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The unspoiled Lake Harris chain surrounds remote Mount Dora, an artsy valley community with a slow and easy pace, a rich history, New England–style charm, and excellent antiquing. Although the town's population is only about 12,000, there's plenty of excitement here, especially in fall and winter. The first weekend in February is the annual Mount Dora Art Festival, which opens Central Florida's
spring art-fair season. Attracting more than 250,000 people over a three-day period, it's one of the region's major outdoor events.
During the year there's also the annual Taste in Mount Dora event (April), a sailing regatta (April), a bicycle festival (October), a crafts fair (October), and many other happenings. Mount Dora draws large crowds during monthly antiques fairs (third weekend, except December) and thrice-yearly antiques "extravaganzas" (third weekends of January, February, and November) at popular Renninger's Twin Markets, an antiques center plus farmers' and flea markets.