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Free Wi-Fi during Hurricane Irma

Free Xfinity Wi-Fi is being offered at select sites in Florida during Hurricane Irma. The Wi-Fi is offered at various indoor and outdoor hotspots, including businesses, parks and shopping districts. Xfinity hotspot locations are listed online.

How do use the free Wi-Fi:

  • Once in range of a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
  • Xfinity internet customers can sign in with their usernames and passwords and they will be automatically connected to Xfinity WiFi hotspots in the future.
  • Non-Xfinity internet subscribers should visit the “Not an Xfinity Internet Customer” section on the sign-in page to get started. Non-customers will be able to renew their complimentary sessions every 2 hours through September 15.

To help our agents prepare for Hurricane Irma, we will have limited office hours today through Monday. We are always available at 352-383-3772 or Please plan ahead and stay safe!

For more information, visit Lake County’s hurricane guide.

Walk to support Easter Seals of Central Florida

Please join Easter Seals and team members from Catherine Hanson Real Estate, Inc. at Camp Challenge for a family fun walk around the nature trail and an authentic camp experience complete with carnival games, tie-dye, and arts and crafts. Walk With Me is Easter Seal of Central Florida’s signature fundraising event giving children and adults with disabilities the opportunity live, learn, work, and play to their full potential. We are proud to sponsor this event and hope to see you there!

WHEN: Saturday, October 14, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Camp Challenge
$10 Registration (Includes t-shirt, carnival games, and goody bag)
FREE for children 10 and under
*Food and extra activities available for additional fee*

Visit to sponsor, start a team, or volunteer.

Mount Plymouth Historic Bike Loop

Hop on your bike to discover the new and beautiful Mount Plymouth Historic Bike Loop in Lake County, Florida. You can bike for miles through the peaceful neighborhood while learning about the natural and historical sites in the area.

The Historic Bicycle Loop winds through Mount Plymouth using existing neighborhood streets. In the future, this Loop will connect to the Wekiva Trail, which will traverse right through Mount Plymouth-Sorrento.

On this route, you’ll discover the entrance to the old Mount Plymouth Hotel, Gingerbread Houses designed by Sam Stoltz, beautiful natural surroundings and more.

Mount Plymouth Historic Bike Loop Map

Upcoming Events in Lake County

There is always a reason to explore and have fun in Lake County, Florida. From annual festivals to weekly events, Lake County offers many opportunities for exciting activities. We’ve come up with a list of things to do while you are living or visiting Central Florida. Enjoy these upcoming events in Lake County.

Quarterly Bird & Butterfly Survey 
Now-October 28 at Ellis Acres Reserve, Paisley

Opportunity to assist in surveying birds & butterflies that inhabit our parks & reserves. Binoculars are required, experience is helpful but not necessary.

Florida Half Century – 50s Division Softball Tournament 
August 12-13 at Sleepy Hollow Recreation Complex, Leesburg

Florida Half Century – 50s Division Softball Tournament.
Longest Yard Sale 
August 18-20 at Renninger’s Flea Market and Antique Center, Mount Dora

Summer is here children have grown out of clothes and antiques collected at Antique Shows, might as well make profit at Renninger’s Longest Yard Sale. Or just come to shop! Sell, Sell, Sell or Shop till you drop…then come back for more!
US HydroDrag Nationals 
August 19-20 at Wooton Park, Tavares

US HydroDrag Nationals – Jet Ski racing

Mount Dora Seafood Festival 
August 26-27 at Elizabeth Evans Park, Mount Dora

The 3rd annual Mount Dora Seafood Festival is a free event held on the shores of Lake Dora in Evans Park and Gilbert Park featuring seafood, music, kids activities and pirates!
American Beach Tour Adult Championship 
September 9-10 at Hickory Point Beach Sand Volleyball Complex, Tavares

American Beach Tour (ABT) Adult Championships at Hickory Point Beach in Tavares, FL!
Guitars and Cars Swapmeet 
September 10 at Renninger’s Flea Market and Antique Center, Mount Dora

