15th Annual Summer End Fly-In (September 18). If you love planes and flying, you won’t want to miss this Ocala Flying Model Club event, presenting radio giant-scaled airplanes. Come see classic cars courtesy of the Belleview Cruisers, too. The Big Red Bus will be available for blood donations as well. A 50/50 raffle will be held at 1pm, and food and drinks will be offered by the OFMC Fly Girls. The fly-in is open from 9am to 3pm, and admission is a $2 donation per person or $5 per car. ocalaflyingmodelclub.com or (352) 553-2627.
Buddy MacKay (Sept. 19). The Friends of the Ocala Library will host Ocalan and former Lt. Governor Buddy MacKay on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 2pm in Room C at the main library on Silver Springs Boulevard. MacKay will discuss his book, “How Florida Happened: The Political Education of Buddy MacKay”. Refreshments will be provided by the Friends. Early arrival is recommended.
On Thursday, September 30, at 6:30pm, also in Room C, the Friends will sponsor a seminar on the November 2 amendments to the Florida Constitution to be given by former County Commissioner Judy Johnson. Refreshments will be provided. Visit friendsoftheocalalibrary.org for more information about the Friends.
CORRECTION: Autumn Gift Market (Sept. 10–11). The Junior League of Ocala hosts its largest fundraiser of the year to help members of the community through its own projects and programs. The 15th annual event at the College of Central Florida gym is a holiday gift-shopping bonanaza featuring both local and out-of-town vendors on site. Live entertainment is scheduled. Tickets are $5, and the market will be open from 9am to 7pm on FRIDAY and 9am to 5pm on SATURDAY. juniorleagueofocala.com or (352) 368-0993.
Mary Sue Rich Diversity Award Nominations (Sept. 1–10). Now through 5pm on Sept. 10, nominations for the Mary Sue Rich Diverstiy Award will be accepted. Each year , Ocala’s Racial Harmony and Cultural Awareness Task Force seeks to reward individuals who have distinguished themselves by promoting cultural awareness and diversity. Nomination forms are available at the Ocala Recreation & Parks Administration Office and online at 1ocala1america.org. (352) 368-5550.
Marion County Chili Cook-Off Registration (Sept. 1–Oct. 9). Something’s beginning to stir! Your chili might not be on the stove just yet, but registration is now open for the 29th annual Marion County Chili Cook-Off, Ocala’s premier chili challenge. This year’s event will be held at the North Central Florida Agriculture and Civic Center (formerly called the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion) on Oct. 9. The entry fee per booth is $60 if registered by Sept. 15 and $70 if registered after Sept. 15. marioncountychilicookoff.org or (352) 895-1648.
Gator Motorcycle Raffle (Sept. 1–Nov. 13). Enter for a chance to win a custom Harley EVO V-twin 1340 Gator motorcycle and you’ll be helping support the Marion County Sheriff’s Office’s youth programs. Built by Florida-based Purple Chopper, the 2010 softail bike is signed by the University of Florida’s head football coach, Urban Meyer, and former quarterback, Tim Tebow. Raffle tickets are $20 each and will be on sale through November 13, or until all are sold. purple-chopper.com, (386) 490-0366, or (352) 402-6020.
Ocala Shrine Rodeo (Sept. 3–4). Cowboy up! The 28th annual Ocala Shrine Rodeo returns to the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion for an action-packed weekend of broncs, bulls, and cowboys. Gates open at 6pm on both days, and the rodeo begins at 8pm. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the gate. Children 5 and younger get in free. Reserve box seats available for $18 and up. Proceeds benefit the Shrine Hospital for Children. ocalarodeo.com or (352) 402-8808.
SpongeBob Squarepants Live (Sept. 4). Did you hear? SpongeBob Squarepants is coming to Silver Springs for one day only! The kid-favorite cartoon character will make appearances at 11am, 1:15pm, 2pm, and 4:15pm. silversprings.com or (352) 236-2121.
