What do you need to know before heading out to enjoy the Mount Dora Arts Festival? This little cheat sheet gives you all the "ins and outs" of one of Central Florida's premier art festivals. So before slathering on sunscreen and putting on your walking shoes, review this guide for parking and getting around, plus dining options when hunger pangs start to set in.
HINTS & A FEW RULES First, don't even think about street parking unless you arrive before 9 a.m. No worries, there are plenty of private parking lots and free nearby shuttles. Be sure to check out the plentiful Park & Ride locations below. Anyone requiring a handicapped lot will find one on the corner of 5th Avenue and Alexander Street on the northwest border of the festival.
Although only a few, there are some rules to follow. Bicycles and skateboards are not allowed inside the festival. A convenient spot to lock them up is along the lakefront near the lighthouse. Pets, even in strollers, are not permitted anywhere inside the festival, so leave them in the comfort of their homes.
Getting around is much easier if you know which roads are closed. Beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 5th at 8:30 p.m., the following streets will be closed to car traffic:
• Donnelly Street between 6th and 3rd Avenues • Alexander Street between 5th and 3rd Avenues • 5th Avenue between Tremain and Alexander Streets • 4th Avenue between Tremain and Alexander Streets • 3rd Avenue between Tremain and Alexander Streets
When you need to escape the crowds just stroll down either of the two alleys that run within the festival and parallel to Donnelly Street. You'll save time and get breaks from all the people.
FOOD & LIBATIONS: After taking in a few hours of art, you may be ready for a break and a bite to eat. Restaurants fill up quickly, so it’s best to duck into one well before noon. The festival streets are lined with a variety of cafes for burgers and sandwiches, but there are also international restaurants offering fare from across the globe--England, India, Cuba, Germany, Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Peru and more. Most serve beer and wine, but over a half dozen also serve cocktails. Due to the large crowds, most restaurants offer a limited menu during the festival.
If you indulge in street food, a wide variety is available from the festival’s food vendors above Donnelly Park at Donnelly and Baker Streets. Beer and wine in plastic cups will be available on the corner of Donnelly Street and 5th Avenue. Pssst...rumor has it there will be some free tastings of Barefoot wine and Cabot cheese while supplies last.
SHUTTLE LOCATIONS (PARK & RIDE) Mount Dora Golf Club - Free 1100 S. Highland St., Mount Dora, FL 32757 Shuttle hours: Both days, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Sandy Ridge Plaza - Free 18910 U.S. 441, Mount Dora, FL 32757 Shuttle hours: Both days, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Frank Brown Sports Complex - Free 1245 Pine Ave., Mount Dora, FL 32757 Shuttle hours: Both days, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Lincoln Park - Free 1200 N. Unser St., Mount Dora, FL 32757 Shuttle hours: Both days, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Mount Dora Christian Academy ($5.00 per car) 301 W. 13th Ave. Mount Dora, 32757 Shuttle hours: Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Shuttle Pick-up/drop-off on 7th Avenue near Post Office
Mount Dora High School - ($5.00 per car 700 N. Highland St., Mount Dora, FL 32757 Shuttle hours: Both days from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Shuttle pick up/drop off location will be at the Community Building entrance.
Enjoy the festival and be sure to return to Mount Dora again to take in all the charm and sights you may have missed during the festival.
It's no secret the Mount Dora area is a haven for individuals oozing with creative talent. This year, eight extraordinarily gifted local artists will be exhibiting and selling their work at the Mount Dora Arts Festival. This is no easy feat for the Festival is one of the top events in the country and difficult for artists to get into.