Lake County Classic Car & Cycle Meet and Lake County Musicians Swap Meet has united for “Guitars and Cars” bringing together dealers, collectors, musicians and the general public for a day of fun. Everyone can buy, sell and trade. Enjoy food & music.
NCAA DIII Women’s Golf Fall Preview 
September 15-18 at Mission Inn Resort & Club, Howey-in-the-Hills

NCAA DIII Women’s Golf Fall Preview
Vintage RV, Hot Rod & Antique Show 
September 16-17 at Renninger’s Flea Market and Antique Center, Mount Dora

Camp Renninger’s opens for another weekend of antique, vintage, RV, and Car Enthusiasts related vendors. We will also have camp activities including food, camp crafts, campfires and camp movies. Come tour our Vintage Campers!
5th Annual Rifles Rails and History Steam Back to the North and South 
September 29-October 1 at Wooton Park, Tavares

Living history demonstrations and exhibits, 19th century merchants, Battle of the Tavares Dock, cavalry raid on the train, plus a Ladies Tea and fashion show. Meet and speak with President Lincoln and Generals Grant, Lee and Jackson.
Fall in the Field 
October 7 at Renninger’s Flea Market and Antique Center, Mount Dora

Renninger’s is pleased to announce the 5th Annual Fall in the Field, an amazing array of “fall finery” displayed by some of the best primitive dealers in the southeast. Our lady farmer Julie Hites from Ohio bringing Herloom Pumpkins to our patch!
USA Synchro 2017 U.S. Masters Championship 
October 19-22 at National Training Center, Clermont

USA Synchronized Swimming 2017 U.S. Masters Championship.
Steampunk and Industrial Show 
October 21-22 at Renninger’s Flea Market and Antique Center, Mount Dora

6th Year for Renninger’s Steampunk and Industrial Show.. Time Flies when you Travel.. Over 100 vendors with fabulous finds created and specially collected for this event. 5th Annual Splendid Tea Pot Racing.. Steampunk Horse and Carriage rides.
Florida Wildlife Festival 
October 21 at Cadwell Park , Umatilla

The 18th annual Florida Wildlife Festival’s mission is to promote safe coexistence with the Florida black bear and all native wildlife species! The FREE family oriented festival includes educational presentations, free field trips and more!
Mount Dora Craft Fair 
October 28-29 at Historic downtown streets, Mount Dora

The historic downtown streets come alive with more than 400 handcraft exhibitors. Music, beer, wine, kid zone.
Downtown Clermont Harvest Festival 
October 28 at Montrose Street, Clermont

Visit historic downtown Clermont for the 3rd Annual Harvest Festival. Explore over 100 vendors and food trucks. Free kids zone. Enjoy live music, petting farm, and hay rides. Browse downtown shops and restaurants. Costume contest and trunk or treat.
FHSAA Florida High School Golf State Championships 
October 31-November 3 at Mission Inn Resort & Club, Howey-in-the-Hills

FHSAA Florida High School Golf State Championships. Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, 2017 (Class 2A) Friday-Saturday, Nov. 3-4, 2017 (Class 3A) Tuesday-Wednesday, Nov. 7-8, 2017 (Class 1A)
HydroDrag World Championship 
November 3-4 at Wooton Park, Tavares

HydroDrag World Championship – Jet Ski racing
Downtown Clermont Art Festival 
November 4-5 at Montrose Street, Clermont

DCAF is noted for the quality of art featured and a diverse mix of artists, art patrons, supporters, collectors, and buyers. Visitors can spend time seeing all the art without rushing while listening to live music, enjoy food trucks, and a kids zone.
Thanksgiving Potluck Dance 
November 10 at Anastassia Ballroom & Dance, Leesburg

Celebrate ballroom dancing in style at Anastassia’s Thanksgiving Potluck dance on Friday, November 10th at Anastassia Ballroom. Bring some canned goods donations to benefit Leesburg Food Bank & receive free admission to the event.
Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza 
November 17-19 at Renninger’s Flea Market and Antique Center, Mount Dora

Every year Renninger’s host Florida’s Largest Antique Show with over 1000 booths indoors and outdoors. This three-day event has 100 booths in our pavilions and 50 individual buildings in a Street of Shops. Best quality antiques in the Southeast.
Holiday Flea Market 
December 1-3 at Renninger’s Flea Market and Antique Center, Mount Dora

The Holiday’s are here and with that comes “help” always adding to the gift list it never ends. So Renninger’s is playing Santa! We are having a three-day event of yard sale fun! Come out for a fun weekend!

