2017 5th Annual Altamonte Springs Uptown Art Expo Preview


Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Altamonte Springs, FL – This annual art festival is held at Cranes Roost Park next to the Altamonte Mall. The venue has free admission and parking. This event is being held on March 25 & 26, 2017. So mark your calendar and come on down to this weekend event.

It is just an easy drive from Orlando to get to Altamonte Springs. Take I-4 going east. Then take exit 92 off of I-4. Look for the Altamonte Mall signage. There is plenty of free parking at the Altamonte Mall. It is advised to park in the Northwest side of the mall, which is close to the park. Check your GPS for the best travel route to Cranes Roost Park.

This art show is set near the lakeside area featuring a walking path, plaza with fountain show & amphitheater with live entertainment. While walking around beautiful Cranes Roost Park there will be many artists and vendor booths lined up on Cranes Roost Blvd. The Art Festival will feature 150 juried art & fine crafts with displays of glass, jewelry, mosaics, paintings, photography, pottery, sculpture and more all available for purchase.

This year’s music on stage is Rick Derringer Band presenting Storyteller – Alive and Well Performance. Derringer is a Legendary Guitarist, Singer, Producer Hear the stories behind the Hits! Some of his hits are “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo”, “Hang on Sloopy” “Frankenstein”, “Free Ride”, “Real American”, “Still Alive and Well” and many more!

Another big music headliner is the tribute band The Long Run – A Journey Through The Music Of The Eagles! This band tours around the world and has played over 400 shows worldwide. This band has appeared on over 30 albums with many famous singers and bands. What makes this band unique is that they perform on many cruise ships around the world. Some of the band members Randy Ridenour and Chuck Kirkpatrick have ties to Florida. The Long Run has performs many of the Eagles greatest rock music hits. Listen to this tribute band play the songs such as “Hotel California”, “Take It Easy”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, and much more.

Another popular feature at this art festival is the sidewalk chalk paintings. Many local artists with different ages from all walks of life compete for awards for the best chalk painting. One will see a variety of subject matters. These sidewalk chalk artists start in the morning and end in the early evening. There is a limited amount of time to complete one sidewalk chalk painting. When these sidewalk chalk paintings are finished one will be amazed of how they created a masterpiece within a short amount of time. This is a must see when attending this venue.


For the hungry festival attendees – International Street cuisine and good old-fashioned Festival Foods along with Craft Beer featuring Bold City Brewery, Islamorada Beer Company, 3 Daughters Brewing Company, Kona Brewing, Bud Light and Wines – Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Merlot. Prices of food will vary.

This event is produced by Orlando Art & Living Expo, Inc., and is a non-profit corporation, whose mission is to bring art and music together, and enhance the quality of life in Central Florida. For more information on this art show go to www.uptownartexpo.com . If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great events and places please check us out at www.otownfun.com .


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Sources of information from uptownartexpo.com


2016 Central Florida Vegfest in Orlando Review

Review Written by Nathan Wertheimer 

Orlando, FL – This event was held on October 22, 2016, from 11am – 5pm,at Festival Park. Vegfest attracts many types of people of all ages and backgrounds. No one is single out because they are a meat eaters or a vegetarians.

When traveling to the Central Florida Vegfest was an easy drive. The event location sits between Colonial Drive and the 408 Toll Road. There is plenty of parking for this event. There is preferred parking close to the event on the property it will cost you $5.00 per vehicle to park. Also, there is free parking at Colonial Plaza Marketplace. It is just a quick walk over to the event area. Some side properties also have paid parking at their locations too.

What you will find at this event are many mom and pop service providers and vendors. Some of the crafts vendors make homemade furniture, jewelry, hand soaps, beauty supplies, and much more. Prices of these goods are very reasonable. One of the vendors promoting feed the homeless was giving a vegetarian tacos with a donation. These tacos were made with mash potatoes, beans, spinach, and onions, rolled in a corn tortilla shell. It was quite tasty. Planet Smoothie was given out free samples of their banana, kiwi, and Strawberry smoothies. New Moon Market was given out organic juice bar samples. One organic popsicles stand was selling a variety of popsicle flavors.

There were other vendors at this event promoting to specials causes and events such as, stop killing the cattle, Black Bear awareness campaign, Save the Manatees Club, Shen Yun Show, Plan Parenthood, Migrant Farmers, Rick Sing campaign, pet adoption, and much more.

If food is your thing then check out the Vegetarian Food Court. There were some unique items on the food menu. Many people bought the carrot dogs, which was inspired by the hot dog without the meat. Some other food vendors were selling vegetarian tacos, mixed vegetable plates, and organic desserts. Prices on the food was very reasonable between $5-$10 depending on what you ordered. The popular food vendors had long lines.

There was great music performed by Sad Lady Cowboy, Claudio Matta, Conflicting Motive Band, John John Brown, Will Forver, Raspberry Pie, and Matt Welsh. Most people listen to the music while they ate at the dining area. Many of these musicians are up in coming while waiting on their big break.

