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D.R. Horton
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Clermont Downtown Partnership
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Clermont Downtown Partnership sees an upswing in activity and events in the city's historic district
The crowds visiting the Farmers Market have been growing steadily. The number of vendors has also increased in recent months. (Photo by Mike Corradino)
Historic Downtown Clermont is taking on a new life according to many of the merchants on the street. In the past several months activities and interest have blossomed in the heart of Lake County's largest city.

The Farmer's Market, long a staple on Montrose Street, has grown in size and numbers. Foot traffic on the avenue during the market has been rising. On February 15 the Market will host the Chili-Cook Off and Tug of War, two annual events, that pit the fire and police departments against each other.

According to Clermont Downtown Partnership Executive Director Ron Smart, other area departments are being invited to the competitions.

On March 1, the Market will also host the community yard sale. This is another event that has grown considerably.

The next food truck event, now being called First Friday by many of the merchants, will take place Friday, February 6, at City Hall Park on Montrose Street starting around 5:30pm.

"We've added a lot more light with the addition of two light towers and added live music to the event," said Smart. "In the beginning we had to work to get food trucks to come. Now they're asking us to be a part of it."

The sidewalk art competition, formerly called "Got Kids", is being renamed to better reflect the event. And the annual Downtown Clermont Art Fesitval (DCAF) will also be getting an upgrade.

"We'll be eliminating some of the distractions and limiting the participants to 50 high end artists," Smart detailed.

Smart also announced that the city will be keeping the lights wrapped around the trees and that the Sidewalk Cafe provision has been approved.

"This now means restaurants can serve alcohol outside on their sidewalks as long as the areas are roped in and they have acquired all the state and local permits required." He added that the city action was a first step toward getting the state approvals.

City Economic Growth Director Jim Hitt told a meeting of the CDP that new bike racks are on the way and will be installed soon. He also said the city has ordered 30 new benches to replace the crumbling old ones and that will be placed strategically around downtown.

Smart said that with so many positive things going on, it looks to be a promising year for the Historic Downtown area.

Farmers Market
Sidewalk Art
Last year's sidewalk chalk art contest known as "Got Kids" will be renamed for the 2015 event to better reflect the purpose of the event. Chalk art is put on paper on the sidewalks and then hung later for prominent display. (Photo by Wendy Burkett)
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