2016 Maker Faire Orlando Review

Review Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Orlando, FL — Many people came and visited the 2016 Maker Faire Orlando at the Central Florida Fair Grounds. This year was a different experience than last year’s event at the Orlando Science Center. There was more excitement with some new ideas, products, visual fine arts, and science all in one place.

When traveling down to the Central Florida Fairs Grounds in Orlando was an easy ride. Plus, there was plenty of free parking. It is recommended to arrive early to get the best parking spaces closest to the event area.

Upon arriving at the outside entry point, there were ticket booths, will call, and media/volunteer check in tents for attending guests. Ticket price were reasonable for this type of event. Ticket prices range from $15 – $25 per ticket. Next year you’ll want to get in on the earlier bird ticket pricing before the event to save some money. Most people only attended for one day. This type of event is more of a two-day event. I was unable to see everyone is one day, so I had to come back the second day and see the rest of the event I did not get a chance to see. It is recommended you and your family will want to take your time to view just about everything. Plus, there are hands-on and interactive exhibits too.

At the Combat Robots Exhibit, inside the Pathfinder Pavilion, many people were attracted to this type of engineered machinery. There was a battle bot competition between two robots in an enclosed Plexiglas arena. These two robots would battle each other to see who could stand and last the most. There was finitely some sparks between the two competitor bots. This was just one highlight of the event.

If racing is your thing, than the Power Belt Sander Drag racing was a sight to see. Attendees had a chance to race the power belt sander down a wooden drag track. These power belt sanders were not cordless, but required a long extension cord attached to a power outlet. The kids had a blast racing and watching these power belt sanders go.

In the custom vehicles area there were two vehicles. One was a future looking sports car and the other was a Toyota Prius. The Toyota Prius, which I call it, a Prius Camino. It is a half car and half truck. The owner of this vehicle purchased the vehicle from a salvage yard for $800. The vehicle was in an auto accident. He then redesigned and configured this vehicle they way it looks today. This is just one form of recycling an automobile.

Another area was the Opportunity area which was inside the Commercial Hall building. This area had everything from 3-D printers, wood working, inventors, and learn to solder workshop area. I had the opportunity to participate in a Learn-To-Solder Workshop. It only cost $3 and one gets to a make a red Maker Robot pin badge with flashing lights. It is a ten minutes workshop, which you have one-on-one with a volunteer who helps you construct the small Maker Robot. At the end you get to take the completed Maker Robot home with from the day.

Many people were attracted to the Retro Arcade and Make-A-Shirt under one small roof. Once you walk in, you paid $5 to Make-A-Shirt with the Red Maker Faire Robot logo screen printed on either a gray or black t-shirt. There were Volunteers on hand to assist anyone wanting to make a t-shirt. After making the t-shirt, one had to let it dry. When it was drying people would play video games while they waited. Some of the arcade games on hand were pinball machines, vintage desktop computers with games, and much more.

The main exhibit hall had the Spirit Exhibits. This building had young makers, Legos, art, Steampunk, TV/Movie props, teapot racing, cosplay, model train set, and schools. In the prop area they had “The Time Machine” replica which actual was a battery powered vehicle. Also, there were Ghostbusters proton packs and other prop replicas. Star Wars R2D2 was on hand for photo opportunities as well. Also inside the building was a large model train set. Young and old loved watching these model trains move around the tracks. There was fine arts being sold inside the hall from comic books to illustrations. NASA was also on hand to give out information on their resources. Plus, the Orlando Science Center was on hand demonstrating their lightening electricity show. Many people were quiet amazed the light and sound effects.

Finally, there was just so many things to see at this year’s Maker Faire Orlando event. One needs to mark their calendar for next year’s event. For more information go to www.makerfaireorlando.com

If you like this review article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great event content check us out at www.otownfun.com

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Photos courtesy of icflorida.com

 

 

 

 

 

Central Florida Soapbox Racing in Sanford, Florida

Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Sanford, FL – Soapbox racing is a unique sport which involves the entire family. If you have never seen a soapbox derby race before than you are missing out on all the fun. The children enjoy the competition against other kids and families.

