Fun, fanfare and fireworks

Symphony Under the Stars endures as one of Ocala’s favorite events.

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted May 16, 2023 | Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette
By Susan Smiley-Height,

To view the fireworks click here:

Dancing. Playing with bubbles. Tossing a football. Picnicking. Family photos on social media. Great music. Fireworks. Put those all together and you have yet another hugely successful Symphony Under the Stars event.

The annual Mother’s Day tradition hosted on Sunday, May 14, by Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO) at the Ocala Golf Club, once again drew hundreds of guests who spread out blankets and toted in chairs. Some brought along food baskets filled with gourmet goodies and fine wine; others noshed at food trucks. One group decorated their table with a candelabara.

FAFO puts on Symphony Under The Stars each Mother’s Day in partnership with the Ocala Symphony Orchestra. It also organizes the Ocala Arts Festival each October in downtown Ocala. The group has a new leadership team in place this year, with President Billye Mallory and Administrative Coordinator Ashley Morgan.  Symphony Under the Stars cochairs were Charlita Whitehead, Kat Neumann and David Reutter. Teddy Sykes is the new Ocala Arts Festival chair, with Ryan Neumann as co-chair.

“While Symphony Under the Stars is a fundraiser for our annual Ocala Arts Festival, we are so honored to host such an enjoyable event for our community and to celebrate moms on Mother’s Day in such a festive way,” said Mallory.

“FAFO is so grateful for how much work is put into this event,” Mallory continued. “Our board is made up of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to FAFO’s mission, which is to promote the fine arts and enhance art education within our community. I want to thank the following people for helping to make this event such a huge success: Jason Lenhart, GM of the Ocala Golf Club; Ashley Morgan, admin for FAFO; David Reutter, Kat Neumann and Charlita Whitehead, FAFO chairs for this event; city of Ocala staff; and the Ocala Police Department. We’re excited to see everyone at the annual Ocala Arts Festival in downtown Ocala on Oct. 28 and 29.”

This year’s Symphony Under the Stars kicked off with a performance by Becky Baby & Her Baby Boys, followed by the Ocala Symphony Orchestra. The finale of fireworks was the perfect cap to a day of fun, family, friends and the continuing appeal of one of Ocala’s most loved events.

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