Friday, February 6, 2009
Mount Dora Center for the Arts Presents - The 34th Annual Art Festival
Downtown has got a busy hum to it this week as the merchants prepare for the big Art Festival this weekend. As a local, I thought I'd offer some tips for visitors. To see some photos of last years event check out our photo gallery on the website.
1. Arrive Early! During the Craft Fair this past October, I took my dog for a walk around 9:00 a.m. and the crowds were not yet bumping shoulders in the streets. Getting here that early provides you with ample time to find excellent parking, grab a cup of coffee and meander the streets as the vendors tidy up any last minute details before the official start time at 10:00. You'll also be able to get a much better view of the artwork if you are in a more serious buying mood.
2. Wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot to see spread out all throughout the town. And, if you've never been here before we do have quite a bit of an incline on some of our streets. They don't call us "Mount" Dora for nothing.
3. Bring some canvas shopping bags. If you got bags on wheels, even better. As you make your purchases, you'll be thankful that you have something to carry them all in. There is a great little store on Donnelly called Whispering Winds that sells expandable market bags. What I love about these is that you can bunch them up into a ball and throw them in your purse ... but they expand big enough to hold about four beach towels.
4. Bring a bottled water and a snack. We do have some great restaurants and coffee shops downtown, however the crowds will get big around lunchtime. The food will definitely be worth the wait. But if you plan on making a day of this event then you'll be happy you have a little something to hold you over.
5. Don't forget your sunglasses. I've done this one before. It's kind of annoying to have to squint and cup your hands over your eyes to see anything. Even better ... wear a hat.
6. Wear sunscreen. Even though you will probable slip into some shops and restaurants downtown, most of the festival is outdoors.
7. Do not bring your pets. Only dogs used for medical purposes will be permitted. Othewise, you'll get all the way here and be turned away at the baracades.
8. Bring cash or your check book. There are usually some art vendors that accept credit cards ... but you don't want to test your luck. There is a walk-up ATM at the Bank of America on the corner of Alexandar & 5th in case you forget.
9. If you want to wheel-n-deal it is better to come later in the afternoon on Sunday.
10. Most importantly ... HAVE FUN! This is a fantastic event with over 285 artists from around the world. And this time of year should bestow great weather for the weekend.