Editor’s Picks – March 2019

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

Santos Fat Tire Festival

Santos Trailhead

March 8-10

Ocala Mountain Bike Association’s signature event draws mountain bikers to Ocala from all over the country for the largest expo of bicycles and bike shops in the Southeast. Test ride new models and shop bike-related gear, accessories, clothing, art and jewelry. A raffle of amazing prizes supports the Bikes for Kids program. The expo is family-friendly; even the littlest riders are invited to hit the trails! santosfattire.com\

Wildlife Day

Chinsegut Conservation Center, Brooksville

March 9 | 10am-2pm

Families can explore a variety of wildlife habitats, including gopher tortoise, white-tailed deer, bobcat, sandhill crane and turkey in the 850-acre Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area. Take part in free, kid-friendly activities and crafts, see wildlife survey techinques in action, and learn more about bird banding and pollinators. https://bit.ly/2St5Ddu

Love Letters

The Sharon, The Villages

March 12 | 5pm and 8pm

The long-running Broadway play is now starring two iconic TV stars: Barbara Eden and Hal Linden, bringing star power and supreme acting to A.R. Gurney’s most famous production. This funny and emotional portrait of love is told through a lifetime in 50 years of love letters. thesharon.com

Ocala Spring Carnival

Southeastern Livestock Pavilion

March 14-17

The 2nd annual carnival features a full midway, food, arts and crafts vendors, live music, dance and cheer performances, karaoke contest, games and pony rides. ocalaspringcarnival.com

Mass Gothic

Tuscawilla Park

March 15 | 6-9pm

This third performance in the 2019 Art Park Series features musical husband and wife duo Mass Gothic and their exhilarating sets of guitar-driven pop rock against the backdrop of Tuscawilla Park’s sculpture garden. ocalafl.org/performingarts

St. Paddy’s Day 5k

Citizens’ Circle

March 16 | 8am

Break out your green running gear for this St. Patrick’s Day-themed event that includes a costume contest. The final super race of the Big Hammock Race Series will have Pot of Gold Challenge medals for the fastest 400 across the line, and Super Race Challengers will receive their medals for the series. The year-long Big Hammock Race Series of fitness challenges supports local charities. bighammockraceseries.com

Shamrock Shenanigans

Ocala Downtown Market

March 16 | 5pm

Enjoy a variety of local music acts, including headliner Propaganjah to kick off your St. Patrick’s celebration at this music festival fundraiser for the Marion County Literacy Council. marionliteracy.org

Florida Mermaid Festival

Linda Pederson Park, Spring Hill

March 16-17

Celebrate mermaids and their history on Florida’s Adventure Coast. Participate in the mermaid contest and outdoor activities like kayak races, and enjoy live entertainment, crafts and an array of food vendors. thefloridamermaidfestival.com

Mount Dora Spring Festival

Downtown Mount Dora

March 16-17 | 9am-5pm

The streets of historic downtown Mount Dora come alive as thousands of visitors shop more than 250 exhibitors offering arts and crafts, collectibles and antiques. Shuttle from the parking area at Mount Dora Plaza aboard a climate-controlled vintage 1940s train. mountdoraspringfest.com

Couch Sessions: Artist Finale

Reilly Arts Center

March 21

The grand finale celebrating the 2018 Couch Sessions Series brings together artists and musicians for an intimate evening—offering guests not just a front row seat but an on-stage seat up close to musicians Michelle Ingrham, Ecliff Farrar and Left On Broadway for the main stage performance. The event will begin with pop-up galleries by artists Jordan Shapot, Teddy Sykes, Tyrus Clutter, Mel Fiorentino and Derek Gabriel Grimsley. The art furniture pieces crafted by the 2018 featured artists will be auctioned with proceeds benefiting the Reilly Arts Center, and guests will get an exclusive VIP look at the 2019 Couch Sessions lineup and the opportunity to purchase tickets. reillyartscenter.com

Down for Donuts

CrossFit Iron Legion

March 23 | 9am

The functional fitness competition gets a fun twist—coffee and donuts for everyone, provided by Symmetry Coffee and Crepes! This event is a fundraiser for GiGi’s Playhouse in Gainesville, a Down syndrome achievement center, and offers fun for the whole family, including a silent auction. For more information, follow @DownforDonuts on Facebook or call 352-620-2625.

