Clear your calendar, and book a babysitter. We have your guide to some of this fall’s hottest art exhibits, festivals and theatrical productions. While there are too many to name them all, here is a sampling to get you started with planning your autumn entertainment schedule. With such great events to choose from, your calendar is sure to fill up fast! Really want to take the kiddos? There’s plenty for the whole family to do, too.
Scroll to the bottom to see the entire schedule.
who said that?
Ventriloquists Jimmy Nelson & Alex Houston
Oct. 1, Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Logic tells us that puppets can’t speak for themselves. But ventriloquists Jimmy Nelson and Alex Houston have mastered this art so well that we just can’t help but suspend disbelief for an hour or so and fall completely in cahoots with Elmer and Farfel The Dog who are up to their same old antics. These comedy teams have been delighting fans for decades and will be at the Orange Blossom Opry for one night only. So put down your briefcase, laptop and Blackberry and use your imagination to be entertained by this legendary comedy duo. obopry.com or (352) 821-1201.
Abbey Horse Festival
Oct. 1-2, Southeastern Livestock Pavilion
Whether you’ve lived in Marion County your whole life or only call Ocala home during the winter months up north, you know that Marion County is known as the “Horse Capital,” and what better way to celebrate our claim to fame than with a weekend of equine excitement. For two days, the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion is the place to be for extreme equine fanatics or those just looking for a good time. Aside from the all-day horse show, Parade of Stallions, Arabian Drill Team and Cowboy Mounted Shooters, there will also be a fiddle competition, live entertainment, a Salute to Armed Services and much more. The event concludes with an over-the-top laser light show!theabbeyhorsefestival.com or (352) 347-1615.
puppets gone wild
Stuffed And Unstrung
Oct. 7, Phillips Center For The Performing Arts, Gainesville
Experience six of the Henson puppeteers like you’ve never seen them—off script and uncensored. Surrounded by 80 Henson puppets, performers take audience suggestions and run with them in this improv show for adults only. Not only will you get a behind-the-scenes look at the puppeteers in action, two large screens show how the performance would look on TV. performingarts.ufl.edu or (352) 392-ARTS.
take ye home to the motherland
Ocala Scottish Highland Games
Oct. 8, Silver Springs Nature Park
Bagpipes, Celtic dancers and some good ol’ fashioned hammer throwing and caber tossing await you at the 2011 Ocala Scottish Highland Games. Held at Silver Springs Nature Park, this event transports you back to 16th century Scotland when fierce warriors tested their might in a series of strength and throwing events and the melodic tunes of bagpipes filled the air. This reincarnation includes a full day of dancing, singing, eating and shopping all with a Celtic flair, along with the top Scottish athletes in North America battling it out Braveheart style. For those with a dab of Scottish blood in their veins, visit the clan tents to trace your roots to the motherland. ocalascottishhighlandgames.com or (352) 625-0086.
final curtain call
Oct. 15, Grand Oaks Resort
This red haired mother-daughter duo has been entertaining country music crowds for decades. If you consider yourself a Judd-head, this is it—the farewell concert tour that can’t be missed. The Judds: The Last Encore will feature new Judds music, not to mention 25 years of fan-favorites, including some of Wynonna’s most loved solo hits. With only a few stops, the tour will also showcase seasonal favorites, weaving several classic Christmas songs into The Judds’ set list. Looking for a concert experience above the norm? The VIP Fan Experience package allows select fans never-before access to the duo. thejuddstour2011.com.
funnel cakes & ferris wheels
Blessed Trinity Carnival
Oct. 20-23, Blessed Trinity School
Nothing says fall like a trip to the carnival. The Blessed Trinity Carnival, a staple of Ocala family fun, returns this October. Forget your diet, and indulge on your carnival favorites—preferably after you ride the tilt-o-whirl ! Clear out your trunk because you’ll need space to carry home all the jumbo-sized prizes you’ll win at the countless games you won’t be able to resist. It’s OK—the carnival only comes ‘round once a year! blessedtrinity.org or (352) 622-5808 ext. 356.
