Lake County offers a great variety of entertainment choices to celebrate our nation’s birth.
You are cordially invited to visit the White House; specifically the miniature now on display at the Presidents’ Hall of Fame. This is a must-see attraction for all those proud to wear red, white, and blue.  The White House replica weighs over ten tons, and has just returned home to Clermont from the Ronald Reagan Library and Foundation in California.  From coast to coast, history buffs, families, veterans, artisans and patriotic folks have been enthralled with the detailed craftsmanship and awed by such a personal glimpse into the Oval Office, Lincoln’s Bedroom, Library and more.
A labor of love since the early 70’s, museum curator and owner John Zweifel invites us all to share his passion and pride in the White House and our country’s history. Many of Lake County’s parents who once visited this exhibition as scouts or students are excited to bring their own children to visit this local treasure, and proudly welcome its return.
For this weekend, Friday-Monday, the Presidents Hall of Fame Museum on Highway 27 in Clermont will be open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.  Be sure to visit this exceptional one-of-a-kind attraction for more “ooohs” and “aaahs” as you celebrate July 4th.


Come discover and celebrate Florida’s largest land mammal with the City of Umatilla during the Twelfth Annual Florida Black Bear Festival on Saturday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cadwell Park, located at 4 Cassady St. in Umatilla.

The festival is presented by a partnership of Defenders of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, City of Umatilla, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Umatilla Chamber of Commerce and others.

The one-day educational event is fun for all ages as thousands of Floridians and guests are expected to attend the free bash in honor of the black bear. A popular highlight of the festival is the two-hour field trips into Ocala National Forest bear habitat conducted by the U.S. Forest Service.

The field trips are by bus and include a moderate hike to a site where the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists will provide participants with interactive lessons about bear biology, behavior and management. Reservations fill quickly on a first-come basis and festival attendees are encouraged to register early to reserve a spot.

The festival also features heritage visits to the historic Carr Cabin, built in 1938 from local and scavenged materials, now an inspiring natural retreat. Or take the Black Bear Scenic Byway tour, with inside information on wildlife, recreational opportunities, and land conservation en route.

“The Florida Black Bear Festival is a fun event full of activities, presentations and field trips that provide participants with information about how bears live; bear behavior; how we can avoid attracting them to our homes; and how we can live and recreate in bear country safely” said Susan R. Martin, Executive Director of the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce.

There is plenty of family-friendly fun on-site with an interactive children’s area, great food and entertainment, exhibits, demonstrations, movies, author’s presentations, crafts and more. For more information visit  www.umatillachamber.org/blackbearfest.

What happens when a small town in Lake County, Fla. has a Christmas festival that includes a home decorating competition? The whole town sparkles with both lights and excitement.

Scheduled for Friday, Dec. 10 & Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010, the second annual Howey Christmas Festival is one of the largest events for Howey-in-the Hills, a town of just over 1,000 residents. Last year’s festival boasted over 600 visitors that journeyed from surrounding areas to catch a glimpse of this picturesque town located among rolling hills and situated along the shoreline of Little Lake Harris.

This year’s event begins with a “Party in the Park” on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. that includes karoke, holiday music and a Christmas tree competition featuring trees submitted by Astatula Elementary, Lake Hills School, Lake County Library System and The Boy Scouts of Central Florida. Saturday’s festivities are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a craft show, live entertainment, food vendors, car show and a 3 p.m. parade with a visit from Santa and the Grinch.

“The craft and car shows are just a few of the biggest features the festival has to offer,” said Peggy Ernest, co-organizer of the event.

The town is also hosting a House Christmas Light Decorating Competition, with winners being announced at Friday night’s event. Homes entered will be judged in three categories, religious theme, a WOW category and a Clark Griswold bright and excessive theme.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get into the holiday spirit, “said Debi Dyer, Tourism Coordinator with Lake County Tourism & Business Relations. “We’re excited for visitors to explore one of Lake County’s beautiful towns while it is aglow with twinkling lights, and festive cheer.”

The event began with just a hometown local Christmas parade and blossomed into a two-day event. The Festival helps promote local vendors, along with encouraging the community to get the holiday season off to a merry start.


