors, an ATM, a Poetry Vending Machine and a seething mass of theatrical humanity.
Help! What should I see? Use Orlando Weekly's reviews to plan your viewing – our critics are risking life and limb to see as many shows as possible. Find their reviews at orlandoweekly.com on The Gist, our arts and culture blog, from May 11 forward.
- Kids Fringe
Kids Fringe The hippest kids in town attend Kids Fringe at the Mennello Museum, which is packed with creative entertainment – puppetry, concerts, hands-on art activities – that parents (and possibly even non-parents as well) will enjoy too.
Lateness Even if you've paid for a ticket, once the doors close, you're not getting in. Arrive at least 30 minutes before showtime and leave plenty of time to park and walk to the venue; it may be on the opposite end of the complex.
Outdoor stage This year the outdoor stage offers even more local goodness than ever, booked by promoter Jessica Pawli, and the stage is sponsored by yours truly for the duration of the festival. Learn more about this year's music offerings at our Orlando Music News blog on orlandoweekly.com.
Parking Limited as always, with the Rep and Shakes lots sure to be filled to capacity at all times. Florida Hospital's garage is free on Saturdays, and Florida Urology Associates and Magruder Eye Institute (weekends only) are open for Fringe Patrons – consult the map on the Fringe site.
Social Follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter (@OrlandoFringe) for late-breaking announcements and info.
Venues Each venue at the Fringe has a color-coded name. Orange, Yellow, Pink, Brown, Blue, Red and Purple are all inside Orlando Shakes; Green and Silver are at the Rep; Gold and Bronze are at OMA. Black is at the Venue on Virginia Drive, and BYOV shows are held at additional nearby locations. Make sure you leave enough time between shows if your venues are far apart (if you're not sure, check the map on the Fringe site).
Visual Fringe This year, the art market is hosted in the hallways of Orlando Shakes, where you'll find paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics and sculptures for sale on both weekends of the festival.
Weather Don't forget: hat, sunscreen, umbrella. It will be hot and it will rain. But who cares? You'll be prepared.