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 Janet's behind the scenes look can be found on her Mt Dora Sushi Blog.

See you at next year's zombie crawl.


Monday, November 9, 2009

18th Annual Christmas Walk in Mount Dora.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brian E. Young
Phone: (866) 683-6722

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

"Satisfy Your Cravings" at

The popular food & travel blog 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

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

Stay tuned.


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

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 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 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.


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 To see more of Jim's work visit his website at For a gallery of available stock photos please visit:


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.