Find your dream home in Lake County, Florida

DeLand Wins America’s Main Street Contest

For the second year in a row, Independent We Stand has awarded more than $25,000 in cash and prizes, plus a brag-worthy title, to one deserving Main Street program. The America’s Main Streets contest celebrates local communities across the country, while recognizing the groups working to keep them vibrant. This year, MainStreet DeLand of DeLand, Florida, claimed the top spot in IWS’ America’s Main Streets contest.

Situated about 30 miles north of Orlando, DeLand is one of Florida’s “small-town treasures.” The city is home to about 27,000 residents and the historic campus of Stetson University. MainStreet DeLand has served the community for more than 30 years, blending the city’s historic roots with the 21st century. The award-winning Main Street program organizes regular events, such as a growers and makers market and small business meetings. MainStreet DeLand was even the first program in Florida to earn the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street designation.

“MainStreet DeLand has worked long and hard to reinvigorate the downtown. At one point over half of the downtown buildings were vacant. Now it is clearly the pride and joy of the community.” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “The purpose of the America’s Main Streets contest is to highlight the type of leadership and longstanding commitment to community that MainStreet DeLand provides.”

As the contest’s ultimate winner, MainStreet DeLand will receive $25,000 cash, plus a series of prizes intended to make community revitalization easier.

Additionally, MainStreet DeLand will work with Independent We Stand on a “Main Streets Make Us Better” event. The event will take place on July 1, during DeLand’s annual Firecracker Festival. The Main Street-themed event will give the local community an opportunity to celebrate the contest win and reenergize its support for the downtown program.

The full article appears on

Catherine’s Corner: Business Women of Style

My daughter, Leslie, and I are proud to be chosen as Businesswomen of Style by Lake & Sumter Style Magazine. We love that we have the opportunity to work together to grow Catherine Hanson Real Estate, Inc. It’s a family business, and one we are very passionate about. We hope to see you soon!

Mount Dora Ribbon Cutting

Our newest Catherine Hanson Real Estate, Inc. location is now open in Mount Dora, Florida. Please stop by and say hi the next time you are in town: 346 Dora Drawdy Way, Mount Dora, FL 32757.

A special thank you to Mount Dora & East Lake Chambers of Commerce for your support. Thanks to our generous partners who donated door prizes: The Closing Boutique; First International Title – Kim Mahoney; Chelsea Title – Angela Sheppard.

Catherine’s Corner: New Office Opens in Mount Dora

Sometimes opportunities present themselves — and you have to act fast. When we saw the potential for growth in Mount Dora, Florida, we trusted our instincts and opened a new office at 346 Dora Drawdy Way. We are very excited to return to this beautiful town!

I have been most fortunate in the real estate business thanks to many of you. We have survived the downturn that started in 2007. I was able to consolidate and hang in there during the tough times. Then, a couple of years ago, my daughter, Leslie, became interested in the business and has become a key member of my team. She has learned the ropes quickly and has taken over some of my duties. I am proud, thrilled and less stressed to have my daughter working with me. She grew up on our dairy in Sorrento, went to school Mt. Dora and lives east of Eustis. She knows East Lake County and Mt. Dora well.


A couple of months ago, we started to explore the idea of opening an office again in Mt. Dora (I had one there for several years before 2007). And then things started to fall into place: a couple of top notch sales associates agreed to place their license with us, a small office on Dora Drawdy Way (close to Goblin Market) became available and, fortunately, the market is moving forward again. On February 1st, the stars aligned and Catherine Hanson Real Estate, Inc. opened in downtown Mt. Dora. We are excited to have a presence in the city as well as the county. When you are in town stop by and say hello to Lisa Dyson and Mike & Mandy Specchio, Jean & Tim BarlowGraham Biles and Misti Winters. They would love to visit and get to know you.


