Tips For The First Time Visit To Lake Dora Classic Boat Show!


IMG_1279I will start this out by saying that we here are no experts at anything. Each time we visit a place, we make mistakes and there are moments where we wonder why we are there. Food is always a crap shoot as well. Pun intended! The purpose of todays story is to let your fellow Woody Boaters  give there tips on the Lake Dora show help you out on your first trip. This will be our 6th or 7th show, I cant recall.  So here are some tips that may or may not be helpful.

Lodging,  No doubt you have already made your reservations, the Mission Inn is very nice and huge, but a short drive, so parking is part of the issue at the show. The Lakeside Inn in Mt Dora is very charming, but old bathrooms are a bit of a bummer it also requires a drive to the show, unless you want to go by boat. Thats always the best way to get to the show. There is a brand new hotel in Tavares at Wooten park. The Lake View Inn. Its new and right at the show. There is a new part opening this week, so there may be rooms. We are staying there this year. We normally stay in a private home on the lake, which is the ultimate way to go. but rentals are very hard to come by. So this year look around and book next year.

Food. Mt Dora has some very nice places to eat. Ya cant go wrong there in town. There are some new places in Tavares that are going to be tried this year, and the old stand by bars on Main street are always fun. The real fun is on the water  through the canals. Yes, going to eat by boat is the ticket. Ask around. I cant recall the name of the one fun resturant. Someone will comment that one.  I will also admit here that I am officially burned out of Chicken on a stick. This year I will most likely only have about 3 or 4 of them. Also, a tip. The party at Rejuvenation Boat Works is the the best food of the show and a very very cool place to be. Ask around. Great folks there.

Shopping: There is tons of shopping in MT Dora for her. For the fellas you might as well stick a needle in your eye. There are motors starting in Tavares and the smell of gas for gods sake. Stay close to the boats. Also the flea market is one of the best of the year. You will be happy to just shop there. Also everything is for sale. There are a ton, couple tons of boats bought and sold there. Bring money and ALWAYS have a trailer hitch available. Ya never know.

The Volunteers. This is hands down the nicest group of folks you will meet. Go up to any volunteer in yellow shirts and hug them. They are the folks that make it all happen. The area is loaded with nice folks that are very happy that we are there.

Boating. This is the number one tip. Get out on your boat and make trips. Go through the canals and have fun. Standing around at the show is great, but this show is all about having fun. Ask around, everyone is coming and going. Ask for rides. Saturday is the worst day for rides by the way since its the big show day. Thursday is the best day for rides.

Bring A Camera. The photos you take will come in handy next winter. Trust me!

When To Show Up. The party really starts Thursday. Shhh, that’s the best day for meeting pals, Its not the show, its the party. . Its fun, quiet and the flea market is ripe with deals. I always say Thursday is the rehearsal, Friday  Saturday is the wedding. We are there on Friday and Saturday for the folks coming to watch and look. Wed and Thursday are for us. As to the day of the show. You can show up very very early. Stuff may not be out yet. But no crowds and folks are available to talk. Also Miss America IX is usually tearing up the lake as a fun wake up call. We show up at day break. Best light of the day to photograph. By 6pm everyone is gone. Early is best.

I hope this has been helpful. Each year though, new and fun things happen, so read all the comments today . Hopefully the gang will give you some great tips.

38 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    There will be several of the MichiganChapter members at the show, but unfortunately I will not be one of them. I will keep your great summary for next year, as I am making a ocmmitment right now to get my butt down there in 2014!

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      The will be a couple of Water Wonderland Chapter members down there also, We Michiganders, have had it with cold and snow… High of only 36 today normal high id mid 40’s.

    • George Emmanuel
      George Emmanuel says:

      Greg, one of these days you need to come down here so I can personally thank you for helping me with pictures and questions about the Sportsman! This is a show not to miss. I’ve participated now for 24 years!

  2. Eat Less Chikin
    Eat Less Chikin says:

    This year, why not try the roasted-newt-on-a-stick. It’s cage, hormone, and antibiotic free.

  3. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    I was getting ready for the early Thursday departure. Left the boat out for some finishing touches. Woke up with SNOW on it! I’m ready to leave NOW!!

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      Same here Jim, That is why I plan on leaving Lyman Tyme in a friends garage last night and tonight, then hitch up in the morning on the way outa Dodge… Looking forward to 2 weeks of that bright yellow thing in the sky. We only had
      18% sunshine during the month of Feb. up here…

  4. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    WOOHOO! The most fun anyone can have in March is to be in Taveras! See you’all at noon on Wednesday!

  5. Rick
    Rick says:

    Even though I’m home I’m setting my clock for sunrise so I can see those early morning pictures you’ll be taking. Oh you might not post them until 10? Ok I’ll sleep in. So ckicken-on-a-stick out/local fare in, standing around the dock out/riding around alligator hunting in, taking car to show out/boat to show in (ties in nicely with alligator spotting). Everyone enjoy yourselves and I’m looking forward to the debauchery, um I mean reports.

  6. Alex
    Alex says:

    Rick, your comment reminded me of this from Casablanca:

    Captain Renault: Come to my office tomorrow morning. We’ll do everything businesslike.

    Jan Brandel: We’ll be there at six!

    Captain Renault: I’ll be there at ten.

  7. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    Anne and I will be first timers at the show, arriving around 3pm Friday. Our new-to-us Greavette is staying at Lou’s place in Cinci, so we’re without aqua transport. I really want to find a boat to ride Friday afternoon, and whenever else we can ride. If anyone has room in their boat, and won’t mind a couple of happy people with them, please contact me. leaz3553(at)bellsouth(dot)net … Looking forward to the weekend!

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Bryan – I have a boat here, and know several others as well. Come to the CCABC tent, or WB and find me – we’ll make sure you get hooked up one way or another! Same advice for others who are boat less, we’ll try to get you on the water.

