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Planning to attend the 2nd Annual Wings and Wildflowers Festival Oct. 4-6 at Hickory Point Park in Tavares? If so, remember the early bird gets the worm, but in this case, the early bird gets the seeds and a chance to win a pair of Nikon binoculars.

The first 100 people to arrive at the festival each day will be given a wildflower seed packet containing Lanceleaf Coreopsis seeds provided by the Lake County Economic Development & Tourism Department.

“As part of the festival, we are highlighting the importance of using native plants in both restoration of park lands and in use for household gardens,” said Debi Dyer, tourism program supervisor for Lake County’s Economic Development & Tourism Department. “By giving away native plant seeds at the festival, we are hoping that people will go back to their homes or communities and start their own native plant gardens.”

The premiere package, which sells for $100, is available to the first 20 participants who register online at www.wingsandwildflowers.com/Activities/Details/121. The package features:

  • Reserved seating at the keynote dinner featuring James Currie, host of NBC Sports’ Nikon Birding Adventures at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora
  • A small black canvas expandable pack with removable shoulder strap stuffed with Hobie® Sunscreen with carabineer and Hobie® all-natural lip balm
  • A poster, tote bag and wildflower-seed packet with commemorative festival artwork
  • A 2nd Annual Wings & Wildflowers Festival T-shirt
  • A festival water bottle that can be filled at water refill stations around Hickory Point Park during the festival
  • Lake County, Florida maps and brochures
  • An entry for a drawing to win a pair of Nikon Monarch 3 – 8×24 Binoculars (two drawings will take place).

The package, sponsored by Hobie Kayaks and Florida from a Kayak, also includes a special paddle excursion narrated by James Currie. Participants will set off from the Astatula Boat Ramp, 12703 Florida Ave., Astatula, for an exclusive kayak tour of one of Lake County’s most popular Blueway trails – the Lake Harris Run. Participants can choose one of two dates to experience the kayak trip, 7:30 to 10 a.m. on either Saturday, Oct. 5 or Sunday, Oct. 6.

Online registration closes for all events at the festival on Friday, Sept. 20, including the premiere package. For more information about the 2nd Annual Wings and Wildflowers Festival, or to view or register for events, visit www.WingsAndWildflowers.com.

The 2nd Annual Wings and Wildflowers Festival is being sponsored by the Lakeside Inn of Mount Dora; Akers Media Group/Lake-Sumter Style Magazine; Hobie Cat Company; the Lake County Water Authority; The Leesburg Partnership; Christian Home & Bible School; Classic Tents & Events; Mission Inn Resort & Club; Classic Tents & Events; Chick-fil-A; City of Leesburg; Duke Energy; Farnsworth House Bed & Breakfast; Florida from a Kayak; Florida Native Plant Society, Lake Beautyberry Chapter; Florida Wildflower Foundation; Glasscat Design; Lakeview Inn of Tavares; McLin Education Foundation; Mount Dora Community Trust; Nikon; Ocklawaha Valley Audubon Society; Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve (PEAR) Association; PAL Realty; Promise Habitat Services, LLC; SECO Energy; Shananne Cain Florist; Trout Lake Nature Center; and Publix.

Lake County will host the Second Annual Wings and Wildflower Festival on the weekend of Oct. 4 through 6, and residents and visitors are invited to celebrate the diversity and wonder of local birds and during numerous field trips. Lake County Florida 2nd Annual Wings and Wildflowers Festival  - October 4-6, 2013 - Hickory Point recreational park, Tavares
Lake County’s birding festival will take place at Hickory Point Recreational Park, 27341 State Road 19, Tavares. The event will feature locales including the Lake Apopka Restoration Area, a tour of the Scrub-jay Trail, the Green Swamp, the Dora Canal and the Ocala National Forest.
Unique birding and wildflower programs at Hickory Point Recreational Park will feature acclaimed speakers, authors, birding and native plant experts, and a host of eco-friendly opportunities for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Specialty field trips will be offered by pontoon boat, kayak and Conestoga wagon, at locations including Little Lake Harris, Palatlakaha River Park, the Dora Canal and Clay Island Preserve. Renowned field experts will lead wildlife and nature walks and tours.
The festival’s keynote speakers will be Jeffrey A. Gordon, president of the American Birding Association;  James Currie, the host of NBC Sports’ “Nikon Birding Adventures”; and Walter Taylor, Florida Wildflower Foundation, Professor Emeritus of University of Central Florida.
For more information about field trips, activities, speakers and guides, accommodations, media and registration, visit www.WingsAndWildflowers.com.
Discover LakeThe Lake County Economic Development and Tourism Department has created a new program called “Discover Lake,” designed with our visitors in mind. The card offers discounts at all participating restaurants, attractions and hotels.  Visitors who stay at least one night in a participating hotel and visit at least four other participating establishments will receive a special Lake County gift pack by mail.
“Lake County has so much to offer, and this is a way for us to engage our visitors and establish Lake County as a premiere tourist destination,” said Robert Chandler, director of Lake County’s Economic Development and Tourism Department.
The “Discover Lake Card” is currently available at the following locations:
  • Economic Development & Tourism Dept., 315 W. Main St., Suite 233, Tavares
  • Lake County Welcome Center, 20763 U.S. Highway 27, Groveland
  • The Five Florida Welcome Centers
  • Chambers of Commerce in Lake County
  • Participating Partner locations
For more information about the Discover Lake Card or to sign up, visit www.lakecountyfl.com/discoverlake. For businesses interested in becoming a member of the Discover Lake Card program, please go to www.lakecountyfl.com/discoverlake participate or call Debi Dyer with the Lake County Economic Development and Tourism Department at 352-742-3924.