If you know of someone looking for a residence or even commercial property in Mt. Dora, please keep us in mind. The same personal touch and sincere concern found in our Sorrento location exists in the Mt. Dora office as well. We are a homegrown family business that began in 1989 when I started Catherine Hanson Real Estate, Inc. from my home and constructed the building in Sorrento that same year. We are one big family that is committed to serving the residents and potential residents of East Lake County with competence and enthusiasm.


See you soon!

Tavares: America’s Seaplane City

This story was originally posted by the Orlando Economic Development Commission and has been reposted here with their permission.

A team of Orlando ambassadors (“Obassadors”) met in the City of Tavares to discover the rich history and exciting activities of this historic town in Lake County. Hosted by Lake County Economic Development & Tourism department and the City of Tavares, the team of Obassadors discovered many hidden gems in Tavares – America’s Seaplane City.

The Obassadors started off the day at the City of Tavares’ Pavilion on the Lake, a striking, 3-story wedding and event venue looking out over Lake Dora. Guests can watch seaplanes land and take off right outside its tall glass windows, as well as on the rooftop and its many balconies. The City of Tavares’ Pavilion on the Lake is the only building built over water in Florida in the last 50 years.

The City of Tavares has a rich history of establishing passenger flights as a means of public transportation. John Drury, Tavares City Manager, enlightened the group with little-known facts about Tavares, including:

  • Only four years after the seaplane was invented in France, a seaplane took off from Lake Eustis in the City of Tavares.
  • After a flight in a Tavares seaplane in 1914, Clara Adams (“The Maiden of Maiden Voyages”) predicted that the future of passenger transportation would be accomplished by airplanes.
  • Famous pilots and passengers of Tavares seaplanes include the Wright Brothers, Clara Adams, and Amelia Earhart.

Seaplane shot.jpgThe Obassadors took to the skies on the Jones Brothers & Co. seaplanes, experiencing a breath-taking view of Mount Dora, Howey-in-the-Hills, Astatula, the lake canal system between the Lakes Eustis, Dora, and Harris, as well as a distant glimpse of downtown Orlando and the attractions.

After the seaplane rides, the group walked down the City of Tavares main street and explored the quaint, historic downtown.

“Lake County is proud to represent everything that is great about the other half of Orlando. It was a pleasure to host the Obassadors, and we can’t thank them enough for their efforts to highlight some of the many reasons why we call ourselves ‘Real Florida. Real Close.'” said Robert Chandler, Lake County Economic Growth Director.

Catherine’s Corner: East Lake Park Expansion

Election day 2016 was quite memorable — some of you were most pleased with the outcome, others very disappointed. However, on November 8 in East Lake County, all the residents were winners! That is the day the Lake Board of County Commissioners voted to purchase 40 acres adjacent to the East Lake Park in order to expand our extremely popular facility. This is something positive your elected officials have done for the citizens of our area, and I am so pleased and excited that we will be able to improve the park.

I am sure many of you use the facility. During soccer season, it’s Friday night lights and jam packed. There must be hundreds of kids running down the field with tons of spectators along the sidelines clapping and cheering for the energetic participants.

On Saturdays, and at least one weekday night, the sound of “play ball” rings out after the players and fans have said the Pledge of Allegiance. America’s past time brings back memories for grandparents and invokes encouragement from parents. There’s nothing quite like the experience of baseball for a young kid. Cracking the bat and catching pop flies continues to make kids (of all ages) smile.

It is so important to have a community park that provides opportunities for us to get outside, enjoy ourselves and get moving. I am afraid we all spend too much time in front of some kind of screen (tv, computer, phone, etc.). When I was growing up, we left the house early and did not get back until dark (of course, I was helping my parents with our dairy — until the cows came home!). I am sure many of you experienced the same dose of the outdoors as you were playing ball, helping around the house, or on a wonderful pretend journey with your friends.

I encourage you to experience the park AND drop a note or email to let the Lake County Commissioners know how much you appreciate their efforts to expand and improve the park for all generations. After all, it’s just as easy to show appreciation as it is criticism! Be positive — it feels so much better.

I hope to see you at the park!