Soapbox racing is a family sport and courage’s youth to expand their knowledge in engineering, math, and science. There is only one sanctioned soapbox racetrack in the in the Metro Orlando area. If you or your child has never seen a soapbox race then come down and see it for your self. Your child might want to take up this sport. There are more than more derby tracks in the Southeastern United States. Many families travel to other derby tracks on the weekends.

Derby Park is located in Sanford right off the Toll Road 417. This park is a wonderful place with the racetrack, playgrounds, picnic areas, restroom facilities, and plenty of parking. Overflow parking is outside the park at Bentley Elementary School. Parking should not be a concern for anyone.

If you don’t own your own soapbox racer than don’t worry. There is a fee for rental for the day to race. Most soapbox racers prefer having their own racer to customize and enjoy building themselves. Many of these young soapbox racers enjoy camping overnight the day before the day of the race. It makes it easier on the little racers. Plus, many of the racers are able build good friendships that carry on a lifetime.

All soapbox derby races are free and open to the general public to watch. Once you see one race you’ll be hooked. In the month of November, there is only one day adults are able to race down the tracks for a USMC Toys for Tots event. For more information check out there website.

Race days are on Saturday once a month and sometimes race on Sunday too. There season is fall through the spring. No summer races are held. All races are sanctioned by the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD).

More for information visit www.soapboxderby.org/central-florida . We hope to see you at a race!

List of the 2016-2017 Race Schedule

  • Sanford Race on Sept 24, 2016
  • Sanford Race on Oct 15-16, 2016
  • Sanford Race on Nov 5, 2016
  • Sanford Race on Dec 31, 2016 and Jan 1, 2017
  • Sanford Race on Feb 4-5, 2017
  • Sanford Race on Mar 11-12, 2017
  • Sanford Race on Apr 8, 2017
  • Sanford Race on Apr 22, 2017
  • Sanford Race on May 20, 2017

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Photos from the Central Florida Soap Box Derby races on February 6, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

2016 – Introducing the Orlando Waves Professional Basketball Team

Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Kissimmee, FL — Are you tired of the same old NBA Orlando Magic games? Now you have a better choice to come and watch our newest home team. This is not the same old ABA league your folks grew up with. These players have more heart and hustle without the heavy pockets and personal egos.

The Orlando Waves are Orlando’s newest professional basketball team in the Central Florida area. Orlando Waves starts its inaugural Season on November 5th 2016. This team was created with the intention to bring family oriented, sporting events and entertainment to the Central Florida area, while also bringing awareness to brands, local charities and foundations in need. In addition, to the Orlando Waves providing professional sports and entertainment on the court, these athletes will be directly involved in community development programs and activities. The team is excited to be apart of the Central Florida area and they are looking forward to making Waves with the community.

Experience a game for yourself and bring the family along too. Ticket prices are reasonable. Your family should not have break the bank to watch good quality professional basketball. Adult ticket prices start at just $10.00 with group ticket rates available too.

Spectators get close to the action compared to the other professional basketball leagues. At the end of the games, fans are able to interact with players and coaches. This is something that the NBA does do. It is worth it to come down and see our new professional basketball team today!

For a complete season schedule please visit

http://www.orlandowaves.com/schedule/

All home games are played at Kissimmee Civic Center, which is just a quick drive from Orlando. There is plenty of parking at the civic center and in the Downtown Kissimmee area. For more information visit http://www.experiencekissimmee.com/kissimmee-sports/facilities/kissimmee-civic-center/#54D87eVY2G4FUqLr.97

Photo below is from the  Orange County Sheriff’s Office vs. Orlando Waves Basketball Game on September 17, 2016

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2016 50th Annual St. Mary Magdalen CommunityFest Review

Review Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Altamonte Springs, FL — St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Parish held their annual CommunityFest which is Central Florida’s longest running and largest church festival on the weekend of October 14-16, 2016. The CommunityFest features non-stop live entertainment, a 20-booth international food and beverage court, midway rides and games for all ages and a spectacular Super Raffle for a $15,000 Grand Prize –or- a $15,000 tax-free scholarship to our award-winning SMM Catholic School.

When you drive over to this event, there is limited parking on the property of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church. Some of the residents around the church were charging to park on their property for about $10 per vehicle. If you were looking for free parking some of the residential side street had free parking if you were willing to walk. However, if you did not feel like walking, the church provided a Park-N-Ride service the from Altamonte Commons property at 251 Maitland Avenue to the event site.

