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Mount Dora: Eight big weekend festivals plus year-round charm

Last updated on June 17th, 2022 at 07:47 pm

With its beautiful location on a lake plus a lush old oak canopy and even a few hills, Mount Dora has been attracting visitors for 150 years. In the last few decades, leaders in the town have devised a fomula to keep the visitors coming — a steady schedule of festivals and special events.

The many Mount Dora festivals bring people to patronize the downtown stores and restaurants. Residents might complain about the traffic, but these events and the visitors make Mount Dora more lively than many historic small towns in Florida.

The Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora is a grand old hotel with a porch full of rocking chairs, a beautiful view of Lake Dora and several historic buildings, including this one at the entrance to the complex. It's popular with those attending Mount Dora festivals (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
The Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora is a grand old hotel with a porch full of rocking chairs, a beautiful view of Lake Dora and several historic buildings, including this one at the entrance to the complex. It’s popular with those attending Mount Dora festivals (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Located within 40 minutes of northwest Orlando, Mount Dora has resisted high rises and cookie-cutter commerce and attempted to retain its small-town charm.

More from Florida Rambler: 12 things I love about Mount Dora

Mount Dora festivals make it a destination for antique lovers, art lovers and crafters. Many accommodations in town have special (higher) rates for “festival weekends,” which includes the three-times-a-year Antique Extravaganzas at sprawling Renninger’s Antique Center.

Some might have preferred the less perfect Mount Dora of a few decades ago, but there’s no use pining for it. Mount Dora is still a good base for exploring one of the best areas of Florida for outdoor activities.

There are other smaller weekend celebrations, too, but the busiest weekends and biggest draws are these eight, according to city officials:

Mount Dora festivals: The historic Donnelly House is across the street from Donnelly park, where many special events occur.
Mount Dora festivals: The historic Donnelly House is across the street from Donnelly park, where many special events occur. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

2022 Mount Dora festivals

Downtown Mount Dora is lined with shops and cafes.
Festivals in Mount Dora: The downtown is lined with shops and cafes. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
  • October 2022. The 45th Annual Bicycle Festival, which attracts 1,000 cyclists. Here are details from Florida Rambler.
  • Oct. 22-23, 2022. Annual Craft Fair. This is a juried event that attracts top crafters from around the country. It also draws 200,000 visitors.
  • Nov. 12-13, 2022. Plant & Garden Festival. There are garden tours the same weekend. Information 352-729-2170.
  • Nov. 18-20, 2022. Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza. The final major antique event of the year is scheduled to be held.
  • December – January. The annual Christmas lights festival. As if Mount Dora isn’t pretty enough, the city gets decorated with two million lights. They flip the switch the Saturday after Thanksgiving and there are a series of holiday events on the next weekend: the Christmas Walk, a holiday street party, a holiday parade during the day and lighted boat parade at night. The lights stay on through January. Details on the Christmas lights festival are here.
  • There are actually many more smaller festivals. Get the complete updates list here.

2023 festivals in Mount Dora

Most 2023 dates are not available yet.

  • January 2023. Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza. More than 800 antique dealers converge on Mount Dora for this big outdoor show. The admission price says it all: $10 on Friday, when you can scoop up the best stuff; $6 Saturday; and then $4 Sunday. The event is repeated three times a year, the third weekend of November, January and February.
  • Feb. 4-5, 2023. The  Annual Arts Festival spreads out throughout the downtown, attracting 285 artists and thousands of visitors. As of mid-January, this festival is still scheduled.
  • February, 2023. Annual Scottish Highland Festival. This gated event with a $10 admission ticket features Scottish bands and musicians all the weekend at Donnelly Park. and an afternoon of Highland Games in Gilbert Park on Saturday from 10 a.m. ot 5 p.m. Details.
  • February, 2023. Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza returns for a second winter weekend, with the same abundance of antiques and curiosities, dealers and customers. That weekend is also the Mount Dora Music Festival.
One of the booths at Renninger's Antique Center, in Mount Dora near Orlando. The antique center stages several festivals in Mount Dora that are big draws. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
One of the booths at Renninger’s Antique Center, in Mount Dora. Renninger’s stages several festivals in Mount Dora that are big draws. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Resources for planning a visit to Mount Dora:

The lighthouse along the lake in historic Mount Dora, near Orlando.
The lighthouse along the lake in historic Mount Dora, near Orlando. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Things to do near Mount Dora

This region is full of state parks, state and national forests and hiking, biking and kayak trails. Here are a few of our favorites:

A note from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning your trip.

This page may include affiliate links from which we may earn a modest commission if a purchase is made. More often, we include free courtesy links to small businesses, such as kayak outfitters, from whom we receive no commission. 

This article is the property of FloridaRambler.com and is protected by U.S. Copyright Law. Re-publication without written permission is against the law.


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Leslie Servoss

Monday 20th of September 2021

Can you send mevendo info on the arts and crafts show. Thank you Leslie

Brian Young

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

@Leslie Servoss, visit www.FestivalsWithJanet.com

Bonnie Gross

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

We report on festivals; we don't run or organize them. You'll have to contact the festival organizers for that.

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