Wine & Seafood Festival

Lakeridge Winery, Clermont

March 22-24

This 11th annual event marks the start of spring with a weekend of outdoor music and entertainment to accompany Lakeridge wine and a variety of seafood specialties. Winery tours and tastings are complimentary and children are welcome. lakeridgewinery.com

Absolute Journey

Circle Square Cultural Center

March 23 | 7pm

The most traveled Journey tribute band in the world, Absolute Journey from Toronto performs a faithful reproduction of the Steve Perry era—complete with audience interaction, projections, backdrops and true-to-the-original costume changes. Hear all of your Journey favorites including “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Open Arms,” “Who’s Crying Now” and many more. csculturalcenter.com

HUGS 11th Annual Fundraiser

One Health Center

March 28 | 6:30pm

Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction with casual attire. All funds raised stay in Marion County to provide critical help to families facing cancer and the Cancer Alliance of Marion County. hugscharities.org

Assisted Living: The Musical

Reilly Arts Center

March 29 | 7:30pm

Laugh at later life in this vaudeville-esque revue that centers around a couple entering heaven…with a suspicion that their son pulled the plug to get his hands on Dad’s vintage Corvette. They get caught up in a singing, dancing celebration fondly remembering their adventures in their active retirement community. reillyartscenter.com

Marion County’s 175th Anniversary Celebration

McPherson Complex

March 30 | 10am-4pm

Organizations from around the area will participate in telling Marion County’s story in a fun, informative, interactive way. The event will include plenty of food, games and more. https://bit.ly/2E1sTpB

Gainesville Native American Festival

Alachua County Fairgrounds

March 29-31

Enjoy traditional dancing, music and art presented by native performers from all over North America in elaborate traditional regalia. Vendors will offer traditional native foods like frybread and buffalo as well as modern fair food. gainesvillenativeamericanfest.com

Autism SuperHero Fun Walk

Sholom Park

March 30 | 9:30 am

The 6th annual walk to benefit Ocala’s Outreach Autism Services Network includes a superhero costume contest, live entertainment by Macey Mac and barbecue for purchase from Big Lee’s Serious About Barbecue. outreachautismservicesnetwork.com

After Hours Concert Series: Southern Express

Appleton Museum of Art

April 4 | 5pm

Local 17-piece big band Southern Express plays jazz and diverse musical selections while visitors are invited to peruse artwork displays by the Ocala Art Group and sample French-inspired bites from La Cuisine. appletonmuseum.org

Magnolia Junkin’ Spring Market

Three Sisters Vintage

April 5-6 | 8am-4pm

Like vintage shopping? More than 50 vendors converge in downtown Ocala’s North Magnolia Business District offering rare antique, vintage and “junque” finds as well as arts and crafts. facebook.com/twosistersvintagethrift

Spring Arts Festival

Santa Fe College, Gainesville

April 6 | 9am-5pm

This 50th annual festival showcases original artwork, including paintings, jewelry, photography and ceramics. The Children’s Hands-on Art Jungle offers fun kids’ activities, crafts and face painting. Enjoy live entertainment at Bo Diddley Plaza throughout the day, and nosh on diverse food offerings from a variety of vendors. sfspringarts.org

Cinema Sunday

Marion Theatre

April 7 | 3-6pm

This Is Home is an intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in Baltimore and struggling to find their footing. As they learn to adapt to challenges, including the newly imposed travel ban, their strength and resilience are tested. It is a universal story, highlighted by humor and heartbreak, about what it’s like to start over, no matter the obstacles. The Cinema Sunday series, presented by the Ocala Film Foundation, offers film screenings and also a chance to meet and interact with the filmmaker in close-up and conversation events before and after the film. ocalafilmfoundation.org

Spring Heritage Tour of Homes

Ocala Historic District

April 6

HOPS, the Historic Ocala Preservation Society, presents the 2019 spring heritage tour, which includes tours of six lovely homes in the Ocala Historic District, complimentary refreshments, an antiques and treasures sale, and a History of Ocala program presented at the HOPS headquarters at Bryant House. historicocala.org

Going for Baroque

Reilly Arts Center

April 7 | 3pm

The Symphony Chorus, made up of singers from our community, joins the Ocala Symphony Orchestra for this spring concert which includes Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and “Magnificat” and orchestral works by Corelli and Handel. reillyartscenter.com

Brick City Beer and Wine Festival

Citizens’ Circle

April 20 | 2 pm

Admission to this 6th annual downtown favorite includes an afternoon of unlimited beer and wine sampling from more than 30 vendors from around the state and beyond. Enjoy live southern and classic rock music by R-Style and a variety of food trucks, as well. The event also includes admission to the Feel Downtown LIVE concert at 6pm featuring The Titans of Rock, a tribute to iconic arena rock bands like Journey and Bon Jovi. Proceeds will be donated to local charities.  brickcitybeerfest.com

Spring Parade of Homes

Marion County

April 25-28, May 2-5, May 9-12

The Marion County Building Industry Association presents the 2019 Spring Parade of Homes featuring more than 40 homes and representing the top builders in the industry. Homes range from starters to custom, multi-million-dollar designs. Attendees can tour the homes and talk with builders on-site. A complete list of homes and participating builders is available on the Marion County Building Association’s website. mcbia.org

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