Editor’s Picks – December 2019

A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events.

Santa on the Square

Ocala Downtown Square Gazebo

Dec 3, 5, 10, 12, 17 & 19 | 6-8pm

Every kid’s favorite family holiday program includes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, music and goodie bags on Tuesdays and Thursdays through December 19th. Contact Carla Chindamo of Ocala Recreation and Parks at (352) 401-3918 or visit www.ocalafl.org

First Friday Art Walk

Downtown Ocala

Dec 6 | 6-9pm

This month’s featured musical act at the gazebo will be the Greg Snider Quartet, with intermission performances by the West Port High School Dance Group and Forest High School Jazz Combo. Just in time for holiday shopping, most artists will be selling unique gift items under $20. Visit www.ocalafl.org

Night Swim: A Solo Exhibit by Derek Grimsley

Brick City Center for the Arts

Opening Event: Dec 6 | 5-6pm, on display through Dec 28

The illuminated beauty we experience everywhere inspired this exhibit by local artist Derek Grimsley. Night Swim plays with light and color when the sun has set, exploring different locales. Visit www.mcaocala.org

19th Annual Toys for Kids Cruise-in

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

Dec 7 | 8:30am-2:30pm

Organized by The Twilight Cruisers, this holiday car show raises funds to support Interfaith Charities. Dozens of trophies will be awarded to car show entrants, and guests can get in on 50/50 drawings and more than $1,500 in giveaways sponsored by Mike Kelly’s Cruise News. Visit www.twilightcruisersflorida.com

4th Annual A Fight for Freedom: Attack on Fort King

Fort King National Historic Landmark

Dec 7 & 8 |10am-4pm

Watch a reenactment of Osceola’s attack on Fort King and stroll through a Seminole village and soldiers’ encampment showing what life was like in the 1830s. Enjoy historical period-specific vendors, traditional skills workshops, food, drinks and games such as tomahawk throwing and horseshoes. Visit www.fortkingocala.com

Pops! Goes the Holidays!

Reilly Arts Center

Dec 7 | 7:30pm

Always a local favorite, the Ocala Symphony Orchestra offers fun, laughs, reflection and joy as they play the music of the holidays—from well-known carols and pop hits to the very best of what music has to offer for the season. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com

2019 Lake Weir Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade

Carney Island Recreation Area, Ocklawaha

Dec 7 | 4:30pm

Decorate your boat and participate or come as a spectator to enjoy the festivities. Boats are judged on originality. The more lights the better! Winners are announced after the parade at Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill. Visit www.lakeweiryachtclub.org

The Nutcracker by Dance Alive National Ballet

Reilly Arts Center

Dec 10 | 7:30pm

Become entranced by the beauty of the Sugar Plum Fairy, enchanted by the swirling snowflakes and breathtaking snow, and cheer for the handsome Nutcracker Prince and toy soldiers. A sparkling production with beautiful costumes and sets, this is a ballet for the young at heart of all ages. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com

Santa Paws on the Square

Ocala Downtown Square

Dec 11 | 5-8pm

All furry and feathered friends are invited to have their photo taken with Santa Claus at this event presented by the Humane Society of Marion County and the City of Ocala. Make a donation to the Humane Society and take home a holiday photo your family is sure to treasure for years to come. For details, follow www.facebook.com/HumaneMarion

The Edge Effect Holiday Concert

Marion Theatre

Dec 11 | 5:30pm

Featured at Walt Disney World’s “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party,” The Edge Effect comes to Ocala for a performance to benefit The Cornerstone School Art Program. Enjoy a high-energy, contemporary take on holiday classics, new spins on traditional favorites and interactive family sing-a-longs. Visit www.thecornerstoneschool.org

Assisted Living: The Home for the Holidays

Reilly Arts Center

Dec 12 | 7:30pm

Are you dreaming of a white-haired Christmas? This 75-minute vaudeville-esque revue focuses on the crazy holiday season antics at the Pelican Roost Assisted Living Home, an active, full-service retirement community. The many characters sing and dance, revel and kvetch, celebrate and bloviate their way through Christmas and Hanukkah. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com

Appleton After Hours

Appleton Museum of Art

Dec 12 | 5-8pm

This soiree celebrates Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism Through the French Lens. Marina Tucker and the Imperial String Quartet will play era-appropriate music to accompany the exhibition that focuses on the Impressionism art movement that swept the world in the 19th century. Enjoy art, food and a cash bar. Visit www.AppletonMuseum.org

Sunset Cruise

Crystal River Preserve

State Park

Dec 13 | 4:50pm

Imagine floating down a serene river, seeing bald eagles, osprey, dolphins, manatees, gators and the whole adventure ending with a spectacular winter sunset. Board the 24-passenger tour boat and enjoy refreshments and snacks as you leisurely sail through the park’s unique estuary. Visit www.floridastateparks.org

There’s Something About Mary

Reilly Arts Center

Dec 13 | 7pm

The Central Florida Master Choir, with special guest The New Moon String Ensemble, presents music honoring Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Enjoy an evening of seasonal choral music including Felix Mendelssohn’s timeless Magnificat. Donations will be accepted at this free performance and no tickets are required. Visit www.cfmasterchoir.com

Belleview Christmas Parade and Winter Festival

U.S. Hwy 441, Belleview

Dec 15 | 2pm

The Belleview South Marion Chamber of Commerce presents a day of family fun highlighted by the holiday parade, with featured high school bands, police cars, ambulances and of course, special guest…Santa Claus. Visit www.bsmcc.org

Big Hammock Race Series: Mount Dora Half Marathon and 5K

100 N. Donnelly Street, Mount Dora

Dec 21 & Dec 22

Part of the Super Race Challenge benefiting FFA, Mount Dora High School and Run4ACause, participants will enjoy the stunning moss-covered, tree-lined streets and beautiful parks throughout the course. Those who cross the finish line will be one step closer to earning a super medal (awarded at the ninth race in the series). Saturday, December 21st, the 5K starts at 7:45am and on Sunday, Dec. 22 the half-marathon starts at 7am. Visit www.bighammockraceseries.com 

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas

Reilly Arts Center

Dec 20 | 7:30pm

Phantasmagoria brings its own uniquely dark adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale. This critically acclaimed Victorian performance troupe uses its signature tapestry of movement, dance, puppetry, projections, music and storytelling to bring a new aesthetic to this timeless story for all ages. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com

Gala of the Royal Horses

The Grand Oaks Resort, Weirsdale

Dec 28 | 5:30pm

Get up-close with the Royal Horses of Europe in an elegant VIP performance including a champagne welcome, ringside table seating, refreshments and dessert, with a meet and greet after the show. Be dazzled by Lipizzan, Andalusian, Friesian and Arabian horses, long favored by royalty, equestrians and bullfighters. Call (352)750-5500 or email info@thegrandoaks.com

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