In less than a month, UCF students can attend a free annual event — with free parking — to experience all sorts of entertainment, while tasting a variety of food.

With more than 50,000 attendees, the event has grown from a small festival to a community tradition, said Bridget Lake, senior director of sponsorships and events for the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce.

More than 200 venders will be at the event to promote arts and crafts, businesses and more.

"The festival, sponsored by Air Flow Designs Heating and Air Conditioning, will feature food and beverages from local eateries, amazing aerialists, extreme jugglers and many other family-friendly performances and activities," according to the Cirque du Taste of Oviedo press release.

Unlike previous years, the event will no longer have a car show or fireworks. However, new and exciting performances have been incorporated as replacements.

This year, the Taste of Oviedo will have a Cirque du Soleil theme where there will be real Cirque performers.

Attendees can be prepared to be amazed by the several performances, including contortionists, jugglers, acrobats and stilt-walkers.

"When you see this, you have to stop; you don't want to keep going," Lake said. "It's wonderful because they're high-quality performances."

There will be several forms of entertainment, aside from the jaw-dropping cirque stunts.

Several bands, including Black Canvas Band, School of Rock and Carly Jo Jackson, will be taking the main stage. The 17-70 Band, which consists of Winter Springs police officers, will also make its way to the stage to entertain the audience with rock 'n' roll music.

One band that Arnie Nussbaum, the house emcee for the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks will attract UCF students is the Swain Sumner Band, a rock 'n' roll band with an 18-year-old front man who uses his guitar to entertain and engage his audience. Nussbaum said this artist "is a prodigy."

Guest emcees at the event include Allison Walker, the Emmy-award winning entertainment reporter for News 13; Alex Diaz, who works for MIX 105.1; and Paco Lopez, who works for CBS Radio Orlando's 1059 Sunny FM.

Brian Morgan Kirkland will also be in attendance. While locals may know his voice from the radio, UCF students may better know Kirkland as a radio-television adjunct professor in the Nicholson School of Communication.

There is also a kid's area where there will be rides and games, such as the Orbitron, a bungee jump and a rock wall.

For $10, kids can enjoy bounce houses, bouncing bungees, trains, the Orbitron and a rock wall, said kids area coordinator Michele Lacy.

If parents have younger children, Lacy said there is a $5 pass for children only wanting to go on the six inflatable items in the area.

The pass is a one-time fee and good for the whole day.

Additionally, there are many kids-related businesses that will be offering karate groups, gymnastic groups, singers, dancers and cheerleaders.

"[Taste of Oviedo] is a very family-friendly event; it's for all ages," Lake said. "Oviedo is such a supportive community, and we wanted to make it as simple as possible for the community to come out and enjoy this event."

Although there is free admission to the event, there is a fee for food tasting.

Nussbaum said attendees at Taste of Oviedo will get to taste "incredibly scrumptious dishes" that have been made with Oviedo's most famous crops: citrus and celery.

Every year the Oviedo Preservation Project, a publicly supported charity that demonstrates the relationship between the past and the present, puts on a Citrus & Celery Cook-Off.

Taste of Oviedo

Where: Oviedo Mall, 1700 Oviedo Mall Blvd., Oviedo

When: March 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit


Rachel Stuart is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @RachSage or email her at

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