By AlyseInWonderland, USA, May 2011

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Orlando is best known as the Disney and theme park Mecca of the United States, but this popular destination is also home to a thriving local art and culture community. If you find yourself around Orlando during the first half of February, you have the unique opportunity to experience ArtsFest, a weeklong celebration of all things creative in the central Florida region.

ArtsFest features over 220 different events over 81 venues across four counties. Exhibitions in music, theater, literature, and visual arts are all represented, as well as unique cultures from all over the world.  And best of all, ArtsFest events are free!  (Though some have limited capacity, so be sure to check out the program).

Stop by the A MAGI Open House to see some mid-Eastern gypsy belly dancing. Then head over to the children’s pottery workshop at the City of Orlando Pottery Studio to have some hands-on fun! From clogging to puppetry, African folklore to independent cinema, you can experience the entire spectrum of culture from Florida and around the globe.

The Festival is put on by United Arts of Central Florida, a collaborative community organization whose mission is to expand the quality and variety of arts and culture education and experience in the central Florida area. Although the events are free, they gladly accept donations to keep the show running.

ArtsFest is currently in its 9th year and still going strong. If you’re tired of the standard Orlando theme-park fare, get those creative juices flowing and check out some of the great ArtsFest events.

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