Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in the Park with Snow!

The Christmas tradition of "Snow in the Park" once again delighted an audience of all ages in Mount Dora.  Our good friends Jaden Hair & family from Bradenton came over to enjoy the festivities.

 

Here is the video clip of the highlights of Christmas in the Park.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Vanishing Florida – a Highwayman Style Exhibition by Lynn Herrick


   

                                                                            
FROM: W. T. Bland Public Library
DATE: December 17, 2009
Stephanie Haimes  (352) 735-7180

      SUBJECT:   Vanishing Florida – a Highwayman Style Exhibition by Lynn Herrick
MOUNT DORA: Local Umatilla artist, Lynn Herrick will be exhibiting over 30 of her oil

paintings from Dec. 29th to Jan. 30th at the W. T. Bland Library in Mt. Dora.

Herrick’s work has evolved from charcoals, acrylics, photography, pottery, basketry, fused glass

and, finally, to oils.  She has studied these various mediums in Miami, Hendersonville (NC), and
Ocala.  She now paints in the traditional Highwaymen style having studied with R. L. Lewis, Jr.,
one of the original Highwaymen, for the past four years.  Lynn has lived in Florida for over 50

years and feels that the Florida she captures on her canvases is disappearing exponentially with

rampant “development.”  She is dedicated to preserving this vanishing landscape in her own

artistic way.

Herrick’s “Vanishing Florida” series will be exhibited in the Community Room of the library

during regular hours. Please note that our Community Room is heavily used and may not always

be available.  Please call (352) 735-7180 option 5 to check on the room availability for viewing.

W. T. Bland Library, 1995 Donnelly Street, Mt. Dora  352-735-7180 option 5
Hours – Monday, Thursday, Friday 10 a.m. – 6p.m
              Tuesday and Wednesday 10a.m. – 8p.m
               Saturday 10a.m. – 2p.m. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Florida Highwaymen Artists return to Mount Dora on January 9th, 2010.



4th Mount Dora Florida Highwaymen Art Show & Sale
January 9th, 2010
Donnelly Park - Mount Dora

MOUNT DORA, FLFlorida’s historic artists, known as The Florida Highwaymen, will be returning to picturesque Mount Dora for the 4th HIGHWAYMEN ART Show and Sale, January 8 & 9, 2010.
On Saturday, January 9th, the popular Highwaymen artists will display and sell their art work from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Inside and Outside of the Donnelly Building in Donnelly Park, located in the center of Mount Dora.  Visitors can enjoy the scenic renderings of Florida’s landscape expressed in the Classic Highwaymen art style.  Participating in this event will be original Highwaymen Mary Ann Carroll, the only female in the group, Al Black, James Gibson, Isaac Knight, Robert Lewis and Roy McLendon… with OTHERS to be announced soon.  Admission, as before, is FREE!!
Friday, January 8th, the evening prior to the Main Saturday event, the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce will host a ‘Meet and Greet’ the Artists between 6 and 8 p.m. at the Chamber’s Historic Train Station. Many vintage Highwaymen paintings will be on exhibit. Refreshments and light appetizers will be served. Admission is FREE… and ALL are invited to attend!!
2010 is also Mount Dora’s Centennial. After the GALA New Year’s weekend begins the Year Long Celebration… the Highwaymen Event will continue the festivities the following weekend!!
In the 1950s, the Highwaymen artists were a group of young black men from the Fort Pierce area. The late Alfred Hair and the late Harold Newton were considered the leaders of the group, studying under Backus and bringing their new-found talent back to the group.  The art work, painted on an inexpensive construction material known as upson board, displayed traditional Florida scenes of palm trees, royal poinciana trees, and river vistas.  From there, the artists would travel with their paintings along U.S. 1 and other Florida roadways, selling them from the trunks of their cars.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that the group was labeled The Highwaymen. 
Currently, sponsors for this Winter Art Event include:  The Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce, the City of Mount Dora, and Heron Cay Lakeview Bed & Breakfast. Margie Salyer and Randy Burgener are coordinating this Winter Highwaymen Show and Sale.
For additional information, please contact randy@heroncay.com or by calling (352) 383-4050 or Toll Free at 1-888-437-6622.. For Lodging information visit Heron Cay Lakeview Bed and Breakfast website at www.heroncay.com.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Highwaymen art will be donated to the Restoration Fund for the Historic Mount Dora Train Station, the Home of the Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Mount Dora Christmas Carol performed by the Mount Dora Ghost Walk crew!


The Mount Dora Ghost Walk of Mount Dora, Florida,will perform A Mount Dora Christmas Carol on Friday December 18th and Saturday December 19th at 7:00pm and 8:30pm originating at the Mount Dora History Museum 450 Royellou Lane, and continues to Donnelly Park located at the corner of Donnelly Street and 5th Avenue in beautiful downtown Mount Dora. The 45 minute walking theatrical tour begins with a 15 minute interior performance at the museum.