cruise onto castro
Ocala Pumpkin Run
Oct. 28-30, Castro Farms
Whether you’re an auto enthusiast or not, you’ll want to drive-in to this three-day classic car show. The inaugural Ocala Pumpkin Run is slated to be one of the premier car events in Florida. Arts and crafts shows, Florida Carriage Museum displays, a swap meet and Halloween-inspired family fun activities, including a hay maze and “trunk or treating,” await visitors on the 400-acre Castro estate. Oh yeah, there will be cars, too—about 3,000 of them—along with a car corral, automotive midway and judged classic car show. Purchase a ticket for the VIP reception at Artisinal Dish, where you can taste some of the best tapas in town.ocalapumpkinrun.com or (352) 817-8985.
Micanopy Harvest Festival
Oct. 29-30, Micanopy
Micanopy is a small town tucked quietly between our own Ocala and college-clad Gainesville. Yet every year, thousands of people flock to these oak tree-shaded streets for the annual Harvest Festival. Like most festivals, the event features local artists, craftsmen and performers offering an array of unique creations and entertainment. But what makes Micanopy’s festival so unique is the incredible old-world charm and ambiance. Historic landmarks, antique shops and quaint eateries line the streets, and horse-drawn carriages recreate the peaceful way of life in a quiet old Southern town. micanopyfallfestival.org or (352) 466-7026.
they’re creepy & they’re cooky…
The Addams Family
Nov. 1-16, Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, Orlando
For a finger snapping good time, take a trip down the turnpike to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. Here, you’ll meet all your favorite Addams’ family members, including Morticia, Gomez, Fester, Wednesday, Lurch and others. In this original story, the Addams’ young daughter Wednesday (the ultimate princess of darkness and gloom), falls in love with a smart, respectful young man from a normal family. It’s the Addams’ worst nightmare come true. To make matters worse, the couple must now prepare to host a dinner for the young man and his parents in their not-so-normal abode. Hilarity is sure to ensue. ticketmaster.com or (407) 849-2577.
Marion County Chili Cook-off
Nov. 6, Southeastern Livestock Pavilion
Start dieting now because come Nov. 6, your diet is sure to fail. It’s time for the 30th annual Marion County Chili Cook-off, benefiting The Cornerstone School. People from throughout Marion County, including businesses, clubs, schools, organizations, politicians and family members, will be forming teams and putting their chili-cooking skills to the test. Not into chili? No problem! Along with the non-stop entertainment, vendors and fun activities for the kids, visitors have the chance to vote for their favorite theme and booth display created by the teams. The event begins bright and early at 9am and runs until 5pm or until the chili is gone! marioncountychilicookoff.org or (352) 895-1648.
do you doo-wop?
The Crests Featuring Tommy Mara
Nov. 19, Circle Square Cultural Center
No matter your age, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the song 16 Candles. If not, then you may want to do some research into R&B doo-wop. The Crests had suede shoes and poodle skirts twistin’ and shakin’ throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s and headlined a number of teen dance television shows. (Imagine the dance scene in Grease for all those in the under 50 age range.) Tommy Mara pays tribute to this iconic musical group at the Circle Square Cultural Center for one night only. It’s sure to bring back memories of malt shops and drive-ins. csculturalcenter.com or (352) 854-3670.
let the christmas season begin!
Light Up Ocala
Nov. 19, Downtown Square
You’ve probably already begun seeing the Christmas decorations and candies making their way to the pharmacy and supermarket aisles. We’ll agree that it may be a bit early to put the carols on the radio, but the festivities on the Downtown Square in November should inspire you to get your Christmas lists together. It’s time once again for Light Up Ocala! It may not be a white Christmas, but we will have icicles in our trees and Santa on his sleigh. The countdown to the Holiday Season begins at 2pm and runs until 8:30pm. No scrooges allowed! ocalafl.org or (352) 629-8444.
a timeless classic
Dec. 9-18, Ocala Civic Theatre
What could possibly be more traditional during the holiday season than The Nutcracker? With countless renditions of this timeless classic, The Nutcracker, performed by the Marion Ballet Theatre dancers, returns to the Ocala Civic Theatre this December. No matter how many times you’ve seen Clara receive her precious nutcracker, the Holidays just aren’t complete until you’ve seen this performance.ocalacivictheatre.com or (352) 236-2274.
where art thou?
