The City of Ocala has been steadily making preparations for this weekend’s Light Up Ocala festivities.
The 39th installment of the popular event will take place in downtown Ocala on Saturday, November 18, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and it will feature a variety of activities including the annual tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m.
The theme for this year’s event is “Celebrate the Spirit of Downtown.”
Light Up Ocala is a longstanding community tradition that kicks off the holiday season and attracts thousands of visitors to downtown Ocala.
This year’s family-friendly event will feature three entertainment zones throughout the downtown area that will feature live music and performers, along with more than 100 vendors.
The live entertainment will include:
Stage One at the Downtown Square (SE Broadway and Magnolia Avenue)
- Live music by Audio Exchange (4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)
- Photo opportunities at the holiday tree.
Stage Two at Citizens’ Circle (Fort King Street and Osceola Avenue)
- Photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
- Community showcase featuring a variety of local dance and performance groups (4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)
Midtown Street Party at the corner of NE 1st Street and NE 1st Avenue
- A live DJ, acrobatic variety show, and powerskip shows (4 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.).
Additional entertainment throughout the evening will include the Punch and Judy puppet show located at the corner of Fort King Street and Magnolia Avenue, Living Angels located at Fort King Street and SE 1st Avenue, photo ops, and a kids’ zone located at the parking lot on NE 1st Street between N Magnolia Avenue and NE 1st Avenue.
At 4:30 p.m., the Junior Sunshine Parade will begin at the corner of S Magnolia Avenue and E Fort King Street. The parade will make its way through downtown, going past the gazebo, up to NE 1st Street, and then returning to SE 1st Avenue and E Fort King Street.
The parade will include performances from local dance studios, Fort King Middle School Falcon Band, Girl Scouts Troops, and a special appearance by Santa.
The City of Ocala encourages visitors to utilize four parking lots that will offer shuttle rides throughout the event:
- The first shuttle will pick up guests at the Marion Technical Institute parking lot (1614 SE Fort King Street) and drop them off at the intersection of SE Watula Avenue and SE 3rd Street. This shuttle will run approximately every 20 minutes between 3:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
- The second shuttle will pick up guests at the E.D. Croskey Recreation Center (1510 NW 4th Street) and drop them off at the intersection of N Magnolia Avenue and NE 3rd Street. This shuttle will run approximately every 20 minutes between 3:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
- The third shuttle will pick up guests at the Ocala Skate Park (517 NE 9th Street) and drop them off at the intersection of NE Watula Avenue and State Road 40. This shuttle will run approximately every 10 minutes between 3:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
- The fourth shuttle will pick up guests at the Discovery Center parking lot (701 NE Sanchez Avenue) and drop them off at the intersection of NE Watula Avenue and State Road 40. This shuttle will run approximately every 10 minutes between 3:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
For more information, visit the city’s Light Up Ocala webpage or call 352-368-5517.