352 Preview Magazine 09/22

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352 PREVIEW OCALA’S GUIDE TO E NTE RTA INMENT, NIGHTLIFE & FAMILY FUN

CURTAIN CALL THE 352'S FALL ARTS GUIDE

09.22 VOLUME 3

NO.12

SEEN & SAVOR

A CULTURAL DINING EXPERIENCE


Just Listed

Starting Point

Copper City Equine

43-acre equine facility with ½ +/- mile irrigated exercise track plus deeded access to 5/8 +/- dirt track, arena, three barns, 51 stalls, two efficiency apartments, RV hook-ups, Eurociser, round pen, and 23 various-sized paddocks. 2 homes. 4 miles from HITS and 15 miles to WEC. $4,630,000

100 +/- state-of-the-art equestrian facility with four recently updated barns – 96 stalls, ¾ +/- mile irrigated race track, Eurociser, round pen plus plenty of lush green paddocks. New four-board fencing. Owner’s $6,800,000 residence plus guest/staff housing.

11-Acre Gentleman’s Farm 11+ acres in SE Ocala, no deed restrictions! 3/2 home. Car enthusiastattached two-car garage plus detached three-car garage. 1 bay with A/C and full bath. 48’x50’ Metal building. Perimeter-fenced. Property on two lots. Minutes to Florida Horse Park and the Florida Greenway. $1,095,000

Polo Field and Arena 28.47 +/- acre equestrian farm with polo field, 10-stall barn, seven feed stalls. Shed row is large enough to park horse trailer and equipment. Two 1/1 apartments. 80’x225’ riding arena, plus the additional paddocks. No deed restrictions! $1,300,000

Let Joan Pletcher, Realtor, list and/or sell your property.

2022 Sold Properties- $37,116,890 2022 Pending Properties - $8,107,150 For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.


Let Me Show You Ocala! JUST REDUCED

Just Minutes to HITS

SE Equestrian Farm

10+ acres located minutes to HITS and WEC. Three-stall barn with 3 large, lush paddocks await your horses. 3/2 bath home. Sliding glass doors lead to back porch for watching the sunrises and sunsets. Property is perimeter fenced and graced with Granddaddy Oaks. $500,000

9.80+/- acre equestrian estate located between Ocala and The Villages. 3/2 home. Newly updated kitchen and appliances. Large garage/workshop with three bay doors. Center aisle eight-stall barn with tack room. Level grounds to set up your jump fields.$793,500

Fantastic Farm 29+/- prestigious acres in NW Ocala. Eight miles to WEC. Screen-enclosed lanai, pool with summer kitchen and plenty of conversation areas. Whether your passion is hunters, Thoroughbreds or any other breed of horses, this property offers room to lay out your dream farm. $2,997,000

28 Acres - Close to Town Elevated beautiful two-story 4/3 home situated on 28+/- acres. Lush landscaping and trees. Covered porch perfect for sitting outside and enjoying the views. Barn/equipment building includes guest quarters with full bath. Storage space in the upper part of building. $2,450,000

If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today! List your property with Joan Pletcher... Our results speak for themselves.

For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.


PREPARE NOW FOR STORM SEASON!

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* CONTENTS 09.22

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ON THE COVER: THE ORANGE BLOSSOM OPRY HOUSE BAND, PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOHN JERNIGAN

FOR THE LOVE

Orange Blossom Opry photographed by John Jernigan; Taste The World photo courtesy of Seen & Savor

OF MUSIC AN INTIMATE VENUE FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL PERFORMERS, THE ORANGE BLOSSOM OPRY CHERISHES ITS PAST WHILE ALSO LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE AND CULTIVATING A LOVE OF LIVE ENTERTAINMENT. 6 TOP 10 EVENTS

CRAVE 28 BITE-SIZED BITS

A handy guide to get you going and keep you busy this month.

WATCH 10 CAPTURING NATURE Young artist Preston Ballard celebrates nature through photography.

12 CONCERT SPOTLIGHT

Last-minute tickets and local shows you won’t want to miss.

14 FOR THE PETS

VOCAL seeks to solve Marion County’s homeless pet problem.

EXPLORE 16 CURTAIN CALL

Performing arts venues throughout the region are raising their curtains on the 2022-2023 season.