On Saturday afternoon, the crowds were a little light, which is the best time to come over to this festival. All rides and games were open. Plus, many food vendors were waiting to serve hungry festivalgoers. They had a variety of food to choose from such as steaks, Chinese food, seafood, popcorn, corn on the cob, fried Oreos and Sneaker Bars, pizza, and much more. I tried the steak with grilled onions and it was very tasty. For dessert I had a chance to try the fried Oreo, which is a festival favorite. If you never had a fried Oreo than this was your chance to try it. Get them while they last.

There are many live stage acts during the festival weekend. One event that people should not miss is the Parade of Nations, which is made up about twenty Church members showing off their home county’s flags. The Church members were proud to show off their flags. They paraded in front of the Gym to the outside stage. Get photo moment for all you photography buffs.

During Saturday’s evening, the crowds started arriving with their entire families. The festival was starting to look lively. When band Hot Property took the stage where they started playing American Rock n Roll songs to people they knew. This band was amazing playing great music with special lighting effects. This band plays variety music from the 60’s through the decades to the absolute hottest Top 40 dance tunes of today. Some people were even dancing in front of the stage till the end of the night. For more information on the band Hot Property go to https://www.talentagency.com/talent/hot-property/

There was more than just music at this event. Many adults and children hung out at the rides and games area. Some of the games included bumper cars, a Ferris Wheel, Ali Baba ride, the Pirate Ship pendulum ride, a drop tower, a Tilt-A-Whirl, and the Tornado. I did not have a chance to ride any of these rides, but look like a lot of fun. It is recommended to get there in the late afternoon where the lines are not so long at all. Also, there were the typical carnival games such as The Duck Pond Game, The Gold Fish Ring Toss Game, Batting Cage Game, and the Basketball Hoop Game. Some attendees walked away winners with huge stuffed animals. Just make sure you have room in your vehicle to take home a large stuffed animal.

Beside the rides and games, there was carnival food and drinks. Many people visited the Candy Factory selling cotton candy and variety of candy apples. Plus, there was a Lemonade Stand, which was shaped as a yellow lemon selling real fresh lemonade. It was not your processed lemonade version at your local grocery store. Just real fresh squeezed lemonade.

To end the day, I was not able to see to everything at this festival. Some activities I missed were the BINGO games, raffle for gift baskets, small children rides, and some the other wonderful live entertainment on stage.

If you did not have a chance to go to this year’s CommunityFest then mark your calendar for October 20-22, 2017. For more information go to http://www.stmarymagdalen.org/ParishInfo/CommunityFest/CommunityFest.htm or email communityfest@stmarymagdalen.org

If you like this review article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great event content check us out at www.otownfun.com .

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2016 Winter Springs Artoberfest Review

Review Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Winter Springs, FL — Winter Springs ARToberFEST, presented by Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS), will be held on October 15-16, 2016, at the Winter Springs Town Center. ARToberFEST is produced by the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce and the City of Winter Springs. Admission to the festival was free for all ages. This is a family-friendly event; the children’s area will include face painting and other arts and crafts provided by our sponsors.

There were over 100 professional artists who have created award-winning pieces at this show. Some of the many mediums include painting, etching, clay, wood, mixed media, watercolor, jewelry and more. While walking around, one can get up close and personal with the artists at their booth. Many of the artists did not mind a person asking questions and or making comments about their artwork.

There were a few art pieces that catch my eye when walking around Blumberg Boulevard at Artoberfest event. The first piece I saw was a United States flag made of used rubber tires mounted on a wooden sheet which was created by John Horrell but goes by the artist name Peter Dragon. He was in booth #205 and has a Pop Art style. For more information on this artist go to http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/peter-dragon.html?tab=artwork .

Another artist I spotted was Shannon Arnold and her husband who created nautical animals painted on wooden art pieces. Many attendees were drawn to the sea turtle animals. All the sea life art pieces are life-like painted on a rustic style wood. The Arnolds are very passionate about their nautical theme. Their motto is “recycling old pallets into artwork.” One could find their work in booth #318. For more information on their work go to http://www.nauticalpallet.com/ .

