Orlando is ushering in the holiday season all over town, but no event kicks it off as "art-fully" as the Orlando Museum of Art’s Festival of Trees, “All That Glitters” (November 16-24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily), an exuberant celebration of shimmering lights and holiday spirit. Its grand works, in a wide array of traditional and seasonal mediums, never fail to delight. General admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children.
OMA's festival gift shop is a treasure trove of holiday-themed ideas — Photo courtesy of Orlando Museum of Art
Festival of Trees is a major fundraising event for OMA; the museum is cheerfully overrun with designer-decorated trees and wreaths awash in illumination. Gingerbread creations, painstaking works of culinary art and architecture, leave visitors stunned and delighted.
"This is our 27th year!" says a delighted Linda Cegelis, VP of Marketing for the Council of 101, which creates the Festival each year. "We theme differently to help set the stage for our decor and entertainment. 'All That Glitters' was chosen to capture the excitement and glamor of the Gatsby era." It's a vibe that will carry over to the Festival's opulent Gala, as well.
A forest of art awaits, as well, for those who can see past the trees — Photo courtesy of Orlando Museum of Art
This year, the Festival of Trees will showcase an exhibition of abstract work–Trevor Bell Across the Gulf Stream: Paintings from Florida and Cornwall. The presentation will feature 25 large-scale paintings by the internationally recognized British artist and former professor for master painting at Florida State University. One of the festival’s trees, in fact, will feature decor inspired by Bell’s works.
The Great Gala is the Festival's most glamorous event — Photo courtesy of Orlando Museum of Art
In addition to the exhibit, longtime festival favorites abound. Enjoy trees and vignettes; smaller ones are available for purchase in OMA’s “Deck the Halls” area. In the Gingerbread Village, redolent with that comforting, spicy aroma, you can buy one for your holiday table.
The Toyland Town & Shop is both child’s haven and parent’s dream rest stop. Kids can play games, do crafts and visit with Santa. There’s even a kiddie-priced shop for allowance-funded purchases, ideal for apprentice shop-a-holics.
Additional gift ideas abound – from jewelry to indoor and outdoor décor – for those well past apprenticeship. The Festival Café will be open for snacks with refreshments supplied by Panera Bread.
The Festival of Lights showcases seasonal inspiration awash in illumination — Photo courtesy of Orlando Museum of Art
2013 marks the event’s 27th anniversary and kicks off with a pre-festival lighting ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 14, 6-8 p.m. Admission is $50 per person. Subsequent days bring additional special events.
Friday, November 15: the Great Gala, “A Gatsby Evening” ($125 per person)
Don your fanciest duds, from dapper to flapper, to enjoy an enchanted evening and exclusive festival preview; 7-11 p.m.
Tuesday, November 19: Seniors Day
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seniors enjoy $9 admission
Wednesday, November 20: Reindeer Romp ($12)
Santa comes to town for a delightful children’s event. Admission includes an audience with St. Nick and all related activities.
Friday, November 22: Date Night ($40 per person)
Couples are invited to “Shake, Glitter & Stroll” for a fun-filled ‘50s-themed evening at the OMA; 7-11 p.m.