Mount Dora Art Festival (Mount Dora Buzz file photo by Ty Williams.)
Art may be in the eye of the beholder, but art festivals are another story. This year’s prestigious ranking of the top 100 fine art shows in the U.S. selected Mount Dora Art Festival as lucky number seven.
The annual festival is put on by Mount Dora Center for the Arts. 2018 will mark the 43rd anniversary of the Central Florida event.
Rankings were determined by compiling ballots by professional artists who rated the festivals according to their own gross sales. Top producing festivals for artists go on to attract the country’s best talent. The annual ranking was conducted by the national magazine, Sunshine Artist, which prides itself on being the leading publication for art show exhibitors, patrons and promoters. The publication has rankings for Fine Art & Design Shows and another for Craft Shows. Mount Dora placed seventh in the Fine Art & Design category.
Mount Dora Arts Festival (Mount Dora Buzz file photo)
“Making it on the 200 Best list is one of the highest honors a show can earn in the industry,” stated Stephanie Hintz, editor of the magazine. “Making it into the top 20 in either category is indicative of a solid, well-attended and high-earning show.”
Mount Dora Art Festival attracts sculptors, painters, jewelers, and potters from across the country to sell their masterful works of art. The sprawling two-day event draws approximately 200,000 visitors. A recent Mount Dora Buzz article credited the arts community with spurring $9.1 million in economic activity in Lake County.
Mount Dora Arts Festival (Mount Dora Buzz file photo)
Achieving the festival’s highest ranking to date is a significant accomplishment for MDCA. “It means the work we have done extending our brand has paid off, not only for the center, the city and the community, but also for the artists who participate in the festival,” said Nancy Zinkofsky, Executive Director of Mount Dora Center for the Arts.
Mount Dora Art Festival is February 3 & 4, 2018. Artists have until October 16 to apply to the juried show. Click here for the 26 Florida art festivals ranked among the top 100 in the U.S.
If the title is any indication, tons of drama will be dished out during Sunday’s airing of the reality show filmed in Mount Dora last May. Bar Rescue’s “Daddy Dearest” episode hits the airwaves at 10 p.m. on Sunday, August 13.
Over three dozen Spike TV crew members descended into the quaint Central Florida town to document the transformation of Sidelines, a fledgling Mount Dora bar and restaurant. The owners of the restaurant had applied to Bar Rescue, a show that provides expertise and renovations to bars on the brink of closing.
The straightforward host, Jon Taffer, often doles out harsh criticism to establishments on the brink of closing. Taffer combines his keen observation and market research to develop changes to help make the restaurant profitable. The show’s different crews worked feverishly for 36 hours to implement the plan, re-train the staff, change the menu, re-brand the business, and complete renovations.
Bar Rescue rebranded the restaurant to “Lake House” and the cheesy, bold colors were painted over with warmer, more sophisticated colors and decor.
The event revealing the restaurant’s changes lured over a hundred Bar Rescue fans to wait for hours to catch a glimpse of Taffer and be one of the first customers seated inside the family-owned restaurant.
As the customers waited, owner Rich Marinacci, family members, and employees arrived blindfolded to the restaurant. Taffer peppered them with questions about the stressful process and alluded to their difficulties. At the time, all agreed it was a wake-up call and the final edited episode may prove to be a reminder.
Opening night’s revamped menu featured basic seafood, burgers, sandwiches, wings and salads at reasonable price points geared to the local market. The most intriguing items are the burger with butter-poached crabmeat and caramelized onions ($10.95), the hand-rolled soft pretzels ($5.95) and the spicy clam pizza ($13.95).
Inhibition and convention doesn’t apply to artists on the autistic spectrum. “Spectrum,” an exhibit at Mount Dora Center for the Arts, opens August 11 and features the work of several artists on the autistic spectrum.
The exhibit is a partnership between MDCA and Very Special Arts Florida (VSA Florida), the state organization on arts and disabilities. One piece on display will be “Autism is Eye” by Austin Lubetkin of Miami.
“I tried to create a piece that epitomized my journey with autism. I thought the best way to do that was to become one with the symbolism of autism, the puzzle piece," said Lubetkin. Through this fusion, I created a work art representative of my growth and evolution as an artist on the autism spectrum.”
“Spectrum” opens with a public reception on August 11 from 6 to 8pm. Gallery hours are M-F (10 am - 5pm), Sat. & Sun. (12pm – 4pm)
Grab some shrimp off the barbie. Mount Dora’s third annual Seafood Festival takes place in downtown on August 26 and 27. The festival will extend throughout Edgerton Court and Simpson Cove, as well as waterfront Evans Park. This free lakefront festival boasts plenty of seafood vendors, crafts, live music, and a pirate party on Friday night, the 25th.
In past years, seafood lovers grazed on fresh conch fritters, lobster, and crab legs after already gobbling up cajun crawfish, paella, shrimp and fresh fish tacos. This year’s festival-goers can expect the same.
Foodies that want to indulge in a bountiful seafood tasting can take a "Landlubber Seafood Tour" on Saturday with stops at seven Mount Dora restaurants. The eateries will be offering samples of their seafood dishes and refreshing libations. The self-guided tours go 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and tickets are $38.
A children’s Pirate Village will include a pirate ship for climbing, Blackbeard's Pirate Show and Captain Jack Sparrow roaming the lakefront. The “Rusty Cutlass Band” will take to the Pirate Stage on Saturday.
Free live music is provided throughout the festival. Shuckers will take to the main stage on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. to take part in the Central Florida Oyster Shucking Contest.
To help meet the challenges of downtown parking, shuttles to the festivals will be provided at Mount Dora Christian Academy located at 301 W. 13th Avenue. Shuttles will run from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The parking fee is $5 and the round-trip shuttle is free.