Celebrate the 4th of July, Central Florida Style

Central Florida is an exciting place to spend the 4th of July holiday, with many options to suit any interests. Whether you want to spend the holiday outside enjoying the sunshine or inside keeping cool and being entertained, you can definitely find the right place to do it in Orlando or the surrounding area. Here are some of our favorite ways to spend the holiday and best places to see spectacular fireworks!

Red Hot and Boom, Altamonte Springs

One of Central Florida’s most popular events every year is Red, Hot, and Boom, which brings thousands to the area around Crane’s Roost. The event starts at 4 pm with live music and food vendors all around the area and caps off at 9:30 with fireworks. The fireworks are synchronized to music and can be seen from any location near the water. This event is well known and gets pretty crowded, so show up early and bring a blanket or chairs so you can get comfy. Big name performers, food, drinks, and fireworks. Monday, July 3, 4-11 pm; Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; free; 407-571-8863; altamonte.org.

The Orlando Eye, International Drive

A newer attraction, The Orlando Eye, is establishing itself as a destination for the holiday weekend by holding a celebration every night of the long weekend. Each evening, there will be music and family activities at the base of the 400-foot observation wheel. At 9 pm every night, the entire wheel will be lit up in red, white and blue LED lights for a patriotic light show. Whether you choose to ride the wheel or not, you should still have a great view.

Independence Day Bash, Baldwin Park

Baldwin Park celebrates every Independence Day with a party around Lake Baldwin. The community gathers for a festival with music and food in the Village Center area, which ends at 9:30 with fireworks over the lake. This event is great for families or people who want to avoid the larger crowd at Red Hot and Boom while still seeing a great free fireworks show.

More Local Events…

Fireworks at the Fountain
Thousands of Central Florida residents gather for a firework’s display and laser show. Tuesday, July 4, 4-10 pm; Lake Eola Park, Eola Drive, North Eola Drive and East Robinson Street; free; cityoforlando.net.

Fourth of July Party
Celebrate independence with grilled meat and patriotically themed decorations. Sunday, July 2, 4:30-10 pm; FUSE-Young Adults, 2021 W. State Road 426, Oviedo; free.

Independence Day Celebration
An old-fashioned Independence Day celebration with live music and fireworks at dusk. Monday, July 3, 5 pm; Elizabeth Evans Park, 510 N. Baker St., Mt. Dora; free; ci.mount-dora.fl.us.

Disney’s Celebrate America!
A Fourth of July concert in the sky. Tuesday, July 4, 9 pm; Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista; cost of admission; 407-824-4321; disneyworld.disney.go.com.

Fourth of July Celebration
Fireworks, food trucks, craft vendors, bounce houses and more. Tuesday, July 4, 5-9 pm; Avalon Park, 3702 Avalon Park East Blvd.; free; downtownavalonpark.com.

Independence Day at SeaWorld
A special Fourth of July Reflections show featuring an expanded fireworks show timed to patriotic music. Show begins at 10 pm on Tuesday, July 4; SeaWorld, 7007 SeaWorld Drive; cost of admission; 407-363-2613; seaworld.com.

Independence Day at Universal
A special version of the popular Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular, a cinematic adventure that combines cutting-edge technology with lasers and pyrotechnics. Festivities begin at 5 pm and fireworks begin at 9 pm. Tuesday, July 4; Universal Studios, 6000 Universal Blvd.; cost of admission; 407-363-8000; universalorlando.com.

Independence Day Parade
A patriotic tribute parade celebrating America’s independence. Tuesday, July 4, 10 am; Downtown Mount Dora, East Fifth Avenue and North Donnelly Street, Mount Dora; free; ci.mount-dora.fl.us.

Fourth of July Celebration
Live patriotic music, food, family activities and more. Tuesday, July 4, 9 am-noon; Central Park, Winter Park, North Park Avenue and West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park; free; cityofwinterpark.org.

Star Spangled Sanford
Live entertainment and fireworks over Lake Monroe. Tuesday, July 4, 4-10 pm; Fort Mellon Park, 1000 E. First St., Sanford; free; sanfordfl.gov.

Symphony Under the Stars
An evening of fireworks and patriotic and Pops classics presented by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra. Tuesday, July 4, 8-11 pm; Cocoa Riverfront Park, 401 Riveredge Blvd., Cocoa; free; 321-242-2219.

Watermelon 5K
Start Independence Day off right with a 5K around the city of Winter Park. Tuesday, July 4, 7 am; Downtown Winter Park, Park Avenue, Winter Park; $30; trackshack.com.

Central Florida is a great place to spend the holiday, and the rest of the days of the year too. If you’re ready to make a move to Central Florida, click here to contact the Core Group and begin the process.

Orlando Community Guide for Young Professionals

Young professionals living in Central Florida have the best of all worlds at their fingertips. The Orlando area offers careers with leading national companies, thriving nightlife, and beautiful beaches just a short drive away. With that in mind, there are certain neighborhoods that are better suited to meet the needs of younger professionals who do not require the outdoor space and easy access to schools that those with families prefer. Here are our top picks for communities where Central Florida professionals can thrive, presented by the Core Group.