Hector DeLeon, Creative Director of The Mount Dora Historical Society is producing this walking theatrical adaptation of a Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol with what he terms a "Cracker Gothic" style. With Donnelly Park and its almost 2 million lights as your stage your tour guide takes you thru numerous live theatrical vignettes including the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Future and Present.

There are 4 performances on Friday December 18th and Saturday December 19th at 7:00pm shows and 8:30pm, cost: $12.00 for over 12 years of age and $10.00 under 12.  Availability is limited and this will sell out fast so call to reserve in order received at  352-406-5672  or go to www.MountDoraGhostWalk.com for more information. Show originates from the Mount Dora History Museum at 450 Royellou Lane, Mount Dora, FL 32757 (the alley between 4th & 5th Avenues and between Donnelly and Baker Streets in majestic downtown Mount Dora, Tours last about 60 minutes involve 1/2 mile of walking so wear comfortable shoes. Tours are held rain or shine.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The very first Sweepstakes Winners & their Mount Dora experience.

I finally caught up with Joanne Stevens from Venice, FL who was our very first Mount Dora Play, Shop, Dine & Stay Sweepstakes winner.  She gave me some details of her July visit to Mount Dora when she came with a best friend and her daughter for a girlfriend's get-a-way weekend.

Joanne has been to Mount Dora before and was delighted when she was randomly selected from thousands of entries as the very first winner of the Sweepstakes.  She immediately booked her accommodations at her favorite "home away from home," the Mount Dora Cottages owned and operated by Jim & Ana Tuttle.  Though her lodging portion of the winnings was just enough to cover a one night stay she decided to book another night in addition.

Joanne told me that she started her visit to Mount Dora with cocktails on the deck at Pisces Rising overlooking beautiful Lake Dora.  She had dinner there and then went into town for some shopping before retiring for the evening.

Joanne dined at Chew Chew Express Sandwich Depot three times during her stay.  She says it is always very good and she really appreciates the family style atmosphere provided by Mark & Tracey who own and operate this local favorite.

Day two of her trip was highlighted by a visit to Pure Aveda Salonspa where her group went for the "full treatment."  Joanne indicated they would be returning for many more visits to Pure Aveda Salonspa!

They rounded out the day with some serious shopping at our many fabulous shops, cupcakes at Mount Dora Cupcakes on 5th Ave. and finally cocktails in the Viking Lounge located above the Frosty Mug Icelandic Restaurant.

Joanne wanted to do even more shopping but because she was the very first to visit Mount Dora with the contest winning "Dora Dollars," many of the merchants unfamiliar with the program turned her away.  We have hopefully solved any of those problems for the future as the Sweepstakes expands into 2010.

Joanne ended by saying, "We had a wonderful time in Mount Dora.  My best friend Charlene and I spent a girls weekend together. We met up with my daughter who just moved to Mount Dora from Texas. We shopped all the stores,and ate and ate and ate!  I love staying at the Mt Dora Cottages, it's just like home.  Jim and Ana are the best.
We had a blast, a lot of fun and laughs."
Joanne Stevens

Register now for your chance to win the Mount Dora Play, Shop, Dine & Stay Sweepstakes.

Brian

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Family New Year's Eve celebration in Donnelly Park.


Come one and all to Donnelly Park at 9pm on December 31st to usher in the New Year and to kick off Mount Dora's year long 100th birthday celebration!


For more information please watch the presentation put together by one of the sponsors of the event, the Mount Dora Village Merchant's & Business Association, Inc.



Click here to see the presentation.

Soles4Shoes Shoe Drive at Donnelly Euro Footwear!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DONNELLY EURO FOOTWEAR ANNOUNCES SHOE DRIVE TO BENEFIT SOLES4SOULS™ Inc., THE SHOE CHARITY,
AT 402 N. DONNELLY STREET, MT. DORA FLORIDA
ON December 2, 2009
Central Florida residents are invited to recycle their 'gently worn' shoes for people in need  
Nashville, TN – DATE – Every 23 seconds, Soles4Souls Inc. gives away another pair of shoes to someone in need.  The shoe charity has earned glowing endorsements from Hollywood stars and professional athletes, but the people that truly make the non-profit organization effective are those who clean out their closets to personally drop off their ‘gently worn’ shoes at a participating location, such as Donnelly Euro Footwear.