20 AN INSTRUMENT OF CHANGE

The Ocala Symphony Orchestra Community Music Conservatory offers group and private lessons regardless of age, ability or background.

20 WE BELIEVE THAT FINANCIAL CONSTRAINT SHOULD NEVER BE THE REASON THAT SOMEONE IS UNABLE TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH THEIR ART.

Waterside dining and an interview with FAFO’s Maggie Weekly on all things food and flavor.

30 TASTE THE WORLD

Seen & Savor provides clients with a cultural dining experience that indulges the tastebuds, educates the mind and brings people together.

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TOP TEN 09.22

ONE SCRIB-SCRABS:

A SOLO ART EXHIBIT BY JORDAN SHAPOT SEPTEMBER 3-OCTOBER 1 Hosted and exhibited by 8th Ave. Gallery, this solo show features neverbefore-seen artwork from Ocala’s own Jordan Shapot, in his iconic style Scribble Faces. The exhibit features paintings, drawings, sculptures and art installations, and all works are available for purchase through the gallery. The show’s free opening reception will take place September 3 from 6-10pm and features beer and wine, live music and food. To learn more about Jordan, visit jordanshapot.com. For information about the show, contact Justin Alsedek with 8th Ave. Gallery at (717) 860-3931.

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FESTIVALS

OF SPEED SEPTEMBER 10 The World Equestrian Center will host Festivals of Speed from 10am-4pm in Expo Center 2, featuring an indoor display of more than 200 exotic, classic and American muscle cars. Attendees can test drive cars, enter the remotecontrolled car race, visit with luxury brand displays and more. Bring your own car, or enjoy the event as an attendee. Admission is $20 per person, and children 12 and under are free. Learn more at festivalsofspeed.com.

PALEONTOLOGY IN THE PARK SEPTEMBER 10

If you love paleontology and all things fossil-related, you’ll want to head to Gainesville’s Depot Park from 2:30-4:30pm. Complete a fossil-finding expedition with the help of Depot Park Ambassadors while learning about the unique fossils hidden throughout the Blue Grotto. The fossils embedded in Depot Park’s Blue Grotto are provided by the Florida Paleontological Society, Florida Geologic Foundation and Florida Museum of Natural History. Other dates for this event include October 8, November 12 and December 10. Learn more at depotpark.org.

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Festivals of Speed photo courtesy of Festivals of Speed; Meet The Dancers photo couretsy of Dance Alive; NPD Classic Car Show photo by Jesse James

A HANDY GUIDE TO GET YOU GOING AND KEEP YOU BUSY THIS MONTH

FCF STEARNS IVE SPEAKER SERIES

SEPTEMBER 19

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Robert Watson, Ph.D. presents “Alexander Hamilton: Man, Myth, Musical” at 12:30pm at CF’s Dassance Fine Arts Center. Reception at 2pm in Clifford B. Stearns Learning Resources Center. For more details, visit CF.edu.

MEET THE DANCERS SEPTEMBER 16

SEPTEMBER 17-18

SMAYHEM E VRANCH EN

Ocala’s largest comic con returns for its ninth year at Expo Center 1 at the World Equestrian Center. The event will take place from 10am-6pm on Saturday and 11am-6pm on Sunday. Enjoy media guests, cosplayers, comic book creators, gaming, vendors and more. Ticket information is available on the website, and children 10 and under are free. VIP packages are also available. Find a list of media guests and purchase tickets at ocalacomiccon.com.

NPD CLASSIC CAR SHOW & CRAFT BEER FEST SEPTEMBER 24

Classic cars, craft beer, live music and food trucks will fill downtown Ocala from 11am-3pm. Beer tickets are $5 each; car show is free. Visit ocalamainstreet.com/ events for more info.

N I N E 6 HISPANIC

OCALA COMIC

CON

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Family-friendly evening, includes a stunning performance by the Dance Alive dancers, hors d’oeuvres and photo opportunities. Event takes place in the NOMA Black Box at the Reilly Arts Center at 6pm. Save your seat by visiting dancealive.org/events or calling (352) 371-2986 for more information.

FALL FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 24-OCTOBER 30 Festival takes place every Saturday and Sunday through October from 11am5pm and includes a U-pick pumpkin patch, crop maze, hay ride, animal experiences, a jump zone, gemstone mining and more. General admission is $10, and children 2 and under are free. Learn more at mayhemranchfl.com.