Sometimes called Orlando’s Central Business District, Downtown is generally the area around Church Street. The area immediately around downtown Orlando is a popular choice for younger people since it provides easy access to many workplaces, nightlife, and events at the Amway Arena. Many of the apartment buildings and condo communities in the downtown area have premium amenities that cater to the needs of young professionals, including rooftop pools, shared grilling areas, fitness centers and outdoor balconies on every unit.

Thornton Park

While it can be considered part of the downtown area, Thornton Park is an area all its own, with a quaint feeling that is distinct from that of the overall downtown vibe. With classic homes constructed decades ago and quick access to the lake and the events held in the surrounding area, Thornton Park is a great place for young artists and creative types. Just a short walk and you can visit Lake Eola for the perfect inspiration for creative works or a great way to chase away writer’s block.


Off of Orange Blossom Trail, Parramore is a distinct section of the city that starts west of Church Street in the downtown area. Considered to be a historically significant African American neighborhood, Parramore is close enough to downtown to allow residents to partake in all the fun, but just far enough to be outside of the hustle and bustle. The area is still known for its authentic soul food and classic homes that date back to the 1800’s and is perfect for young professionals who want to feel connected to the city’s roots. Not to mention, these homes are filled with character, giving them a unique feel and style.

Metro West

MetroWest is a newer community that was established in the 1980s and grew in the 2000s to be one of Orlando’s most popular neighborhoods. Just down the street from Universal Studios, MetroWest offers many different types of housing options for young professionals, depending on whether you prefer to rent or own. The community includes apartments, townhomes, and single family residences so you can choose the right type of place to call home. It also offers the convenience of being close to theme parks, the Millennia Mall and the Orlando Eye.

No matter which of these great communities you want to settle down in, the Core Group can help. Contact us today to get the process of choosing your new home started.

Unexpected Costs First Time Homeowners Face

So you’ve saved up your money, found the perfect place to live in and put in an offer for the property. You might think you’ve got the whole process under control, but even if you have done research to prepare yourself for buying a home, there are costs that may sneak up on you.  Here are the things you may not anticipate having to pay for as you get ready to move in and get settled in your new home.

A Home Inspection

Many lenders will require you to get a home inspection before your mortgage on the property can be approved. But even if you are paying for the home yourself, it’s important to get at least a general inspection of the home. During this process, the inspector will check for any major issues with the structure and makeup of the home. You can also get specialized inspections, such as termite or plumbing Inspections to make sure these parts of the home work properly.  Doing this may cost you several hundred dollars, but it will alert you to any long term problems, so it’s well worth it.

Closing Costs

The closing costs that you pay should add up to no more than around 5 percent on the purchase of a home, but they can be less. These costs can include:

  • Lender fees to cover costs the lender incurred while putting your loan together, including preparing paperwork and pulling your credit report
  • Attorney fees for the portions of the paperwork that must be filled out by a lawyer
  • Interest fees covering the prorated cost of the interest for that month so far

Taxes and Insurance

Before you move in and start paying taxes and insurance, find out how this will be handled with your lender. Many lenders will include taxes and insurance costs in the monthly payment you owe them, and they will then pay these costs on your behalf. Other lenders will leave these payments up to you, and you can then pay them quarterly directly to the tax collector and insurer.

Maintenance and Repair Issues

One of the toughest things for new first time homeowners is getting used to the fact that they have to be prepared anytime disaster strikes. This can mean waking up one morning to find a flood or caved in roof structure, and having to put out the money to cover these problems. The best way you can prepare for this is to make saving money a part of your regular budget.

If you’re getting ready to become a first time homeowner, the Core Group can help you navigate the process! Click here to find out more about how we can assist you.

Best Places to Celebrate Father’s Day in Orlando

Whether your Dad likes to take it easy on Father’s Day, or go out and do something fun with the entire family, it’s easy to find the right place to spend the day in Central Florida. There are many great places in Orlando to spend a day celebrating Dad, no matter what type of activity he likes. Here are some of our top picks for every kind of Dad in the Central Florida area.

For Outdoor Loving Dads

A trip to a state park might be too much work for what is meant to be a relaxed day, but there are lush outdoor landscapes not far from home where you can take Dad to spend the afternoon. The Tibet-Butler Preserve, located in Windermere, gives the feeling of a lush nature preserve without having to take a long drive outside of the city limits. In addition to hiking trails that loop all around the area, there are picnic tables and a butterfly garden, all tucked within a little green haven in the midst of developments and homes. The area can become flooded due to summer rains, so you may want to wear rain boots or be prepared to turn back if you hit a deep puddle.

For Dads Who Love To Try Something New and Crazy

Flyboarding is a new water sport that allows the rider to soar into the air on a board propelled by water. The jet streams of water allow you to stay up and even do tricks. While it might look risky, flyboarding is safe when done with the help of an experienced professional, and makes for an extremely cool gift for Dad. There are several flyboarding schools around the Orlando area that offer packages for inexperienced riders that include lessons and photos to preserve the moment.