Finally, there were so many vendors, entertainment, and wonderful things to experience at see at this year’s Central Florida VegFest event. One needs to mark their calendar for next year’s event in October 2017. For more information go to www.centralfloridavegfest.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


Photos courtesy by icflorida.com


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






A review at the 2016 Casselberry’s Latin Jazz Concert & Art Festival

Review written by Nathan Wertheimer

Casselberry, FL – Many hundred of people came out to Secret Lake Park to see Grammy Award Winner Latin Jazz extraordinaire Nestor Torres perform live on stage for this free concert. You don’t have to be Hispanic to enjoy this music. Everyone was welcome to attend this event. Many speakers spoke in both English and Spanish.

Nestor Torres was inspired by the aftermath of the Pulse Shooting in Orlando and wanted to perform at this year’s Casselberry Latin Jazz Concert. So he contacted Linda Moor, who works for the City of Casselberry, who got the ball rolling. This was not his first time he has performed at this Latin Jazz Concert. Back in September 2012, Torres performed at this concert in the City of Casselberry.

There were many special guests invited to the private pre-concert reception. During this reception, Casselberry City Mayor Charlene Glancy called Torres a friend of Casselberry. Torres was deeply touched by the moving words by Mayor Glancy. Torres briefly spoke about his music and what it meant to him. After his short presentation he went to prepare for the concert.

Before the concert even begun, the crowds started showing up with their folding chairs to get their best spot on the lawn in front of the stage. To open the concert there was opening Jazz band gave attendees of great smooth jazz music. It is estimated that was around 6,000 concertgoers attended this night concert. This is one of the biggest gatherings for one of these concerts at Secret Lake Park for the city. Torres tend to move around to the music with his flute. Look for Torres to come back in the future to perform a live concert for this city again.

What make this event possible are the great sponsors like El Sentinel, 107.7 HD-2 WLOQ Smooth Jazz, and Telemundo. Also there were many vendor booths such as the Casselberry Chamber, Cricket Cell Phone Service, Florida Council Compulsive Gambling, independent food services, Tijuana Flats, and arts and crafts items.

Besides this concert going on there is also a Latin Art Exhibit Esperanza Neuvo-Phoenix Rises at Casselberry’s City Hall located at 95 Triplet Lake Drive. Artwork can be viewed Monday thru Thursday 8am – 5:30pm. This art exhibit will continue until November 2016. Some of the many artists include Pedro Brull, MPilar Vargas, Pablo Hernandez, Jose M. Feliciano, Yasir Nieves, Felipe Morales, Julsan, and Jose Sanchez. Many of these works of art are paintings on canvas and 3-D sculptures depicting the Latin Culture.

The City of Casselberry looks forward to see you at next year’s Latin Jazz Concert. For more information on this Latin Jazz Concert, please visit

Photos courtesy of icflorida.com. Bottom photo is a painting by Pedro Brull. Top photo is Nester Torres performing at this year’s Latin Jazz Concert.

A review on Casselberry’s Art and Music in the Park at Secret Lake Park

Review written by Nathan Wertheimer

Casselberry, FL – For this small town in Seminole County, Art and Music in the Park brings many out families, friends, and outside visitors to Secret Lake Park. This event happens once a month on the second Friday from 6pm – 9pm. There are different types of themes for each month such as the Pokemon Go, Caribbean night, and many others. Plus, they’re always a great band or singer playing their music throughout the park into the night. So don’t forget to bring your own lawn chair and relax. This event also makes a great date night idea for you love birds out there.

Besides the art and music at this event there are plenty of food trucks to choose from to suit your taste buds. There are almost fifteen food trucks from the Food Truck Bazaar selling their great food and drink specialties in the park. Plus, they sell some unique food items that you can’t find at your local restaurant. The prices of food and drinks vary from $2.00 to $12.00. If alcohol is your thing than there is one truck with a variety tap beers.

There are always many different and unique vendors, artisans, and other local businesses that have booths set-up in this lovely park. Some of the different vendors out there are cell phone service providers, real estate brokers, fine artwork, crafts, home livings, and much more.

Looking for parking might be tight, but there are always people coming and going from this event. Some people park along North Triplet Lake Dr. or park in the north side of the park near the baseball fields. There is limited handicap parking by the Casselberry Recreation Center at the park.

Also, once construction finishes up at Triplet Lake Park and Casselberry City Hall this event will be moved back to Triplet Lake Park where it was originally held. So mark your calendar for the second Friday of each month and on come down and enjoy a fun evening at Secret Lake Park. I hope to see you here at this year around event. For more information contact Lynn Hoppes at ihoppes@casselberry.org or call 407-262-7700, ext 1507 Visit Casselberry’s Art & Music in the Park website at http://www.casselberry.org/index.aspx?nid=634




2016 Orlando’s Spring Fiesta in the Park

What: 27th Annual Spring Fiesta in the Park

When: Saturday, April 2-3, 2016, from 10am – 5pm

Where: Lake Eola Park and on East Robinson Street in Orlando

How: The Fiesta in the Park Committee along with a group of volunteers and sponsors come together to produce an event to support the Greater Orlando area.

