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Spring Events are Blooming in Ocala/Marion County, Florida

OCALA, FLORIDA – (March 9, 2015) – Spring is in the air in Ocala/Marion County, where morning hikes through canopied woods give way to afternoons spent exploring neighboring towns and festivals and evenings are typically filled with live music and unique entertainment.

Whether you are looking for your next great outdoors adventure or after an unforgettable experience surrounded by the County’s rich culture, Ocala/Marion County is the perfect destination to enjoy springtime in Florida.

9th Annual Santos Fat Tire Festival and Bike Expo
March 6th to 8th, 2015
3080 SW 80th St.
Ocala, Florida
www.santosfattire.com/festival/expo-schedule/

Find the latest biking gear from celebrated brands and explore Ocala/Marion County’s rugged terrain on a 50-mile rocky race at this year’s Santos Fat Tire Festival and Bike Expo. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your set of wheels or you’re a thrill-seeker after an off-road adventure, the festival features more than 150 mountain biking vendors and accommodates all skill levels, with seasoned riders holding clinics to teach beginners how to master the rough terrain. Tickets to participate in the legendary race are $45, while admission to the expo is free and spectators are welcome to take part in the excitement of spirited competition.

2nd Annual Habitat Strawberry Festival
7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
McPherson Government Complex
601 SE 25th Ave.Ocala, Florida
www.habitatstrawberryfamilyfest.com

Experience peak-of-the-season family fun at the Habitat Strawberry Festival, where you’ll find live music, a farmers’ market, a kids zone with zip line, pet parade and much more, including the first Miss Strawberry Beauty Pageant. This free event helps raise funds to build homes in the Ocala community and supports Habitat for Humanity’s mission to strengthen communities, so not only is it a sweet treat for the whole family, but you’ll also be helping the Ocala/Marion County community by attending. For more information on activities and ways to sponsor the event, visit the website above or call 352-351-4663.

HITS Ocala Triathlon
March 27th to 29th, 2015
Lake Weir at Carney Park
13275 SE 115th Ave.
Ocklawaha, Florida
www.HITStriathlonseries.com

Lace up your running shoes for one of the best triathlons in the United States according to Triathlete Magazine and join competitors of all abilities for the Ocala leg of the famed HITS race series. Mark your calendar for March 27th through 29th and challenge yourself on the looped course set up on picturesque Lake Weir at Carney Park. With a “Distance for Everyone,” the race offers open, sprint, Olympic, half and full triathlon lengths, so you can swim, bike and run your way across the finish line at your own pace and skill. Get in the spirit of the race and find out how you can be a part of this rewarding experience on the series’ website and register to claim your spot on the starting line.

Spring Butterfly Festival
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, Noon to 6 p.m.
April 11th to 12th; 18th to 19th; 25th to 26th, 2015
3200 SE 115th St.Belleview, Florida
www.timberlinefarm.net

Hosted on the grounds of the locally renowned Timberline Farm, the Spring Butterfly Festival promises the chance to learn, create and enjoy a day in the Florida sunshine while getting more familiar with these whimsical winged creatures. With carnival games, arts and crafts stations, pony rides and even a country store stocked with fresh, homemade jams, jellies, syrups and more, this festival is a great activity for schools, churches or other groups looking for educational fun. And with general admission ranging from $6 to $8, with children less than three years of age entering for free, the festival is also an affordable way to enjoy springtime in Ocala/Marion County.

Dunnellon Boomtown Days Festival
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
April 18th to 19th, 2015
Corner of Cedar St. and West Pennsylvania Ave.
Dunnellon, Florida
www.dunnellonchamber.com

Find yourself transported back in time and catch a glimpse of Ocala/Marion County’s mining history at Dunnellon’s Boomtown Days Festival. This annual festival is a springtime tradition in the area, where you’ll find unique opportunities for fun and excitement, including a craft fair, antique car show, food truck competition and the Queen of the Rainbow Beauty Pageant. With free admission and more adventures to be had than any previous year, the Boomtown Days Festival is the perfect way to spend time with the family in the April sunshine. For more information on Boomtown Days, contact Bev at 352-489-2320 or visit the Dunellon Chamber website.

Crones’ Cradle Conserve Foundation Spring Sustainability and Natural Foods Gala
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
April 18, 2015
6411 NE 217 Place
Citra, Florida
www.cronescradleconserve.org

Bring your appetite to this year’s Crones’ Cradle Conserve Foundation Spring Sustainability and Natural Foods Gala. Set on a lush and sprawling conservation area, this rain or shine event will treat you to fresh, organic fare, garden tours and a fully stocked country store, with over 1,500 seedlings available for purchase. For more information on the gale, visit the foundation’s website or call 352-595-3377.

Ocala’s First Friday Art Walk
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
First Friday of every month through May 2015
Downtown Ocala
Ocala, Florida
http://www.ocalafl.org/artwalk/

Whether you are an artist looking for some inspiration or a collector searching out your next purchase, downtown Ocala’s First Friday Art Walk offers an absolutely unique way to experience modern art. During this event, Downtown Ocala’s historic streets are transformed into a one-of-a-kind gallery, featuring talented local artists from the Ocala/Marion county area. The event covers 15 city blocks through the restaurant and business districts, with open-air spaces that host visual and performing artists providing the night’s live entertainment. If you wish to participate, contact Melissa Townsend at mtownsend@ocalafl.org call 352-629-8447.

If you’re looking for even more springtime activities, the calendar at www.OcalaMarion.com/events/ features upcoming festivals, events and more, so you’re always connected to all that Ocala/Marion County has to offer.

Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau is the official branding, sales, and marketing organization for Marion County responsible for generating brand awareness, increasing travel to the area and booking sporting events, conventions and meetings. For more information, visit www.OcalaMarion.com.