Central Florida performers get chance to entertain with help from CARES Act funding

As some of the most talented performers from theme parks are laid off in Central Florida, Orange County is trying to keep them and other performers in the Sunshine State.

"We don’t want to lose that. We don’t want all of that talent to be evicted, to try to go home to their grandma in Cincinnati to stay with them, but to stay here."

Terry Olson, of the Orange County Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, says the county's parks will rent out space to performers who can sell tickets to concerts and make some money.

That’s why the county is using $5 million in CARES funding to help laid off performers.

"We hope it will keep some of our talented performers and artists in their homes. That is definitely the point," Olson said. 

Joshua Vickery, of the Central Florida Community Arts, says it’s an exciting opportunity for performers to go back to work.

"This void of being able to do live entertainment in our community has been tough. So any opportunity to get creative and artistic people out doing what they love is a great experience," Vickery said. 

And with performers staying here in town, it will hopefully make it a happier holiday in the parks.

"We’ll be doing music from NOEL, the Candlelight Music and the Carols of Christmas, and so it will be about 80 singers who will be performing this music in the park."

This is only tuntil the end of the year. Olson hopes new CARES funding will be approved next year.

Performers interested in renting out space should call Orange County at 407-836-6205.

If you're interested in seeing a show in a park go to orlando@play.com.

Currently everything in the parks is being planned now, but will be posted soon.

The parks participating are:

Commissioner District 1 – West Orange Park, 150 Windermere Rd, Winter Garden,  FL  34787

Commissioner District 2 – Clarcona Horse Park, 3535 Damon Rd, Apopka, FL  32703 (400 max. capacity)

Commissioner District 3 – Cypress Grove Park, 290 Holden Ave, Orlando, FL  32839

Commissioner District 4 – Meadow Woods Park, 1751 Rhode Island Woods Circle, Orlando, FL  32824

Commissioner District 5 – Ft. Christmas Park, 1300 Fort Christmas Rd, Christmas, FL  32709

Commissioner District 6 – Barnett Park, 4801 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL  32808

The maximum capacity for each park will be 700 participants, with the exception of Clarcona Horse Park which will be 400.

The Arts in Public Parks initiative will end Dec. 31. 

Continuance of the initiative will be determined at that time.


Organizations will contact Alicia Baxter, program manager, at (407) 836-6205. She will coordinate the event with the park site. 

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

There will be circles or “pods” drawn on the ground for up to six spectators to sit in. 

The size of the circles will accommodate various group sizes to be determined by the organization wishing to utilize the venue. This task will be done by the “paint team” and available park staff. 

The organization will follow regular rental processes, although the county will provide the stage, tents, chairs, restrooms and other equipment necessary by utilizing rental companies and CARES Act funding.

All event locations and equipment based on availability.