For a limited time, Soles4Souls and Donnelly Euro Footwear will be collecting your gently worn footwear and/or donations to ship the shoes to people in need, whether they are victims of a natural disaster or subject to living in extreme poverty.  It is estimated that Americans have 1.5 billion pairs of unused shoes lying in their closets.  The charity can use each and every one of these pairs to make a tangible difference in someone's life.
“We can use the shoes taking up space in your closet to change the world one pair at a time,” Elsey said.  “We need our partners in Central Florida to 'STEP UP' and get behind our call for action.  It’s one of the most simple yet profound gifts you can make, because it will greatly improve someone’s life in the most difficult of times,” he said.
“Donnelly Euro Footwear is proud to assist in this very worthwhile benevolence.  Most Americans forget how fundamental shoes are to our everyday existence.  For most folks a simple donation of shoes that they no longer want or need can make a real difference in the lives of people that have no shoes at all.  To thank folks for their donations of gently worn shoes, Donnelly Euro Footwear will give them $10 for each pair they donate towards the purchase of a new pair of shoes or handbag.  This is a great way for folks to rid themselves of shoes they no longer want, get a new pair of shoes for themselves and they can feel good about the donation they have made.  Whether victims of a natural disaster or people living in poverty, Soles4Souls make these shoes available to those in need throughout the USA and the world.  Soles4Souls is an awesome opportunity for everyone to help make the world a better place.” Jim Timberlake, Donnelly Euro Footwear.  www.GoodComfortableShoes.com  The event at Donnelly Euro Footwear will run December 2nd through December 31st. 

Two major events in Downtown Mount Dora help to kick off this drive.  December 4th at 6pm is the cities annual Christmas Walk event with street performers, entertainment and food.  December 31st will be the beginning of the cities Centennial year long celebration with a city-wide New Years Eve Party complete with a ball drop in the park. Soles4Souls will be represented at both events.
People and companies interested in donating can visit the organization’s website at www.giveshoes.org, and follow the instructions. 
About Soles4Souls
Nashville-based Soles4Souls™  facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Since its inception, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 3.4 million pairs (or one pair every 23 seconds) to people in more than 60 countries, including Honduras, Romania, Thailand, and the Sudan.  The charity has been featured on CNN Headline News, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, ABC News, FOX, CBS, and hundreds of regional outlets around North America.  Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS; donating parties are eligible for tax advantages.  Visit www.giveshoes.org for more information. 



For more information please contact:
Jim Timberlake 352 217-3325 or at the store Donnelly Euro Footwear 352 385-0909
Chris Carmichael, Soles4Souls, 615-391-5723 ext 143 chrisc@giveshoes.org
Kim Dettwiller, Soles4Souls, 615-321-4073 kimd@giveshoes.org

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mount Dora Zombie Crawl?



You heard right! Conservative Mount Dora actually hosted the walking dead at the 2009 Craft Fair for a little promo on behalf of the Mount Dora Ghost Walk.




Mike Burt (MikeB Makeup), pictured on left with the BIG linebacker zombie, from Halloween Horror Nights fame recently moved to Mount Dora and offered his face painting expertise to create some authentic zombies.

A BIG thanks to Mark Vaughn who captured the still images on camera for us.



Some were hesitant at first about having the "undead" in such close proximity to multiple thousands of visitors to the Craft Fair but in retrospect the concerns evaporated in the sounds of laughter as visitors delighted in the zombie procession as it made it's way through the streets of Mount Dora.

We captured the action behind the scenes and on the street in a couple of videos by Rachelle Lucas and Janet Craig. Check out Rachelle's video at www.InnTheKitchen.com. Janet's behind the scenes look can be found on her Mt Dora Sushi Blog.

See you at next year's zombie crawl.

Brian

Monday, November 9, 2009

18th Annual Christmas Walk in Mount Dora.


For Immediate Release

Contact: Brian E. Young
Phone: (866) 683-6722
Email: VillageMerchants@gmail.com

YOUR INVITATION TO "AN OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS" CELEBRATION FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY!
Come one and all to the streets of historic Mount Dora on Friday, December 4th from 6pm to 9pm. ** Free admission!**

This 18th annual Christmas Walk is poised to be one of the finest ever. Against the backdrop of over 1 million lights your family can enjoy a festive celebration with professional entertainment on beautiful streets transformed into a Christmas Village. Mount Dora shops and restaurants will be open all evening to provide you with quality dining and shopping experiences.

There will be face painting, a juggler, bounce houses, Santa and Ms. Claus with a photographer on hand to capture the moment. There will be choirs from United in Praise and the United Methodist Church, First Baptist children's choir, an Acapella Group, a strolling violinist, keyboardist and Cockney Carollers for your listening enjoyment. Toy soldiers on stilts, snowflake girls, a magician, Dana Bright and Hitch N Time Carriage Tours will fill the streets to round out the evening.

There will also be food vendors on the streets with kettle corn, roasted nuts, hot pretzels, hot chocolate/coffee, soda/lemonade, hot dogs and hot cider. In addition to these options for food all of the restaurants in town will be open and ready to serve your dining needs.

Come on out and join us for the festivities on Friday evening December 4th from 6pm to 9pm.

***By City Ordinance PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED at this event!***
Please make arrangements for your furry friends before arriving. Thank you.

For more information contact the Downtown Village Merchants at 866-683-6722 or visit www.MtDora.org.