Freedom Library 10th Birthday Party (Sept. 9). The Freedom Public Library is turning 10, and you’re invited to its party! From 2pm to 6pm, guests will enjoy snacks as they peruse library scrapbooks and historical references as live music plays. The library is located on SW 95th Street in Ocala. library.marioncountyfl.org or (352) 438-2580.
Movie in the Park: The Blind Side (Sept. 10). Bring the whole family—plus a lawn chair or two—to Martin Luther King Park for a special showing of the football-themed flick The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock, at 7:30pm. Admission is free and so are the popcorn and drinks. A perfect outing for kids and grown-ups alike! (352) 629-8444.
Autumn Gift Market (Sept. 10–11). The Junior League of Ocala hosts its largest fundraiser of the year to help members of the community through its own projects and programs. The 15th annual event at the College of Central Florida gym is a holiday gift-shopping bonanaza featuring both local and out-of-town vendors on site. Live entertainment is scheduled. Tickets are $5, and the market will be open from 9am to 7pm on Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sunday. juniorleagueofocala.com or (352) 368-0993.
The Beth J. Rose Memorial Classic (Sept. 11). The Florida Thorobred Fillies Club proudly presents this fifth annual charity hunter/jumper horse show at Steadfast Farm on 60th Avenue in Ocala. The show and the $500 Mini Prix are open to any horse/rider team. Horses must enter at least one class at the show, or pay the $20 no-qualifer fee. Prizes will be awarded, and the entry fee is $35. steadfasthorses.com or (352) 425-9424.
Get Fit Ocala (Sept. 11–Oct. 30). The Marion County Children’s Alliance, with funding from General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids, hosts this six-week family exercise and nutrition initiative for families including at least one adult and one child age 8–17. The challenges will be based on a point system, and prizes and incentives will be offered. Programs will be conducted in Marion Oaks and West Ocala. There is no cost to participate. mcchildrensalliance.org or (352) 438-5995.
Horsey Auction (Sept. 14). The Marion County Horseman’s Association’s annual “Horsey” Auction, featuring plenty of horse-related treasures, raises money for the Horse Protection Association of Florida. The bidding takes place at the Marion County Ag Center on Jacksonville Road starting at 6:30pm, and complimentary refreshments and desserts will be provided. marioncountyhorseman.com or (352) 595-5595.
Ice Cream For OWLS (Sept. 14). If you give a hoot, get a scoop! On Tuesday, Sept. 14, when you purchase an ice cream scoop from Bruster’s Real Ice Cream on Silver Springs Boulevard, the proceeds will benefit the Ocala Wild Life Sanctuary (OWLS), which helps rehabilitate birds of prey, mostly owls. owls-ocalainc.giving.officelive.com or (352) 732-6844.
Buy Local Expo (Sept. 14). Buy local, buy better! Learn about the retail, restaurant, services, and other business opportunities that Ocala/Marion County has to offer. This free event from 2pm to 7pm at the Holiday Inn and presented by the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce is a great way for consumers to sample and try out businesses’ products. Admission is free. ocalacc.com or (352) 629-8051.
5K Run For Autism (Sept. 18). Lace up your running shoes and head to Silver Springs Nature Park for the seventh annual Run for Autism to benefit New Horizon Academy for Exceptional Children. The first 200 entrants will receive a complimentary T-shirt, and a free one-mile Kids Fun Run will take place after the race. Pre-registration is $15 for adults and $12 for students 19 and under. All entries after Sept. 14 will be $20. Walkers welcomed. Run begins at 7:30am. Visit active.com or ocalarun.org, or call (352) 624-3540 or (352) 629-1785.
Becoming Soul Mates Marriage Conference (Sept. 18). Church at The Springs in Ocala hosts this conference on marriage featuring best-selling authors and nationally renowned speakers Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. The event will address how married and engaged couples can develop a deeper and more meaningful connection. The speakers have been featured on such shows as Good Morning, America, Oprah, and The View. Tickets are $50 each, which includes lunch. 9am–3pm. thesprings.net or (352) 624-0545.
Black Diamond Wedding Expo (Sept. 19). Are you planning a fall or winter wedding? Don’t miss this wedding expo at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, featuring a Grooms’ Lounge, Bridal Suite Experience, First Dance lessons, and a fashion show. The Studio 352 event takes place from 6pm to 10pm. facebook.com/studio352events or (352) 270-0824.
