Category Archives: UCF

Knights Prevail: Gators Cursed in the Amway Yet Again

Congratulations to the home team, the UCF Knights Men’s Basketball Team took on (and overcame) the #16 ranked Florida Gators tonight.  While we’re huge Gator fans, even we can recognize a great effort when we see one.  Over 13,000 fans cheered as UCF led Florida in a 57-54 victory.

Michael Jordan's son Marcus is a leader for the Golden Knights.

The two teams met in the Florida Citrus Sports Shoot Out and had the honor of playing the first collegiate game in the new Amway Center. This is actually a second for the Gators. Back in 1988, they also had the honor of playing in the first collegiate game in the old Amway Arena.  Top 5 editor Bess Auer was a cheerleader at that game and remembers it well.  “We lost to Stanford,” she sighed. “I guess the Gators and Amway just don’t go well together.”

Perhaps not, but the Golden Knights sure do…congrats!

Leave a comment

Filed under Amway Arena, Citrus Bowl, Florida Gators, Sports, UCF

Top 5 Central Florida Videos Weekly Round Up

We are thinking about doing a new weekly feature, where we show the Top 5 youtube videos of events from around Central Florida, all uploaded within the past week.

It should give a great snapshot of all the different things happening. (And you can give us a shout out if you post a great video. Who knows, it might be featured on our Weekly Round Up!)

So, let’s get started with this week’s videos:

Car races:

From Attractions Magazine:

Light Up UCF:

From Disney Parks – Mickey becomes a Magic Player:

Building of Legoland:

Bonus videos–yeah, we couldn’t decide on just 5 this week!

From NBCActionNews, because this was just so darn crazy!

Singing, because we loved Spring Awakening when it was in Orlando:


Filed under Amway Arena, Bob Carr, Broadway at Bob Carr, Charity, disney, Non-profit, Only at a Theme Park, Orlando Magic, Top 5 Video Round Up, UCF

Feel like Ice-Skating? In Central Florida?!

It’s finally here… one of the BIGGEST seasonal events in Central Florida, compliments of UCF.  55 nights of seasonal cheer!

Leave a comment

Filed under family, Fun, General Info, Seasonal, UCF

Mayor Dyer Declares Black and Gold Day! (Friday, Oct. 29)

To get Orlando in the right mindset for Saturday’s game, when UCF takes on ECU (both undefeated in Conference USA), Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has declared tomorrow “Black and Gold Day.”

So, get our your colors, Orlando, and show the University of Central Florida some support! (They are the home team after all!)


Leave a comment

Filed under Orlando, Sports, UCF

Florida Tuskers: Rooting for the Home Team!

I must admit I feel bad…I should have made the trip to the Citrus Bowl before this.  The Florida Tuskers are Central Florida’s home team, and so we all should be heading out for the game! So, my hubby, @SwimmerJoe, and I decided to do something about this… so we’ve gathered about 60 friends and are heading to seats on the 50 in order to root away…Yep, we’ll be with the Blue Dolfin Swim Team yelling, “Go Tuskers!”

Now why should you go see the Tuskers, too? Well, to see some quality football. The Tuskers are part of a quality professional football league whose players include many former stand outs in the NFL. (Think legendary UCF and then NFL starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper good!)

Tusker's starting quarterback Brooks Bollinger

And, on a personal note, I went to high school with Bret Munsey, fellow Winter Park High School Hall of Famer and former head coach of the Philadelphia Soul, who now helps out the Tuskers on the sidelines as Director of Player Personnel.  It is fun to see when a friend is making a go of something he loves. (And is pretty good at!)

So, even if you can’t make it tonight’s game, put the Tuskers down as something go root for and support this season. Yeah!

Leave a comment

Filed under Citrus Bowl, Sports, UCF, Uniquely Florida

Orlando Shakespeare Theater: A Night to Remember!

When the Top 5 was invited to the Season Opening Gala at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, I knew we couldn’t resist. Great food, fun entertainment, hobnobbing with big wigs, and all supporting a great cause…what more could I ask for?!

Season Opening Gala

When we arrived, they had the red carpet rolled out to receive guests, and so we made our way into the lobby where elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen were already chatting it up over tasty hors d oeuvres and an open bar.

The Food

There were several stations set about, serving everything from pasta and lamb chops to crab salad and sushi. The displays were breathtaking and the food was even yummier!

One of the beautiful food stations!

Bubbalou's Bodacious BBQ.

Desserts from Seasons 52.

The Silent Auction

Inside the big domed room, there seemed to be at least one hundred items up for silent auction. Packages ran from opening bids of $25 (restaurant gift certificates) up to $4000 (sapphire necklace).  The room was packed with excited bidders, but I just couldn’t talk my hubby into anything!

The silent auction.

Some of the fun silent auction packages.

Sapphire necklace, opening bid of $4000.

The Big Wigs

Orlando Shakes was certainly the place to “see and be seen” as some of city’s biggest movers and shakers turned out for the night:

  • Philanthropist Harriett Lake
  • UCF’s President Dr. John Hitt and Provost Dr. Tony Waldrop
  • Chairman of the Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center Jim Pugh
  • Chairman and chief executive of Massey Services Harvey Massey
  • Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal
  • Orlando Sentinel‘s Scott Maxwell
  • Trinity Preparatory School’s headmaster Craig Maughan
  • The Analog Artist Thomas Thorspecken
  • And, of course, Central Florida Top 5 editor Bess Auer

Harriett Lake being welcomed by this year’s Gala Chair, Patti Strasberg.

Thomas Thorspecken busy sketching.

Top 5 editor Bess Auer and hubby Joe.