HERITAGE FESTIVAL

OCTOBER 1 The College of Central Florida will host a Hispanic Heritage Festival from 10am-4pm at the Appleton Museum of Art. Museum admission will be free in connection with the Free First Saturday. For more details, visit CF.edu.

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OKTOBERFEST SEPTEMBER 24 & OCTOBER 1

Oktoberfest at the World Equestrian Center will take place in Expo Center 1 from 12-8pm. The event will feature food, beer and German-inspired fun. All food is included in the ticket price; beverages, including German beer and wine, are available at cash bars. Visit showclix.com/event/oktoberfest-2022 to learn more and purchase tickets. SEPT ‘22

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First Friday Art Walk season kicks off this month from 6-9pm in downtown Ocala. The event features a variety of artists with artwork available for sale, as well as live music on the downtown square and side streets. Learn more at ocalafl.org/artwalk.

and raffle ticket. Packet pickup on race day starts at 7am, and the race starts at 8am. Sign up at runsignup.com/Race/FL/Ocala/ OcalaLaborDay5k.

PONCE INLET TOUR VAN TRIP SEPTEMBER 9 The Marion Oaks Community Center is hosting a trip to Ponce Inlet for just $67. Transportation, 90-minute scenic boat ride and admission to the Marine Science Center and Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Center are included. Lunch is at your own expense. Trip departs at 8:30am. Call (352) 438-2830 to reserve your seat.

AFTER DARK IN THE PARK MOVIE SERIES SEPTEMBER 9

OCALA SHRINE RODEO SEPTEMBER 2-3 Don’t miss the 40th Annual Ocala Shrine Rodeo. Gates open at 5:30pm, and the rodeo begins at 7:30pm. Events include bull riding, barrel racing, saddle broncs, barebacks, steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping, and ultimate bull fighting. Get your tickets at ocalashrinerodeo.com.

FREE FIRST SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 3 Visit the Appleton Museum of Art for Free First Saturday, which means no admission fee from 10am-5pm to see the permanent collection, special exhibitions or to make art in the Artspace. Visit appletonmuseum.org for more information.

LABOR DAY 5K SEPTEMBER 5 Beginning at Citizens’ Circle, athletes will run through Ocala’s historic district. All participants receive a race shirt, race medal 8

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Bring a blanket or chair, get comfortable and join Ocala Recreation and Parks for a free movie. This month’s movie is Karate Kid. Concessions will be available for purchase. Movie is rated PG. Learn more at ocalafl.org/recpark.

MARION COUNTY HEART WALK SEPTEMBER 10

BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING SLOW ABOUT OCALA & MARION COUNTY

IRA HOLMES INTERNATIONAL FILM SERIES SEPTEMBER 13 This year’s film series hosted by the College of Central Florida kicks off on September 13. The first film in the series will be Wild Men, with screenings at 2pm at the Appleton Museum of Art and 7pm on the CF campus in Building 8, Room 110. Films at CF are free. Museum admission required for films at the Appleton. For more details, visit cf.edu/filmseries.

CIRCLE SQUARE BACKSTAGE TOUR SEPTEMBER 13 Take a behind-the-scenes look with Jo Layman, general manager of Circle Square Commons, Gary Pierre, facilities manager and Gary Manges, technical support. See the “green” rooms, the front of the house and backstage equipment. Learn about the ticketing system and how shows are selected. $3 for members, $7 for non-members. 12-1:30pm. To register, visit masterthepossibilities.org

The annual Heart Walk begins at 8am at downtown Ocala’s Citizens’ Circle, and check-in begins at 7:30. Join your friends and neighbors to raise money for heart health research while reaping lasting health benefits for yourself. The walk is three miles in length. Register at https://bit.ly/3AiXnlj.

OCALA RECOVERY FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 10 The fifth annual Ocala Recovery Festival will take place from 10am2pm at Tuscawilla Park. This free community event for the whole family features live entertainment, a kids’ zone with pony rides, face painting and shaved ice, free lunch and testimonials from people in recovery. Learn more at mcchildrensalliance.org.

MARLEY MAE’S FALL MARKET SEPTEMBER 17 Head to Brown & Brown Farms from 10am-4pm for 100 plus of the best local makers and small businesses, food trucks and more. Learn more at marleymaedesigns.com.

GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SHOW SEPTEMBER 19-24 The Paso Fino Horse Association is celebrating its 50th Golden Anniversary at the World Equestrian Center. Free admission and see the nation’s top Paso Finos compete for the honor of being the 50th Golden Anniversary Grand Champion. Call or email Syl Flores at (859) 689-3703 or sflores@pfha.org to learn more.

SPOKEN WORD NIGHT SEPTEMBER 20 Spoken Word Artists invite you to this monthly performance, hosted by Marion Cultural Alliance at the Brick City Center for the Arts. Event is free and open to the public. Guests, drop-ins, participants, supporters, observers and encouragers are welcome. Learn more at mcaocala.org.

DUELING PIANOS SEPTEMBER 23

TEAK LANE MAKERS MARKET SEPTEMBER 16 This evening market brings together independent artists and makers specializing in art, home decor, fashion, design and food in a fun and inspiring environment. Event takes place from 4-9pm at the Ocala Downtown Market pavilion, and admission is free. Learn more at teaklane.com.

Grab a seat at a café table in the new NOMA Black Box at the Reilly Arts Center and enjoy dueling pianos, cocktails and an evening of fun with friends. Performances take place at 6pm and 8:30pm. Learn more at reillyartscenter.com.

WILLISTON FIESTA SEPTEMBER 24 Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the City of Williston at Williston’s Heritage Park in downtown Williston from 11am-5pm. The event features Latin food vendors, craft vendors and live entertainment. Parking and admission are free. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3JWrlPg.

Ocala Shrine Rodeo photo courtesy of Ocala Shrine Rodeo; Teak Lane Makers Market photo courtesy of Teak Lane

FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK SEPTEMBER 2

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& MORE 09.22



WATCH

CAPTURING NATURE YOUNG ARTIST PRESTON BALLARD CELEBRATES NATURE THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY.

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s Ocala continues to grow, so does the number of talented individuals who call our city home. Meet Preston Ballard, an 18-yearold wildlife conservation photographer. After graduating from Forest High School this past spring, he recently moved to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University to study biology. Preston, who has been photographing wildlife for about three years, says his love for nature started at an early age. “It all kind of happened by chance,” Preston says of how he was introduced to photography. “I have always had an interest in nature. I grew up with my dad taking me out into the woods to explore, hunt, fish, etc. So, a love for nature 10

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was grown into me at a fairly young age, but the photography portion came from my mom. She had an old DSLR she had used in the past to photograph people.” After honing his skills by photographing the birds that visited his family’s yard, he developed a passion and began photographing wildlife at places like Silver Springs State Park. Eventually, Preston purchased his own equipment, better suited for his photography goals. He is inspired by the outside world and all that nature has to offer. “I think just being outside and being in the presence of a wild animal is something incredibly special and something I am always looking to do, share and protect,” he says. Regarding artistic inspirations, Preston says

people such as Mac Stone, Carlton Ward and Luca Martinez are at the top of the list. “They are all incredible naturalists and artists with their priorities set on protecting the wild places in the state,” he says, “and it shines through in all of their work. I take heavy inspiration on who they are as people and artists.” Although getting out into nature is something Preston grew up doing, his passion for protecting and conserving wildlife has only grown since he discovered photography. He was recently selected to take a trip to Alaska through Hunts Photo and Video. On the adventure, Preston spent a week in and around Iliamna, Alaska, with other photographers. “On this trip, we were staying at a lodge, taking

Photography by Preston Ballard

WRITTEN BY JESSE JAMES


I THINK JUST BEING OUTSIDE AND BEING IN THE PRESENCE OF A WILD ANIMAL IS SOMETHING INCREDIBLY SPECIAL AND SOMETHING I AM ALWAYS LOOKING TO DO, SHARE AND PROTECT. PRESTON BALLARD excursions via seaplanes and photographing basically 20 hours a day,” he says. “It was quite the adventure and one that nothing I have ever done has matched up to. My personal highlight of the trip was definitely getting the chance to not only see multiple grizzly bears close up but also getting the opportunity to photograph them.” Preston will showcase his photography in an upcoming show at NOMA Gallery titled Natura. The show will feature art from three different artists: Naomi Shanti, Jessie Peek and Preston. The show’s theme will focus on the spirit of nature expressed through various mediums. Natura opens on September 10, with a class by Naomi Shanti on the 17th, an artist talk on the 22nd and the main event closing on October 1. The closing event will feature live, nature-themed tattooing. Mark your calendars, and be sure to check out Natura when it opens at NOMA Gallery. Check out Preston’s work on Facebook at PrestonBallardPhotographyandonInstagram @preston.b_photography.Visit his website at pballardphoto.wixsite.com/mysite-1. SEPT ‘22

