Royal Palm Railway engine pulls into Mount Dora. (photo by Phil Barnard)
Mount Dora is officially back on track. Train tracks, that is. Beginning Saturday, October 21 the new vintage train operated by Royal Palm Railway will begin passenger excursions on select dates thru November 12. The 1950’s train features air-conditioned coaches, a concession car, a dome car and narration.
The train will take passengers for excursions between Tavares, Mount Dora and Eustis. For a limited time, special pricing is being offered for all-day train rides. The fare is $16.00 for ages 13 and up. Children’s tickets are $8.50 and babies one year-old and younger can ride on laps for free. Departures on Saturday, October 21: Downtown Tavares Train Station, 10:30 a.m. Departures on Sunday, October 22: Downtown Mount Dora Train Depot, 11:10 a.m. Downtown Tavares Train Station, 11:45 a.m.
It’s arguably the most fun activity leading up to Halloween: the annual trek to the pumpkin patch to search for the perfect pumpkin.
Here’s a list of local pumpkin patches that run the gamut from a place to peruse pumpkins to farms with fun activities for kids:
East Lake Pumpkin Patch (Sorrento) 31340 E. SR 437, Sorrento Tons of pumpkins in lots of shapes and sizes. Dates/Hours: Monday - Saturday, 11a.m. - 8 p.m. until October 30
Long & Scott Farm 26216 CR 448A, Mount Dora Plenty of pumpkins and photo opportunities outside the entrance to Scott’s Country Market . On weekends you can also take in the corn maze, bounce pillow, and more. Dates/Hours: Tues - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday 12 - 6 p.m. Corn maze remains open until December 10
A Lot of Pumpkins 35317 Huff Road, Eustis (Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm) 352-357-9863 In addition to pumpkins, this farm features hayrides, a Magical Maze, bounce pillow, horse and pony rides, barnyard animals and two zip lines. Parking is free. Dates: Friday - Sunday. Ends October 29 Weekend admission: General admission $4 and wristband $12, kids 2 and under free www.santaschristmastreeforest.com
Stanley Pond Adventure Farm Pumpkin photo ops, U-pick sunflowers, pumpkin decorating, pumpkin bowling, hayrides, magic show, bounce pillow, airboat, pony rides, and more. Admission: $16.95 Dates/Hours: Weekends only, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. until October 29 www.stanleypond.com
For fun, local Halloween activities for kids, click here.
What’s your vision of Mount Dora? A city-sponsored photo contest is seeking diverse images that convey the theme “My Mount Dora.” The winning 14 photos, chosen by Mount Dora City Council, will appear in the city’s calendar with photo credit. All entries will be included, in a video montage on the city’s web site and social media. Entries are being accepted until October 27.
One entry per person.
Must be an original photograph.
The photo must be taken within the city limits.
Please do not submit photos from any festivals or events.
If there are children in your photograph, they must be your own children with written permission, by you, for us to use. (You do not have to include their names).
Photos will only be accepted through email, Facebook or Twitter.
By entering the contest, photographers agree to have their submitted photograph displayed by the City of Mount Dora for promotional, educational or other purposes without any fee or other form of compensation.
Your submission of the photo and entry form is your guarantee that you are the author and copyright holder of the photo. Photographers retain the copyright to their photographs.
The City of Mount Dora has the right to delete any photographs that do not meet social media guidelines and standards.
City Employees or family of employees may not participate.
Photo entries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook/cityofmountdora or Twitter at @cityofmountdora. Emailed entries should include photographer’s name, address, phone number and email address. Photos submitted via social media, must include name and email address.
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.
'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 October 21 through 22 from 9am-5pm at Renningers Antique Center, 20651 US 441, Mount Dora. Get the schedule of events for the weekend show here. Parking and admission are free.
As the cooler weather returns, so does one of Central Florida's biggest craft fairs. Mount Dora's quaint downtown comes alive on October 28 and 29 with more than 400 crafters from across the country displaying and selling their finest works.
An estimated 100,000 visitors are expected to attend the two-day event that also features food and entertainment.
