Summer in Mount Dora is cool and hot all at the same time. The snowbirds have left to go home, leaving the city a little quieter but still thriving through all the businesses and restaurants. There is a new market opening up at the end of summer called the Mount Dora Marketplace that offers everything from craft beer to handmade items and a bakery that is sure to please the palate.
Even though traffic slows down in Mount Dora over the summer, there are still two major festivals you can enjoy.
Freedom on the Waterfront is the large Fourth of July celebration held on July 3rd at Elizabeth Evans Park starting at 5 p.m. There are vendors in the park that offer food and freebies, all lined around the parking lot of Evans Park, which is a very short walk from the downtown stores. A kids zone will keep the children happy with fun and games and a bar is set up to help quench your thirst at the event. Visitors can bring their own picnic chairs, coolers (no glass containers) and blankets to sprawl out on the green space of the park while enjoying live music at the stage which continues until the fireworks show at 9 p.m. The fireworks are some of the best in Central Florida, where the mortars are launched over Lake Dora, at the Lighthouse. Not only will you see a visual display of patriotic illuminations bursting in the sky, but you’ll enjoy twice the joy as they reflect off the lake, all to patriotic music. The event is free to attend.
At the end of August, when the days are long and the breeze is blowing off Lake Dora, you can enjoy a weekend Seafood Festival at Elizabeth Evans Park. Fresh seafood is cooked by vendors and local restaurants with plenty of fresh smoothies and drinks along the way. The event is free to attend and there is non-stop entertainment for the entire family. The annual theme for the Seafood Festival is Pirates and there are many that come and invade Mount Dora! The pirate party is held the Friday evening before the Festival, so come downtown wearing your best pirate gear, grab some grog and take pictures. The pirates entertain at the party and the festival and there are rides and bounce houses for the kids to enjoy. Vendors from all across Florida come and sell their wares, such as driftwood centerpieces, leatherworks, clothing, candles and so much more. There is plenty of shade under the trees at the park so you can take a rest and enjoy some of the best seafood in town.
Summer is a great time to visit Mount Dora and take a boat ride out onto Lake Dora and into the Dora Canal. There, you’ll see plenty of wildlife as your tour guides on the boat point out native birds, snakes, alligators, and even American eagles as they nest in the trees. The boats all have shade and comfortable seats so you can enjoy the wind as it combs through your hair.
When you arrive back at shore, enjoy a glass of wine or pint of beer along with a fresh, delicious meal that you will not find anywhere else in Central Florida. It’s what makes Mount Dora someplace special.