Agricultural awareness

The annual Farmland Preservation Festival offers a look at many facets of rural Marion County.

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Posted April 14, 2024 | By Susan Smiley-Height,

This is the perfect time of year to roll down the windows and take a drive through the Horse Capital of the World. Our rolling hills, dotted with grandaddy oaks and horses and cattle idly grazing, is one reason people love living here.

The nonprofit Save Our Rural Areas (SORA) group, which opposes urban sprawl on farmland, especially within the county’s designated Farmland Preservation Area, wants residents and visitors to know more about the importance of agriculture and rural beauty both economically and for quality of life.

That is why the group holds its annual Farmland Preservation Festival. This year’s event, the 16th annual, took place April 13 at the sprawling Majestic Oaks Ocala venue located in north Marion County at 17500 N U.S. Highway 441, Reddick.

The event included a farmer’s market, traditional farm and cottage crafts, farm animals, a petting zoo, hayrides and a horse and tractor parade.

“Today’s Farmland Preservation Festival was a resounding success. Great weather, great crowd, great vendors, great entertainment and great food. And of course, a great host, Majestic Oaks Ocala Farm,” said Jerome Feaster, a founder of the festival and of SORA.

Majestic Oaks Ocala, which spans 100 acres, has been the site of the Majestic Oaks Three-Phase Schooling Shows and the Majestic Oaks Horse Trials since January 2018. The venue offers year-round equestrian activities such as cross country and show jumping and serves as a multi-purpose site for other events.

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