Category Archives: winter park

Winter Park Harvest Festival

We also had a fabulous time exploring the local farmers and Central Florida producers at the Winter Park Harvest Festival produced by John Rife. Awesome!

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Rollins College “Weighs in” on Hunger

Rollins College along with the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Winter Park community members collected 16,201 lbs of food for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. WOW! That is over 8 tons of food!

The food drive was part of Helping Hands Across America, which was a month-long food collection drive to help reduce hunger across Central Florida. The event has been a fixture at Rollins for several years.  Throughout the month, donations were collected on Rollins College campus, from Sodexo – the College’s food provider – and at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.

Kudos to the students, faculty, and staff, as well as the community of Winter Park for helping the food bank prepare for a never-ending busy season!

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Rollins College: Founder’s Day is Here!

Long before Disney, Sea World, and certainly Universal Studios were a dream in someone’s head; way before I-4 or the Bank of America Building had been planned on paper, even before the Lake Eola Fountain was a wisp of an ideaRollins College was founded, 125 years ago today!

Founded in 1885, Rollins College opened its doors for the very first classes on November 4.  With just 66 students that first year, Rollins became known for its beautiful Florida landscape, including Lake Virginia, and top-rated faculty.

 

Old Knowles Hall, one of the earliest buildings at Rollins College.

 

With just under 3,000 students today, the college is consistently ranked as #1 in the South of “America’s Best Colleges.”  Rollins is celebrating 125 years with a very special line up of speakers, including Robert F. Kennedy tonight at 6 pm.

And, for those with some social media savvy, check out Jason Sadler from iwearyourshirt.com honoring Rollins today by wearing their shirt! (Yeah, we think that’s pretty cool!)

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November’s Top 5 “Visual Arts” Events

1) 35th Annual Festival of the Masters

November 12-14 at Downtown Disney
We love this annual event that showcases 150 award-winning sculptors, jewelers, and painters, both local and national. It is a FREE event held at Downtown Disney West Side from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm daily. (And, check out all the great dining you can enjoy at lunch or dinner!)

2010 Festival artwork "Coming Together" by Amel Platon

 

Add in the House of Blues special Folk Art Festival, featuring over 40 folk artists and musicians, and then the Central Florida Chalk Association decorating over 6,000 square feet of sidewalks, and this is a pretty cool weekend to see!

One of the sidewalk chalk masterpieces from last year.

Another sidewalk chalk masterpiece, by Orangewood Christian School.

2. Art at the Casa

November 3-10 at Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum
Featuring Bernie Martin, this artist is famous for his look of a 19th Century impressionist. Often featuring ballerinas, we’re excited to see his work in person! Martin’s work has won top awards in numerous festivals, including the Coconut Grove and Maitland Art Festivals, and has sold internationally through Sotheby’s and Mayer’s.

And, if you have yet to visit Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, you are in for a real treat. Currently situated along Winter Park’s famed Park Avenue, the home was once located a long block or two east and sat on the banks of Lake Osceola and was slated for demolition. Alarmed residents rallied together and raised $ to have the historic home moved to its current home. Casa Feliz, or “Happy House” in Spanish, was designed by noted architect James Gamble Rogers II and built in 1932. It is definitely worth a visit!

Casa Feliz at its current location

3. Highwaymen Weekend

November 20-21 at the Orange County Regional History Center
You’ve heard about the legendary Florida Highwaymen that painted the scenes of Florida, right? Well, now’s your chance to meet some of the original painters at the Orange County Regional History Center. With a special exhibit entitled “Against All Odds: The Art of the Highwayman,” you can come and discover what makes this artwork so valuable and highly collectible.

Artist James Gibson showing an original.

The history of the Highwaymen dates back to the 1950s and 60s when a group of self-taught painters from Fort Pierce, Florida banded together to produce over 200,000 pieces of art depicting Florida’s landscapes. The paintings were sold out of cars for a relatively cheap price; however, when rediscovered in the 90s, the values sky-rocketed.

Schedule of events:

  • November 20: Meet Mary Ann Carroll, James Gibson, and Issac Knight
  • November 21: Meet Curtis Arnett, Robert Lewis Jr., and Roy McLendon

4. Season’s Celebration

November 13-December 24 at Gallery on First in Historic Sanford
We love any excuse to go visit Historic Sanford, and this gives us the right reason. “Season’s Celebration,” held at Gallery on First, will feature original artwork by studio artists Stewart Jones, Cindy Sturla, Stan Surman, Robert Holewinski, Sharon Rae Hyder, and Lori Anne Harris. Lots of great work to see!