Feast your eyes on these artful exhibits!
watch for the stampede!
Unveiling of Horse Fever Horses
Sept. 29, Downtown Square
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, you have likely noticed the beautiful multi-colored horses that live in Ocala. We’re not talking about race horses or jumping horses here, either. The Horse Fever horses that raised over $1.2 million for various charities in 2001 are eagerly awaiting some new friends. Local artists have been hard at work on the latest batch, and on September 29, the new herd will be unveiled on the Downtown Square. This is one fever you’ll definitely want to catch! mcaocala.com or (352) 369-1500.
Ocala Arts Festival
Oct. 22-23, McPherson Government Complex
The 45th annual Ocala Arts Festival returns to the McPherson Government Complex this October. Hundreds of artists from around the country convene in Ocala’s beautiful fall weather to display their masterpieces. Complete with free events to foster the talent of young artists, the festival also hosts a student art exhibit for kids in grades K through 12. This iconic event should hold a spot on everyone’s fall calendars. fafo.org or (352) 867-0355.
bring your bifocals
Through The Looking Glass
Dec. 3-31, Artful Gifts Gallery
Support Ocala’s local artists by stopping in the Artful Gifts Gallery at Circle Square Commons. This beautiful gallery houses the work of Ocala’s most creative and artistic citizens. While each month hosts a different exhibit, you may have to look twice to find December’s! Each piece in the exhibit “Through The Looking Glass” is no bigger than 8×10 inches. Want to find out how it’s done? Stop by on the third Friday of each month for a reception with the artists. Helpful tip: You may want to pick up a magnifying glass on your way! mcaocala.org or (352) 237-3747.
a hint of history
Celebrate our past at some of these historical happenings.
movin’ in mcintosh
McIntosh 1890 Day Fall Festival
Oct. 22, McIntosh Historic District
Visit McIntosh any day of the year and you’ll see that aside from telephone poles and traffic lights, the town maintains its historic charm, and those who live there like it that way. Hence, the McIntosh 1890 Day Fall Festival was born. Originally an effort to restore the historic train depot, this annual event has been a staple of the community since 1974. Now, over 250 vendors and 35,000 visitors make their way rain or shine to this one-day event with proceeds helping to maintain McIntosh’s charm. friendsofmcintosh.org or (352) 591-4038.
watch out for cannon fire!
Ocklawaha River Raid
Nov. 5-6, Florida Carriage Museum, Weirsdale
When thinking of the Civil War battles, Bunker Hill and Gettysburg tend to be at the top of the list. But make no mistake, Central Florida saw its own share of Civil War action. On the first weekend in November, hundreds of Civil War reenactors will stage Marion County’s sole battle, the Ocklawaha River Raid. So step back in time to 1867, but bring your earplugs—the cannon fire can be deafening! ocklawahariverraid.com or (352) 687-8737.
the original ocala
Ocali Country Days
Nov. 12-13, Silver River Museum
Before Ocala became known as the “Horse Capital,” early citizens were busy farming plantations and living off the land. Bring the family to the Silver River Museum during the annual Ocali Country Days to get a sampling of what life was like before Target and Walmart. Demonstrations, reenactments and traditional craft making and cooking will recreate the Ocala of the 1800s. marion.k12.fl.us/district/srm/index.cfm or (352) 236-5401.
back to nature
Chambers Farm Fall Family Powwow
Nov. 24-27, Chambers Farm, Fort McCoy
It would be hard to find a group of people more in tune with nature than the Native Americans. The Chambers Farm Fall Family Powwow is a celebration of simpler times before heavy traffic, noisy machines and cell phones filled our every day lives. Along with singing, dancing and storytelling, there will be authentic Native American food and vendors, as well as teepees, wigwams, chickees and long houses. But leave your Wii at home, there are no outlets in these walls! chambersfarm.org or (352) 546-2948.
