ABOVE: Mount Dora Arts Festival (Mount Dora Buzz file photos)
Historic downtown Mount Dora will transform its New England-style charm into a sea of vibrant art on February 4 and 5, when hundreds of the United States’ best artists show their works at the 46th annual Mount Dora Arts Festival.
The juried festival, organized by Mount Dora Center for the Arts, has been ranked among the top art festivals in the country and provides art lovers the opportunity to shop for fine arts, artisan jewelry, and pottery created by approximately 300 of the most talented professional artists from all over the United States. The festival awards more than $15,000 in cash prizes presented for the best 2D and 2D categories, as well as Best in Show.
Downtown Mount Dora’s many diverse restaurants will be open to satisfy the culinary cravings of visitors, plus all of the historic district’s unique shops will be open for more fun opportunities to find something special.
The free festival is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Visitors who arrive very early may be able to find free street parking within walking distance. Other patrons may find a space at many nearby private parking lots, or utilize the park-and-ride shuttles located at 900 Lincoln Avenue which are available for a fee. Due to large crowds and narrow streets, pets are strongly discouraged for their own well-being and that of other visitors.
Dinosaurs have once again made their annual trek to the lobby of W.T. Bland Library in Mount Dora.
For the fourth year, curious kids can experience the museum-grade dinosaur replicas that were crafted to scale by Planet Earth Sculptures, a Mount Dora-based company. These lifelike models reflect the newest scientific theories that many dinosaurs had fur and feathers. The precise features of the reproductions were vetted by academics in the field, as well as museum curators.
One of the forty impressive creatures is the Dilophosaurus, a 23-foot long predator who inhabited North America during the Early Jurassic Epoch, about 193 million years ago.
Mount Dora is only a pitstop for the dinosaurs, which are often part of a traveling exhibit at participating museums. Works from Planet Earth Sculpture are on display in the Smithsonian Institute and various natural history museums across the country.
The captivating dinosaur display can be viewed during regular library hours now through the end of March. W.T. Bland Library is located at 1995 North Donnelly. For more information, call (352) 735-7180.
Lake County artists will once again open their private working studios to visitors during the annual Off the Beaten Path Florida ArtsTours.
The local self-guided tour of eight participating studios takes place on February 11 and 12 and features 18 artists in 13 studios spread across Mount Dora, Tavares, Eustis, Leesburg and Weirsdale.
Visitors to the studios can watch demonstrations, enjoy light refreshments, and shop for unique, original works of art. Artists’ works to be displayed include paintings, sculptures, textiles, jewelry, ceramics, photography, printmaking, and woodworking.
On each day of the tour, all studios will be open free of charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here are the artists and studio addresses:
MOUNT DORA ARTISTS
Jane Slivka Acrylic painting 110 E. Third Ave., Mount Dora 32757 janeslivkagallery.com
Judie Lee Mixed media, painting, printmaking, clay, jewelry, and clothing 2314 Overlook Drive, Mount Dora 32757 artbyjudie.com
Sonya Watson Sterling silver fabrication, semi-precious stones 2314 Overlook Drive, Mount Dora 32757 Sonyawatsonjewelry.com
Ray Olivero Oil painting & photography 2300 Sheridan Road, Mount Dora 32757 Rayolivero.com
Richard D. Colvin Oil painting 2300 Sheridan Road, Mount Dora 32757
Paul Morris Photography and sculpture 1980 Hillside Drive, Mount Dora 32757 morphoto.com
Cathy Caine Watercolors & pastels 41 N. Donnelly Street., #208, Mount Dora 32757
Barbara Boyce Jewelry 411 N. Donnelly St., #206, Mount Dora 32757
Jackie Molsick/Wild Ibis Art Studio Watercolors, pastels, and collage 411 N. Donnelly Street, #208, Mount Dora 32757 jmolsick.com
Barry Bostwick Clay, glass, and mixed media 205 N. Grove Street, Eustis 32726 BarryBostwick.com
Jennifer Harper Relief Printmaking on Paper or Fabric 999 Lake Nettie Drive, Eustis 32726 Harperprintmakingstudio.com
Eric Schooley (Guest) Wood Sculpture 999 Lake Nettie Drive, Eustis 32726
The City of Eustis is gearing up to celebrate George Washington’s birthday with lots of festive activities scheduled. This year marks the 121st time the city will gather its community, neighboring cities and visitors to honor the country’s first president. GeorgeFest is the longest running celebration of its kind in Florida and the second longest running in the entire U.S. This year’s theme is “We the People.”
Here are some fun events to mark on your calendar:
CHILI COOK-OFF (FEB. 4) Teams compete to make the best chili in town for a chance to win cash prizes. Tasting starts at 3:00 p.m.
CARNIVAL (FEB. 24-26) The annual Georgefest Carnival will once again be set in Historic Downtown Eustis. There will be rides for all ages, along with food vendors and carnival games. (Dates and details had not been released by Eustis as of press time.)
FIREWORKS SHOW (FEB. 24) Eustis ends the first night of Georgefest with a bang! The GeorgeFest Fireworks Show takes place right over Lake Eustis starting at 9 p.m. Spectators gather at Ferran Park to enjoy the best vantage point.
DOG JOG (FEB. 25) GeorgeFest Parade kicks off with a one-mile Dog Jog, the much-loved tradition that shows off patriotic pooches as they take a morning walk or jog along the parade route beginning on the corner of Bay Street and Stevens at 9:45 a.m.
WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY PARADE (FEB. 25) The streets of Eustis will be flooded with families eager to view the artistic floats that will glide through Bay Street for the 121st parade. Parade route will run north on Southbound Bay Street in Downtown Eustis from Atwater to the Eustis Community Center on Northshore Drive. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m.
BASS FISHING TOURNAMENT (FEB. 19) Anglers will get their lines in the water early to compete for cash prizes. The annual tournament is in honor of Private First Class Derek Gibson, a Bronze Star recipient from Eustis killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 2, 2007.
TAYLOR HICKS CONCERT (FEB. 18) Enjoy a free concert at 7 p.m. at Ferran Park’s bandshell stage on the edge of Lake Eustis.
LITTLE TEXAS CONCERT (FEB. 24) Enjoy another free concert at 8 p.m. at Ferran Park’s bandshell stage on the edge of Lake Eustis.
Scroll down for the complete 2023 Eustis GeorgeFest schedule.