Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
8:46 pm EDT
Fri, July 10, 2020

A treasure to discover

Mount Dora Seafood Festival features food, music, and pirate fun.


Avast ye, rogues and wenches! Today, we start our voyage with ye olde pop quiz: Which of the following does not belong? A. Crab. B. Lobster. C. Oysters. D. Pirates.

If you answered “Pirates,” walk the plank! ’Twas a trick question! They all belong together at the annual Mount Dora Seafood Festival, Aug. 25-26 at Elizabeth Evans Park on Lake Dora. Yo-ho-ho!

In fact, the pirates will storm the shore a day earlier for the official Friday Night Pirate Party. Guests are urged to wear their best pirate or wench apparel and join the Rusty Cutlass Band from 7-9pm on the deck at Pisces Rising Restaurant in downtown Mount Dora. 

This is the fourth year for the festival, and event coordinator Janet Gamache says it’s bigger and better than ever. She expects a crowd of about 40,000 visitors over the two days. Admission to the festival and all entertainment shows is free.

“I like that it gives everyone something to do during the hot months and it highlights Mount Dora,” Janet says. “It brings a lot of people to the area that normally may not come here and, hopefully, they’ll come back and visit Mount Dora in the future.”

Last year, organizers extended the footprint of the festival from the park to Simpson’s Cove and the lighthouse area to provide more space for more activities—and more pirates.

With apologies to the pirates, of course, the main attraction is the food. The restaurant lineup features Golden Gate Seafood, Cousins Maine Lobster, Pisces Rising, Tiki West Raw Bar & Grill, Lake Dora Sushi & Sake, and Willy T’s Crab Shack. All food vendors will have at least one seafood or tropical menu item for $5 or less so visitors can sample a wide range of options. The choices include alligator, jellyfish, ceviche, conch, blue crab, and more—you name it, Janet says.

In addition, Magical Meat Boutique will pour British brews and other adult beverages at a pop-up bar for the second straight year. Owner Phil Barnard says he enjoyed being a part of last year’s festival.

“It’s a very good time of year because it’s the slow season and the festival helps bring visitors to Mount Dora during a time when a lot of businesses can use a few more customers,” he says.

Other festival highlights include wine tasting, crab races, and a larger Kids’ Zone that once again will offer mechanical shark rides. Some of the best shuckers in the business also will compete for a $500 prize in the Central Florida Oyster Shuck-Off.

For anyone who can’t handle life at sea, the festival offers the Landlubber Seafood Tasting Tour. The self-guided culinary adventure runs from 11am-4pm Saturday at seven downtown restaurants with seafood and beverage samples and three bonus stops offering tasting samples and discounts on purchases. Tickets cost $38 and are available at

Janet wasn’t kidding about more pirates. Blackbeard the Pirate returns this year to host a show twice a day on the Pirate stage, and visitors are likely to catch a glimpse of Cap’n Jack Sparrow sneaking around Pirate Village in the Olde Port of Mount Dora. Face painting and costumes help children become buccaneers on the Panama Pearl, a unique family-friendly ship that will host games and a treasure hunt.

So, me hearties, on your Google treasure maps, “X” marks the spot for fun in Mount Dora.


Mount Dora Seafood Festival

When: 11am-9pm Saturday, Aug. 25, and 11am-5pm Sunday, Aug. 26.

Where: Elizabeth Evans Park at the end of Donnelly Street on the Lake Dora waterfront.

Cost: Free admission to the festival and all concerts.

Parking: Parking and shuttle options are available for $5 both days at Mount Dora Christian Academy, 301 W. 13th Ave., and Saturday only at Mount Dora High School, 700 N. Highland St. A roundtrip train shuttle for $5 is available at Mount Dora Plaza Shopping Center.

More information:


Rusty Cutlass, the Disney Pirate Band

Entertainment lineup (subject to change)


Saturday, Aug. 26

Main Stage (at Evans Park)

11am – Rusty Cutlass, the Disney Pirate Band

Noon – MacGilliossa, brilliant Celtic music

2pm – Acoustic Flair, Classic Rock

3:30pm – Central Florida Oyster Shuck-Off

5pm – Lights Out Project, Island Fusion

7pm – Craig Thompson & the Revelations, reggae

Pirate Stage (at Simpson’s Cove)

11:30am – Blackbeard’s Kids Pirate Show

Noon – Asa Sellers Band

2:30pm – Blackbeard’s Kids Pirate Show

3:30pm – Rusty Cutlass, the Disney Pirate Band


Sunday, Aug. 27

Main Stage

11am – Rusty Cutlass, the Disney Pirate Band

Noon – TNT

2pm – Asa Sellers Band

3:30pm – Ramona The Band

Pirate Stage (at Simpson’s Cove)

11:30am – Blackbeard’s Kids Pirate Show

Noon – Sunnyland Steve

2:30pm – Blackbeard’s Kids Pirate Show

3:30pm – Rusty Cutlass, the Disney Pirate Band