Business Network International Kick-Off (Sept. 21). Business Network International, a networking organization specializing in the exchange of qualified business referrals among members, is opening a new chapter in Ocala, and business professionals are invited to attend this kick-off meeting at The Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club from 7:20–9:10am. BNI has over 5,000 chapters internationally and 100,000 members. Seating is limited, and interested parties are encouraged to call to be placed on the guest list. bni.com or (352) 509-4757.
CF Film Series: Goodbye Solo (Sept. 21). The College of Central Florida kicks off its International Film Series with the 2009 film Goodbye Solo at 2pm at the Appleton Museum of Art and at 7pm at the college’s Ocala campus. The movie centers around two completely different men who embark on a friendship that changes their lives. Admission is free at the college. Daily admission prices to the museum apply. cf.edu/foundation or (352) 854-2322, ext. 1233.
Dillard’s Homecoming Makeover (Sept. 24–26). Juniors, get the latest looks for Homecoming and enter for a chance to win a $500 Homecoming makeover at Dillard’s during the last weekend in September. You can also nominate your school to win $1,000 for its Homecoming dance. dillards.com or (352) 629-9266.
SportsAbility (Oct. 1–2). This premier event of the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association, hosted at the Ed Croskey Center, MLK Park, and Carney Island, helps promote active recreation for people with disabilities. Friday is the Indoor Day & Expo while Saturday is Outdoor Day. Admission for both days is free, and the hours are 10am–3pm on both days. ocalafl.org or (352) 629-2489.
ARToberfest (Oct. 1–2). Palatka Memorial Park on the St. Johns River will be the site for this family-friendly, fall festival, featuring arts and crafts, a business expo, a car show, barbecue, recycling regatta, kids’ actitivities, street performers, and live music. A Quiltoberfeset at the Tilghman House will also take place during the weekend. 12–10pm on Friday and 10am–5pm on Saturday. (386) 546-5545.
“We Can” Retreat (Oct. 2). The “We Can” Retreat, a free retreat for cancer patients, families, and survivors, is a program of the Robert Boissoneault Oncology. Guests spend the day with others who understand their plight to share encouraging words and learn about treatment advancements, how to cope with fatigue, and more. Continental breakfasts and boxed lunches are provided. There is no charge to attend, however reservations are required, and there are age and other restrictions. The registration deadline is Sept. 24. The program begins at 8:30am at First Baptist Church and ends at 2pm. (352) 620-8858, ext. 107.
All-GM Auto Show (Oct. 2). If you love cars, particularly those by GM, you won’t want to miss this fifth annual National Parts Depot show at Silver Springs Nature Park. NPD experts will display the newest and coolest products and be on-hand to answer questions. nationalpartsdepot.com, silversprings.com, or (352) 861-8701, ext. 4207.
Pediatric Walk for Children’s Cancer (Oct. 2). The Ocala Royal Dames encourages you to participate in this two-mile charity walk at Juliette Falls in Dunnellon to help support children with cancer and their families. Every fee of $25 per walker goes to supporting UF Shands research on pediatric brain tumors. A golf tournament is also scheduled during the walk at the golf course for those who prefer driving, chipping, and putting for a cure. The cost is $100 per player. ocalaroyaldames.org or (352) 622-7363.
College Road Baptist Church (Oct. 3). Join former and present members of College Road Baptist Church in Ocala during this 30th anniversary celebration featuring worship service at 10am, lunch at noon, and a full program. Guests are asked to bring a covered dish for the lunch, and admission is free. Reservations are encouraged. (352) 237-5741.
Queen of Peace Charity Golf Outing (Oct. 4). The Knights of Columbus Council 9649 hosts its third annual golf outing at Stone Creek Golf Club on Oct. 4 (rain date is Oct. 11) to support Marion County charities, including the Alpha Center for Women, Brothers Keeper (soup kitchen), and Legacy House. Registration starts at 7:30am, followed by a shotgun start at 8am. The cost to play is $65 per person and includes lunch. Team and individual prizes will be awarded. Contact Fred Roberts before Sept. 22 for details. (352) 502-3093.
