Mr. Rogers Week of Kindness in Central Florida
Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness begins today! This is the inaugural year of the celebration which is a week-long series of educational and public events inspired by the nationally renowned children’s television host and American icon, Fred Rogers. It is on what would have been Fred Rogers’ 95th birthday.
According to his friend David Newell, who portrayed Mr. McFeely on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, “He was probably the kindest person I ever knew. He was kind; he was thoughtful. He practiced that every day. He was that way with everyone.”
Newell, as well as longtime Rogers employee Hedda Sharapan (now a senior fellow at the Fred Rogers Institute and child development consultant to Fred Rogers Productions) and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood producer Margy Whitmer, are among those cast and crew veterans coming to Orlando to participate in the activities.
Activities During Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness
During Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness there are a variety of free activities that are open to the entire Central Florida community. These events include:
Remember the Rogers Afternoon Tea
Join friends and colleagues of part-year Winter Park residents Fred and Joanne Rogers as we share warm stories and favorite memories of our former Winter Park Neighbors. There are very limited seats for this event.
Date: Thursday, March 23
Location: Woman’s Club of Winter Park, 419 South Interlachen Avenue (Winter Park)
Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm.
Please note that free street parking in the area is generally available.
Mister Rogers’ Prayer Breakfast of Thanksgiving and Celebration
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood cast member and close personal friend of Fred Rogers, David Newell, headlines a discussion with Pastor Seth Kane of The Foundry (and author of the sermon series “The Gospel According to Fred” as they share their observations, near and from a distance, as to how Mister Rogers lived out his faith as we celebrate an extraordinary life of faithfulness. This event is held due to the generosity of the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. Breakfast is included courtesy of Panera Bread.
Date: Friday, March 24
Location: First Baptist Orlando, 3000 South John Young Parkway (Orlando)
Time: 8:00am – 9:30am
Please note that free parking is available in the church parking lot.
Our Winter Park Neighbor Lunch & Learn with David Newell (Mr. McFeely)
Mr. McFeely (David Newell) leads a lunch discussion as he invites you into the world of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. You‘ll learn about both the making the show as well more about Winter Park’s “Good Neighbor”, Fred Rogers, and his time in the area. Lunch is included courtesy of Chick-fil-A.
Date: Friday, March 24
Location: Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, 151 West Lyman Avenue (Winter Park)
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm.
Please note that free parking is available in a lot across from the Chamber of Commerce and along the street.
Inside Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Screening and Q&A
Take a peek behind the scenes of some landmark episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with show producer Margy Whitmer, Mr. McFeely cast member David Newell, and Hedda Sharapan, Senior Fellow (The Fred Rogers Institute) and Child Development Consultant (Fred Rogers Productions).
Date: Friday, March 24
Location: Winter Park Library, 1052 West Morse Boulevard (Winter Park)
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Please note that free parking is available in the garage across the street from the library.
Mr. McFeely Meet & Greet
Come visit with our favorite Speedy Delivery man, Mr. McFeely (David Newell) at Taste of Oviedo. Get a selfie or pick up with an autographed photo from the man who at Mister Rogers’ side from the very first episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Date: Saturday, March 25
Location: Original Orlando Tours booth at Taste of Oviedo in the Oviedo Mall parking lot, 1700 Oviedo Mall Boulevard (Oviedo)
Time: 11:00am – 1:00pm
Please note that free parking is available in the Oviedo Mall parking lot.
Many locals, especially those who are transplants, might not know that Central Florida was a major part of Fred Rogers’ life. In 1948, he moved to the area when he transferred from Dartmouth College to Rollins College in Winter Park. He met the love of his life and future spouse Sara Joanne Byrd on the tarmac of what is now the Orlando Executive Airport. His sister (Elaine) and one of his sons (John) attended Rollins, as did his nephew Dan Crozier, who has served on the school’s music faculty for many years.
Most importantly, at a point in his career, Fred and Joanne returned to Winter Park annually, where he used his time in Central Florida to write many of the 895 scripts and over 200 pieces of original music for the TV program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The Orlando region is truly Mister Rogers’ real neighborhood.
Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is being held under the auspices of the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Fred Rogers Institute and Fred Rogers Productions. “Founding Neighbors” who have stepped up to support the inaugural year’s events include Southwest Airlines, Sheraton Orlando North, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A, First Presbyterian Church Orlando, First Baptist Orlando, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Visit Orlando, Top Hat Restaurants, Full Sail University, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, the Oviedo/Winter Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Winter Park Library, the Woman’s Club of Winter Park, Realign Web Design, KHA PR, Kenny Communications, CX Orlando Research and Revenue Architects, DRIP Communications, the City of Orlando, Orange County Government, Orange County Schools, WUCF-TV, Z88.3FM, Winter Park City Lifestyle magazine, BBM America and Visit Florida. The 2023 Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is presented by Buena Vista Events & Management and Original Orlando Tours.
For more information on the events, please visit https://www.BuenaVistaEvents.com or https://www.MisterRogersWeekofKindness.com.