ABOVE: Vintage boat docked at Wooton Park during Vintage Boat Festival (Mount Dora Buzz file photo)
At first glance, Lake Dora seems far removed from glitz and glamour. However, once a year she flashes her more refined and alluring attributes when visitors are transported to the glamorous Sinatra era.
The downtown Tavares lakefront is gearing up for the 41st Annual Sunnyland Antique and Classic Boat Festival, the largest classic wood boat show in the country. From 250 to 300 meticulously restored boats are typically displayed in the water and along one third of a mile of Lake Dora shoreline at Wooton Park during the multi-day event on March 25 through 27.
The waterfront festival is the ideal place for dreamers and boaters to spend their day. In previous years, the Antique and Classic Boat Festival boasted eye candy that ranged from perfectly varnished Gar Wood race boats of the 1930s to intriguing concept boats like the Evinrude Lark, as well as vessels of fantastical design like the 1956 Lone Star Meteor and the 1955 Chris-Craft Cobra. The prestigious event, which reportedly draws between eight and ten thousand visitors, was previously held along downtown Mount Dora’s waterfront, and before that in Sanford.
Another feature of the festival is the Nautical Flea Market where more than eighty vendors peddle everything from old boat parts and lanterns to shiny chrome accessories and wooden oars. Due to a number of stunning vintage boats for sale, nautical dreamers are advised to bring just a little extra pocket change.
The event’s hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday the show is from 9 a.m. to noon. Parking is available at the City of Tavares Parking garage. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, this month, click here. Discover the area's online entertainment calendar here. Also download the area's free mobile app.