"Satisfy Your Cravings" at InnTheKitchen.com


The popular food & travel blog InnTheKitchen.com maintained by Mount Dora resident Rachelle Lucas has gone through some major renovations lately. Check out the latest updates, videos and fabulous recipes from innkeepers around the country at www.InnTheKitchen.com.


Catch Rachelle on air next week on the syndicated TV program "Daytime." Rachelle returns to Daytime to make pumpkin bread from a recipe by a Mount Dora innkeeper. Daytime is only available in Lake County on Bright House Cable unfortunately.

Click here to see Rachelle on Daytime making sweet potato muffins.

You can follow Rachelle on Twitter along with her 20,000 other followers at www.Twitter.com/Travelblggr.

Stay tuned.

Brian

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Orlando Convention & Visitors Bureau chooses Mount Dora for a destination in their 67 Days of Smiles promotion!

The OCVB sponsored a contest over the summer featuring video submissions from contest entrants to win 67 days of amazing activities in Central Florida. The contest also featured $25K in cash to the winners in addition to the 2 months of daily fun! Kyle & Stacey from New York won the contest and thus came to Florida to indulge in Central Florida's finest attractions.

The OCVB contacted the Mount Dora Village Merchant's & Business Association through travel author & Mount Dora resident Gary Mckechnie. Gary is an entire BLOG all by himself and I will get to that later. Check Gary out at www.SeeTheUSA101.com.

Day 60 of Kyle & Stacey's Central Florida marathon was to include a stop in Mount Dora for the 25th annual Craft Fair and any other activities I could squeeze in for them. Visit their official Blogsite for the promotion at www.67DaysOfSmiles.com to see all of the Central Florida activities they experienced.

I contacted Segway Tours (Thank you Dave H.) and Lake County Waterways (Thank you Tim Coates) to arrange a tour. Check out Rachelle's video of these activities at her Blogsite www.InnTheKitchen.com. You may also read Kyle & Stacey's BLOG about their Mount Dora experience.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to be a Central Florida destination for the 67 Days of Smiles promo. BIG thanks to Denise Spiegel at the OCVB for contacting us.

Brian

A little branding with a photo?

Occasionally an image just happens to capture the essence of what we try so hard to convey to potential visitors about our fabulous little town of Mount Dora. Jim Hobart (@MacBethPhoto on Twitter) took this photo nearly two years ago and though we knew it was the message everyone seemed to be asking for based on input, it took until now for everyone to see it!

Now this photo may be seen all over and including on the Mount Dora Village Merchant's & Business Association's newly renovated billboard on Hwy 441 outside of Renninger's Twin Markets. Other groups in town have also been using this photo in their ads and directories. Some with permission and some without but we figure if it leads to some "accidental" branding through imagery then why not let it happen?

We have hundreds of such images that we captured during a professional photo shoot we arranged a couple of years ago. These photos are available for use anytime and usually for just a photo credit or a small fee. Contact Jim Hobart at info@macbethphoto.com. To see more of Jim's work visit his website at http://macbethphoto.com/. For a gallery of available stock photos please visit: www.WhatToDoInMountDora.com.

Brian

Thursday, November 5, 2009

2009 Mount Dora Craft Fair in review.

Hard to believe the 2009 Craft Fair has come and gone! After the months of meetings and planning it is all relegated to memory now, with the exception of the seemingly endless wrap up meetings still ongoing. lol... To say it was successful would certainly be an understatement!

For my part I can truly say that I have never been prouder of being part of a group of dedicated individuals working together to pull of something as monumental as an event with a 25 year history hosting over 300,000 people. Not only were we handed the event without much warning but we decided to take it on and expand it well beyond it's original proportions.

With the help of Kevin Batliner from the Mount Dora Community Trust and Grimm DePanicis from the Mount Dora Center for the Arts we stretched the event to over 400 booths, added a concert in the park by the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra, added an unprecedented number of corporate sponsors and even manged to squeeze in a Zombie Crawl. Check out the fabulous Zombie Crawl videos by Janet Craig & Rachelle Lucas. I made their names clickable links to take you straight to the videos.

I have heard it said about town that we the paid the Center for the Arts 20% of the revenues to run the Craft Fair on our behalf. Funny how rumors gain momentum in our little town and perpetuate like a wild fire in Florida scrub brush! Fact of the matter is the Center for the Arts, after much arm twisting, begrudgingly accepted our measly $1500 donation to their fabulous cause! The real gain in all of this of course being the paving of the way of a new level of cooperation between prior-to-now competing organizations. Kevin and Grimm have both signed on for next years Craft Fair which will be even better with our new ideas and dedicated team. And you can bet that Merchant Association members will be side-by-side with Kevin and Grimm at the Center for the Arts sponsored Art Festival in February!

Ironically though the rumored 20% number certainly has a basis in reality as that is just about how much we increased the Craft Fair revenues over last year with our new ideas and efforts. Bringing on professional event coordinator Shirley Wold allowed us to find the inefficiencies quickly and opened our eyes to a whole new way of doing things. The association is on the verge of unveiling it's new automated system which will allow crafters to interface with us online and eliminate the endless paper trail we have to currently follow! Stay tuned...