The Mount Dora Craft Fair is a top-ranked event featuring an eclectic mix of arts and crafts ranging from jewelry and photography to paintings, textiles, leather and woodworking. Although the festival begins on Saturday morning, parking restrictions begin in the late afternoon on Friday, October 21. Downtown stores and restaurants remain open during festival hours which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.
Parking shuttles are available at Mount Dora High School, Mount Dora Christian Academy and the Golden Triangle Shopping Center and provide a drop-off within walking distance of the festival. Parking in the designated shuttle lots costs $5 and the round-trip shuttle ride is free.
ABOVE: Historic Lakeside Inn (Photo by Mount Dora Buzz)
Spirits of old Mount Dora will take form downtown near historic buildings, alleys and landmarks on four nights this month. Daring visitors will trail through the city's eerie past during Mount Dora Ghost Tours. Students of Montessori at Roseborough's adolescent program have teamed up with local historian and entertaining Mount Dora Ghost Tour guide Andrew Mullen. The students will play the parts of some of the unfortunate souls in Mount Dora’s history and step out of the shadowy past to tell their chilling stories to passersby.
Mullen is a veteran of telling macabre ghost walk tales tied to historic sites in downtown Mount Dora such as the J.P. Donnelly House, Dora Drawdy Lane, the Renaissance Building and Lakeside Inn and other downtown spots said to be haunted.
ABOVE: Ghost Walk lead by storyteller Andrew Mullen (Photo by Mount Dora Buzz)
The guided walking tour starts at Lakeside Inn, 100 N. Alexander Street, a national historic register building associated with many ghost stories. The tours begin at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20, 21, 27, and 28.
The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children and students. Proceeds from this event will benefit the educational programs for the Montessori at Roseborough Adolescents. Call 352-602-0783 for information and reservations.
To read genuine, local ghostly experiences, click here.
Searching for fun, local Halloween activities for the kids? Grab your calendar, here’s the list for little kids and big kids alike.
OCT. 16 “Not-So-Scary Stories” The Florida Storytelling Association will be sharing stories with children that will tickle and thrill. Where: W.T. Bland Library, 1995 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora Time: 2 p.m.
OCT. 21 Pumpkin Decorating Contest Visit the library’s pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin to decorate inside. For ages 12 and under. Cost is $3. Where: W.T. Bland Library, 1995 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora Time: 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
OCT. 20 - 21, and 27 - 28 Mount Dora Ghost Walk This guided walking tour is perfect for older kids and is offered on four nights during the month of October. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Where: Starts at Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora Time: 7 p.m.
OCT. 25 Halloween Spooktacular For kids 12 and under, this event features candy, bounce houses, games and inside activities. Hosted by the City of Mount Dora. Where: Donnelly Park Building, 530 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
OCT. 26 Toddler Costume Contest Bring your little ones in costume to the annual Halloween parade and party at the Library. Where: W. T. Bland Library, 1995 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora Time: 10:30 a.m.
Oct. 27 Boo! Fest Free festival for the whole family with costume contest for kids, hayrides, DJ, carnival games, spooky storytelling and more. Hosted by the City of Tavares. Where: Downtown Tavares Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
OCT. 27 Trunk-Or-Treat, Mount Dora Bring the kids for a fun and safe alternative to trick-or-treating at the annual free event hosted by Camp Cross. Due to young children, no scary costumes are advised. Where: Gilbert Park, 310 S. Tremain St., Mount Dora Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
OCT. 28 Eustis Fall Fest This free family event will have bounce houses, pony rides, games, pumpkin painting, food vendors, face painting and a costume contest at 4:30. Where: Ferran Park, downtown Eustis Time: 3 - 7 p.m.
OCT. 29 Trunk-Or-Treat, Eustis Kids in costume can enjoy a free, safe alternative to trick-or-treating. Contest for best-decorated car and bounce house. Trunks needed. Where: Faith Lutheran School, 2727 Grove Street, Eustis Time: 3 - 4 p.m.