It’s a first for historic Mount Dora, the central Florida town that has long been identified by its quaint charm and New England vibe. Now the city has its own flag that captures its uniqueness.
The city’s recent flag contest garnered 58 creative entries. The winner was chosen by Mount Dora City Council members on April 20. Laura Varich, a local resident and a pediatric radiologist, submitted the winning design.
Good flags are simple with strong concepts and Mount Dora’s new flag is no exception. Varich’s design inspiration came over a year after she watched a TED Talk titled "Why City Flags May Be The Worst-Designed Thing You've Never Noticed" by Roman Mars. She was determined to create an effective symbol that would represent the town she loves.
“The lighthouse had to be a key element as it is the icon of our town. The curved blue background was meant to represent Lake Dora or the hills of Mount Dora,” explained Varich. “The curved yellow surface represents either the lighthouse light or one of our beautiful sunsets.”
Varich’s creative talent is well known. As an established abstract painter of landscapes and florals, her bold work sells in galleries in Mount Dora and Winter Park, as well as Mount Dora Art Festival. Her paintings are also on display during the city’s monthly Art Splash event downtown.
“I was thrilled when this competition came to our town,” said Varich, adding she was completely surprised by the council’s selection. She’s most excited about being personally associated with her new hometown for a very long time.
Varich and her husband, Peter Edelstein, and their two daughters, moved to Mount Dora from the bay area of California in 2009. It didn’t take long before she became an active member of the area’s thriving creative community.
When asked what Varich was going to do with her $250 prize money, she responded, “What prize?” indicating her efforts were truly a labor of love.
The flag will be presented at a special Flag Day ceremony on June 14.