I will be posting a series of blogs about the Craft Fair as we wrap it all up this week in our meetings.

Brian

Monday, October 19, 2009

USA 101 by Gary McKechnie


One of Mount Dora's very own has recently returned from a trip around the US where he spent months cataloguing places, events and festivals around the country. Congrats to Gary McKechnie, co-owner of the Coconut Cottage Inn Bed & Breakfast in Mount Dora.

Gary's book, USA 101: A guide to America's Iconic Places, Events and Festivals, is newly published by National Geographic and available for $18.95. You can meet and listen to Gary talking about his experiences around the country tomorrow night (Tuesday, Oct. 20th) at 7pm in the W.T. Bland Public Library at 1995 N. Donnelly St. in Mount Dora. For more info. please call the library at 352-735-7180.

Christine Cole wrote a nice article in the Orlando Sentinel yesterday about Gary that you can read online at the Sentinel website.

Congratulations Gary and we will see you at the library tomorrow night!

Brian

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sweepstakes Winners & their Mount Dora experience.




I had the opportunity the other day to interview the winners of the Mount Dora Play, Shop, Dine & Stay Summer Sweepstakes via email and wanted to share their comments and experience with everyone. The getaway sweepstakes is a promotion sponsored by the Mount Dora Village Merchant's & Business Association, Inc. in conjuction with WhatToDoInMountDora.com in an effort to create awareness of our fabulous town as a destination.


Frank & Arlene Miracola from Northport, FL were the July sweepstakes winners chosen randomly from nearly 2000 email entries at that time, there are almost twice that many entries as of today. Frank & Arlene won a lodging, dining, shopping & activity spree in Mount Dora worth $600. I will share her comments as she provided them.

A big thanks to all of the participating merchants who have made this program a big success for Mount Dora. Some of you are well thought of as you will see from Arlene's comments. Congrats on receiving such a glowing report.







Dear Brian,

We are more then happy to reply about our wonderful "weekend" in Mt. Dora as the Getaway winners. We got to Mt Dora on Saturday and were greeted by our gracious and very accommodating hosts John and Arthur proprietors of the beautifully appointed Adora Inn. To say it was a serene and calming home is an understatement.

We left our bags and proceeded to Pure Aveda. The staff immediately had us defrazzled with their attention to our needs. We each had 1 hour massages( h e a v e n) What a way to start our weekend. We definitely will be booking another round when we return in December.

We wandered around our fave shops for a while and went down to Goblin Market to inquire about their menu and late dinner reservations. The hostess Diane was just so happy to hear we were the weekend winners and made our dinner plans for us. The dinner was above and beyond what we expected and we now have a new cocktail suggested by Diane " Ruby Red Grapefruit Martini" yum yum yum!!!

We then strolled over to the Frog and Monkey to listen to a great band and had a couple of Blue Moon drafts. The evening ended with a walk in the full moonlight back to Adora. We had the Tree House room with roman bath. We both slept like very sated, pampered and spoiled babies. Breakfast was superbly prepared the next morning by our hosts who made us feel like family. John and Arthur are truly genuine and unpretentious.

Sunday was shopping day and I think we hit every place in town. Wine from Maggies Attic, Coffee, candles and caviar from Dianes Tasteful Indulgences, Jewelry and candles from Emz on 5th. Lots of trinkets and gifts from Whispering Winds. We revisited One Flight Up and the best Cuban we ever ate at Chew Chew express. Every one of these aforementioned places were just so nice and happy to hear we were the weekend winners.

Of course we always visit Timeless Keepsakes and the owner there is a very nice woman and didn't have a problem when we asked if she participated in Dora dollars. We can't say enough about what a glorious time we had. We sincerely thank everyone for all the attention and good will we felt.

We love Mt Dora and can't wait to return to our favorite escape. We would like to make one suggestion, It would be really helpful if the winners were given a list of merchants who accept Dora Dollars with the packet. A few times it was embarrassing for us as some shop keepers didn't know or had to ask someone and it was a bit tense in a few situations. Otherwise IT WAS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE!!!

Thank you again,
Fondly.
Arlene + Frank Miracola
North Port Florida

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One of Mount Dora's own on national television.

A little congratulations are in order for one of Mount Dora's own! Co-owner of the Tremain Street Cottages and Travel Channel videographer Rachelle Lucas has made her way to "Daytime" TV. You can see the segment here of Rachelle making sweet potato muffins on the syndicated TV program "Daytime" starring hosts David Nemeth and Cyndi Edwards. Rachelle has been invited back to share more recipes in the future.


Rachelle maintains a popular food & travel blog entitled "Inn The Kitchen" where she catalogues fabulous recipes from innkeepers around the country. Stay tuned as we travel the United States bringing you the best each innkeeper has to offer. Yes, Rachelle does drag me along on her journeys, do you think she carries her own camera equipment? lol...