For Dads Who Love the Waterpark

The recent opening of Universal’s Volcano Bay gives water loving Dads a great place to spend a day with the kids. The 200-foot tall volcano in the middle of the park, with water slides that snake around the outside, offers a lot of thrills and chills in the sunshine. Ko’okiri Body Plunge, a 125-foot tall body slide, is the tallest in America, so Dad can break his own personal record on Father’s Day. There are wave pools and lazy rivers for Dads with younger kids, or those who just prefer to take it easy.

Central Florida is a great place to celebrate Father’s Day and a great place to live all year round. If you’re looking for a home to call your own around Central Florida, the Core Group can help! Click here to get started.

A Guide to Bite 30 for Central Floridians

Orlando foodies and culture lovers have been eagerly looking forward to the days of June! What initially began as ‘Restaurant Week’ has grown to fill a full month and is now called Bite 30. From June 1-30th, restaurants all over town will offer a special prix fixe menu that allows diners to pay a lower price for a multiple course dining experience. Here’s the full lowdown on how you can participate in and enjoy one of Central Florida’s signature events, presented by the Core Group.

How Does Bite 30 Work?

Bulla Gastrobar in Winter Park (@bullagastrobar)

Bite 30 helps locals and visitors find new spots to enjoy. To find out what restaurants are participating in Bite 30 and what they are offering, you can visit the official event website. Once you’ve chosen the restaurant you want to visit, you simply show up as usual and ask for the Bite 30 menu. To make the experience as easy and seamless as possible, diners do not need special coupons or offer codes. The participating restaurants are ready to serve and looking forward to seeing some new faces. Some of the more popular restaurants get full very quickly, so you may want to call and see if you can make a reservation before heading over.

Bite Nite

IG: @rashags at @socothorntonpark

Taking place during the last week of the month, Bite Nite is a fundraiser that benefits the Edible Education Experience, a charity that educates children on the importance of growing your own food and the process from seed to table. In addition to gourmet food, there are silent auctions, live auctions with celebrity chefs and live entertainment. Tickets to the event can be purchased online or at the door the night of the event, but they are likely to sell out.

Most Talked About Menus

The Smiling Bison in Sanford (@smilingbison)

As with every year, some of the area’s most talked about and popular restaurants will participate in the event.  Diners can visit Bulla Gastrobar, Rusteak, Rusty Spoon and Smiling Bison to experience the prix fixe menu. Previews of many of the menus are available online so you can verify the entrees served meet your tastes. Many of the chefs involved will highlight bold flavors and local ingredients in their dishes.

Bite 30 Can Help Your Home Search

RusTeak at College Part (@rusteakcollegepark)

Bite 30 is a great time to venture beyond your local neighborhood and favorite restaurants to expand your palette and your knowledge of the city. Many people find themselves exploring new areas of the city and local neighborhoods they never knew existed. As you travel to new areas, you may see the perfect location for your next home or the right neighborhood to purchase an investment property.

Once you’ve spotted that perfect area, get in touch with us at the Core Group to get expert help and advice purchasing your new home.

Central Florida’s Top Waterparks and Swimming Spots

Living in Central Florida in the summer months can mean finding new and innovative ways to stay cool. A visit to the many water parks and natural swimming spots around the area is a great way to pass a hot summer day. Here are some of the top places to splash in the sun in and around the Central Florida area.

Coco Key

Coco Key is a perfect place for parents to take the entire family for a day of water fun. There’s a hotel and waterpark in the same area, but locals can purchase passes to the waterpark only and visit for the day. A total of 14 waterslides surround the four tropical themed pools, for a total of over 50,000 square feet of fun. Younger kids can play at the splash pad while parents relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Blizzard Beach

One of Disney’s water parks, Blizzard Beach, is made to look like a fancy ski resort, complete with ski lifts to take riders up to the top of steep slopes of melting glaciers to slide down. The large size of the water park allows it to offer something for everyone: a wave pool, waterslides, two children’s areas and more. The waterslides here are more intense than other water parks, and many have a minimum rider height, so this park is perfect for families with older children or groups of adults.

Universal’s Volcano Bay

Opening May 25th, 2017, Universal’s Volcano Bay will take the place of Wet n’ Wild, an Orlando fixture for many years. The park has an island theme and complex story centered around a race of water loving people.  Perhaps the most exciting part of the new waterpark is the company’s promise to do away with long lines by issuing everyone a wearable wristband that will allow them to book a time to come back to each ride simply by tapping. Universal has also done away with the need for riders to carry their own rafts to make the whole experience simpler. The waterpark will stay open until 10 PM each night, with the central volcano changing to display lava flowing as the day goes on.

De Leon Springs

Less than an hour’s drive from most parts of Orlando, De Leon Springs is one of Florida’s natural wonders, located inside the state park of the same name. In addition to a swimming area in the spring, where the warm water flows naturally, there is canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Since the spring is located inside a state park, the cost of a visit is much less expensive than one of the water parks associated with a theme park.

If you’re looking to find a home near any of these waterparks, The Core Group can help. Click here to find out more about how we can locate the right home for you.