Why: The Fiesta in the Park Committee’s mission is to bring family and pet friendly arts and entertainment to downtown Orlando each Spring and Fall season, while promoting local urban development in the City of Orlando and through the Orlando Community & Youth Trust.

Who: This event is FREE and open to all families, adults, and children.

Parking: Is limited around the event area. There is public parking available at various parking garages and or on public streets in the area.

Overview of the Event:
Bring your family down for a fun filled day at Lake Eola Park in Orlando. There are plenty of activities to see and do. Take in the various fine artists and crafters booths on displaying their handmade works of art. This is a juried art show and awards are given out on Sunday for the top artists. If good music is your thing than check out the WMMO radio station with local singers who will be performing live on the small stage. If you come hungry to this event, there are plenty of food vendors to choose from. Plus there are various commercial vendors selling their goods and services. Don’t miss a moment so a plan a day at this year’s Spring Fiesta in the Park.

For more information go to:


Photo Tip Series – Lens Selection for a SLR Camera

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about is the Lens selection for your SLR camera. It does not matter if you own film or digital SLR camera. If you have a SLR camera body then you have to make the decision on what lens to attach. The lens selection will depend on what you are photographing.

Some people are unaware about the technical information about some lenses. Today, some models like Nikon still use lenses from the past and present. As a Nikon user, I am trilled about using vintage lenses on my camera. They don’t make lenses like they used too. Most lenses today have a plastic mounts. The older metal mounts can also break too. It is your decision to go with plastic vs. metal mounts. If you own a Nikon DX camera body you have the option of buying either FX or DX lenses for your camera. FX lenses are made for full frame SLR cameras.

When shopping for a lens you have the option of buying a brand name or a third party lens. Some of the well-known third party lens manufacturers are Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina. I have personally used all three brands. There are other third party brands out there too. Don’t discount the third party lenses. Sometime the third party lenses are better than the name brand lens. Please read online photo equipment reviews for certain lenses before thinking of purchasing them. This will save you time and a headache of problems.

If you decide to buy a used lens then check out these guidelines to look out for. Check the lens for fungus, cracks, damaged internal and external parts, and or missing pieces. Ask the buyer or retail store questions on the lens you are thinking of purchasing. If you feel it is not in good shape walk away from the sell. Each store is going to have a different selection of lenses for sell. Other places to purchase used lenses are eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, pawn shops, individual owners, and direct from the manufacturer. Finally, ask the retail shop or individual if they are willing to lower to price for the lens you are looking at. You never know unless you try and ask.

After purchasing a lens, many photographers buy lens accessories. Some of these accessories include lens hood, lens front and rear lens caps, lens filters, and a nice lens bag to protect your lens. Lens hoods are made in either rubber, metal, and plastic. Each one has its draw back. When buying a new lens it already comes with front and rear lens caps. If you are buying a used lens sometime the lens does not come with lens caps at all. If you do not know the exact lens opening for a lens cap I would recommend bring the lens in person to a photography retail store for assistance. Another accessory is the lens filter used for many reasons. If you want to protect your lens then buy a clear skylight filter. Please note there are different quality and colors lens filters. Consult your photography retail store associate for assistance and they will explain an show you the different quality lens filters and colors.

When traveling within the United States or traveling the world. You might want a lens you can use on the go. I would recommend the 28-300mm lens. This is an all-purpose lens so you don’t have to change lenses in daylight situations. If you had two lenses you would be carrying around an18-55mm lens along with a 70-300mm lens. Sometime there is not time to change lens on a tour, on a ride, and l or in a live performance.

For wide-angle photography, many photographers like photograph portraits. Portrait photography is a photo of individuals, family members, relatives, co-workers, and teammates. It does not matter if it is one person or filling the whole entire frame with people. The lens I recommend for portrait photography is the 18-55mm lens. This lens is great in tight situation and for group shoots too. Another situation this lens is great for is up-close concert photography near the stage or an overall feel of the stage setting with people enjoying the concert.

Do you ever wonder how they get the perfect sports photography? If you said yes, then check out this telephoto zoom 70-200mm f2.8 lens. This lens is great in low light and to blur out the background at F2.8, which is the biggest opening on this lens. There are many sports you can photograph with this lens. Some big sports that come to mind are soccer, football, golf, basketball, baseball, and many more. Keep in mind this is an expensive lens if you bought it brand new. There are plenty of telephoto used lenses.

This information was written for general lens knowledge to help get you started. Once you have a camera in hand go out and capture the moments of a lifetime. Happy photography to you. Thank you for reading this Photo Tip Series and check back again for more Photography Tips in the future.

Photos courtesy of Nikon USA and Tamron USA. (Left photo) Nikon 18-55mm lens. (Right Photo) Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 Di