Brian

A Taste of Chicago in Mount Dora.




John Kennedy came to Mount Dora last winter with his wife Susan for a little visit and as so often happens they fell in love with our little town, bought a house, moved here and opened up two businesses. In fact, they took an empty eyesore of a corner on 3rd Ave & Donnelly St and revitalized it completely bringing color and life to a particularly uninspiring section of town!










John took his passion for food and business and turned it into "A Taste of Chicago" where you can experience the world famous "Chicago Dog" right here in Mount Dora. John tells me that every ounce of ingredients in his hot dogs comes from Chicago right down to the potato chips. 100% Vienna Beef will be found in these authentic Chicago Dogs.

John says the locals are very excited about the location and are very supportive. I can certainly say that in these particular economic times John has a price point that is attractive to almost anyone wanting to eat out on occasion. So much so that last Saturday John ran completely out of his newly popular Italian beef.


A Taste of Chicago will be open during season from 11am til later in the evening depending on traffic. With the fabulous weather around the corner guests can enjoy the outdoor seating area on the sidewalk or in the courtyard.

Downtown Mount Dora merchant's can enjoy an extra treat when they visit, 15% off all orders all of the time. If you are a City employee you will get 25% off!



Here is a sampling of what's on the menu:

Chicago Spicy Dog $3.59
American Cheese Dog $3.09
Swiss Cheese Dog $3.09
Baked Bean & Onion Dog $3.29

And on and on it goes....

Visit A Taste of Chicago on the corner of 3rd Ave and Donnelly St for your authentic Chicago Dog experience right here in Mount Dora.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween Ghost Walk Tours!


Mount Dora Ghost Walk sponsored by Mount Dora Historical Society

Dates: Oct 16th & 17th, 28th, 29th 30th 31st

7:30pm, 8:00pm, 8:30pm & 9:30pm

Price: $13.00 Under 12 is $10.00 advanced reservations required

Location: Tours originate at the Mount Dora History Museum 450

Royellou Lane and beginn with Borgias puppet show

Description: Lantern led tour of the shadowy alleys and streets of Old Mount Dora. History combined with legend and ghosts. Stories about the Old Train Depot, The Lakeside Inn, Goblin Market, Drawdy Lane, Historic Mount Dora Inn and the Haunted Jail Cell are just a few stops on your 1 hour, ½ mile journey begins with a 15 minute interior performance prior to tour. Call (352) 406-5672. or Email us at mountdoraghostwalk@yahoo.com

Reservations required and confirmed based on availability and in order received visit www.mountdoraghostwalk.com for more information

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Guest Blog by Janet Craig, owner of Mt. Dora Sushi & Steak


In addition to owning Mt. Dora Sushi & Steak Janet Craig is a board member of the Mount Dora Village Merchant's & Business Association, Inc. and serves as the association's marketing chairperson. Janet also maintains a blog on the Mt. Dora Sushi & Steak website and a super successful Twitter site with over 16,000 followers and counting!



It all started with a KISS at Mt Dora Sushi

“If you only do what you know you can do, you'll never do very much.”
- Krause

It all started with this blog back in Mar 09 about how I reluctantly became an "actress" in a FOX TV commercial to promote our great little town- Mount Dora, Florida.
At the time I was on the ad committee of the MDVMBA (Mt Dora merch assn) but didn't want to be in the commercial. Mt Dora Sushi was only 1yr old and required my full time attention and besides, I'm not into the fame. It was here on the "set" I met Brian Young. I knew Brian and his girlfriend Rachelle owned the popular Tremain St Cottages and Brian created and runs www.WhatToDoInMountDora.com but we were not in the same social circles.
We immediately connected as he chatted up the importance of blogging, marketing and social media. These days I look forward to date night when Brian and Rachelle meet me and Eric at one of our other great little downtown
Mount Dora restaurants
.


Brian and Rachelle have inspired us at Mt Dora Sushi to look outside of our marketing box and promote, promote, promote..and o
ur friendship is blossoming into a huge media bouquet thats smelling pretty darn sweet.

The blog about the commercial shoot was the very first posted by Mt Dora Sushi. Rachelle has a great blog about being an innkeeper. Brian also has a blog about whats going on in Mount Dora.

In the past few months Brian and I organized a fantastic event to promote downtown Mount Dora..the Highwayman Artwalk. I learned the importance of a press release, posters and how much promoting an event needs to be successful.
It generated huge sales for the merchants and a front page newspaper article mentioning our promotional efforts.
..Yay for Mount Dora! We all need the business right now in this snowbird economy driven town in the middle of July...and we actually had fun doing it.

After that we were urged to Twitter and today we have over 15,000 followers! Its actually a fun competition between Brian(@mountdora) Rachelle(@travelblggr) and Mt Dora Sushi (@mtdorasushi)...at least on my end. I love to have customers come in because they read Takashi and me tweeting facts or the days events. It's hugely satisfying.

