Social Scene | January 2024

Lucy Biagiotti walks with other ARC Marion “angels” in the Ocala Christmas Parade, which has been dazzling onlookers for more than six decades. The December 9th event continued the tradition of showcasing local groups and organizations, marching units, high school bands and more.

Photo by Bruce Ackerman

Ocala Christmas Parade
SILVER SPRINGS BOULEVARD
Photos by Bruce Ackerman

One of the nation’s oldest and largest nighttime parades continued its more than six decades of showcasing local groups, with a wide assortment of gaily decorated floats, marching and mounted units, vintage and exotic vehicles and, as always, parade VIP Santa Claus. 

Kent Guinn Reception
HILTON GARDEN INN
Photos by Bruce Ackerman

A number of well-wishers were on hand to tell longtime Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, “Well done,” during a reception on November 30th. Guinn was honored for his 12 years as mayor during the event and recognized for also serving for 12 years as a city councilman.

Light Up Ocala
DOWNTOWN SQUARE
Photos by Bruce Ackerman

The 39th annual event on the evening of November 18th once again brought thousands of visitors to downtown Ocala. The festivities included the Junior Sunshine Holiday Parade, entertainment, fun photo ops and, of course, thousands of lights.

Gentiva Diwali Ocala Celebration
CITIZENS’ CIRCLE
Photos by Bruce Ackerman

A beautiful Sunday sun beamed down on the Gentiva Diwali Celebration held November 19th. Hosted by the Strategic Community Alliance, the Indian festival of light cross-cultural event offered an immersive experience of Indian culture, including dance, food and history.

Symphony Under the Lights
REILLY ARTS CENTER
Photos by Danielle Veenstra and the Reilly Arts Center

With holiday lights twinkling in the ancient oaks overhead, hundreds of attendees got into the holiday spirit on December 1st at the free community concert by the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and Ocala Youth Symphony, presented by Jenkins Auto Group with support from the city of Ocala.

Bootleggers, Jackpots & Jazz
MARY SUE RICH COMMUNITY CENTER AT REED PLACE
Photos by Bruce Ackerman

“Shhh” was the keyword ahead of the December 2nd fundraising event for the Stirrups n’ Strides Therapeutic Riding Center. After all, the night was all about having fun in a casino/speakeasy setting, with dancing, roulette, snazzy costumes, auctions and more.

Marion County NAACP Celebration
NEW COVENANT MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
Photos by Bruce Ackerman; portrait of Whitfield Jenkins by Andy Fillmore

1923-2023 represented 100 years of operation of the branch in Marion County and 80 years as a chartered branch. The Historical Celebration Commission put together a program with special recognitions and named Whitfield Jenkins as the “Freedom Fighter of the Century.”

Posted in Insider, Marion Features, Social Scene

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