Once again, colorful sails will gracefully litter Lake Dora. The 63rd Annual Mount Dora Sailing Regatta is expected to draw sixty to eighty boats over this weekend's two-day event.
The races are spread over three courses across a portion of Lake Dora to take advantage of the wind and provide ample space for competitive races.
The regatta, organized by Mount Dora Yacht Club (MDYC) is the longest running annual event in the city.
Spectators can watch as the first race kicks off Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and finishes close to 4 p.m. Simpson Cove, Lakeside Inn and the deck at Pisces Rising typically provide excellent vantage points. Sunday's first race starts at 9:30 a.m. and races end before the 1:30 award ceremony.
Planning for the future, MDYC is keenly aware of the importance of including younger people into the event.
"We always encourage young sailors to participate each year. They will hopefully provide seasoned sailors who compete with us in the future," said Charlie Kennedy, chairman of the regatta committee and the 2010 MDYC Commodore.
MDYC, the oldest inland yacht club in Florida, held its first regatta in 1913. At that time the event featured power boats and was reportedly such an exciting event that local businesses closed so everyone could attend. In 1953, the regatta transitioned to sailboats to alleviate a noise issue.
The club currently has 110 active members and nearly all pull together to play a role in the regatta.
"Many are hands-on volunteers throughout the weekend, while many others contribute in behind the scenes planning, promoting, and organizing well ahead of the event," said Kennedy. "It is great fun for everyone. We also have a number of non-member volunteers who join in the fun as well."
Organizers are hoping for ideal sailing weather with winds between eight and twelve miles per hour.
"Obviously, we can't control the weather, but we try to make the entire weekend experience as exciting as we can in hopes that our sailing guests and their families will enjoy our event, and the special town of Mount Dora, then coming back again year after year," said Kennedy.
They have come a long way from their historic roots in Chinese naval warfare. At that time, the fast, maneuverable, oared longboats functioned like an efficient marine cavalry.
Saturday, April 2, the Chinese inspired dragon boats will return to Tavares for the 14th Annual Dragon Boat Festival. Local and regional teams will compete in multiple heats during a festive atmosphere until winners are named in various racing classes ranging from the lighthearted to the serious competitors.
Racing heats begin just after 9 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Chinese acrobats, an impressive entertainment act, are one of the festival's favorite attractions and begin at 10 a.m. under the big tent. Taiko drummers follow at 2 pm.
In addition to the boat races and Chinese entertainment, food trucks will be at the event sponsored by the area's Rotary Club.
The gates open at 9 a.m. and admission is $3 per person. Children under 3 are free.
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At first glance, Lake Dora seems far removed from glitz and glamour. This weekend it's time for a second look.
Once every year the Central Florida lake transforms into a showcase of vintage glamour. This weekend will bring all the beauty and nostalgia of the Sinatra era onto the shores of the downtown Tavares lakefront.
The city is gearing up for the 28th Annual Sunnyland Antique and Classic Boat Festival at Wooton Park, the largest vintage boating event on the East Coast with over 200 meticulously restored boats in the water and on shore. . This year the festival's will spotlight 19- Chris Craft Racing Runabouts.
The festival also features food vendors, as well as booths selling nautical merchandise.
The event starts Friday March 18 and 9 am and finshes at Sunday March 20 at 2pm. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Parking is available at the City of Tavares Parking garage,
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Twice a year the natural tranquility of Lake Dora is briefly interrupted with exciting blasts from the past.
The Central Florida lake will come alive this weekend as vintage and classic race boats return to Wooton Park in Tavares for the Spring Thunder Regatta.
Boating enthusiasts can view the over seventy fully restored vintage race boats that will run demonstration laps on a one-mile oval courseor view them close-up in the pit area. The regatta features large heats of all vintage classes, including outboards, small hydros, mid-hydros, large hydros, flatbottoms, skiffs, speedsters, gold cuppers, and grand prix hydros.
The event is held at Wooton Park at downtown Tavares' lake front on Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 9am-2pm. Admission is free. For more local news and events, click here.
Not everyone is a happy camper. Cold showers and port-a-potties aren't everyone's idea of a day in paradise.
Enter 'glamping', a hybrid of glamour and camping with amenities that aren't typical of camping's discomforts. It's become the travel trend of providing affordable escape and adventure without getting too much dirt under anyone's fingernails.
Now glampers have a destination in Mount Dora. Every year, Renningers Antique Market, opens its rolling hills to everything from fanciful retro campers to mac-daddy modern RVs. March 19 and 20, Glampers can partake in traditional camping activities like camp fires, smores, live music and activities, plus meander about Renningers Vintage RV and Hot Road show and shop the antique market for obscure treasures.
Enthusiasts of recreational vehicles can tour vintage RVs and take home bragging rights for the Annual Best Vintage RV. There are also contests for Best Vendor Display and Best Campsite.
Glamping spaces are $15 for 30 amp per night or $20 for 50 AMP per night. Spaces to sell vintage RVs are available for $10. For camping or vendor registration : 352- 383-8393
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Bring on the snow cones! Until now, not everyone could enjoy America's favorite summer past-time in Lake County. However, the opening of a special new field has created new opportunities.
The Miracle Field at Lake Idamere Park, opening this Saturday, features a custom-designed, cushioned, synthetic surface that can accommodate wheelchairs and other assistive devices, allowing persons with mental and physical disabilities the opportunity to play baseball or traverse the five-lane track.
New additions to the Miracle Field include pavilions, shade structures, spectator bleachers, benches and picnic tables. The field is directly next to Lake Idamere Park’s Boundless Playground, a unique play area created to assure that children with special needs are able to play in a safe space.
“At the Miracle Field of Lake County, children and adults who use wheelchairs, crutches or walkers, will be able to enjoy playing America’s favorite pastime, a dream many with physical challenges are not able to realize at a traditional baseball field,” said Bobby Bonilla, Division Manager of Lake County Parks & Trails.
The field was made possible with the support of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners and funding through the penny sales tax, a state grant, the Miracle League Fundraising Committee and the Education Foundation of Lake County, at a total cost of $640,000.
“To be able to put a smile on their face, and in some small way improve their quality of life, even for only a couple of hours at a time, means more than anything money could ever buy. I am so very proud of Lake County and the individuals who stepped up and made the commitment to making this facility a reality,” said Tony Ferris, president of the Miracle League of South Lake County. The first Miracle League field opened in Conyers, Georgia in April 2000, and today, there are more than 240 such fields across the country serving 200,000 children and adults.
The Miracle Field's ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for Saturday, March 12 at 9 a.m. at Lake Idamere Park at 12335 County Road 448, Tavares. For more information contact call 352-253-4950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.