I admit my blogging has suffered but am determined to get it all balanced...
From Twitter came an introduction to a Tampa food personality and author Jaden Hair(@steamykitchen) ...and here I am.
With sweating hands and high anxiety I am faced with an early morning drive to NBC in Tampa to shoot a cooking segment for television....all about making miso soup, lol. It will air on Sept 23 09. I found out its all scripted and I guess it isn't about the soup at all..I have 15 "free speak" seconds. That's 15 seconds to tell the world we are here.
Jaden has a great cookbook "Steamy Kitchen" and Rachelle is working on a recipe book featuring innkeepers...seriously thinking about creating a Mt Dora Sushi roll cookbook now...hmm..from little town sushi chef to being the #1 ranked sushi bar on Twitter , to TV, to author???
...........and it all started with a kiss.
See the Original Fox TV commercial w/Brian and Janet HERE

You can contact Brian to get promotional ideas OR you can find him in our beer garden or at the sushi bar most any night... and he always gets his wine for free.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Shop til you drop at the End of Summer Sidewalk Sale!

Bidding adieu to the Summer and welcoming in our Fall and Winter Season is just one good reason for Mount Dora's Downtown shops and merchants to hold the End of Summer Sidewalk Sale!! Many merchants and store owners will be putting sale items on display outside their storefronts for visitors and potential buyers to better view the unique items available for purchase at special discounted prices! From Friday, starting at 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. that night, and Saturday from 10 until 8 and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. Mount Dora's shops and sidewalks will be overflowing with an abundance of many wonderful and terrific savings for the shopper in all of us!! To add to the excitement of all of these fantastic shopping opportunities, many of our restaurants will be hosting live entertainment for your listening enjoyment and dining pleasure!

So make plans to come to Downtown Mount Dora and SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP on Friday, Saturday and Sunday September 25th, 26th and 27th!

For more information about the event, call 352-383-2165

This End of Summer Sidewalk Sale is sponsored by The Mount Dora Area Chamber of Commerce and the Mount Dora Village Merchants and Business Association.

Source: Mount Dora Village Merchants & Business Association

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Piglet's Pantry receives "Outstanding Merchandising Award!"


Congrats to our very own Piglet's Pantry and owner's Carla & Edson Pereira on their most recent accomplishment. Pet Products News International has awarded them the prestigious "Outstanding Merchandising Award." This award is one of eleven given annually as part of of the "Retailer of the Year Award Program" administered by Pet Products News International.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Social Media, are you missing the boat?

The basic tenants of advertising, marketing and promotion are being redefined as we move into 2010 and beyond. According to advertising agencies around the country a presence on emerging social media platforms is a "top priority" for most businesses! See this fabulous article in Online Media Daily by Joe Mandese, Study Finds Social Nets 'Realistically' Near Top Of 2010 Media Buying Plans.

Funny thing is, I was told just over a year ago by someone considering himself an online expert in Mount Dora that this stuff was for 14 year old's and insomniacs! I just smiled and thought of IBM boardroom execs telling Bill Gates/Microsoft that his software was not important in comparison to the hardware! Nothing like a little closed mindedness to help your company completely "miss the boat!"

Nothing is certain in regards to Social Media except for the obvious fact that it has caught on like wildfire and many of the world's largest corporations are embracing it now and into the future. And you can bet on the continuing evolution of Social Media with changes happening almost daily. My hats off to the many Mount Dora residents and businesses that have gotten on board and taken up the challenge of Social Media.

I was recently interviewed for an article that has made it's way around the online world and kept me busy answering questions from folks who have read the article (Mount Dora man proves Twitter is powerful marketing tool by Rori Paul) and are now contacting me trying to figure this whole thing out. Rori Paul (@roritravel on Twitter), a freelance travel and travel marketing writer, found me on Twitter a few months back and began to follow me. I recall that when I first became aware of her I had less than 2,000 followers on my @MountDora Twitter account. As you can see I am now over 10,000 followers and growing steadily.

What does it all mean? For me the simple answer is "bookings" for Tremain Street Cottages and "lots of internet traffic" for WhatToDoInMountDora.com. And the cost of this style of marketing, a cup of coffee and few pennies a day of electricity and hi-speed wireless internet! But the intangible part of the equation, the stuff that money cannot buy, the connections, the public relations aspect, let me share that with you:


The Twitter connection made with on-air TV personality, Tampa Tribune columnist and top 50 food blogger (in the world), Jaden Hair, has proven to be an ongoing cornucopia of public relations with no end in sight! Jaden is a regular on the syndicated network TV program "Daytime." On September 21st our very own Janet Craig from Mt Dora Sushi Co. (@MtDoraSushi on Twitter) will be on "Daytime" with Jaden exploring the intricacies of Miso soup, and on September 22nd our very own Rachelle Lucas (@Travelblggr on Twitter) will be on "Daytime" making muffins from the recipe of one of our Mount Dora BnB's. Janet and Rachelle will be promoting Mount Dora in a big way on national TV to over 106 stations. How do you put a price on that???