set the stage
From musicals that will have you singing along in your seat to spine-tingling ghost stories and plays that require a tissue box (or two), some of the biggest shows on Broadway are coming to Central Florida.
greed, corruption & murder
Sept. 8- Oct. 2, Ocala Civic Theatre
We’ve definitely seen enough of that in the news! But this Tony Award-winning musical puts avarice to music. Set in the 1920s, the seductive murderesses Roxie and Velma seek fame and fortune from their time in the slammer. It’s a night of Razzle Dazzle and All That Jazz that you won’t soon forget! ocalacivictheatre.com or (352) 236-2274.
Sept. 23-Oct. 16, Gainesville Community Playhouse
Five hundred twenty-five…well you get the picture. We’re not sure if this number is accurate, but we’ll take their word for it. Rent, the ninth longest running show in Broadway history, is coming to Gainesville. Based on Puccini’s Opera La boheme, this thought provoking musical about young artists in New York’s Lower East Side struggling to find creative inspiration while at the same time pay their rent is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning show. Before being bombarded with holiday festivities, it’s worth the drive to Gainesville to see the Community Playhouse players’ rendition of this moving story that touches on the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the late 1980s. gcplayhouse.org or (352) 376-4949.
bring your tissues
Sept. 24-25, College of Central Florida
This can’t-miss performance by Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis is sure to be an emotional experience. Rose tells the story of a Jewish octogenarian and her life experiences, including her escape from Nazi forces during the Holocaust and immigration to America. The actress comprises the entire cast as she has been doing for over 10 years at a variety of prestigious venues worldwide, including Broadways’ Lyceum Theatre. A truly moving piece, Rose kicks off a series of great performances at the College of Central Florida. cf.edu or (352) 854-2322 ext. 1416.
The Turn Of The Screw
Oct. 12-Nov. 6, The Hippodrome, Gainesville
What would Halloween be without ghosts and ghouls? While some of today’s horror movies can be overly gory, nothing compares to the eeriness of a good Victorian-era ghost story. As the new governess assumes her role caring for two children, she begins to notice two individuals roaming the grounds of the estate. As her encounters become more and more eerie, family secrets unravel in this haunting classic by Henry James. thehipp.org or (352) 375-4477.
Nov. 18-Dec. 18, IceHouse Theatre, Mount Dora
A true classic, Annie is sure to delight audiences young and old alike. Based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, the musical debuted on Broadway in 1977 with, believe it or not, a blond Annie. We’re not quite sure when Annie became a redhead, but those classic copper locks have been known to belt out some pretty intense tunes. Bring the kids to the IceHouse Theatre in Mount Dora and introduce a new generation to the loveable redhead as she charms her way into the heart of Daddy Warbucks. icehousetheatre.com or (352) 383-3133.
the rain in spain…
My Fair Lady
Nov. 23, Phillips Center For The Performing Arts, Gainesville
Even if you’re not into musicals, you had to have heard of My Fair Lady. Based on the play Pygmalion, the show debuted on Broadway in 1956, and audiences have been falling in love with Eliza Doolittle ever since. Return to the streets of Victorian London at the Phillips Center this November to watch as Professor Henry Higgins transforms lowly flower girl Eliza Doolittle into an elegant English lady. You know you’ll get caught singing along to classics like I Could Have Danced All Night and Get Me To The Church On Time. But it’s OK, we won’t tell. performingarts.ufl.edu (352) 392-2787.
