Friday, January 20, 2012

2012 Zora! Festival in Eatonville, by Melinda Carter

One of the Orlando area’s great annual cultural events starts this weekend in historic Eatonville with the Zora! Festival. Festivities will begin on Saturday, January 21st and run through the following Saturday, January 28th. The festival is a celebration of Zora Neale Hurston, one of the foremost figures in African American literature, feminism, and anthropology.

As Hurston became famous as an author, anthropologist and folklorist, the festival will celebrate numerous arts throughout. There will be a free theatrical showing of “Zora in Eatonville,” which will provide an enactment of what the town was like in Zora Neale Hurston’s eyes. There will also be multiple visual art exhibits throughout the week, including showings from Lonnie Graham, Terrie Boddie, Melvina Lathan and Deborah Willis.

Highlights of the festival will be performances by R&B stars Keith Sweat and Mario.  Sweat is a former Elektra Records recording artist who made a name for himself in the 1990s by having two albums in the Billboard Top 10.  Mario is much more of a household name in recent years with a string of top hits and albums in the 2000s.  He has had two top 10 albums since coming onto the scene in 2002, as well as two hits in the top five, including a number one hit in 2004 with “Let Me Love You.”  Mario will take the stage at the festival on the night January 27th, while Sweat will perform the night of the 28th.

The inclusion of Mario into the fold will certainly mark a departure for this year’s festival in Historic Eatonville. In past years, only an older act such as Sweat would take the stage. It’s clear that adding a recent big name such as Mario will serve to bring in a younger generation of attendees with the opportunity to learn more about the deep rooted culture surrounding both Hurston and Historic Eatonville.

Even with the great headlining acts in Mario and Keith Sweat, the core of the festival will still be marked by an unprecedented presentation of the area's art and culture. For years now, the Zora festival has provided local residents with the opportunity to embrace the arts, even offering buying pieces to take home to their homes and apartments in Orlando. If you’re looking for a departure from the tourist events, take a trip over to the Zora Festival in historic Eatonville next week and enjoy a one of a kind mix of art in culture within the Orlando area.

Most of the festival is free, but for events requiring tickets, click here.  Take a look the schedule for a complete list of events.

Melinda Carter is a creative writer from the University of Texas El Paso. As an aspiring writer she specializes in writing about travel detestations and tourism.

No comments:

Post a Comment