Here's a list of the local creative heroes you won't want to miss if you're headed to the Festival on February 4 and 5:
Painter Laura Varich (Photo by Trish Morgan, Mount Dora Buzz)
LAURA VARICH One of the more contemporary painters in the festival, Varich is a master of abstract composition and color. The California native and Mount Dora resident is able to create large, bold landscapes and florals that command the viewer's attention, yet still evoke a sense of calmness. (Booth #D060, Donnelly Street between 4th & 5th Avenues)
Impressionist Jane Slivka (Photo by Trish Morgan, Mount Dora Buzz)
JANE SLIVKA Slivka, an Ohio native that transplanted to Mount Dora, is an award-winning impressionist painter who often takes viewers on a trip to the shoreline. Layers of acrylic shape Slivka's often oversized landscapes and still-lifes. Read more about Slivka. (Booth #D114, Donnelly Street between 3rd & 4th Avenues)
Sliversmith Barbara Boyce (Photo by Trish Morgan, Mount Dora Buzz)
BARBARA BOYCE This Mount Dora silversmith creates jewelry designs in sterling silver with meticulously selected stones and pearls. Boyce's trademark pieces have a crisp, modern aesthetic that make a contemporary statement. Read more about Boyce. (Booth # D080, on Donnelly Street)
Artist Lauren Graham Cunningham (Photo by Trish Morgan, Mount Dora Buzz)
LAUREN GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM Cunningham's realistic oil paintings have graced the festival for years. The canvases highlight her developed sense of shadow, light and perspective. On occasion, the Mount Dora resident and South Carolina native treats viewers to a refined and subtle surrealism. Read more about Cunningham. (Booth #D061, Donnelly Street between 4th & 5th Avenues)
Painting by Graham Upton
GRAHAM UPTON A Tavares resident, Lupton demonstrates amazing control of watercolors. The detail in his paintings of people, nature and landscapes is extraordinary for what is typically a more loose medium. His subject matter is often familiar to those who know Lake County. (Booth #522, on 5th Avenue)
ROSEMARIE BROWN Brown is the only local glass artist in the festival. Her stained glass panels not only show her creativity, but also her ability to engineer intricate and complex works. Her work features a variety of colorful subjects and designs. (Booth 516 on 5th Avenue)
BRUCE NAWROCKE The realistic paintings embrace nature using light, shadow and perspective to draw viewers in. His acrylic canvases take weeks or months to complete to ensure his landscapes have the depth his subject matter deserves. (Booth #539, on 5th Avenue)
Get the event's "Cheat Sheet" to help you get around during Mount Dora Arts Festival here.
KATE CARNEY Carney is a contemporary impressionist that takes inspiration from nature and interprets it with color, light and form to evoke emotion. The Eustis resident often utilizes metallic paints to compliment her subjects--flowers, birds and landscapes. Her series on dandelions is extraordinary. (Booth #D073, on Donnelly Street)
Mount Dora Arts Festival (photo by Mount Dora Buzz)
Art lovers will make their pilgrimage to Mount Dora on February 4 and 5 when the 42th Annual Mount Dora Arts Festival returns.
Painters, jewelers, sculptures, and potters from across the country will exhibit and sell their fine art, while competing for top prizes. Artists are awarded cash prizes totaling $21,000.
Mount Dora has an artsy reputation and visitors often enjoy the atmosphere, as much as the diverse art. During the festival, visitors fill downtown's boutiques and restaurants that line the streets of the festival. Musicians will provide free entertainment at the Donnelly Park Stage from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
Aerial of Donnelly St. during festival. (Photo by Mount Dora Buzz photographer, Ty Williams)
Parking shuttles will be available at Mount Dora High School, Mout Dora Christian Academy, and Mount Dora Golf Club. Limited street parking and private lot parking is also available.
What happens when you combine Victorian costume with innovative technology and the industrial age? T o make it really interesting, add a heaping spoonful of fantasy. The result is Steampunk, a fantastical world where Albert Einstein, the wild west and Mad Max collide.
Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show show has grown to what is arguably the largest festival of its kind in the Southeast. The event is set under the oak trees of Mount Dora and features vendors, steampunk entertainers and artists. The event takes place twice a year in January and October.
So how did this retro-futuristic genre get its name? 'Steampunk', first coined in 1987, refers to the Victorian age of steam-powered machines melded with the 'punk' attitude of non-conformity, creativity and unrestrained individuality. This science-fiction genre is present in art, music, fashion, film and especially literature.
The Steampunk Industrial Show runs January 28 through 29 from 9am-5pm at Renningers Antique Center, 20651 US 441, Mount Dora. Parking and admission are free.
Mount Dora will play host again to Central Florida's massive and eclectic shopping experience. Three times a year Renningers Antique Center organizes the Antique Extravaganza, the motherlode of vintage and antique shopping, set in the rambling hills under majestic oaks. Make no mistake. There is antique shopping and then there is the ‘Extravo’ antique shopping. That’s the term seasoned buyers and ‘pickers’ use for the event that boasts over 800 dealers during its 3-day run spread on a scenic portion of a 130-acre property.
Dealers from across the U.S. descend on Mount Dora to offer a tremendous variety of vintage finds and fine antiques at every price.
Extravos only happen the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday of November, January and February. Shoppers and the curious can roam the hills from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday admittance costs more, however eager shoppers get first dibs on hard-to-find treasures. Sunday shoppers get better bargains, but some vendors do pack up early.
Parking is free. Admission is $10 on Friday, $6 on Saturday, and only $4 on Sunday. A three-day pass is $15. Renninger’s Antique Center is located at 20651 US Hwy 441. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, download the area's free mobile app. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
Did you hear it? It was hard to miss the sound of communal jaws dropping in Lake County when it was announced the area's vintage trains, the Orange Blossom Cannonball and Lake Dora Limited, will permanently depart the station on January 31. The last train rides are scheduled for Sunday, January 29, 2017.