Artist Stewart Jones at work

"Winter Wonderland" by Stewart Jones

Curious about Sanford itself? It used to be a thriving port town, one of the biggest and most important in Central Florida. In fact, it was almost chosen as the home for Rollins College before a sudden change of heart placed the school in Winter Park. Situated on the St. John’s River, Sanford features bricklined streets, towering oaks, elegant store-fronts and large, nineteenth-century Victorian homes. The downtown, which once featured feed stores and dry good sellers, now showcases antique shops, restaurants and art galleries. And with the marina, Central Florida Zoo, and Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, Sanford is a great pace to visit!

Monroe Harbour Marina, Orlando's closest marina

5. Rob Reedy: Doodah DADA

November 5 – January 5 at Maitland Art Center
Known for whimsical sculptures, Rob Reedy has recently returned to mixed media and painting.  We can’t wait to see his whimsy in person… I mean, check out the name of the exhibit already!

From the artist’s perspective: “Growing up in rural Mississippi was challenging. Traditions, such as storytelling, family, and faith had a tremendous affect in shaping my work, as well as my values. I see it as a refreshing force in a world that can sometimes be cold, static, and impersonal. My philosophy is an interesting balance between intellect and superstition, science and magic, New York and Mississippi….a sort of ‘Doo Da Dada.’ ”

And, if you have never visited the Maitland Art Center, it is such a delightfully artsy place! Founded as founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect André Smith, it continues today as a center of art, education, and excellence. And, the building itself is a work of art, adorned with carvings, statues, and beads. Truly beautiful!

Courtyard at the Maitland Art Center

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Filed under disney, History, Maitland, Museum, November 2010, The Arts, Top 5 Visual Arts Events, winter park

Happy Czech Independence Day! (Yeah, I said it)

On Thursday, October 28, the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens will be celebrating it’s namesake’s birth nation by celebrating the traditional day of Czech Independence.  (FYI: museum founder, Albin Polasek, was born and raised in the province of Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic.)

To celebrate, the museum is offering free admission from 10 am to 4 pm, and if you have never visited before, it is well worth the trip to Winter Park!

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Park Avenue Fashion Week Tent Show: The Main Event!

Saturday evening culminated Park Avenue’s Fashion Week with a tent show, which was quite an event.  I attended with several friends, including Katie Murray, major fashionista, Carol Kostick, Rollins alumna, Suzanne Lemons, who sits on the City of Winter Park’s Park and Recreation Board, and Susan Leonard of Tommy’s Island and Shore Brand clothing.

Katie Murray, Susan Leonard, and Top 5 editor Bess Auer

Susan, who has been in the fashion industry for years and has attended a zillion fashion shows across the nation, was complimentary of how professionally the fashion show was presented. We had fun watching the models strut across the catwalk and people watching in the crowd.  Mayor Ken Bradley was seated on the front row opposite title sponsor Harriett Lake. (Ms. Lake leads quite the social life… I had just seen her the night before at the Orlando Ballet. I hope I have such good fortune when I am 88 years old!)

The tent was packed; in fact, we had trouble finding seats despite paying $125 for VIP seating! However, the models were young and beautiful and the fashions were fun. The music was loud and rocking and the crowd seemed to love the evening.  They especially appreciated the Go Red for Women heart survivors, which was a nice tie in. Enjoy this short video from the event:

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Filed under Fashion, Fun, Politics, Uniquely Florida, winter park

Bella Ella: A Fun Newish Salon!

Okay, so many Orlando residents have long known about Blanch Torres and her daughter Bianca, two fabu hairdressers in the area. But now, they’ve opened a full-service salon and day spa right on the corner of Park Avenue and Morse in Winter Park. So, the Top 5 attended a small VIP party where Bella Ella was treating the very deserving teachers of Park Maitland School.

Teachers were treated to facials, paraffin hand treatments, hair and make up makeovers, hair styling, even fashionable cuts. Bella Ella also served food and drinks, including black beans and rice provided by Latin Bistro Cuban Cafe. Yum!

It’s a beautiful place with lots of great service, so be sure to check them out if you’re on the hunt for a new salon!

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