Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ocala Area Culture & Events

When you think of Ocala, Florida do you think of horse country and beautiful rivers and springs? If so, you are right! But Ocala and Marion County also has many opportunities to have fun, see exceptional entertainment and enjoy cultural experiences. In fact, there are so many opportunities that you will find yourself having to choose between several appealing events when making your weekend plans.

Museums in the Ocala area feature art from local artists, unique collections, traveling exhibits from national museums, guest speakers and more. These museums include The Appleton Museum of Art, The Webber Center at Central Florida Community College, Brick City Center for the Arts, Bank of America Gallery, and Gallery East. In addition to these standing art exhibits which you can visit year-round, the local community also organizes art shows throughout the year, showcasing art from local residents and guest artists.

The residents of Ocala have a wide range of interests and this is evident in the variety of events offered during any given month. Looking at the months of April and May, over 25 events could be found on the calendar. These events include:

  • the Orange Blossom Opry country music showcase
  • a cruise to the Great Blue Heron Rookery
  • the HITS Mid-Florida Hunter/Jumper Horse Show
  • the Florida Australian Shepherd Dog Show
  • the Palomino Horse Show
  • a world-class tennis event and rockin’ blues concert
  • the Saturday in the Park health and wellness event
  • a hurricane and storm readiness expo
  • the MONSTER JAM monster truck touring circuit
  • a Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadow Cast
  • the March of Dimes Walk for Babies
  • Ocala’s Crawfish Fest of 2012
  • The Earthfest & Arbor Day in the Great Outdoors Event

Concerts and Theater
Musical tastes vary, so music of all genres is available in Ocala. From country to classical, pop to spiritual, there is sure to be a concert event you will enjoy seeing. Oldies but goodies – those songs you grooved to in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s - can be heard at Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. Recently performing was Willie Nelson who performed his hits "On The Road Again" and "Always On My Mind" to name a few. Silver Springs attraction hosts a concert season each year in an outdoor setting that seats up to 12,000 guests. Admission to the concerts also allows patrons use of the nature park, as an added bonus. The Ocala Symphony Orchestra performs regularly bringing the sound of classical music to the area. An annual Symphony event that draws a crowd is their performance of an outdoor holiday concert under the stars on the square in downtown Ocala.

You won’t have to look far if you enjoy theatrical performances. Ocalans appreciate a good drama…or comedy, musical, murder mystery or ballet. The Circle Square Cultural Center recently hosted the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and the University of Florida Opera Theatre in a performance of Die Fledermaus. The Ocala Civic Theatre presents a full season of shows all performed by volunteer thespians, including the upcoming performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The College of Central Florida’s theatre recently presented the Shakespearean play “The Tempest.” These are just snapshot of just a few of the things happening in Ocala…you can see there is so much going on throughout the year.

Ocala is always offering new and exciting activities and bringing back annual events that the community has grown to love. And, being centrally located between Orlando, Tampa and Gainesville, Ocalans only have to travel a short distance for other great performances such as: Van Halen, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and Chicago, just to name a few.

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