Marion County Springs Festival (Sept. 1–30). Head out to one of Marion County’s springs and parks this month as part of this ninth annual festival celebrating our county’s natural beauty. Nature walks, canoe/kayak tours, and other events will be held throughout September at Rainbow Springs State Park, Silver River State Park, Indian Lake State Park, Juniper Springs Recreation Area, Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area, and other locales. springsfest.org or (352) 671-8560.
Fort King Festival (Sept. 25). Celebrate the colorful history of Ocala (once called Fort King) during this annual event at the Marion County Museum of History at the McPherson Complex. Demonstrations are scheduled—from weaving and spinning to blacksmithing and horseback riding—plus many reenactors in period clothing will be on-site. Kids’ activities are scheduled as well. Festival admission is free, and museum admission is $2. Dinner will be served for $8 per person, which includes museum admission. 10am–4pm. (352) 629-2773 or (352) 694-2529.
Curtains (Sept. 9–Oct. 3). The curtain goes up on the Ocala Civic Theatre’s 2010–2011 season with the aptly titled musical comedy Curtains. Curtains centers around actress Jessica Cranshaw, who collapses immediately after her final bow at the finale of a play, and the company members who are accused of murdering her. ocalacivictheatre.com or (352) 236-2274.
Healing Heart: Witness the Healing Power of Art (Sept. 12–Oct. 10). This special exhibit at the Appleton Museum features more than 100 pieces of artwork by individuals of all ages being treated for mental health and substance abuse disorders, trauma, cancer, dementia, and other illnesses. Their works demonstrate the extraordinary power to overcome. appletonmuseum.org or (352) 291-4455.
Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration (Sept. 23–Nov. 20). This timely exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service is open most of the fall at the Webber Center Gallery on the College of Central Florida’s Ocala campus. The photographs on display, which chronicle the lives of first-generation immigrants and children of immigrants, will be accompanied by the subjects’ own words and thoughts. Admission is free. cf.edu or (352) 873-5800.
Mosaic (Sept. 10–12). The College of Central Florida hosts Mosaic live in concert for two dates this month at the Fine Arts Auditorium. Former CF student Sean Gerrity is a member of the group, and fellow CF alum Charlie Walker will open for Mosaic. The concert begins at 7pm on Friday and Saturday and at 3pm on Sunday. Proceeds from the concerts will benefit the Mosaic Endowed Scholarship for CF students. alumni.cf.edu or (352) 873-5808.
Brick City Blues Festival (Sept. 18). Willie “Real Deal” Green, Bobby Blackmon, Michelle and Scott Dalziel, and the Rondo and Mojo Downs Band will all perform at Midnight Rodeo Sept. 18 from 5pm to 9pm. If you love blues music, you won’t want to miss this special concert. Tickets are $25 and include Southern-style barbecue. ticketweb.com or (352) 369-4014.
Return of The King: A Tribute to Elvis (Sept. 25). Long live The King! Dwight Icenhower brings the magic and music of rock ‘n roll’s greatest star to life during this special concert at On Top of the World’s Circle Square Cultural Center. Doors open at 6pm, and the show begins at 7pm. Tickets range from $13 to $17. csculturalcenter.com or (352) 854-3670.
Cello and Piano Concert (Sept. 26). Cellist Robert DeMaine and pianist Heather Coltman perform two grand, Romantic sonatas by Bridge and Mendelssohn at 3pm at the First United Methodist Church on Silver Springs Boulevard. DeMaine is the principal cellist for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Coltman has recorded for several music labels and performed overseas. Admission to the concert is free, but offerings are welcome. fumcocala.org or (352) 622-3244.
East Meets West (Oct. 2–3). This beautiful concert by the Ocala Symphony Orchestra covers eastern and western musical pieces, starting with Tchaikovsky’s March Slav, followed by Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini performed by pianist Michael Wittenburg, then John Williams’ The Cowboys Overture and Samuel Barber’s First Essay, and finally Maurice Jarre’s music for the classic film Lawrence of Arabia. The concert will be held at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Auditorium on 60th Avenue at 7:30pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. Season and individual tickets available. ocalasymphony.com or (352) 351-1606.