Jaden has posted two blogs (Steamy Kitchen is her blog site) about Mount Dora since visiting us twice now. Her blog receives 150,000 unique visitors per month which is no small number to be sure! She did a nice story on the Uni Shooter recipe from Mt Dora Sushi Co. and a great story on Jim Tuttle's savory souffle recipe. Jim's story and recipe also ended up in the Sunday edition Life section of the Tampa Tribune last weekend in addition to their online version one week prior to that. The Uni Shooter story has an eco-friendly side that will likely get it into the prestiguous "Florida Aquarium" magazine. As I write this even more fabulous opportunities with Jaden are emerging, stay tuned for exciting details.




Freelance writer and Twitter contact Rori Paul (@roritravel on Twitter) has written a number of Mount Dora related articles that I will list below:
1. Mount Dora man is role model for using Twitter marketing.
2. Mount Dora man proves Twitter is powerful marketing tool.
3. Mount Dora's Tremain Street Cottages: In the heart of things!



Mount Dora Examiner and Twitter contact Jeff Titelius (@JeffTitelius on Twitter) has written six Mount Dora articles which you may read on his Examiner page.





Orlando Sentinel "Animal Crazy" columnist and Twitter contact Daphne Sashin (@DSashin on Twitter) wrote about "Yappy Hour" in Mount Dora after accepting our invitation on Twitter to come up and check it all out.

And these are just a few of the examples I can point to regarding the ongoing promotion for Mount Dora resulting from Twitter contacts I have made in the past six months. It is difficult to put a dollar amount on all of the above and the continuing promotion we are receiving 24/7 resulting from all of this Social Media interaction. Especially since all of the above was unknown and unintended. Now that "what is possible" is a known quantity you can bet I will ride this promotional horse as far as it will go! Stay tuned for updates and more exciting opportunities on the horizon!

Ciao from Mount Dora,
Brian

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Put on your shoes & relax at Donnelly Euro Footwear.

September Super Savings for V.I.P.'s

We have to make room for thousands of new shoes coming in the store starting in October.

Greetings!

This is your chance to save REALLY BIG on the brands you love most. The BUY 3 GET 1 FREE special can be used on any Mephisto, Rieker, NAOT, Birkenstock, UGGS sandal, or Simple footwear.

There are even steeper discounts on discontinued styles and colors. 20% to 60% OFF. Even these sale shoes can be used in the BUY 3 GET 1 FREE event. Hurry in because they are going fast.

Sale ends when they are all gone!

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Jim and Mary Ella Timberlake
Donnelly Euro Footwear

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gluten Free Pizza is Cooking in Mount Dora, FL


PizzAmore, downtown Mount Dora, has introduced a gluten free pizza, in addition to its made to order, full pizza & pasta

menu, with its recent relocation. PizzAmore is nestled in the heart of historic downtown. For more info, call

352.383.0092 or click www.YouLovePizza.com

* * * * * * *

PizzAmore has moved to its new location at 622 North Donnelly Road between 6th and 7th Avenues in the

heart of downtown Mount Dora. With the change of location, PizzAmore has also expanded its business

hours and is now open 7 days a week.

Celebrating its first year in business this past June, PizzAmore serves authentic, fresh made, hand tossed

pizzas, pastas, salads and sweets. PizzAmore also features Italian wines, along with domestic & imported

beers. “We’re so excited with our new location”, says Leigh Love, “we’ve been able to keep the casual,

warm and inviting feel to our place, plus improved our overall dining space and experience for our

customers.” Love co-owns the bistro together with Jesse Thomas, the chef who created PizzAmore’s

widely popular, hand-tossed dough, made fresh daily.

PizzAmore uses garden fresh veggie toppings, along with a wide selection of favorite pizza toppers, and

has now introduced a pizza crust just for gluten-free pizza lovers. “It took us quite a while to find just that

right recipe for our gluten-free crust; we held off until we were sure that we could create a crust that both

tastes and provides that same experience as its wheat counterpart” said Thomas. “There’s a growing

segment of our customer base that have a sensitivity to or an intolerance for wheat, yet still want their

pizza”, said Love, “so we’re excited to be able offer this option for our customers”.

Thomas says that PizzAmore will be hosting pizza & beer pairings and creating other special events at the

bistro, as they settle into their new location.

For more about PizzAmore, please call 352.383.0092 or click www.youlovepizza.com

###

Business: PizzAmore

Contact: Leigh Love

Email: leigh@youlovepizza.com

Phone 352.383.0092

Address 622 N. Donnelly Street

City/Town Mount Dora

State/Province Florida

Zip 32757

Country United States

Link to Press Release: Guten Free Pizza in Mount Dora