On the Scene | February 2024

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

NEVER GIVE UP ON COUNTRY CONCERT
Silver Springs State Park
February 3

This benefit for the Travis Mills Foundation features country artists Johnny & Heidi, Chris McNeil and headliner Parmalee for a concert on the park’s Twin Oaks Mansion lawn. The foundation helps “recalibrated” veterans overcome physical and emotional obstacles and provides them rest and relaxation. Bring a chair or blanket for seating. Tickets are $45 for admission only or $65 for the concert and a meal from Mission BBQ, which will be onsite. Visit bit.ly/never-give-up-on-country for more information.

FREE FIRST SATURDAY 
Appleton Museum of Art
February 3

On the first Saturday of each month the museum offers free access to the regular exhibits, special activities and displays. This month, artist Margaret Ross Tolbert will offer two free tours of her solo exhibition, Water’s Margins: Paintings of Florida’s Springs. Her paintings feature “kaleidoscopic blues and earth tones to express her passion” for Florida’s unique springs. The event will include a food truck onsite. For more information, see appletonmuseum.org/events

BOURBON IN THE BARN
College of Central Florida Vintage Farm
February 9

The annual soiree to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Marion County will include bourbon samplings, tasty bites and live and silent auctions. To learn more, go to bit.ly/bourbon-in-the-barn or call (352) 690-7545.

Grandview Invitational Draft Horse Show, photo by Bruce Ackerman

GRANDVIEW WORLD NIGHTS
World Equestrian Center, Arena 5
February 8-10

Thundering hooves make the earth shake when this world-class draft horse show gets going. Dozens of 2,000-pound horses, such as Clydesdales, Percherons and Belgians, will compete in a variety of driving classes that include Ladies Cart, Youth Cart and four-, six- and eight-horse hitches. Tickets start at $35-$70, with VIP packages available. For more information and tickets, visit grandviewworldnights.com

BRICK CITY ANIME FESTIVAL
World Equestrian Center, Expo 1
February 10-11

Invited guest artists and creators include Justin Cook, Nicolas Roye, Sarah Wiedenheft and others. The festival will have a vendor’s section, panels and opportunities for photos and autographs (Note: these typically have an additional fee.). Parking is free. Tickets start at $25 for a day pass, with youth ages 10 and under admitted at no charge. A VIP experience is $150. More information and tickets are available from brickcityanimefestival.com

LEGACIES OF LOVE LUNCHEON
Klein Center, College of Central Florida
February 14

Interfaith Emergency Services will honor Wes Wheeler, Monica Bryant and the late Wayne McDonald. The fundraiser will benefit Marion County residents who need shelter, food and clothing. Tickets are $65 and available from bit.ly/legacies-of-love

TRIBUTE BANDS: CHICAGO, PHIL COLLINS, JOHN DENVER
Reilly Arts Center
February 16, 17 & 23

Central Florida is definitely one place to find a huge variety of tribute bands, musical styles and genres. This month, the Reilly hosts Chi-Town Transit Authority on February 16th for fans of Chicago; In the Air Tonight for Phil Collins and Genesis fans on February 17th; and Remembering John Denver on February 23rd. Tickets range from $25-$50. See reillyartscenter.com for more information.

CHARITY CAR SHOW
McPherson Governmental Complex
February 17

This annual event is presented by the Marion County Tax Collector’s Office. More than 25 trophies will be presented, along with a Peoples’ Choice award. There will be music, a bounce house, craft and antique vendors, an azalea sale, food trucks and swap shops for car parts. The event is free to attend. The entry fee for contest cars is $15 by February 15th or $20 the day of show. Proceeds will benefit local charities. For more information, call Jacob Wicklein at (352) 368-8206.

Elora Pfriender and Kendrie Smith; Marion Rotary Duck Derby, photo by Bruce Ackerman

MARION ROTARY DUCK DERBY
Tuscawilla Park
February 17

The Marion Rotary Duck Derby will raise money for the Discovery Center, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, math and arts, with hands-on exhibits and educational presentations and more. Adopt a single duck for $5; a “quack pack” of six for $25; or a “flock” of 24 ducks for $100, all for a chance to win one of three $250 cash prizes. For more information and to adopt a duck, visit duckrace.com/ocala

PREHISTORIC ARTS FESTIVAL
Silver River Museum and Silver Springs State Park
Feb. 17-18 

This unique festival will showcase native skills experts from all over the country as they convene to demonstrate these ancient arts. Visitors can see and talk with flint knappers, potters, hide tanners, canoe carvers and others. The event will include talks about archaeology, and crafts and food vendors. Festival admission is $8, with youth ages 5 and younger admitted at no charge. Tickets include admission to the park and the Silver River Museum. For more details, visit silverrivermuseum.com

MORE TRIBUTE BANDS: FLEETWOOD MAC & ELVIS PRESLEY
Circle Square Cultural Center
February 17 & 24

For more tribute artists spanning the ‘50s to the ‘90s, check out Rumours: A Fleetwood Mac Tribute, renowned as one of the best Mac attack bands out there, on February 17th. If you want to step further back in time, Cote Deonath is Elvis Presley Enterprises’ 2023 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist. This show, which is a benefit for Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, will feature Elvis’s career from his early days to his Las Vegas heyday. Tickets range from $15-$60 for either show, with a VIP package available for the Elvis show. See csculturalcenter.com for more information and tickets.

14th ANNUAL H.U.G.S. FUNDRAISER
Bank Street Patio Bar & Grill
February 22

This year the honoree is Rusty Branson, president of SouthState Bank and long-time Marion County supporter of many charities. The event benefits the Heartfelt Unconditional Giving (H.U.G.S.) Foundation, which works with the Cancer Alliance of Marion County to provide temporary assistance to people in active cancer treatment and their families. Tickets are $75. For more information, visit
bit.ly/14th-annual-hugs

VOCAL FUR BALL
World Equestrian Center, Expo 1
February 23

The eighth annual Fur Ball will feature entertainment by TJ Brown, a cocktail/social hour and sit-down dinner, along with live and silent auctions. A featured art piece for auction will be She’s Retired and Free, an award-winning bronze sculpture by artist Todd Lane. VOCAL helps Marion County pet parents with a low-cost animal care clinic, adopts and fosters pets, and partners with Chewy and other pet rescue organizations to offer Project Feed. Tickets are $150 at weblink.donorperfect.com/furball2024ticket

COMING UP:

Night at the Farm, photo by Bruce Ackerman

NIGHT AT THE FARM
College of Central Florida Vintage Farm
March 2

The CF Foundation hosts the Strings, Wine and Bites gala to provide scholarships for students. Tickets are $125 per person; $200 per couple. To purchase, visit nightatthefarm.org

STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
McPherson Governmental Complex Field
March 2

Benefit event hosted by Habitat for Humanity of Marion County featuring live music, entertainment, vendors and food. Learn more at habitatocala.org/strawberry

FLORIDA SPRINGSFEST
Silver Springs State Park
March 2 & 3

Educational exhibits, vendors, entertainment, mermaids, games and food. $2 park admission per person. Learn more at fb.com/thefriendsofsilverspringsstatepark

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