 Birds love Lake County; they flock to Lake Apopka, Emeralda Marsh, Hilochee Wildlife Management Area and several other wild areas, providing countless enticing outdoor recreational opportunities. Bird diversitWIngs & Wildflowers Festival - September 28-30, 2012y is extraordinary in the Lake Apopka Restoration Area, where the bird list includes more than 300 different species. For wildflower and native plant enthusiasts, many diverse and lovely settings can be found throughout the county.

Plans are now under way to include specialty field trips to area preserves and public lands that offer a mosaic of habitats. Additional programming and details will soon be available.

The festival will be presented in close partnership with the Lake County Parks and Trails Division, the Florida Scrub-jay Consortium, the Ocklawaha Valley Audubon Society, Trout Lake Nature Preserve, St. John’s River Water Management, the Lake County Water Authority, Lake Louisa State Park and the Lake Beautyberry Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.

For more information, visit www.lakecountyfl.com/birding or contact Kathy Pagan at kpagan@lakecountyfl.gov, 352 429 4755.

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Go Savage in Lake

The Savage Race comes to Lake County this Saturday, come rain, shine, or Irene. This extreme race, with a 3.2 mile course covering grueling terrain, demanding obstacles and a rugged race course is not your average 5K run. Typical obstacles include fire jumps, barbed wire, mud crawls, climbing walls, cargo nets, lake swims, and several twists with unexpected challenges thrown in. Guaranteed to test endurance and pump adrenaline! I had an opportunity to do a run-through in an off road vehicle – and that was even exhilarating. But then I love watching TV’s Amazing Race and Expedition.  For the real savage athletes, participating is more like auditioning for Seal Team 6. Spectators get to participate too.  The audience chooses the winner of the “Most Savage Costume” contest. Some participants have even competed in tiaras and fairy wings. Each Savage Race is followed by a Savage Celebration.  Spectators can enjoy live music from renowned musician Chris McCarty, great BBQ food from Texas Smoke House, celebratory beverages and vendors offering deep discounts for goods and services.

Be sure to bring garden chairs to sit on as you cheer home the muddy, bruised, bloodied and happy that it is all over racers. Entrance is free for spectators and parking is $10.00 per car so you may wish to car pool.

Don’t miss the Savage Race this Saturday, August 27, at 9 a.m. at Revolution the Off Road Experience, located at 4000 State Road 33 in Clermont. After all, a hurricane is just another challenge to overcome.

Bella Faire’s Annual Fashion Designers Showcase 2011 epitomizes the fashion scene in  Lake County and celebrates Central Florida’s unique style.  This event will showcase talented designers from the State of Florida, while presenting their collections to fashion professionals and individual consumers.  Fashion designers will compete with a Signature Piece from their Collection in several categories. Winners take home bragging rights and a cash award. This all takes place August 6 at Mission Inn Resort, Howey-in-the-Hills.  Proceeds will benefit Sunrise Arc,  a non-profit agency that helps clients  achieve their highest potential.  This highly anticipated red carpet charity event will feature a luxury fashion show featuring music, dancing, live performances, silent auction, exhibits, a VIP Soiree, art and voting for best signature piece in swimwear, formal wear, most unique and casual fashions.

“This Showcase is particularly special because all proceeds during the VIP Soiree’s Silent Auction will benefit SunriseArc. The Silent Auction will feature Original Motown photographs taken in the 60s featuring the Beatles, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and more. The auction will also feature a few paintings from the clients at SunriseArc,” said Cecilia Brown, Co-Owner of Bella Faire.

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