Marion Civic Chorale (Mondays). Are you a singer looking for an outlet for your vocal ability? The Marion Civic Chorale is now accepting new and former singers to join its group. Rehearsals are Mondays from 6:45pm to 9pm at St. George Anglican Cathedral in Ocala. The 2010–2011 season will include three programs—“Landscapes and Reflections,” “Songs of the Season,” and “Holocaust Cantata.” marioncivicchorale.tripod.com or (352) 537-0207.
Rainbow Porcelain Artists (First Mondays). Come paint with the Rainbow Porcelain Artists at 9:30am on the first Monday of every month at the Rainbow Lakes Community Center in Dunnellon. No admission charge. (352) 622-7660.
I.O.R.G. Meetings (First and Third Mondays). The International Order of Rainbow for Girls, a girls’ service organization for ages 11–21 and a pledge group for ages 8–10, meets at 7pm at the Marion-Dunn Lodge on 36th Avenue every first and third Monday of the month. gorainbow.org or (3520 867-1047.
Greater Ocala Woman’s Club (Second Mondays). The Greater Ocala Woman’s Club meets at 6pm at the Ocala Hilton for dinner on the second Monday of every month, and all women of Marion County are welcome to attend. The GOWC is a non-profit organization that promotes educational, philanthropic, and charitable activities. (352) 236-6226.
Green Market Tuesday (Tuesdays). Buy local, buy fresh every Tuesdays from 2–6pm at the Historic Village Shops of Dunnellon. Locally grown produce, fresh seafood, baked goods, herbs, native plants, and even crafts will be on sale. (352) 208-6789.
Greater Ocala Dog Club (First Tuesdays). Dog lovers, take note! Every first Tuesday of the month, the Greater Ocala Dog Club will meet at the Gander Mountain store in Ocala at 7pm. The AKC All Breed dog club welcomes new members and visitors. ocaladogclub.com.
Ballroom Dance (First and Third Tuesdays). The Ocala chapter of USA Dance invites the public to attend its bi-weekly dances at the Pioneer Garden Club on SR 40 in Ocala. Free dance lessons start at 7pm. Refreshments are served, and admission is $10. usadanceocala.com or (352) 558-4200.
Woman’s Club of Ocala (Second Tuesdays). On every second Tuesday of the month, the Woman’s Club of Ocala Day Group meets for lunch and a program at 11:45am at the Elks Club on 25th Avenue and the Evening Group meets at 7pm also at the Elks Club. All local women are invited to attend this educational, charitable organization’s meetings. (352) 629-7397.
Ballroom Dance (Fourth Tuesdays). Every fourth Tuesday of the month, head to Skatemania on Maricamp Road for an evening of ballroom dancing as well as Latin, country, and line dancing from 7–10pm. With the $8 admission, guests receive a complimentary lesson from 7pm to 7:30pm and snacks. (352) 624-4222.
Conversation Café (Wednesdays). College Road Baptist Church offers Conversation Café every Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm for internationals to practice their English. Classes for four levels of proficiency are offered, from beginners to advanced. There is no cost, and child care will be provided. All nationalities are welcome. (352) 854-6981 or (352) 237-5741.
Ocala Accordion Club (Last Wednesdays). The Ocala Accordion Club meets every last Wednesday of the month from 5:30–9:00pm at the Cherrywood Club house at 6253 SW 100th Loop in Ocala. (352) 208-5245.
Sweet Adeline’s Chorus (Thursdays). Women 18 and older are invited to visit weekly rehearsals at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Summerfield to learn and sing four-part harmony, barbershop style. The Summer Springs Chorus, under the direction of Judi Styger, welcomes anyone who likes to sing or hum, or has sung in a church choir or glee club. (352) 821-2778.