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WATCH

TICKETS

PLEASE

LIVE & LOCAL CAPTURED - THE ULTIMATE JOURNEY TRIBUTE OCT. 1 | ORANGE BLOSSOM OPRY

SEP MAHARAJAH FLAMENCO TRIO

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APPLETON MUSEUM OF ART

A performance by the award-winning Maharajah Flamenco Trio is coming to the Appleton from 6-8pm. Hear the world premiere of their newest song, “Escucha el Mar (Listen to the Sea),” an original composition by the trio’s classical and flamenco guitarist Silviu Ciulei. The concert will be the first opportunity for museum visitors to experience new music inspired by art, as Ciulei was recently named the inaugural composer-in-residence for the museum and wrote songs based on the Appleton’s art. Tickets are $30, and a cash bar is available. Tickets can be purchased at appletonmuseum.org or in person at the museum’s visitor services desk.

HEARHERE NOAH HUNTON SEPTEMBER 1 YELLOW PONY

PALOMINO BLONDE SEPTEMBER 15 YELLOW PONY

THE BIG BAD

BLACK SHEEP

SIDE PIECE

SANDRA & ALEX LEKID

SEPTEMBER 2 INFINITE ALE WORKS SEPTEMBER 10 CIRCLE SQUARE COMMONS

SEPTEMBER 17 THE FIRST & LAST TAB SEPTEMBER 24 BANK STREET PATIO BAR

JEFF JARRETT

THE MUDDS

HOUSTON KEEN

HEATHER LYNNE

SEPTEMBER 11 FLYING BOAT TAPROOM SEPTEMBER 15 CHARLIE HORSE 12

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SEPTEMBER 24 LA CUISINE SEPTEMBER 28 YELLOW PONY

SEPTEMBER 30 MIDFLORIDA CREDIT UNION AMPHITHEATRE AT THE FL STATE FAIRGROUNDS, TAMPA

GORILLAZ

OCTOBER 21 AMWAY CENTER, ORLANDO

REILLY NOIR SERIES: JANE KOZHEVNIKOVA

OCT. 7 | REILLY ARTS CENTER Award-winning UF jazz composer Jane Kozhevnikova takes the NOMA Black Box with an all-new crossover smooth jazz and bebop group.

IRON MAIDEN

OCTOBER 27 AMALIE ARENA, TAMPA

LUKE BRYAN

OCTOBER 28 VYSTAR VETERANS MEMORIAL ARENA, JACKSONVILLE

DEMI LOVATO

OCTOBER 28 SEMINOLE HARD ROCK TAMPA

REBA MCENTIRE

NOVEMBER 11 AMALIE ARENA, TAMPA

CARRIE UNDERWOOD FEBRUARY 4 AMALIE ARENA, TAMPA

MICHAEL BOLTON

MARCH 23 SEMINOLE HARD ROCK TAMPA

MATCHBOX TWENTY

JULY 5 DAILY’S PLACE, JACKSONVILLE JULY 8 MIDFLORIDA CREDIT UNION AMPHITHEATRE AT THE FL STATE FAIRGROUNDS, TAMPA

MELISSA ALDANA

OCT. 14 | THE SHARON PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Grammy-nominated saxophonist and composer Melissa Aldana has garnered international recognition for her visionary work as a band leader, as well as her deeply meditative interpretation of language and vocabulary.

LITTLE RIVER BAND

NOV. 19 | CIRCLE SQUARE CULTURAL CENTER Bringing their vocal and musical energy along with great arrangements to their timeless classic hits, each show creates new memories for the audience.

