Ever wonder what Florida art shows are worth the trip?
The 2017 rankings of the top 100 art festivals in the country are out and 26 Florida festivals made the cut. Placement was determined by compiling ballots submitted by professional artists who rated the festivals according to their own gross sales at the events. That's a valuable metric because top producing festivals for artists attract the country’s best talent.
The annual ranking is conducted by the national magazine, Sunshine Artist, which prides itself on being the leading publication for art show exhibitors, patrons and promoters.
Here are the 26 Florida art festivals that ranked among the Top 100 nationally:
1. LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival (Tallahassee)
2. Under the Oaks Fine Arts & Crafts Show (Vero Beach)
7. Mount Dora Arts Festival
15. Naples National Arts Festival
17. Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts
18. Coconut Grove Art Festival
21: Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival (Fernadina Beach)
24. Cape Coral Festival of the Arts
27. Downtown Venice Art Classic
32. Ocala Arts Festival
39. Images: A Festival of the Arts (New Smyrna Beach)
40. Gasparilla Festival of the Arts (Tampa)
45. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival
50. Bonita Springs National Art Festival, Show 3
57. St. Armands Circle Art Festival (Sarasota)
58. Coconut Point New Year’s Art Festival (Estero)
64. Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts
65. Downtown Delray Beach Thanksgiving Weekend Art Festival
66. Boca Fest, Boca Raton
71. Las Olas Art Fair, Part 1 (Ft. Lauderdale)
74. The Sanibel Masters Art Festival
82. Art Fest By the Sea (Jupiter)
95. Bonita Springs National Art Show 1
96. Downtown Art Festival (Gainesville)
97. Estero Fine Art Show
100. Boca Raton Fine Art Show
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A discerning sweet tooth can be tricky to satisfy. Mount Dora Buzz took one for the team and researched treats you don't want to miss. Make sure you save room for these top 10 local desserts (in no particular order). Just don't blame us for any added dimples.
1. It's impossible to decide between the chocolate croissants and homemade bourbon vanilla ice cream sandwiches at Le Petit Sweet. We've been unsuccessful leaving with just one item. (110 W. Fifth Ave., downtown Mount Dora)
2. There are no words to describe the Maple Bacon donuts made fresh daily by Donut King and sold at Hometown Market. Due to their addictive nature, they could become illegal any day now, so hurry. (401 Plaza Drive, Eustis)
3. The generous key lime pound cake and their infamous carrot cake are both made from scratch at Cody's on 4th. They're worth every pound they may add. Delish! (111 E. Fourth Ave., downtown Mount Dora)
4. Holy guacamole! The warm churros and vanilla ice cream from Eduardo's Lokos Tacos are large enough to share...but you won't. (226 W. Alfred St., Tavares)
5. There are tons of tasty ice cream options, but the most crave-worthy we discovered is the red bean ice cream at Saigon Fusion. It sounded odd, so we had to try and now it's a fave! (16700 U.S. 441, Mount Dora)
6. For those less daring, we found the best (and biggest) chocolate chunk cookies at Scoop's on 5th. Not only are they chock full of chocolate, the classic cookies are the size of your head. (130 E. Fifth Ave., downtown Mount Dora)
7. Hands down the best creme brulee is the classic at Goblin Market. Although sinfully rich, you'll finish every delectable bite. (330 Dora Drawdy Way, downtown Mount Dora)
8. The warm French toast donuts are worth standing in line for at Joy Donuts on weekends. Trust us...get three. One to eat right away. One to share. One to eat later with vanilla ice cream! (U.S. 441 & Wolf Branch Road, Mount Dora; weekends only)
9. No need for a road trip to Cafe Du Monde. 1921 serves warm graham beignets, the New Orleans version of fried dough, with tropical guava and key lime curds. (142 E. Fourth Ave., downtown Mount Dora)
10. Local favorites are always fresh cupcakes from Cupcake Delights. Overwhelmed by the selection? No worries, try the carrot cake, red velvet or Willis & Cream. (122 E. Fourth Ave., downtown Mount Dora)
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Think you can't do Mount Dora on a shoestring? Here are some ideas that won't cost you any beans:
1. Nature walk on Palm Island Board Walk
2. Art Splash (2nd Friday)
3. Movie in the Park (2nd Friday)
4. Sunset picnic at the lighthouse
5. A ride on Mount Dora Mountain Bike Trail
6. Disc Golf at Lincoln Avenue Park West
7. Cycling along Lake Shore Drive
8, Shady Walk along Lake Gertrude path
9. Wine & cheese at Evans Park gazebo
10. Tennis at Donnelly Park
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The dog days of summer are the perfect time to knock back a cold one. Since not all beers are created equal, here's the list of local establishments pumping out the finest craft brews.
What can you say other than this is probably a Mecca for Florida craft beer lovers. This very unconventional beer den has coveted craft beers and the proprietor’s knowledge and passion to go along with them. There's a reason this unorthodox spot tops all the "Best of" lists when it comes to craft beer selections. (uptown, Mount Dora)
MOUNT DORA BREWING
This is the only, yes only, microbrewery in the area. This fun local favorite brews great house beers,plus serves delicious food, with festive live music to go along with it on weekends. When the weather is cool check out their beer garden. (uptown, Mount Dora)
BRU TAP HOUSE
The area's newest kid on the craft beer block, this place is impressive with 30 craft beer taps and even more in bottles. Anything on tap is available for tasting. Bru’s friendly staff, loyal customers, and soulful live music make for some very good vibes. Be prepared to spend some time here. (downtown, Tavares)
Known for its wine, this cozy nook has a huge selection of bottled craft beer, rotating draft craft beers and will take specials orders. Not sure about all the different beers? Maggie’s offers beer tastings once a month with live music and smacks. (downtown, Mount Dora)
If you're looking for something less intimate, this locally-owned location has a full bar with an increasingly good selection of craft beer. You can belly up to the bar or sit at a table for dinner. If you have a favorite craft beer that's not available, just mention it to the bartender. (Mount Dora)
MAGICAL MEAT BOUTIQUE
Of course, a fun, authentic English pub with great beer and a knowledgeable staff is going to make the list! You'll also get live music or karaoke to accompany your brew and fish & chips. It's good beer served up with a good experience. (downtown, Mount Dora)
Okay, so they don't have tons to choose from, but they do have one of our very favorites on draft: Swamp Heads' "Midnight Oil." Trust us, it's worth a stop. (downtown, Mount Dora)
Voted "Best Pizza" in Mount Dora, this casual eatery has a small selection of craft beers, but the perfect pizza pairing to go along with them. (midtown, Mount Dora)
This full bar and popular seafood restaurant offers a selection of craft beers in bottles plus usually one or two on draft. (downtown, Tavares)
Known for its fine dining rather than its beers, this restaurant still gets a nod because the few beers it offers are quality craft brews. (downtown, Mount Dora)
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