Silver Springs, Ocala
Oct. 1 6th Annual All GM Car Show
Oct. 7-31 Fright Nights
Oct. 8 Ocala Scottish Highland Games
Oct. 22 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
Nov. 12 14th Annual Corvette Car Show
Nov. 17-19 Native American Festival
TBD Festival of Lights
Jan. 7 Ford & Mustang Roundup
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Sept. 24 Lorrie Gill and Her Cast of 1000’s
Oct. 1 Ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson with Alex Houston
Oct. 8 Miles Savage
Oct. 22 Ronnie McDowell
Nov. 5 Legends of Doo Wop
Nov. 26 Let’s Hang On—Tribute to Franki Valli and Four Seasons
Dec. 31 Lorri Gill—A Tribute to Patsy Cline
College of Central Florida’s Webber Center, Ocala
Sept. 24-25 Rose
Oct. 30 Simply Sinatra
Dec. 4-6 It’s a Wonderful Life
Feb. 13 Cooking with the Calamari Sisters
April 16 Ballet Folklorico
Ocala Civic Theatre, Ocala
Sept. 8-Aug.2 Chicago
Oct. 6-16 The Guys
Nov. 3-27 Steel Magnolias
Dec. 9-18 The Nutcracker
Jan. 5-15 Neil Simon’s Rumor’s
Feb. 2-26 Nunsense II
March 15-April 8 A Perfect Wedding
March 29-April 6 Squabbles
May 17-June 10 Fiddler on the Roof
Artful Gifts, Ocala
(Exhibits change monthly, reception third Friday of every month)
Sept.1-30 Sports Art
Oct.1-31 Fantasy in Flight
Nov. 1-30 Art of the Horse
Dec. 1-31 Through The Looking Glass
Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, Ocala
Sept. 2-3 Ocala Shrine Rodeo
Oct. 1-2 Abbey Horse Festival
Nov. 6 Marion County Chili Cook Off
Grand Oaks Resort, Weirsdale
Oct. 15 The Judds
Circle Square Cultural Center, Ocala
Sept. 6 A Decade Of Remembrance Honoring 9/11
Sept. 17 Live Bait: Jimmy Buffet Tribute
Sept. 23 Lola and the Saints
Oct. 8 Lenny Wilson Quartet
Oct. 22 9th Annual Craft Fair
Oct. 30 The Amazing Kreskin’s Halloween Show
Nov. 19 The Crests Featuring Tommy Mara
Dec. 3 Holiday Music Festival
Dec. 31 New Years Eve with Norman Lee
Circle Square Commons, Ocala
Sept. 10 Italian Festival
Oct. 1 Octoberfest
Aug.31-Sept. 25 God Of Carnage
Oct. 12-Nov. 6 The Turn of the Screw
Nov. 25-Dec. 21 This Wonderful Life
Nov. 26-Dec. 17 A Christmas Carol
Jan. 11-Feb.5 Sirens
Feb. 22-March 18 Over the Tavern
April 11-May 13 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Phillips Center For The Performing Arts, Gainesville
Sept. 1-2 Peter Yarrow
Sept. 15 Delfos Danza Contemporanea
Sept. 16 Reduced Shakespeare Company
Sept. 18 Young Concert Artist: DaXun Zhang, Double Base
Sept. 23 Barbara Padilla
Oct. 7 Henson Alternative Stuffed and Unstrung
Oct. 9 New York Chamber Soloist with Rachel Barton Pine
Oct. 16 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Oct. 20 AnDa Union
Oct. 23 Regina Carter’s “Reverse Thread”
Oct. 25 Marina Filjak, Cleveland Piano Competition Winner
Oct. 28 The John Oates Band
Oct. 30 Jeff Petterson
Nov. 6 Interpreti Veneziani
Nov. 8 Audra McDonald
Nov. 10 Buchholz High School Band Veterans Day Concert: A Musical Salute!
