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Ocala
Saturday, July 13, 2024

Road closures in effect for Ocala’s first ‘patriotic’ drone show

Several road closures will be in effect beginning this afternoon as thousands are expected to attend the city of Ocala’s inaugural Fourth of July Celebration, which will feature a patriotic drone show over Tuscawilla Park.

Patriotic Skies will be held on Thursday, July 4, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Tuscawilla Park (829 NE Sanchez Avenue in Ocala). The city estimates that over 10,000 visitors will be in the area to watch the unique event.

Patriotic Skies July 4, 2024 optimal viewing areas
A map showing the optimal viewing areas for the Patriotic Skies drone show in Ocala. (Image: Ocala Recreation and Parks Department)

In order to accommodate the event, road closures will be in effect starting at 2 p.m. on the following roadways:

  • NE Watula Aveue, from 5th Street to NE 9th Street.
  • NE Sanchez Avenue, from 4th Street to the Reilly Arts Center’s parking lot (500 NE 9th Street).
  • NE Eighth Avenue, from NE 5th Street to 9th Street.

The Ocala Police Department Honor Guard will kick off the Independence Day celebration with a presentation of colors from 5:10 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.

Local country music artist Noah Hunton will then take the stage for a performance (5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.), followed by additional performances from Chris McNeil (7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and the Ocala Symphony Orchestra (8:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.).

Noah Hunton (left), Chris McNeil (center), and the Ocala Symphony Orchestra (right) will be performing at Ocala's inaugural Patriotic Skies event at Tuscawilla Park on July 4, 2024. (Photos: Ocala Recreation and Parks Department)
Noah Hunton (left), Chris McNeil (center), and the Ocala Symphony Orchestra (right) will be performing at Ocala’s inaugural Patriotic Skies event at Tuscawilla Park on July 4, 2024. (Photos: Ocala Recreation and Parks Department)

The event will then culminate with a 300-drone show by Sky Elements as the Ocala Symphony Orchestra provides musical accompaniment. The drone show is scheduled to begin at approximately 9:30 p.m., according to city officials.

Sky Elements Drone Shows sample photo of their patriotic drone show
Sky Elements Drone Shows sample photo of their patriotic drone show. (Photo: Sky Elements, LLC)

In addition to the live entertainment and drone show, Patriotic Skies will include food trucks and a variety of activities for visitors, including inflatables, a rock wall, a mechanical gator, and photo opportunities.

The show will be orchestrated by Sky Elements, LLC, who was contracted by Ocala City Council members this past February. The company has conducted hundreds of drone light shows across the country over the past several years.

Last month, the company received a “Golden Buzzer” for their drone show, advancing into the second round of the NBC talent show America’s Got Talent.

The City of Ocala encourages attendees to utilize the following locations for parking, since free shuttle rides will be offered throughout the event:

  • Marion Technical Institute (1614 SE Fort King Street) – Approximately every 40 minutes, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m., a shuttle will pick up guests from Marion Technical Institute and drop them off at the intersection of NE 8th Avenue and NE 4th Street.
  • E.D. Croskey Recreation Center (1510 NW 4th Street) – Approximately every 20 minutes, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m., a shuttle will pick up guests at the E.D. Croskey Recreation Center and drop them off at the Ocala Skate Park (517 NE 9th Street).
  • Ocala City Hall (110 SE Watula Avenue) – Approximately every 15 minutes, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m., a shuttle will pick up guests at Ocala City Hall and drop them off at the intersection of NE 8th Avenue and NE 4th Street.
  • Marion County Parking Facility (346 NW 2nd Street) – Approximately every 15 minutes, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m., a shuttle will pick up guests from the parking facility and drop them off at the Ocala Skate Park (517 NE 9th Street).

For more information, or to access an interactive map for the Patriotic Skies event, visit the City of Ocala’s Fourth of July event webpage.