This weekend Downtown Orlando will be a flurry full of foodies and whinos. The Downtown Orlando Food and Wine Festival brings together some of Orlando’s finest restaurants and renowned wineries from around the world. As if sampling food and wine wasn’t enough, there’s live music too!
A few streets near beautiful Lake Eola become lined with booths and tents where patrons can handover food and beverage tickets in exchange for a sample of specialty food and wine. The portions of food vary by each restaurant. Some are 2-3 bites worth, while others are enough to share with a friend. The amount of tickets to use for each sampling also varies, but during my visit in previous years it was very rare to find a sampling for one ticket.
Tip1: Be prepared to spend money: Attending the event is fun, but can be costly. There is a general admission price, $20 at the gate, $15 online, plus the cost of food and beverage tickets which are sold as booklets for $20 each. Considering it takes 2-5 tickets per item it is easy to run through those tickets. Also, the limited amount of free parking in Downtown Orlando means you will most likely pay to park.
Tip2: Bring a chair and other picnic supplies: Throughout the festival there is live music. I recommend bringing along chairs and picnic supplies to secure a spot in the park near the stage. There aren’t many places to sit with your food and wine, but if you secure a spot in the park you can sit and relax. During my visit my friend and I staked our claim in the park and relaxed for a little bit then browsed through the food and wine booths making our next selection, and then would go back to our spot to sit and enjoy. We repeated the process throughout the day.
Tip3: Bring bottled water and hydrate: I am not sure if this year will be different, but when I visited it was difficult to find water. When enjoying alcoholic beverages you need to stay hydrated. So bring along some water.
Tip4: Get your tickets NOW! There are savings online and with the gorgeous weather forecast this weekend it is sure to be busy, so having your tickets in advance may save you time. Be prepared for crowds and enjoy!