A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events
FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK
The monthly event runs September through May and features artists, performers and craftspeople all around the downtown square. Stores stay open late for shopping. For more info, ocalafl.gov
OCALA SHRINE RODEO
Southeastern Livestock Pavilion
Classic events include team roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, barrel racing and bronc riding, all sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. Concessions available. The event raises money for the Shriners Hospital for Children and local youth organizations. $25 at the gate. Check out ocalashrinerodeo.com for more info.
SUMMER’S END MORGAN AND SADDLEBRED HORSE SHOW
World Equestrian Center, Arenas 2 and 3
A variety of disciplines will include driving, dressage, Western riding, hunter and pony classes. Highlights include academy riders and handicapped exceptional riders. Free for spectators. For more info, fmha.net/summers-end-horse-show
OCALA RECOVERY FESTIVAL
Tuscawilla Art Park
This event celebrates sobriety with exhibitor booths, recovery resources, food options, entertainment, a kids’ zone and giveaways. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served while supplies last and the first 1,000 guests may receive a free T-shirt. Free to attend. For more info, mcchildrensalliance.org/events-2
EIRINN ABU CONCERT
Countryside Presbyterian Church
The saxophonist and recording artist will perform hits from his CDs. His song selections are varied and include a mix of hymns, movie themes, and love songs. Free to attend; a love offering is welcome. For more info, call Sally Zarnowiec at (407) 276-5699.
KT TUNSTALL CONCERT
Reilly Arts Center
Tunstall is a singer/songwriter with folk music and rocker chops, “with sharper teeth,” she says. Tickets are $35-$85. See reillyartscenter.com for more info.
Reilly Arts Center
This is a combination of cosplay and heavy metal versions of John Williams’ movie music. Featuring instrumental covers, the costumed band will play themes and songs from Indiana Jones, Star Wars, The Phantom Menace and more. Tickets are $25 to $75. For more info about this band looking to dominate the universe, see galacticempireband.com
OCALA COMIC CON
World Equestrian Center, Expo 1
The convention spans comics, sci-fi fandom, manga, cosplay, trading cards, gaming, movies and television, and includes numerous special guests. Weekend passes start at $40 and VIP packages are available. Photos with stars and autographs require an additional charge. See ocalacomiccon.com for more info.
WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN: CARPENTERS REMEMBERED
Circle Square Cultural Center
This tribute show will bring back mellow memories. Starring Michelle Berting Brett, accompanied by world-class musicians, the show recreates the Carpenters’ original sound. Tickets start at $31. For more information, visit weveonlyjustbegunshow.com
LAKE LILLIAN FOODIE FEST
Lake Lillian Park, Belleview
This is the last festival of the season (it will return in January). It features food trucks, live music, kids’ activities, vendors and artists. Free admission. For more info, belleviewfl.org
SHAWN GERHARD’S ULTIMATE TRIBUTE 2 GARTH
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Singer/guitarist Gerhard is from Nashville and has won kudos for his faithful takes on hits such as Friends in Low Places, The Dance and Much Too Young. Tickets are $34-$49. Check out obopry.com for more info.
OCTOBERFEST AT WEC
September 30 & October 7
Try German foods (bratwurst, knackwurst, pretzels, schnitzel, potato salad, apfelstrudel, lebkuchen and Black Forest cake). There will be music from the Swinging Bavarians, along with a Schnitzel Shuffle 5K run (separate registration needed.) And, of course, German beer! Tickets are $42 for adults, $25 for ages 5-12 and free for youth under 5 with a paying adult. See worldequestriancenter.com
CENTRAL FLORIDA PEANUT FESTIVAL
Heritage Park, Williston
The 34th annual event will feature numerous vendors, plus raffles and entertainment. Activities include photo and pumpkin decorating contests, and the Little Peanut King and Queen contests for kids under age 5. Children’s activities will include games and a mini train. For more info, go to willistonflchamber.com