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.