STEELN’ PEACHES – AN ALLMAN BROTHERS REVUE DEC. 2 | MARION THEATRE

The ultimate Allman Brothers experience is coming to the Marion Theatre. Steeln’ Peaches will be rocking the stage for one night only, so make sure to buy your tickets before they’re gone.

Photo courtesy of Appleton Museum of Art

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

ALICE IN CHAINS AND BREAKING BENJAMIN + BUSH

One of America’s top tribute bands bring you a highenergy, look-alike, sound-alike performance of the iconic rock band Journey.


Proper ty Rezoning Are zoning laws keeping you from creating change or improving your property? Hiring an attorney can help you with this involved process.

Call Attorney Steve Rothenburg

Join us for local artists, live music and free art activities! For more information visit us online at ocalafl.org/artwalk or call 352-629-8447.

352.620.9100

500 NE 8th Ave | Ocala 34470 RothenburgLaw.com

It’s time to skill up, Ocala!

Sitting at your desk and wondering where to go from here? Maybe it’s time to learn a new skill to get that promotion, land a better job or for personal growth! CF Corporate College can help. We offer quick, affordable, noncredit classes taught by expert instructors. Learn a language, computer program or industry-specific skill online at your own pace or in a classroom. Wher Wherever you want to go, we’ve got you covered.

LEARN MORE AT CF.EDU/CORPORATECOLLEGE · 352-873-5855 –an equal opportunity college–

SEPT ‘22

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WATCH

FOR THE PETS VOCAL SEEKS TO SOLVE MARION COUNTY’S HOMELESS PET PROBLEM. WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY RONALD W. WETHERINGTON

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ecently, almost 200 attendees gathered at Golden Ocala to bring tender loving care to our four-legged friends. Guests and sponsors were welcomed by Linda Norman, president and co-founder of VOCAL (Voices of Change Animal League). The black-tie optional event featured a presentation and video that was created by Sarah Myers, who also was the evening’s master of ceremonies. Kate Rengel, co-founder of VOCAL, spoke passionately about how VOCAL makes a positive impact on thousands of animals in need in our community. Guests enjoyed an extensive silent auction, a buffet dinner and live entertainment by Left On Broadway. Almost $124,000 was raised during the evening. Sizable individual donations by realtor Joan Pletcher and business-woman Bernadette Castro were greatly appreciated by VOCAL. VOCAL provided essential medical services to 3,404 patients in 2021 and are on track to double that number in 2022. For many pet parents, as caregivers, VOCAL provides services where previously there may have been none. Access to affordable veterinary care is essential to the well-being of the animals and the people who love them. VOCAL never wants the lack of financial resources to be the reason a pet is surrendered or euthanized. VOCAL’s clinic is the first of its kind in Marion County, and their Project Feed and Food Warehouse provides food for more than 8,100 animals every day. Their food program is in cooperation with donations from Chewy and made possible by R+L Carriers and countless dedicated volunteers. “If you asked us seven years ago where we thought the animal welfare community would be today, I don’t know if we would have realized how fast things would change,” said Board Member and Co-Founder Kate Rengel. “While there is certainly still a homeless pet problem in our community, we are so hopeful over the improvements we have seen.” You can follow the VOCAL improvements on their Facebook page. To volunteer your time or make a donation, visit VocalForPets.org.

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GREG & LEIGH BLAIR

WYATT & KINDEL STEPHENS & SYDNEY JORDAN

NORM & MARY ELLEN POE, LENORE & DAN NICHOLS

SASHA ARTHUR, JENNIFER NETLI & COURTNEY HUXOLL


BERNADETTE CASTRO, JOAN PLETCHER & LINDA NORMAN

MIMI BUENDIA, MARGARET O’BRIEN, PHILIPPE & MIDORI (VOCAL DOGS)

CHERYL & BILL FINDLAY

COSMO & SHAWNA CANTWELL

SUE MOSLEY, AVA CREWS, SAYLOR BUCHANAN & SAMANTHA CREWS

KAREN LANCASTER, LEAH CARLSON, KIERSTIN HORSTMAN & KAYLA JOHNSON

IF YOU ASKED US SEVEN YEARS AGO WHERE WE THOUGHT THE ANIMAL WELFARE COMMUNITY WOULD BE TODAY, I DON’T KNOW IF WE WOULD HAVE REALIZED HOW FAST THINGS WOULD CHANGE. BOARD MEMBER & CO-FOUNDER KATE RENGEL

