'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.
The traditional lighting of the Christmas tree is just the start to Downtown Ocala’s Holiday Spirit. Throughout the season, the streets are alive with lights, live music and horse drawn carriages. Families can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus on the Square on Tuesdays and Thursdays leading up to Christmas.
SYMPHONY UNDER THE STARS
Join the community for a complimentary holiday concert Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 at Tuscawilla Park! Bring chairs, a blanket, some hot chocolate and enjoy the sounds of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, joined by the Ocala Youth Symphony, for a holiday favorites and some surprises! There will also be Curbside Cuisine Food Truck and Holiday Cheer beer & wine stations! Click HERE for more information.
OCALA CHRISTMAS PARADE
Continue holiday celebrations with a traditional Christmas parade, sure to spark the holiday spirit in guests of all ages. On December 14, more than 60,000 people line Silver Springs Boulevard for the Ocala Christmas Parade beginning at 5:30 pm. An Ocala tradition for more than 60 years, no holiday season would be complete without a visit to this parade, but be sure to arrive early as the best spots on the route fill up fast. For more information, click HERE.
19TH ANNUAL TOYS FOR KIDS CRUISE
Enjoy the Annual Toys For Kids Cruise car show at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, 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.
THE URBAN FAMILY DAY EVENT-A DICKENS CHRISTMAS AT APPLETON MUSEUM OF ART
Revel in the magic of the holidays during this annual Family Day event on Dec. 7, 2019. From 10 am – 5 pm, enjoy free admission to see the Urban's beloved, decorated trees and holiday collections, take photos with Santa and do holiday art projects in the Artspace. We will also have trees decorated by community groups on the second floor.
HOLIDAY CELEBRATION ON THE TOWN SQUARE AT CIRCLE SQUARE COMMONS
Eat, drink and be merry at the annual Holiday Celebration on The Town Square at Circle Square Commons on Saturday Dec. 7, 2019; 4 pm – 8 pm. Enjoy dancing and live entertainment, food vendors, wine and beer! There will be a Holiday Golf cart parade and a raffle. The event is free and open to the public! Food and drinks are for purchase. 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. 22, 2019 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 and enjoy live music, doughnuts, Latkes, entertainment and more. Click HERE for more information.
ANNUAL TRAINS AT THE HOLIDAYS
The beloved College of Central Florida tradition, the 24th annual exhibit “Trains at the Holidays” returns Dec. 21 to the Webber Gallery at the College of Central Florida. The annual exhibit presented by the college and the Ocala Model Railroaders’ Historic Preservation Society features modular train layouts and railroad memorabilia. Many of the layouts are inspired by historic Ocala landmarks, such as the Six-Gun Territory theme park that operated in Marion County until 1984.
The exhibition will open Saturday, Dec. 21, with a reception from noon-2 p.m. Admission to the reception and exhibit are free. The exhibit will be open daily during special gallery hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Jan. 3; it will be closed Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31-Jan.1. For more information call 352-873-5809.
Southern Living featured Dunnellon as a must visit for Christmas time in 2017. Check out the article HERE.
DUNNELLON’S SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE AND CELEBRATION
Small Town Christmas in Dunnellon begins Dec. 7 with a day full of Holiday activities including a parade and celebration with music, delicious food, carriage rides and more. Closing the evening with a lighting of the Christmas tree and parade float awards. Click HERE for more information.
Celebrate the Holiday spirit at the Victorian Holiday celebration in Dunnellon’s Historic Village Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, 5 pm – 9 pm. Enjoy strolling carolers, lights, music, festive food, pictures with Santa, face painting and more entertainment. For more information, click HERE.
WINTER FESTIVAL AND BELLEVIEW CHRISTMAS PARADE
Keep the Marion Christmas spirit going with the Belleview Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Festival and Christmas Parade Dec. 15, 2 pm – 3:30 pm. The Parade will feature anticipated entries such as police cars, ambulances, high school bands as well as the special guest Santa Claus, who will appear at the very end of the parade. This year’s theme is A Little Town Christmas! For more information, click HERE.
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. Get your permit, which costs $7 a tree, from the Ranger station along with a map of the areas you can harvest a tree. 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.
Prior to cutting down the tree, make sure to get a permit by visiting the Lake George Ranger District Station or the Seminole Ranger District Station during regular office hours (7:30 am – 3:30 pm), Monday through Friday or order the permit through mail.
For more information for obtaining a permit, click HERE or call the Lake George Ranger station at (352) 625-2520 or the Seminole Ranger station at (352) 669-3153. *The use of chainsaws is not permitted.