What is the ZORA! Festival?
First presented in 1990, the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities (ZORA! Festival) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-generational cultural event whose goals are to celebrate:
(1) the significance of Zora Neale Hurston, 20th century American writer, folklorist, and anthropologist;
(2) the historic significance of Eatonville, Florida; and
(3) the cultural contributions that persons of African ancestry have made to the United States and to the world.
This award-winning event, “the longest running arts and humanities festival celebrating the cultural contributions people of African ancestry have made to the world,” is comprised of public talks, museum exhibitions, historical tours, stage performances, arts education programming, a humanities-based 2-day conference, and a 3-day Outdoor Festival of the Arts. The ZORA! Festival is organized in five-year cycles with a specific thematic focus guiding the programming for each year. A stellar group of local and national academicians and cultural artists, along with a dedicated cadre of staff, consultants, and volunteers, guide the planning and execution of festival components.
At its April 2021 annual retreat, the P. E.C. Board of Directors decided to transition the ZORA! Festival from a singular, month-long event, to a “Season Concept” with a January – December calendar. In so doing, P.E.C. will offer a more extensive variety of programming, to more people, and more often, while maintaining its reputation as a premier purveyor of artistic excellence.
The ZORA! Festival Season will consist of three key events, each with various appealing components of cultural arts and/or arts education:
- The ZORA! Festival Season will kick off with its traditional month-long January celebration, commencing on Hurston’s birthday, the 7th.
- “Traditions: Middle School and High School Students Celebrate Black Music Month”, a state-wide arts education program held on the 3rd Friday and Saturday before Juneteenth, which commemorates the day in Texas, when the formerly enslaved actually learned of their emancipation.
- HATitude Brunch, a cultural tribute to the role of hat fashion in Black culture, is a fundraiser supporting P.E.C.’s year-round K-12 programming.
The season’s events take place primarily in Eatonville, 10 miles north of Orlando, and throughout Orange County.
“America’s Longest Running Arts & Humanities Festival Celebrating the Cultural Contributions of People of African Ancestry Throughout the Diaspora”
1) To celebrate the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston;
2) To celebrate the historic significance of Eatonville; and
3) To celebrate the cultural contributions which people of African ancestry have made to the United States and to world culture.