PATRICIA TROTTA, MICHAEL KIMACK & ROSALIE WEBBER SEPT ‘22

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EXPLORE

CURTAIN CALL

PERFORMING ARTS VENUES THROUGHOUT THE REGION ARE RAISING THEIR CURTAINS ON THE 2022-2023 SEASON. WRITTEN AND COMPILED BY KARIN FABRY-CUSHENBERY

CIRCLE SQUARE CULTURAL CENTER CSCULTURALCENTER.COM

SEPTEMBER 16 THE GRASS ROOTS

SEPTEMBER 30 JIM CURRY’S TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC OF JOHN DENVER

SISTER HAZEL

REILLY ARTS CENTER

OCTOBER 15 WHAT A NIGHT! JERSEY BOYS MEETS MAMMA MIA

REILLYARTSCENTER.COM

DATE? ROB CAUDILL – THE ULTIMATE ROD STEWART EXPERIENCE

OCTOBER 1 HIGHWAY TO HELL: TRIBUTES TO DEF LEPPARD AND AC/DC

NOVEMBER 19 LITTLE RIVER BAND

OCTOBER 15 PHANTASMAGORIA XIII “POE, THROUGH THE TALES DARKLY”

DECEMBER 9 BOWZER’S ROCK ‘N ROLL HOLIDAY PARTY OCTOBER 6 GIRLS NIGHT! THE MUSICAL Grab your girlfriends and head to the Circle Square Cultural Center for a night of music and laughs. Follow along as these five friends share their pasts, celebrate their present and share their hopes about the future, all on a wild night out. The production has been described as “Desperate Housewives meets Mamma Mia” by Applause Magazine. Hit songs include “Lady Marmalade,” and “It’s Raining Men,” among others! The show contains some adult content isn’t recommended for those under age 13. 16

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SEPTEMBER 23 DUELING PIANOS

NOVEMBER 5 JIM BREUER LIVE NOVEMBER 18 U2 – JOSHUA TREE DECEMBER 2 SYMPHONY UNDER THE LIGHTS DECEMBER 3-4 POPS! GOES THE HOLIDAYS DECEMBER 15 LITHIUM EXPERIENCE

DECEMBER 17 ASSISTED LIVING: THE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS NOVEMBER 11 AN EVENING WITH SISTER HAZEL Hailing from Gainesville, Florida, Sister Hazel rocketed to the top of the adult alternative chart with their hit single “All for You” in 1997, propelling their album to platinum status. Since then, the group made it to No. 4 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart with “Lighter In The Dark,” No. 6 on Billboard’s Independent Albums Chart and No. 30 on Billboard’s Top Current Albums Chart. Their four-part compilation series, titled Elements, featured “Water,” “Wind,” “Fire” and “Earth” and once again brought the group into the spotlight. They have appeared on stages throughout the world, including the Grand Ole Opry and are actively involved in Lyrics For Life, a charity group that brings together musicians and celebrities for concerts and auctions to benefit cancer research and patient-care based charities.

Sister Hazel photo courtesy of Reilly Arts Center; Dracula image courtesy of Ocala Civic Theatre

SEPTEMBER 20 K-COUNTRY ACOUSTIC CONCERT – FALL 2022


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

PERFORMING ARTS PERFORMINGARTS.UFL.EDU

SEPTEMBER 23 MAX WEINBERG’S JUKEBOX SEPTEMBER 24 ANDY MCKEE SEPTEMBER 28 FEMINA SEPTEMBER 29 BUFFALO ROSE SEPTEMBER 30 TODD BARRY OCTOBER 13 MELISSA ALDANA QUARTET OCTOBER 22 DRACULA OCTOBER 23 GABRIELLE MARTINS, CELLO NOVEMBER 3-5 ACTORS FROM THE LONDON STAGE: MACBETH DECEMBER 1 CHICAGO DECEMBER 6 TENTHING BRASS ENSEMBLE DECEMBER 17-18 DANCE ALIVE NATIONAL BALLET PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER OCTOBER 27 BODYVOX BodyVox is celebrating 25 years of breathtaking performances, and you can join them! The shows combine beautiful imagery, feats of athleticism and moments of humorous charm. BodyVox has been described as “funny and quirky, but also equal parts charming and aweinspiring.” The group is led by Pilobolus alumni Jamey Hampton and MOMIX cofounder Ashley Roland. The productions combine theatrical performances, dance and film to create a one-of-a-kind event.