Nov. 10 Orla Fallon
Nov. 13 Young Concert Artist: Caroline Goulding, Violin
Nov. 17 Munich Symphony Orchestra
Nov. 18 The Miles Davis Experience: 1945-1959
Nov. 23 My Fair Lady
Nov. 25 Christmas with Aaron Neville and his Quintet
Dec. 16 Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks: “Holidaze in Hicksville”
Jan. 13 Beijing Guitar Duo
Jan. 15 The Ritz Chamber Players
Jan. 19 The Manhattan Transfer
Jan. 21-22 Women Fully Clothed
Jan. 27 Karla Bonoff
Feb. 3 Soweto Gospel Choir
Feb. 4 Joshua Bell, violin, and Sam Haywood, piano
Feb. 9 Ahn Trio with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
Feb. 10 The Official Blues Brothers Revue
Feb. 11 Dala
Feb. 12 Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Feb. 20 Monty Python’s Spamalot
Feb. 21 Chamber Ensemble of the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra
Feb. 23 Arlo Guthrie
Feb 25 Ronald K. Brown, a dance company
Feb. 26 Ariel String Quartet
Feb. 28 Boston Brass
Feb. 29 The Pink Floyd Experience
March 11 Nordwestdeutsche Philharmnoie
March 12 Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
March 15 Celtic Crossroads
March 18 Pilobolus Dance Theatre
March 19 Jeannine De Bique
March 14 Vijay Iyer Trio
March 25 Peking Acrobats
March 27 Joffrey Ballet
March 28 Young Frankenstein
March 30-31 Stomp
April 15 Trio Cavatina
April 20 Australian Chamber Orchestra
April 20 Buffalo Rome
April 21 Buddy Guy
April 23 Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific
Gainesville Community Playhouse, Gainesville
Sept. 23-Oct. 16 Rent
Nov. 25-Dec. 19 A Christmas Story
Jan. 27-Feb. 12 Intimate Apparell
March 23-April 15 Thoroughly Modern Millie
May 18-June 3 Agnes of God
July 13-Aug. 5 Hairspray
Ocala Symphony Orchestra
Sept. 11 Remembering 9/11 Appleton Museum of Art
Oct. 2 Back to Baroque Appleton Museum of Art
Oct. 29 On a Dark and Stormy Night Ocala Breeders’ Sales Auditorium
Nov. 19 Handel’s Messiah Queen of Peace Catholic Church
Nov. 20 Handel’s Messiah St. Mark The Evangelist Roman Catholic Church
Dec. 9 Symphony Under The Lights Downtown Square, Ocala
Dec. 10 Twas the Night Before Christmas Ocala Breeders’ Sales Auditorium
Feb. 25 In the Beginning Ocala Breeders’ Sales Auditorium
March 31 In a Galaxy Far, Far Away Ocala Breeders’ Sales Auditorium
The IceHouse Theatre, Mount Dora
Nov. 18-Dec. 18 Annie
Jan. 20-Feb. 12 Lend Me A Tenor
March 16-April 8 The Marvelous Wonderettes
May 4-27 Breaking Legs
Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, Orlando
Sept. 17 Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra: Casa De Mexico
Sept. 19 Elvis Costello
Oct. 8 Heart of the King: A Tribute to Elvis
Oct. 21-22 Orlando Ballet: Vampire’s Ball
Oct. 22 Orlando Ballet: Sleeping Beauty
Oct. 30 David Sedaris
Nov. 1-16 The Addams Family
Dec. 6-11 South Pacific
Dec. 16-18 Orlando Ballet: the Nutcracker
Jan. 17-22 Les Miserables
Feb. 10-11 Orlando Ballet: Battle of the Sexes III
March 2&4 Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra
March 31 Orlando Ballet: The Swan Princess
June 5-10 KA Cage Aux Folles
Other Area Events
Sept. 24-25 Art Festival at Thornbrook Thornbrook Village, Gainesville
Sept. 29 Unveiling of Horse Fever Horses Downtown Square, Ocala
Oct. 20-23 Blessed Trinity Carnival Blessed Trinity School, Ocala
Oct. 22 McIntosh 1890 Day McIntosh Historic District
Oct. 22-23 Ocala Arts Festival McPherson Government Complex, Ocala
Oct. 28-30 Ocala Pumpkin Run Castro Farms, Ocala
Oct. 29-30 Micanopy Harvest Festival Micanopy
Nov. 5-6 Ocklawaha River Raid Florida Carriage Museum, Weirsdale
Nov. 12-13 Downtown Festival and Art Show Downtown Gainesville
Nov. 12-14 Ocali Country Days Silver River Museum, Ocala
Nov. 19 Light Up Ocala Downtown Square, Ocala
Nov. 24-27 Chambers Farm Fall Family Powwow Chambers Farm, Fort McCoy