This year’s Best 2-D of Show was given to artist Jeff Eckert. Eckert is known for his pencil drawings. This was one of Eckert’s first Best in Show award he had received. Most of his subject matter has people posing in various activities with some college of objects. One can describe his work as having the MC Escher style. This artist was in booth #311. For more information on his work go to http://www.jeffeckertpencilart.com/

There were two judges chosen for this year’s Artoberfest. These judges were David Cumbie from Central Florida and Gregory Jones from Lakeland, Florida. On Saturday morning, they set out to judge the art show. As a judge they evaluated all artists booths filled works of art. Sometime the judges chatted with the artists. At the end of the day, they made a decision on all award winners. These awards were presented on Saturday night private dinner for all of the artists.

The top awards given out to these artists for the Ribbon Best of Show 2-D award was given to Jeff Eckert (Booth #311), the Ribbon Best of Show 3-D award was given to Rolly Ray Reel (Booth #424), Ribbon for Award of Excellence was given to David Figueroa (Booth #121) and Jack Hill (Booth #117) to round out the top award winners. Plus, there were other awards given out to for Award of Distinction, Award of Merit, and the Poster Award to be used for next year’s festival marketing campaign.

While the professional artist were in the spot light, the Artoberfest did not leave the Senior Citizens out with their great artwork as well. Many of these Seniors created landscapes, portraits; animals which were on display for sell under one tent. These Senior Citizens took their new hobby seriously. Many of them were on hand to ask questions about their life and artwork.

Besides artwork, there was also great live entertainment from the Orlando-native band Europa, featuring German music that will make you want to dance away. There were a few people on Sunday go up a dance to the German music. At the end of one song one of the singer called out by saying “ticky tacky” and the audience replied back and held to glass cup with beer up.

Some people skipped the artwork for the German Food. They went after the delicious brats served up by the Winter Springs Rotary Club paired with bold German beer from local Red Cypress Brewery was available for purchase, along with a variety of unique wines. I had a chance to try the German beer made from grapefruit juice. It was called “Schofferhofer Grapefruit beer.” The taste was not strong like a typical beer, but a very smooth beer taste. Most adults would love the taste of this beer.

If you did make it out this year, than mark your calendar for next year in October 2017. For more information on ARToberFEST, and visit www.wsfota.org.

Note: Sources of information came from wsfota.org

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Liam Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant And Irish Pub Hosts 9th Annual Colonial Town Park “Halloween Block Party” Preview

Seminole County’s Block Party and Nightlife Destination Serves up Halloween with Another Spectacular Event Featuring Live DJ Entertainment, All-Night Drinks Specials and Eek-citing Costume Contests

Spooky season is back and that means it’s time for home of Seminole County’s best block parties and nightlife, Liam Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant and Irish Pub, to welcome the 9th Annual Colonial Town Park “Halloween Block Party” taking over Seminole County this Halloween.  The unforgettable event is free and open to the public, and all guests are invited to drink, dance and dress in their Halloween best as they celebrate with Liam’s and neighbors: Graffiti Junction, Dexter’s of Lake Mary and Duffy’s Sports Grill.

Stop by on Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 7pm to 2am at Liam Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant and Irish Pub, Colonial Town Park, 951 Market Promenade Ave., Suite 1115, Lake Mary, FL 32746.

Liam Fitzpatrick’s epic annual Halloween Block Party features live musical entertainment by two DJs kicking off at 9pm and spinning throughout the night, tasty drink specials available and plentiful all event long and a can’t miss costume contest awarding a $500 prize for the frightful grand prize winner.

This Halloween Block Party is produced by Liam Fitzpatrick’s which is carrying on the two-hundred-year-old tradition of great Irish pubs while keeping a strong commitment to the Central Florida community with a hearty mix of Irish food favorites and more, an extensive menu of quality beers and spirits, warm and friendly hospitality, great music and conversation, a stellar weekly entertainment lineup and of course its spectacular annual block parties.

