Zora! Festival honors Eatonville author with outdoor marketplace, exhibitions

Outdoor festival teaches about Zora Neale Hurston’s life, legacy

EATONVILLE, Fla. – Part of an ongoing festival in Eatonville, an outdoor event this weekend will continue honoring author Zora Neale Hurston with exhibitions, a marketplace and education programs.

The Zora! Festival is in its 34th year, educating residents and visitors on Hurston’s life and legacy. The festival is a multi-day event with museum exhibitions, theatrical productions and more.

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“Her legacy is a phenomenon which has undergone remarkable development and expansion in recent decades, embracing among others, topics in ethnic identity, social interaction, feminist theory and cultural continuity,” the event’s website reads. “Her unique insights into folklore, performance and creative expression have invited new interpretation and inspired emulation, while the corpus of her own works has grown as a result of research and discovery.”

On Saturday and Sunday, the outdoor festival will focus on family fun and a day of reflection.

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Ben Brotemarkle with the Florida Historical Society said he is looking forward to the weekend so he can share the story behind Zora’s life.

“She was a writer, a folklorist, an anthropologist, she went all over the state collecting folk tales and folk songs and folk stories. So, what we know about 20th century Florida, in mid-20th century, is largely from Zora Neale Hurston,” Brotemarkle said.

Both days feature the following:

  • Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts
  • Children’s “Make-and-Take” Tent
  • Florida Historical Society
  • Bronze Kingdom Exhibition
  • Fine Arts & Master Crafts Booths
  • International Marketplace
  • Eatonville Public Library Branch Programming
  • International Marketplace Booths
  • Free Parking
  • Food, fun and shopping for all ages

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The performers for Saturday and Sunday are Tony Terry, Cherrelle, Mr. Glenn Wiley, Franchise Band, Karen Wolfe, Ms. Coco, Jeff Floyd, and Jesse James.

Hurston is the dazzling mind behind such literary classics as “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” “Mules and Men,” “Spunk” and “Dust Tracks on a Road,” a nonfiction piece which stands alone in a sea of stories.

Since 1990, over 1.5 million people have come to the mecca that made this modern artist for the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities.

Rejoyce Dablah drove from Georgia to be at this year’s Zora! Festival. She is a vendor selling clothing and accessories influenced by the West African culture.

“I think here you get to identify where you’re from and you embrace who you are and love who you are,” Dablah said.

There are also year-round events to enjoy, including a book club. Click here to learn more.

To purchase your tickets, click here for Saturday’s event and click here for Sunday’s event.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.