With Orlando’s favorable climate throughout much of the year, there are many carnivals to attend in Orlando and the surrounding area. Most carnivals have a particular theme, although abundance of rides, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, and all out fun await the entire family!
Fall Carnivals and Fairs in Orlando
St. Joseph’s Carnival
Over 30 carnival rides and games are available to ride and play through JCJ Amusements at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The carnival takes place in October.
Click here to read more about the annual carnival at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
Halloween at Old Town
For three weeks leading up to Halloween, this free event features trick-or-treating, a costume contest, roaming characters, and spooky entertainment.
Click here to read more about Halloween at Old Town
Winter Carnivals and Fairs in Orlando
Light Up UCF
Light Up UCF is the University of Central Florida’s annual holiday event featuring a Christmas light show, ice skating, an ice slide, carolers, carnival rides, and Santa Claus. Holiday movies are shown on select nights. Light Up UCF takes place from mid-November to the beginning of January.
Click here to read more about Light Up UCF
Waterford Lakes Christmas
Santa’s Winter Wonderland includes Santa’s Workshop, Wambold’s Amazing Animals, holiday food, amusement rides, thousands of Christmas lights, and holiday activities. Both Light Up UCF and Santa’s Winter Wonderland are both exciting to attend, although this event focuses almost exclusively on carnival rides. The event begins in mid-December.
Click here to read more about Santa’s Winter Wonderland
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
The greatest circus on Earth is comes to Orlando each January. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus always has acrobats, aerialists, elephants, and tigers are engineered into a magnificent performance.
Click here to read more about the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Spring Carnivals and Fairs in Orlando
Osceola County Fair
Over 99,000 people attended the largest carnival in the county last year! This year will be even more exciting. The event features carnival rides, animal shows, games, a demolition derby, a pie eating contest, and other entertainment. The event takes place in mid-February.
Click here to read more about the Osceola County Fair
Taking place in the aptly named Plant City, the Strawberry Festival will feature strawberries and much more than just strawberries. The event will include a strawberry shortcake eating contest, a parade, carnival rides, animal races, and a beauty contest. The Strawberry Festival takes place from the last day of February through the beginning of March.
Click here to read more about the Strawberry Festival
Universal Studios Orlando rolls out its own version of the Mardi Gras each year. The Orlando version is child-friendly and, like New Orleans, features jambalaya, gumbo, jazz, colorful dress, a concert, and a parade. The Mardi Gras takes place from early February to mid-April.
Click here to read more about the Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Orlando
As one of Florida’s largest fairs, the Central Florida Fair takes place on 87 acres and is attended by over 250,000 guests each year. Along with the usual carnival rides, sweets, and wristbands, over $200,000 in prize money is given away to exhibitors in horticulture, food, creative arts, livestock, entertainment, and more. The Central Florida Fair is held during the same time as the Strawberry Festival, from the last day of February through the beginning of March.
Click here to read more about the Central Florida Fair
The Apopka Fair completes the trifecta of fantastic fairs in and around Orlando during the beginning of March. There are the usual carnival attractions but what stands out here is the classic car show. Over 100 cars in various categories are on display during the show. The Apopka Fair takes place for four days in the beginning of March.
Click here to read more about the Apopka Fair
Seminole County Fair
The Seminole County Fair is Seminole County’s premier carnival and takes place at a new location this year with various rides and games, and of course, lots of fun. Free admission, free entertainment, and free parking, the Seminole County Fair runs through the end of March.
Click here to read more about the Seminole County Fair
Sweet Corn Festival
The Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival celebrates everything corn. Corn dogs, corn-on-the-cob, kettle corn, fried corn, and sodas chock full of high-fructose corn syrup are all on offer. Along with great food there’s a full set of carnival rides and live country music. The Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival is held toward the end of May.
Click here to read more about the Sweet Corn Festival
If you know of any other carnivals held in Orlando throughout the year, please mention them in our comments section below.