'Tis the Season in Ocala/Marion

This holiday season is a special time of year for most everyone and Ocala/Marion County offers ways to celebrate throughout the entire merry time.

From downtown lights and Christmas trees, to parades and live performances, visitors and residents can drink in the Christmas spirit all month long. Here are some of the jolly things to do in the area. For all the events happening in the area, check out our calendar.


OCALA

DOWNTOWN OCALA

Light Up Ocala and the Ocala Christmas Parade are both canceled this year.

The giant Christmas tree is just the start to Downtown Ocala’s Holiday Spirit. Throughout the season, the streets are alive with lights, live music and other holiday happening. Families can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus on the Square on Tuesdays and Thursdays leading up to Christmas.

Light Up Ocala Marion Horse Statue

20TH ANNUAL TOYS FOR KIDS CRUISE

Enjoy the Annual Toys For Kids Cruise car show at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, 8:30 am – 2:30 pm. Potentially hundreds of special cars attend every years and more than 40 trophies are awarded. Giveaways include Santa stockings, ladies gift bags and more. All the proceeds from the show benefit Interfaith Charities. Click HERE for more information.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS DISPLAY AT CIRCLE SQUARE COMMONS

The Town Square at Circle Square Commons is going to be sparkling with Holiday lights through the entire month of December. Grab your friends, family and a camera to enjoy the magical lights and get into the merry spirit. The square is free and open to the public. For more information, click HERE.

MENORAH LIGHTING IN OCALA

Celebrate Chanukah with Chabad of Ocala and The Villages the first night of Chanukah on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020 5:30-7:00 pm. Join the Ocala Mayor, Marion County Commissioners, other community leaders and friends for the grand Menorah lighting in the Downtown Ocala Square. Click HERE for more information.

HOLIDAY MOVIE SERIES

The City of Ocala is offering free Holiday showings as part of the Park After Dark program throughout the holiday season at different parks! Grab your chair and or blanket for a free movie and hot cocoa. The Muppet Christmas Carol will be the night of the First Friday Art Walk on Dec. 4 at Citizens’ Circle. The Polar Express will be showing on Dec. 11 at Tuscawilla Art Park. Elf will be showing on Dec. 18 at Tuscawilla Oak Grove.

For more holiday events from the City of Ocala, visit ocalafl.org/holidays.

CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE HORSE SHOW AT WEC

For its first Ocala event, this year, the brand new World Equestrian Center will be hosting the Tom Powers Triple Challenge Futurity Christmas Challenge. The event runs from Saturday Dec. 12-19, 2020 and will include a week of different futurity events where spectators can watch horses show their skills at everything from Western Pleasure to Horse Under Saddle. The event is free and open to the public and a great opportunity to see the new World Equestrian Center!

DUNNELLON

Southern Living featured Dunnellon as a must visit for Christmas time in 2017. Check out the article HERE.

DUNNELLON’S SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE

Celebrate Small Town Christmas in Dunnellon with their Christmas Parade on Dec. 5, 2020 at 5 pm! The theme of the parade this year is Lights Camera Christmas 2020. For safety this year, the after celebration will not occur, but will hopefully return to the festivities in 2021! Click HERE for more information.

OCALA NATIONAL FOREST

CUT DOWN YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS TREE

Looking for a truly authentic Christmas tradition to do with the family? You can actually cut down your very own Christmas tree in the Ocala National Forest. During daylight hours and anytime through Christmas Eve, put on your hiking boots, explore the Ocala National Forest and pick out your favorite Sand Pine Christmas tree to bring home. The season to cut down your own tree is Mon, Nov 23, 2020 - Thu, Dec 24, 2020.

Prior to cutting down the tree, make sure to purchase a permit, which costs $10, by visiting Recreation.gov/tree-permits/ocala. This page also offers tips on cutting and selecting your tree and map of the areas you can harvest a tree!

Make sure to print and bring your permit and a map. *The use of chainsaws is not permitted.

For more information you can call the Lake George Ranger District station at (352) 625-2520. For more information about the other Christmas Tree Farms in the destination, click HERE.

This year some of the usual Christmas events in the destination are not happening, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be back next year! Here are some of the holiday events we expect to see back in 2021:

  • Victorian Holiday Celebration In Dunnellon’s Historic Village
  • Trains At The Holidays
  • A Dickens Christmas At Appleton Museum
  • Light Up Ocala
  • Ocala Christmas Parade
  • Symphony Under the Lights
  • Belleview Christmas Parade

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