Winter Park cuts ribbon on new venue

The new stage at Hideaway Park in Winter Park

Winter Park will unveil the new Hideaway Park stage Thursday, cutting the ribbon and welcoming Big Head Todd & The Monsters up to christen the virgin venue.

The stage is 2,600 square feet in size and is already set to host a myriad of summer activities, including the Blues From The Top Festival this weekend.

“It’s the final piece of completing the park, so it’s very exciting for the community,” said Catherine Ross, executive director of the Winter Park & Fraser Chamber. “Architecturally it’s iconic, and it sets the tone for all of the things going on downtown.”

The concrete and stone structure was designed by Semple Brown. It is handicap accessible and cascades down in the front to ensure clear sightlines for all visitors. The stage also features a climate-controlled green room that looks out toward Vasquez Creek in the back.

The stage is a permanent feature in the park, and is open to the public whenever there is not planned programming. Because of the permanent nature of the structure, it also opens the door for year-round programming and a new family gathering spot.

“We are extremely excited about the new concert venue and congratulate the town of Winter Park for making this project a stunning reality,” said Steve Hurlbert, director of public relations and communications for Winter Park Resort. “What an incredible, not to mention beautiful, new asset for our community.”

The new venue is expected to advance the class of programming brought to Winter Park, but also to increase the diversity.

Along with concerts the stage may also be used for dance, drama and comedy.

“It took those visionaries on the Winter Park Council for the last decade plus, along with hard work with the staff in order to persist and get it done,” said Ross. “Because none of this was easy. Those elected officials deserve to be commended.”

Big head Todd & The Monsters is a free concert from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

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