The train romanced passengers with its short excursions for almost six years on the tracks that connect Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis. However, the tracks owner, Pinsly Railroad Company, is changing their business strategy for the tracks so it didn't renew the train operator's lease.
"The excursion train just didn't fit in to what we hope to develop in the future," said Pete Petree, Pinsly's vice president. Petree said it was premature to elaborate on those plans as they are not eminent. Reportedly, the tracks between Tavares & Mount Dora will be used for storage.
Currently, there are no plans for the Orange Blossom Cannonball to operate elsewhere in Florida, according to Derek Osgood, manager of the train. However, there is a possibility of it being used again soon in a motion picture which would likely shoot in the southwestern United States.
The ceasing of the trains' operation is unrelated to The Wekiva Trail, an impressive bike trail project that will share the track's path and connect with other Central Florida trails. Due to the logistics of the project and different companies owning the tracks, land and trains, the trail isn't expected to be complete for approximately 5 years. (Read article)
During the train's final two weeks in Lake County, Saturday trains will be steam-powered with the exception of Saturday, January 21.
Orange Blossom Cannonball Engine No. 2 is celebrating its 110th 110th anniversary. The imposing locomotive was built in January 1907 by the Baldwin Locomotive works in Philadelphia. Its career began in the East Texas log woods and eventually began pulling excursion trains in various tracks in Arkansas. Later the black engine had an impressive run in films "North and South", “True Grit”, “3:10 to Yuma”, “Appaloosa”, and “There Will Be Blood.”
To celebrate the anniversary, Engine No. 2 will head the trains January 27 to 29 and cake will be served to passengers. Stations are located in downtown Mount Dora and Tavares. Passenger reservations can be made at OrangeBlossomCannonball.com. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Download the free Mount Dora Buzz mobile app here for a convenient calendar of events. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
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On the first Saturday of every month, cooks across the area may opt out of prep work and dirty dishes at home, in order to graze on the offerings of some of the best food trucks from Orlando and beyond. The next Eustis Food Truck Rally is this Saturday, January 7, from 5 to 8 p.m.
The first Eustis Food Truck Rally was organized last November by Sam Samhaoui, operator of the Cafe Rouge food truck since 2010. Samhaoui is now teamed up with Daily City's Food Truck Tour, who has garnered many of Central Florida's most coveted trucks offering various cuisines. The rally's Triangle Center location on U.S. 441 puts the trucks at the crossroads of Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares for easy access.
The rally will feature seven of the restaurants on wheels and increase to ten starting in March. This Saturday's scheduled line-up of trucks is Cafe Rouge Express, Cousins Maine Lobster, The Burger Lab, MOLO Miami Grill, Frenchy's Crepes, London Fish and Chippy and Philly's Best Cheesesteaks.
Entrees typically range from $8 and up. Cafe Rouge's popular dishes include a New Zealand lamb burger and their crispy fish n' chips and Cousins Maine Lobster, as seen on Shark Tank, is worth the wait. The Food Truck Rally is family-friendly and provides a bounce house for kids.
As typical with food truck events, seating is limited, so residents are encouraged to bring their own chairs to get comfy. Triangle Center is located at the crossroads of Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares at 351 U.S. Highway 441 just south of Big Lots. The food trucks will serve rain or shine.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Download the free Mount Dora Buzz mobile app here for a convenient calendar of events.
It's a good sign when a colony grows. That's exactly what's happening to Mount Dora's thriving artist colony. 6th Avenue Studios opened in October and brought nine additional artists into downtown Mount Dora.
Central Florida artists Christine Peloquin and Heather Earnest had been looking for a building in the area for over a year.
"After a few places in Eustis fell through, we came upon this building. We were so excited," said Peloquin. The historic house, located at 133 W. 6th Avenue, was already set for studio spaces, as well as a teaching space for workshops.
Word of the studio traveled fast and it took just six weeks to jury and sign seven more artists. There is now a waiting list of seven more, according to Peloquin.
Peloquin specializes in bold mixed media, painting and drawing while Earnest focuses on watercolor and mixed-media painting. The other Central Florida artists include Cindy Anderson, a surrealist painter; Jennifer Ball, a local painter and print maker; Gretchen Bies, a mixed-media painter; Joyce Crabtree, a local weaver; Jan Krassner, a mixed-media jewelry artist; Linda Hastings, a painter; and Michael Hawthorne who specializes in drawing.
The artists plan for 6th Avenue Studios to be open for all art-related events in Mount Dora, including Mount Dora Arts Festival and downtown's monthly Art Splash on the second Friday of every month. Some of the artists will also be holding monthly workshops for the public. Private viewings with any of the artists are always available by appointment. To set an appointment at Peloquin’s studio call 407-620-4350.