Ocala to host drone show for July 4th

A digital rendering of what the drone show would look like at Tuscawilla Park [Courtesy of Sky Elements].

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Posted February 12, 2024 | By Caroline Brauchler

If you want to spend your Fourth of July watching something more state-of-the-art than fireworks, the city of Ocala plans to host a patriotic drone show featuring 300 drones at Tuscawilla Park.

The show will be about 15 minutes long and have a series of 10-12 animations made up of 300 drones.

“The drones can be programmed to create elaborate shapes, logos or messages in the sky and will allow us to tailor the show to themes that represent Ocala,” Amy Casaletto, special services division head for the city of Ocala.

The Fourth of July festivities at Tuscawilla Park will include family-friendly activities, food trucks, live entertainment and the evening will culminate with the grand finale of the drone show in place of a traditional fireworks show.

“We’re thinking we’re definitely going to include horses within our imagery,” Casaletto said. “In a show where it was a coastal town, they did different elements with a sailboat and a beach scene because they were a beach town.”

Drone shows not only emit none of the pollution or waste that fireworks do, but also don’t have the loud noises that are non-negotiable with fireworks, which may put many people and animals alike who are sensitive to loud noises at ease.

The city contracted Sky Elements Drone Shows to put on the show, which will cost $71,415. A typical municipally sponsored fireworks show for the Fourth of July tends to cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.

Sky Elements has put on over 700 successful drone light shows, most notably at the Space Needle for New Year’s Eve, the NBA Championship Game and for the FIFA 26 logo reveal. Sky Elements holds the Guinness World Record for the largest aerial sentence formed by drones.

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