Fringe? I’ve heard of it.

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When you hear the name Orlando Fringe, you may say you’ve heard of it but have never gone. Yet it has been named the “Best Festival” in Orlando for 24 years. If you’ve been to The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival before, then you know how exceptional it is and how Orlando is privileged to be home to our country’s largest and longest-running festival of its kind. For those who’ve never been, now is the time to experience it.

In its 27th year, Orlando Fringe has hosted artists from all over the world, providing them a place to perform in an environment where they feel accepted and uncensored. It indeed is a beautiful thing.

Orlando Fringe returns 100 percent of all ticket sales to the artists, so you know that when you purchase a ticket to a show, you are directly supporting the individual(s) you are watching. With over 130 shows ranging from family-friendly all the way to ones that would make Grandma blush and tickets anywhere from free and up to only $12, art has never been so approachable.Orlando Fringe isn’t just comedies, dramas, and musicals; it is also home to so much more. Kids Fringe is a 100 percent free event for children and families that takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the Saturdays and Sundays of the festival. Families can take part in arts and crafts as well as individual shows geared toward young ones.

There’s also Fringe Teens where top high school thespians from Orange and Seminole County showcase their talents and raise money for their schools. Orlando Fringe also visits these students’schools and provides free workshops on subjects from acting to scriptwriting and succeeding as an actor.

Visual Fringe gives visual artists their time as well. Fringe is filled with art, and all of it on display is available to be purchased. Orlando Fringe takes no portion of the sale.

Let’s not forget the lawn, the heart of the festival. The 100 percent free Outdoor Stage is a fun-filled festival within the festival. It is filled nightly with a wide variety of musicians and their sounds. There are few things in life better than listening to some fantastic music on a beautiful night in Loch Haven Park and enjoying an ice-cold beer or wine from the famous Beer Tent.

Above all else, Orlando Fringe is a homecoming. Every year, thousands of people descend on Loch Haven Park to take in the sights and sounds of the fest. Fringe fans are the most welcoming, friendly, and vibrant group of people. In addition to the patrons, there are artists from all corners of the globe and volunteers of all shapes and sizes.

You may come to Fringe for the first time unsure of what to expect, but you will leave having made friends, shared experiences you won’t soon forget, and craving your next day at Orlando Fringe. Check it out May 15 – 28.

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