On the Scene | January 2023

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

Photo by Bruce Ackerman

OCALA POLO CLUB WINTER GAMES
Florida Horse Park
Jan. 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29

Tailgating at a polo match is a charming way to enjoy an afternoon out with family and friends. You can get up close with the equine athletes and their riders. Chairs are suggested, food and drink are encouraged, and tents are available for rent. Decorate your tent/tailgate area and you might win a prize. Leashed dogs are welcome. For more information, visit ocalapolo.com

WEC WINTER SPECTACULAR
World Equestrian Center
Jan. 4-8; 11-15; 18-22; 25-29 (Wed-Sun, each week)

This hunter/jumper show series highlights divisions and class levels from pony, youth rider and adult amateur to Grand Prix level show jumping with big-dollar prizes. Grand Prix classes take place on Saturday nights and offer spectacular competition in the world-class Grand Arena. Food and drink available onsite; parking fees vary per event. For more information, visit worldequestriancenter.com

JEFF LEESON
Marion Theatre
Jan. 6

Comedian Jeff Leeson bills himself as a human fireworks display, so be ready for an improvisational show style that helps create a unique experience each time he steps on stage. His “Sorry, I’m Not Kevin Hart” show will get your new year off to a lighthearted start. Leeson is known for involving the audience. Tickets are $20-$35, available from reillyartscenter.com/events/jeff-leeson

Photo by Becky Collazo

FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK
Downtown Ocala
Jan. 6

Start the new year off with local artists, performers and crafters. Enjoy live music onstage and buskers on the streets. Food and snacks will be available from vendors and restaurants. Some stores are open late for shopping. For more info, ocalafl.org

OCALA BOAT SHOW 
World Equestrian Center, Expo Center 2
Jan. 6-8

The show will include everything from pontoons and cruisers, to personal watercraft and tubing supplies, along with vendors. Online tickets in advance are $10; $12 at the gate; free for ages 12 and younger. Free parking. Food and drink options onsite. For more info, visit worldequestriancenter.com 

JIM STAFFORD
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Jan. 13

Entertainer, comic and singer/songwriter Jim Stafford returns with a set that’s sure to include hits such as Spiders and Snakes, Wildflower Weed and others. Stafford tells stories with his songs and is a virtuoso classical guitarist. Tickets are $27-$42. Check out obopry.com for more info. 

Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. COMMEMORATION EVENTS
March, Day in the Park and more
Jan. 14-16

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., there are events spanning several days, including, on the 14th, a prayer breakfast at the Mary Sue Rich Center at Reed Place at 9am (tickets needed) a wreath ceremony at 11:30am at MLK Jr. Park and MLK Youth Day at 1pm at the Mary Sue Rich Center. Ecumenical church services begin at 5pm on the 15th at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. Activities on the 16th begin with the annual march from the downtown square to the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Complex at State Road 40 and MLK Jr. Avenue, which will be followed by Day in the Park, with vendors, food and performers. For more info, email drdilworth@gmail.com or see the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission page on Facebook.

IRA HOLMES INTERNATIONAL FILM SERIES
Appleton Museum of Art and the College of Central Florida
Jan. 17 & 31 

On January 17th, Victoria & Abdul, the true story of an unlikely friendship between an aging Queen Victoria and a young clerk from India, starring Judi Dench, will be shown. On January 31st, Parasite will be shown. It has been called a “pitch-black modern fairy tale” about two Korean families with greed and class prejudice at its center. Films at 2pm at the Appleton are free to museum and film series members; nonmembers pay museum admission. Films at CF, at 7pm, are free to attend. The films may contain mature content. For more details, visit cf.edu/filmseries 

IHMC LECTURE SERIES
Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
Jan. 19 

Dr. Gwen Bryan is an IHMC research scientist and focuses on augmentative exoskeletons she hopes will help laborers, military personnel and people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and other mobility challenges. The lecture begins with a reception. To register, visit ihmc.us/lectures/20230119

2023 TUSCAWILLA ART PARK SERIES: BLUEGRASS AND BBQ
Tuscawilla Park
Jan. 20

Hear musical performances by award-winning artists Appalachian Road Show and opening act The Wandering Hours and enjoy Big Lee’s Serious About BBQ and Country Boyz BBQ, with desserts from Big Man’s Café. General admission is $10 in advance/online or $15 at the gate. VIP packages are available. Bring blankets or chairs for general seating. For more info, ocalafl.org

LAKE LILLIAN FOODIE FEST
Lake Lillian Park, Belleview
Jan. 27

Held the fourth Friday of every month, this festival features food trucks, live music and kids’ activities. For more info, ocalamarion.com/events/friday-foodie-fest-at-lake-lillian-8

DUNNELLON DUCK RACE
Swampy’s Restaurant, Dunnellon
Jan. 28 (rescheduled) 

The Dunnellon Chamber of Commerce sponsors a duck race on the Rainbow River to benefit the Greater Dunnellon Historical Society, Believe in Santa Foundation, Family Hope Resource and Pregnancy Center and the Wil-Power Foundation. Adopt a duck and get a prize if your duck wins. Prizes include a two-night stay at the Guy Harvey Resort, gift baskets and cash. Adoption fees range from $25-$265 for a “quacker’s dozen.” For more info, dunnellonchamber.com

Photo by Bruce Ackerman

OCALA CAMELLIA SOCIETY FLOWER SHOW
Silver Springs State Park Ballroom, Ocala
Jan. 28-29

This annual show will exhibit hundreds of camellias, specially picked for their beauty and hope for perfection. Entries from local growers are welcome and there is no charge to enter a flower. Judging finishes on Saturday morning and the ballroom opens to the public at 1 pm. The club will offer camellia plants for sale, advice on how to grow and enjoy them and raffles for club memberships and plants. For more info, FB.com/Ocala-Camellia-Society-100719056688048

ELVIS & FRIENDS  
Circle Square Cultural Center, Ocala
Feb. 3

Join world champion Elvis tribute artist Cote Deonath with other award-winning tribute artists Chris Patti, George Trullenger and Tim Stamper as they pay tribute to Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Ed Sullivan, The Blues Brothers, Frank Sinatra and others. The show will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Marion County. Tickets are $15-$100; VIP packages are available. See csculturalcenter.com/events/elvis-and-friends for more info. 

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