Clean-up of Lake Dora shorelines makes boat festival huge success

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TAVARES, Fla. - The city of Tavares is finishing up its annual Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival on Lake Dora.

The big money-making event was almost a washout from Saturday’s storms.

Millions of tax dollars have been poured into the Tavares Marina on Lake Dora.

But to some, the latest improvement of cleaning up the much and weeds that set the city back $250,000 had the most impact.

“That’s been the most significant thing that’s happened, is to clear the shoreline out. It’s just added to the show. It’s by far the biggest improvement we’ve had here,” said festival chairman Terry Fiest.  
2014 marks the seventh year the city hosted the festival.

The captains of the vessel said they loved the city’s decision to dig out 200 dump truck loads of muck along the shore.

Now they can pull their boats right up on the beach.  
But Saturday, it was the docks and slips that were needed most when severe storms pounded the lakefront and suspended the show.

Some of the antique boats are worth upwards of $100,000, and there was nowhere for them to hide during the storm.

“The way the docks are set up and the way this facility is, I wasn’t really worried about my boat,” said antique boat owner, Chris Wise.

Sunday’s crystal clear and dry weather attracted a large crowd and lots of seaplanes.

More seaplanes could fly in for this year’s event, thanks to a clean shoreline to pull up on.

“Whenever you can pull up on the ground and get away from the snakes is always best,” said seaplane pilot Walter Pemberton. “I’ve been here when they had all the weeds, and I’ve seen snakes as big as my arms.”