      • Bryan
        Bryan says:

        Thanks so much! We will come find you. Just to be sure – CCABC means Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club, right?

        Congratulations on the safe trip down there!

  8. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    One of my favorite places “off site” (besides Twisty Treat” soft serve ice cream on 441) when you’re tired of “carney” food at the show is Crispers which is a subsidiary of Publix grocery store so I’ve heard. Great salads, soups, sandwiches including Thai, cuban, southwest styles as well as good ole’ american. It was directly located on 441 2 yrs ago westbound but now shows 2884 DAVID WALKER RD in Eustis.

  9. Tom
    Tom says:

    I have to agree with Matt except when to arrive.

    Go a week early and catch the raceboat show!!! Great boats , Great people, and tons of raceboats running at speed. Then take your boat or hitch a ride on the St Johns River Cruise. Then attend the show.

    Another note bring a HAT and lots of SUNSCREEN to protect your skin from burning. Also remove your sunglasses regularily so you don’t end up with racoon eyes. Lessons I have learned the hard way.

    See you this Friday!!!!

  10. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    My advice is to book your flight a day or two early. I’ve had delays and/or cancellations the past two years. I’m leaving at 1am my time and hope to arrive at 2pm Thursday.

    That’s a great shot of Alex in the header….hey, Alex, did you end up buying that igloo cooler? I know you negotiated hard for it. If so, have it full on Thursday afternoon!

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      I think Karen had more trouble getting here than I did, with a major delay in Calgary casued by US Customs computers going down, then a storm cancelled hundreds of flights in Denver. Your advice is indeed accurate…we have had problems other years when we have flown as well.

  11. Ranger
    Ranger says:

    OoRAH – center picture on today’s header with Lou Ronca’s Chris Craft behind it.

    The wall was painted from a photograph appearing on the front page of The Villages newspaper…We grabbed a WWII Marine & his wife to ride with us!

  12. Texx
    Texx says:

    I stopped by Wooten Park last night and it was interesting to see the park in it’s normal state before the boat show displays and flee market tents, etc transcend on the area. Folks out enjoying the weather with an evening walk, music playing along the walkway…

    We are very fortunate to have a wonderful venue like Tavares and Wooten Park to stage the Sunnyland Boat Show each year.

    The art work on the building even attacted a small furry spectator…

  13. Texx
    Texx says:

    Jones Brothers Seaplane Adventures at Wooten Park before the crowds arrive starting next week with the vintage race boat event.

  14. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    After 24 years or so of attending Mt Dora it is my favorite, I will agree with Matt the best food is at Rejuvenation Boat Works in Eustis, I think the chef works at Disneyworld. The place alone is worth the trip, Other favorites are The Gobblin Market in an alley in Mt. Dora and Casa Mia in Taveres. I am looking forward to smelling some varnish and putting on a tshirt and shorts for a change.

  15. tuobanur
    tuobanur says:

    Just confirmed a room at Quality Inn & Suites in Mt. Dora, only one room left when I made my reservation and was the closest available.

  16. Denis D
    Denis D says:

    We had planned on driving down for our first time at the show but a bad fall on Sunday landed me in the hospital with 4 broken bones in my back Driving 20 hours each way is out so plans canceled. I am going to have to use plan B, living vicariously through WB We had a room booked at the Holiday Inn Express in Tavares for 4 nights, Wednesday through Sunday. I cancelled it yesterday so if anyone needs a room you might try them.

  17. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    I hope that wasn’t Texx who crashed that Ferrari 458 with 700 ponies down at Amelia Island doing speed trials. If so I would never let him drive my boat.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      No – Thank goodness it wasn’t me behind the wheel of the Twin-Turbo Ferrari 458… But I heard about it.

      The driver ran out of braking area (and talent) while attempting a high speed run at the airport and went off into the swamp.

      Wrecking those cars presents many problems, one of which is obtaining replacement parts from Italy.

  18. Alex
    Alex says:

    Dammit. I turn away from WoodyBoater for a few hours and what happens? MikeM (a.k.a. the Mighty Arabian, a.k.a. Pony Boy a.k.a. Gelding) knifes me in the back!

    However, his comment needs to be addressed.

    1) No, that’s not me in the socks. You stand corrected.

    2) You are mistaken about me negotiating for an Igloo cooler. I already own a much larger cooler. It’s properly staffed too. Check it out.

  19. Alex
    Alex says:

    Good people of WoodyBoater. Don’t fret MikeM’s advice about leaving early if you are traveling to Sunnyland by air. When it comes to traveling to Boat Shows, MikeM is the airborne equivalent of Paul Harrison: if it CAN happen to him en route, it WILL.

    Of course, MikeM has been known to penny pinch when he travels to these Shows. (Reportedly, so he’ll have more money left over for his bar tabs.) By example, here’s a photo of him on Jack Benny Airlines, last time he came to Tavares.

  20. 72hornet
    72hornet says:

    Just hit Murfreesboro tonight and rendezvoused with Mike and Fascination! Ready to get an early start for JAX and the River Cruise. Bringing some classic glass, (new to me) for the River Trip and Dora for a change instead of “Encounter” I thought the classic glass would be a bit easier to handle due to a recent knee surgery. First splash for me with my new ride. Iowa to Florida, I sure hope it runs! Can’t wait to see old friends Guy and Laurie as our fabulous St. Johns River hosts!

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Good to hear Mike is coming, and that there will be some glass on the trip! I guess I will be up there with the boat on Sunday, then back to Sanford with the trailer and back up on the bus. Had thought about just putting in at Sanford and running all the way up to Jacksonville and dispensing with the bus part, but it’s a long boat ride and a lot more fuel to do it that way.

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