Circle Square Commons Farmers Market (Thursdays). Every Thursday, the Circle Square Commons Farmers Market is chock-full of fresh, seasonal produce like blueberries, corn, herbs, oranges, and tomatoes, as well as baked goods such as bread, pies, and pastries. Vendors added weekly. 8am–12pm at On Top of the World. Free parking. circlesquarecommonsfarmersmarket.com.
KOS/Military Officers Association of America (First Thursdays). The Kingdom of the Sun Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America meets on the fourth Thursday of each month. KOS membership is open to active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired, and former commissioned and warrant officers of the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (352) 237-3139.
Canoe/Kayak and Coffee (First and Third Thursdays). A fun social outing for adults in the great outdoors! This paddling trip takes place twice a month at various locations and is designed for beginners, but experienced paddlers are welcome. Coffee and conversation follow. $5 fee includes equipment and refreshments. Park admission, if applicable, not included in fee. Marion County Parks and Recreation. (352) 671-8560.
Ocala Express Network of ABWA Meeting (Second Thursdays). The Ocala Express Network of the American Business Women’s Association meets on the second Thursday of each month at the Hilton Ocala. Registration and networking begins at 6:30pm, followed by dinner and a meeting from 7pm to 9pm. All are welcomed, but reservations are required. Tickets are $20 for ABWA members and $25 for non-members. abwaocala.com or (352) 529-2003.
Open Mike Night (Second Thursdays). Participate in or just enjoy an evening of spoken word and song at the Brick City Center for the Arts every second Thursday of the month, from 8:00–9:30pm. $5 for Marion Cultural Alliance members or $7.50 for non-members. mcaocala.com or (352) 369-1500.
North Magnolia Merchants Farmer’s Market (Fridays). From 8am to 1pm every Friday, the North Magnolia Business Merchants’ farmer’s market offers fresh produce, eggs, jams, honey, barbecue sauces, and homemade crafts to the public for purchase. The market is located at 834 North Magnolia Avenue. (352) 207-4551.
Silver Spring Shores Table Tennis Club (Fridays). Join members of the Silver Spring Shores Table Tennis Club at the Community Center on Silver Road in Ocala every Friday from 12pm to 3pm. Table tennis is a great way to get exercise and socialize with friends. (352) 687-0164.
First Friday Art Walk (First Fridays). Mark your calendars! On the first Friday of the every month, this art walk through downtown Ocala will feature artwork, artists on-site, and live demonstrations. Admission is free. 6–8pm. (352) 629-8444.
Gospel Open Mike Night (First Fridays). If you can play gospel music, head to the Forest Assembly of God located at 17530 E. Hwy. 40 in Silver Springs for Open Mike Night every first Friday of the month at 6:30pm. (352) 230-1253.
Art Club of Belleview (First Fridays). The Art Club of Belleview was established to promote art in the Belleview area and bring creative people together. Membership in the club is $12 per year, and meetings are held at 4pm on the first Friday of every month at the Belleview Library. artclubbelleview.zoomshare.com or (352) 245-4728.
Coffee with the Birds (Third Saturdays). Join an experienced birder for a mild hike through the woods in beautiful Central Florida. Bring binoculars, field guide, and bug spray. $3–$4. 9am. Silver River State Park, Ocala. floridastateparks.org or (352) 236-7148.
Star-Gazing Party (Select Saturdays). See the night sky in all its glory. Join members of the Ocala Astronomy Club and learn about stars, planets, and more. Insect repellent, a lawn chair or blanket, and binoculars are recommended. Call the Silver River State Park in Ocala for exact times. (352) 236-7148.
General K. Pulaski Club Dinner/Dance (Second Sundays). Grab those dancing shoes! The Belleview General K. Pulaski Club hosts a dinner/dance on the second Sunday of every month. Homemade dinner is served at noon, followed by ballroom, polka, waltz, and American dancing music from the Gen. K. Pulaski Band from 1:30–5:00pm. The club is located on 113th Street in Belleview. $13 for members; $15 for non-members. Reservations required. (352) 245-9378.