The Annual Howey-in-the-Hills Christmas Festival is held each December in downtown Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.  The 2010 Festival is scheduled for Dec. 10-11.  For more information, call John Ernest at (352) 348-9925 or log on to www.howey.org and click onto special events.

Howey Christmas Festival

Howey Christmas Festival

The City of Tavares’ annual Light-up event entitled “A Picture Perfect Christmas” will take place on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Ruby and Main Streets in downtown. This year’s event will feature one of the largest parades ever in the history of Tavares. After enjoying the rousing sights, sounds, and excitement of the parade, brave a “snow storm” and enjoy the magic of a synchronized holiday light show. Musical entertainment will be provided by inspiring choirs and local youth. Fun activities include ice skating, wagon rides, tasty seasonal treats and a community holiday slide show.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for great family memories, so come out to Main Street in Tavares this Saturday to create “A Picture Perfect Christmas”. See you there!

The Lake County Parks & Trails Division is hosting upcoming bird surveys at two of Lake County’s scenic parks.

On Friday, Dec. 3 from 7 to 10:30 a.m., experienced and novice bird-watchers are invited to help Lake County park rangers survey PEAR Park, located at 5336 University Ave., Leesburg, for wintering birds like Sedge Wren, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Hermit Thrush while enjoying the beauty of Lake County’s largest park.

On the following day, Saturday, Dec. 4 from 7 to 10:30 a.m., team up with park rangers at Ferndale Preserve, located off County Road 455 in South Lake County, to survey the preserve for wintering birds like Common Loon, Ash-throated Flycatcher and Painted Buntings. The 192-acre preserve is on the western shore of Lake Apopka and has a combined equestrian and hiking trail that offers stunning vistas of Lake Apopka and the surrounding areas.

It is helpful, but not necessary for participants at both events to be able to identify most common species by sight or sound. All survey-takers must have their own binoculars and field guides, and are encouraged to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat and hiking shoes. Space is limited, so reservations are required.

For more information or reservations, call the Lake County Parks & Trails Division at (352) 253-4950, e-mail parksandtrails@lakecountyfl.gov or log on to http://www.lakecountyfl.gov/parks.

The 16th Annual Mount Dora Plant & Garden Fair is being held Nov. 6 & 7 in downtown Mount Dora.

When summer’s heat abates, gardeners know it’s time to head to Mount Dora and its breezy lakefrMount Dora Plant & Garden Festivalont park, Simpson Cove. The downtown park, with its red-and-white lighthouse, is a half-block from the busy shopping district.

Whether they garden on several acres or on a windowsill, people know they can count on the Mount Dora Plant & Garden Fair for rare and unusual plants.

“Many people new to Florida don’t realize we grow annuals in the fall and winter,” said Christine Cole, the event’s chairman. “Also, fall is the best time to plant most shrubs and ornamentals, such as camellias. Woody plants need time to put down roots before temperatures rise again.”

Central Florida’s finest growers bring more than 12,000 plants to the event, which features orchid growers and includes native plants, butterfly-attracting perennials, herbs, roses, camellias, begonias with a complete selection of rare and unusual tropical plants.

But great gardens depend on more than plants only. The Fair brings together purveyors of wrought-iron, containers, garden antiques and garden and patio décor.

For more information about the Fair, call Ms. Cole at (352) 357-4116.

LEESBURG & DELAND — The Lake County Parks & Trails Division is hosting a bird & butterfly survey on Friday, Nov. 12, and a nature hike on Saturday, Nov. 13.

The bird & butterfly survey is scheduled from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at PEAR Park, located at 5336 University Ave., Leesburg. Experienced volunteers are invited to help conduct bird and butterfly surveys. Participants must be able to identify most common species by sight or sound and have their own binoculars and field guides.

The nature hike is from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Pine Forest Park, located at 32520 State Road 44, Deland. During the hike, park rangers will identify numerous plant species and will point out how the park is being managed for Florida Scrub Jays and its diverse wildlife population.

Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, field guides, water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat and hiking shoes. Reservations are required.

For more information or reservations, call the Lake County Parks & Trails Division at (352) 253-4950, e-mail parksandtrails@lakecountyfl.gov or log on to http://www.lakecountyfl.gov/parks.

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