Now, in its ninth successful year, Liam Fitzpatrick’s welcomes guests with it traditional Irish pub exterior, rich wood furnishings and accents, large dining room, fully stocked bar and pub area and private dining room.  Lively and festive day to late night, Liam’s provides the perfect setting for any occasion whether it’s a business lunch, a gathering with old friends or a celebration with new ones.  With a wide-ranging menu of great home-cooked food to suit every taste and pouring some of the best beers and wines in the world, Liam’s delivers an unmatched experience in the warmest hospitality.  Liam’s is open daily for lunch, dinner and happy hour plus offers Saturday and Sunday brunch service.  Hours of operation are Monday 11am-11pm, Tuesday through Thursday 11am-12am, Friday 11am-2am, Saturday 10:30am-2am and Sunday 10:30am-11pm.  For more information, call 407-936-3782, or visit www.liamfitzpatricks.com.

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Graphics provided by Passion PR Consulting

 

24th Annual Biketoberfest 2016 in Daytona Beach Review

Review Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Daytona Beach, FL – After Hurricane Matthew blow through, the locals cleaned the area so the bikers could roll in. Whether you’re new to Biketoberfest or a seasoned veteran of this event. Everyone is welcome to participate at this year’s event. If you planning for next year’s Biketoberfest, just leave your young children at home. This is a place for adults only. You never know what you’re going to see for the day. It is advise to arrive early before the crowds show up.

Here is a brief history of Daytona’s Biketoberfest. The Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau established this event back 20 years ago. Biketoberfest is typically held the weekend immediately following Columbus Day with most visitors staying throughout the week. The event features a 12-mile ride along a series of scenic state and county highways in Volusia County known as the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail or ‘Loop’. Other popular rides include up and down Main Street and Beach Street, through various state parks such as Tomoka State Park and DeLeon Springs State Park and to the historic Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, located just south of Daytona Beach in Ponce Inlet.

Before heading to Daytona Biketoberfest, here are some items you should be pack. I recommend packing a camera with fresh batteries, a hat, sunglasses, good walking shoes, comfortable clothing, and a poncho. Take a cooler with cold non-alcoholic drinks and leave it in your vehicle. If you forget anything there are retail stores and vendors in the area that are open for business.

There are a lot of motorcycles on the road traveling from North Orlando on Interstate Four to Daytona. Anyone is a vehicle should watch out for bikers. Bikers famous motto is “look twice for bikers.” Most of the roadways are now clear of debris from the storm. Some other areas are not. Check with the Florida Highway Patrol website for road closures and traffic accidents.

Once arriving into Daytona on International Speedway Blvd go directly straight towards the beach were most of the bikers are gathered. I recommend stopping off on Beach Street at the Biketoberfest Official Rally Information Booth. Where they have maps and brochures. Don’t forget to sign the registry and receive a free official Biketoberfest lapel pin while supplies last. While you’re on the mainland, check out the many different vendors selling bike trailers, custom seat cushions, bike detailing, food and drinks, plus entertainment. At the Maryland Orange Crush Bar where I had a chance to visit on Thursday afternoon, they had Johnny Cash Tribute Band live on stage. This band was not the only band in town, but many more performing rock and country music.

After leaving the mainland, I headed over to the beach side. If your driving a car, there are a few private parking lots that charge $10-$15 per vehicle to park. I could not find any free parking for cars. However, there is free bike parking on Main Street where all of the action is. If you’re looking for piece of mind for your motorcycle there are paid private parking lots from $5-$15 per bike.

There are many attractions and shops on Main Street to check out. Here are some of the highlights. Check out these saloons such as the Full Moon Saloon, Boot Hill Saloon, Dirty Harry’s, Froggy’s Saloon. Boot Hill Saloon has always been one of the bikers’ famous hangouts. Besides drinking catch some great music in the outside stage underneath a tent.

One will not get bored of Main Street. You can people watch all you want. At some of the saloons, people are sitting along the railing facing the street watching bikes and cars drive down the street. There are some bikes that turn people’s head from custom bikes, trikes, to stock motorcycles.

After a full day at Biketoberfest, take it easy while driving back home and or to your hotel. One will see many bikes and vehicles out on the road. Remember to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Don’t drink and drive. Law Enforcement is out looking for drunk drivers too. Don’t be that person who’s had too much to drink and hits and kills another person while driving. Drink responsibly!

If you did not have a chance to attend this year’s Daytona Biketoberfest than mark your calendar for next year’s event on October 19-22, 2017. Make your plans now. For more information go to www.biketoberfest.org

Note: Some information came from the Official Biketoberfest website

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Photo courtesy by icflorida.com