City plans series of holiday events downtown

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Posted October 23, 2020 |

The Ocala City Council will host a series of modified, smaller events in place of Light Up Ocala, which was originally scheduled to take place Saturday, Nov. 21. The City Council voted Tuesday to cancel that event.

The installation of lights is currently underway, and residents can expect the display to officially be turned on the week of Nov. 15.  In addition to seeing the lights, there will be smaller scale events, programs and pop-ups throughout the holiday season. Visitors will be able to view the lights nightly from November through January.

The following holiday programs will take place during December.

  • Dec. 2:  Story telling — In partnership with the Marion County Public Library, The Polar Express will be read by actors and dancers at the Jenkins Open Air Amphitheater next to the Reilly Arts Center, 500 N.E. Ninth St. Attendees should bring their own chairs.
  • Dec. 3 – 17 (select nights): Santa on the Square — Santa will be available for photos in the Downtown Square gazebo Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Pre-registration is required for a socially distanced photo with Santa. For reservations, contact
  • Dec. 4 -18 (select nights):  Holiday movies series — Movies are free to attend; hot cocoa will be available on a first come, first served basis. Attendees should bring their own chairs.
    • The Muppet Christmas Carol, at 7 p.m. Dec. 4, Citizens’ Circle, 110 S.E. Watula Ave.
    • The Polar Express, 7 p.m. Dec. 11, Tuscawilla Art Park, 213 N.E. Fifth St.
    • Elf, Dec. 18, 7 p.m., Tuscawilla Oak Grove, 500 N.E. Ninth St.
  • Dec. 8 -10: Santa’s Calling — Parents can submit an application for Santa and his elves to call boys and girls for the holiday season. Applications are available at
  • Dec. 10: Senior Holiday Luncheon — For adults 50 years and older, come celebrate the season with an afternoon of fun, prizes, games and a delicious lunch at the Ocala Golf Club! $5 per person and pre-registration is required. Register at
  • Dec. 16: Santa Paws — Santa will be available for pet portraits from 5-8 p.m. at Citizens’ Circle, 110 SE Watula Ave. A $10 donation benefiting the Marion County Humane Society is required; vendors and adoptable dogs will be available.  No registration required.

Live music downtown — Bands, groups and performers will perform at the Downtown Square and Citizens’ Circle Wednesday through Sunday evenings in December.

Holiday pop-up photo ops — Throughout downtown Ocala, photo op locations will be available starting at the end of November through early January. From giant candy canes to Santa’s sleigh, there will be over five locations to take festive selfies and photos all holiday season long.

For more information about upcoming holiday programming, visit or call 352-368-5517.

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