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Crowds at the Mt. Dora Craft Festival. Credit: mountdoracraftfair.com.

By Derek Brown

Professional golf, a juried craft show and master winemakers aren’t normally what come to mind when people think of going on a cheap Florida vacation.  However, fall’s an excellent time to discover a grown-up Orlando. October 21-23 will bring all of the above to The City Beautiful, Orlando.

  • PGA Tour players return to the Children’s Miracle Network Classic (Oct. 20-23) at Disney’s Magnolia and Palm courses.  This year’s tournament purse is $4.7 million.  Past winners include Vijay Singh, Raymond Floyd and Tiger Woods.
  • Hundreds of artisans return for the nationally-ranked 27th annual Mt. Dora Craft Fair (Oct. 22-23).  Sculptors, painters and woodworkers, are among the artists and crafters who compete and showcase their work in the historic Mt. Dora community.  About 300,000 visitors attend the two-day show.
  • Sip wines from around the world at the 14th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Sep. 30-Nov. 13).  Learn chefs’ kitchen secrets and taste wines as a master winemaker’s pupil during demonstrations and seminars.  This is a festival of gourmet tastes.

    Dusk at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

Take time to relax, too.  Most luxury Orlando hotels have great deals and cheap rates during the off-season period.  Rooms at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek are $177 per night, Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge has rooms for $151 per night and rooms at the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration are just $67 per night.

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Derek Brown, a member of the Orbitz editorial team, lived and worked in Orlando for many years.

Tagged: Florida, Food & drink, Off-season, Sports

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