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Ocala
Thursday, July 8, 2021

Ocala Downtown Square is the city’s cultural heart

Much like the buildings and businesses that surround it, the Ocala Downtown Square has gone through a gradual transformation over the past 50 years.

Ocala Downtown Square facing East Silver Springs Blvd circa 1970 Department of Commerce 2
Ocala Downtown Square facing East Silver Springs Blvd (ca. 1970)

The square of 1970 might be unrecognizable from today’s square, which will once again play host to Light Up Ocala this fall.

Historic square in Downtown Ocala 3
Ocala Downtown Square facing East Silver Springs Blvd (May 2020)

Besides the most noticeable difference in the fountain, the square now features far more seating than in years prior.

The square’s distinct brick center, as well as the brick partitions that provide for additional seating all mirror a shift in the commercial landscape around it. Multiple buildings have undergone multiple aesthetic changes over the years.

Ocala Downtown Square facing MagnoliaE Silver Springs Blvd 1975 photo courtesy of Department of Commerce
Ocala Downtown Square has changed dramatically since this photo was captured in 1970

Ocala Downtown Square facing MagnoliaE Silver Springs Blvd May 2020
Ocala Downtown Square facing the intersection of Magnolia and Silver Springs Blvd (May 2020)

From protests, demonstrations, and marches, to art festivals, concerts, and city-hosted events, the Ocala Downtown Square is not only central in its location, but also in its cultural and civic importance to the city.

Political and civil rights groups including Black Lives Matter, supporters of former president Donald Trump, churches, mosques, and synagogues have all taken to the square to express their opinions.

 

The Ocala Downtown Square plays host to a variety of weekly, monthly, and yearly events that bring talented individuals from across the city, county and nation to share their art and talents with Ocala.

The city’s First Friday Art Walk series, which operates from September through May every year, gives residents and visitors a chance to peruse thousands of works of art, crafts, and goods made by local artists, creators, and artisans. The Fine Arts for Ocala recently announced that it is accepting applications for the upcoming Ocala Arts Festival, which is scheduled to take place from October 23 to October 24.

Groups that represent a wide variety of topics and beliefs all come to the Ocala Downtown Square to express themselves in one way or another.

Do you have photos of the Ocala Downtown Square and how it has changed over time? Share them through our Contact Us page.