Ballroom Tea Party (Second Sundays).A variety of dance music from waltz, foxtrot, tango, rumba, cha cha, swing, polka, salsa, and merengue to practice your dancing. $5. 5–7pm. Dancin’ Around Studio on South Pine Avenue. (352) 690-6637.
Domestic Violence Educational Workshop (Select Dates). The Ocala Police Department’s Victim Advocates regularly host free educational workshops on domestic violence. To learn more about upcoming presentations at the OPD, visit ocalapd.com or call (352) 369-7139.
Meals On Wheels Volunteer Drivers (Ongoing). Marion County Senior Services has an immediate need for volunteer drivers for its Meals On Wheels program. Currently some 450 senior citizens across the county receive meals as part of the MCSS outreach programs. Volunteer drivers must be 18 or older, have a valid drivers license, and provide their own transportation and automobile insurance. Meals On Wheels delivers between 10am and 2pm Monday through Friday, but volunteers can work as many days a week as they chose. (352) 620-3501.
Free Self Defense/Safety Classes (Ongoing). Free self-defense and personal safety classes for women ages 13 and older and children ages 5–12 are now offered locally through RAD and radKIDS instructors. Call (352) 216-8452 for class times and locations. radkids.org or rad-systems.com.
Ocala Recreation & Parks Sports (Ongoing). From soccer and golf camps to tennis programs, T-ball, and flag football, Ocala’s parks are the place to be this fall for youth sports. Head to Jervey Gantt Park, Ocala Regional RecPlex, and the Ft. King Tennis Center are just some of the Ocala Recreation & Parks places where kids can get active. ocalafl.org/recreationandparks or (352) 368-5550.
Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides (Ongoing). Ocala’s only guided trail rides through the Florida Horse Park and Greenway trail system is now open! Guests can ride Cactus Jack horses or bring their own for a fun, safe, and affordable trail ride. Rides available every day. Teens and older. thefloridapoloclub.com or (352) 978-7656.
Marion County Mustangs (Ongoing). This new youth sports organization in town is now offering a new 2010 American Youth Football & Cheer program for ages 5–15. No weight restrictions and no redcapping. leaguelineup.com/marioncountymustangs or (352) 426-1100.
Dunnellon Library Series (Ongoing). The Dunnellon Public Library currently offers a wide range of programs at its facility for patrons to utilize, including a Master Gardeners’ series, family and consumer science programs, movie matinees, computer classes, a health series, and children’s story time. (352) 438-2520.
Florida Trail Association (Ongoing). The Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Trail Association hosts local hikes, walks, meetings, paddle trips, bike rides, and other nature activities every month. Nearly every event is free and open to the public. floridatrail.org/Chapters/central-florida or (407) 332-7790.
LifeSouth Community Blood Centers (Ongoing). The LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Bloodmobile travels to different locations throughout Marion County to accommodate donors. To find out more about the Bloodmobile’s schedule, visit lifesouth.org.
Florida’s Blood Centers (Ongoing). Florida’s Blood Center has an urgent need for all blood types. Giving blood is a simple process and takes under an hour. Every donor receives a mini-physical and screening with each donation. Visit floridasbloodcenter.org or call (888)-9DONATE for center locations.
Volunteer Drivers Needed (Ongoing). The American Cancer Society has an urgent need for volunteer drivers to transport cancer patients to doctor appointments. (352) 376-6866, ext. 5063 or (888) 295-6787, ext. 5063.
Moms of Marion (Ongoing). Meet friendly local moms to talk about your kids and have fun! Membership dues are $15 per year. meetup.com/momsofmarion/
American Cancer Society Support Groups (Ongoing). The Marion County chapter of the American Cancer Society offers many support groups for those affected by the various forms of the disease, from breast cancer to prostate cancer. To find out about available resources, visit cancer.org or call (352) 629-4727, ext. 5820.
The Ocala Horse Show (Ongoing). A major hub of activity in the equestrian world, Ocala now has a TV show dedicated entirely to the area’s horse industry. Tune in Friday mornings at 10am on Cox Channel 21 and every Friday late night at 2am on FOX51. Learn about important equine people, upcoming events, and much more. ocalahorseshow.com or (352) 746-1848.