The Live Auction

After a welcome by Daniel McIntosh, the President of the Board of Directors at Orlando Shakes, the live auction got underway under the keen eye and sharp wit of Orlando Shakes’ Jim Helsinger and Tom Yochum of Lowndes, Drosdick, Kantor and Reed law firm who sponsored the event.  The highlight of the live auction had to be a bracelet donated by Harriet Lake. The replacement value of the piece was estimated at $32,000!  (It went for a steal at $12,000…Nice!)

Artistic director Jim Helsinger.

One of the live auction packages as presented by Anne Hering.

The Entertainment

Gala goers got a sneak peek at the theater’s upcoming The 39 Steps, which seems to be a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python… yep, it looks like it will be simply amazing! I can’t wait to go back and see the actual play… opens September 15!

Top 5 editor Bess Auer - Check out our seats!

A sneak peek...can't wait to see it!

Special thanks to Orlando Shakes’ Melissa Mason, who graciously provided us tickets to tonight’s gala. It was definitely a night to remember!


Filed under Charity, The Arts, UCF

Orlando Shakespeare Theater – Going to the Gala!

Guess where the Top 5 will be tonight? At the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Opening Gala… and we can’t wait!  From quality shows to important cultural events, we love and support Orlando Shakes… won’t you, too? (It’s not too late to get a ticket!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Charity, General Info, The Arts, UCF

Cure for the Run MMX – Just Awesome!

The second annual Cure for the Run was this past weekend at Wall Street Plaza in downtown Orlando. Hosted by and benefiting New Hope for Kids, the endurance race (0.05k or about 165 feet) was a humongous success raising well over $4000! It was lots of fun, featuring guest appearances by much of Orlando’s podcasting community, area mascots such as UCF’s Knightro, as well as musicians like Jeff Howell.

If you weren’t able to make it, you can still donate on the event’s website, but for now, enjoy this video:

Special thanks to Bananakin (AKA Jeff Peak) for his help in filming.

1 Comment

Filed under Celebrity, Charity, Non-profit, UCF

Harry Potter Comes to the UCF College of Medicine!

Well, not really Harry Potter, per se, but an exhibit tracing medical history starting with potions, herbs, and mythical monsters and going up to today’s modern science is on display at the UCF College of Medicine’s library now until August 21.

“There was a lot more to magic, Harry quickly finds out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words,” once explained J.K. Rowling, author of the international best-selling children’s book about the boy who discovers he can do magic.  Using Harry’s success, the National Library of Medicine created an entire exhibit centered around the medicine behind the books and it is now traveling around the county.

Here’s what the exhibit’s website says:

“Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy. Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the seven-part series examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power. This exhibition, using materials from the National Library of Medicine, explores Harry Potter’s world and its roots in Renaissance magic, science, and medicine.”

Ever wonder about the medicinal value behind a unicorn’s horn? This exhibit will explain it to you…pretty cool, huh?

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Literary, UCF

World Championship of Stuffed Sports!

The 18th Annual Celebrity Mascot Games was held this past weekend and was, as usual, a display of the best talents in the world of Stuffed Sports.

If you are like me, most sporting events are long, boring stretches of sweaty dudes trying steal a ball from each other while you wait for the mascot to run out and entertain us. The Celebrity Mascot Games is the only event in the world that eliminates that wait for you by bringing together the thirty best mascots and running them through competitions to determine which group of mascots are the fastest, the strongest, the smartest, and–well, they are mascots after all!–the best at “bending” the rules.

This year’s event featured some pretty intense American Gladiators-style events and really kicked the intensity up a notch. I know what you are thinking: We live in Orlando and therefore have the BEST mascot in sports, Stuff the Magic Dragon, so how can these games possibly be fair with Stuff on his home turf? Stuff is a very gracious host to the other mascots and doesn’t flaunt his home-field advantage over them……much! (Except for his rapelling-from-the-top-of-the-arena entrance–the crowd went CRAZY!–and using a motorcycle for some of the events, you would hardly even know it was Stuff’s house!)

Stuff the Magic Dragon

I always come away from the games with a new favorite mascot and this year was no exception. I remember my first Celebrity Mascot Games and encountering for the first time the University of Nebraska’s mascot Lil’ Red and literally losing my breath with laughter at some of the tricks he could pull. (This year he flipped upside-down and did the YMCA dance with his feet….which inspired Stuff to try the same trick….on top of a 30 foot ladder!)

Lil' Red

This year I was very impressed with some of the local mascots: Tommy Tar from Rollins College and Thunderbug from the Tampa Bay Lightning both did great jobs. Raymond from the Tampa Bay Rays was very low energy, but somehow made it work for him. Knightro the UCF Knight also made an impressive showing, and Albert and Alberta from the University of Florida were crowd favorites as usual.

Albert and Alberta

I was excited to see Globie from the Harlem Globetrotters for the first time. Fin from the Vancouver Canucks always seemed to be in the middle of the action and here’s a special nod to Harry the Hawk from the Atlanta Hawks; he walked EXACTLY like a bird, that can’t be easy to pull off for several hours in an outfit like that!


All of this craziness came together at the Amway Arena to raise some money for an outstanding charity, New Hope for Kids, a local charity that offers support to children and families who have lost a loved one and also grants wishes to kids in the Central Florida area who have life-threatening illnesses. New Hope is a great charity and 90 cents of every dollar goes toward program services.

New Hope for Kids Banner

This post was by Guest Blogger Extraordinaire Ross, Superproducer of SomaCow, the Greatest Internet Talk Show, Ever! Tune in to SomaCow on Fridays or Sundays to listen live, or relive the experience with a podcast. Ross can be followed on Twitter @Elross. 

Ross and friends...


Filed under Amway Arena, Blogger Extraordinaire, Celebrity, Charity, Rollins College, Sports, UCF