OCALA CIVIC THEATRE MARION

OCALACIVICTHEATRE.COM

THEATRE

THROUGH SEPTEMBER 18 HANDS ON A HARD BODY

SEPTEMBER 8 ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

DECEMBER 9-11 SLEIGHING IT: A HOLIDAY CABARET (A C.A.S.T. PERFORMANCE)

REILLYARTSCENTER.COM

SEPTEMBER 9 KRISTOPHER JAME DECEMBER 2 STEELN’ PEACHES – AN ALLMAN BROTHERS REVUE OCTOBER 22 NOSFERATU: SILENT FILM WITH LIVE MUSIC Enjoy an improvised live organ concert by Joshua Mazur as he makes up, on the spot, music to accompany a silent film, celebrating 100 years of the genre.

DECEMBER 1-18 COMING BACK LIKE A SONG

OCTOBER 20-NOVEMBER 6 DRACULA Based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel, the tale of Count Dracula comes to life (and death) on the stage of the Ocala Civic Theatre. Join Dracula on his travels from his castle in Transylvania as he embarks on a mission to create more vampires. The powerful vampire just may meet his match along the way. Please keep in mind, this production is not suggested for children. SEPT ‘22

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EXPLORE

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SEPTEMBER 7 THE 5TH DIMENSION SEPTEMBER 9 TURNSTILES: THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC OF BILLY JOEL SEPTEMBER 24 ORIGINAL HITMAKERS OF SUMMER TOUR SEPTEMBER 26 SUNNY SIDE UP! CABARET STARRING SARAH DELBEATO SEPTEMBER 27 ELVIS FOREVER FEATURING RICHIE SANTA SEPTEMBER 27-OCTOBER 22 IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY BY SARAH RUHL SEPTEMBER 29 THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

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SEPTEMBER 2-18 FAHRENHEIT 451 OCTOBER 14-30 RUNNING MATES NOVEMBER 26-DECEMBER 23 A CHRISTMAS CAROL

NOVEMBER 25-DECEMBER23 MURDER FOR TWO HOLIDAY EDITION Murder For Two is one of the Hippodrome’s most popular productions, and, this year, it’s returning with a holiday twist. This go around, one actor will play the investigator and the other 13 the suspects. This classic “whodunit” is the perfect combination of murder, music and mayhem… with a festive Christmas theme.

MELON PATCH PLAYERS

OCTOBER 1 3DN: THE THREE DOG NIGHT EXPERIENCE OCTOBER 3 VOCTAVE OCTOBER 12 CHRISTOPHER CROSS: 40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR OCTOBER 20 BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY OCTOBER 30 THE TEXAS TENORS NOVEMBER 20 HOTTER THAN JULY: THE STEVIE WONDER TRIBUTE

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DECEMBER 18-19 THE VILLAGES PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION 2022

SEPTEMBER 17-18 VOICES FROM THE HOLOCAUST

SEPTEMBER 22 BROADWAY HEROES AND VILLAINS

DECEMBER 2-11 A STORYBOOK CHRISTMAS All ages are welcome to join the Melon Patch Players as they present this fun, unique holiday spectacular. Watch as the players bring to life some of the most beloved characters from some of the season’s favorite storybooks through music, dance and live action performances. This is a non-ticketed event, and only donations will be accepted. Select characters, as well as Santa himself, will be on hand for photos. 18

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Broadway Heroes gives you a taste of some of your favorite productions, from Les Mis and Chicago to The Wizard of Oz and Hamilton. You’ll also meet some of the beloved heroes and hated villains from productions like Annie, Phantom of the Opera, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, Aladdin, Mamma Mia, Jekyll & Hyde and more! This acclaimed cast will feature stars from recent Villages productions, such as Nunsense, Carousel, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast and more as they perform some of your favorite Broadway hits. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Rotary Club of the The Villages Foundation.

Murder For Two Holiday Edition photo courtesy of The Hippodrome

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EXPLORE renting or purchasing one. The Conservatory also offers scholarships so that the lessons are available to everyone, regardless of financial circumstances. “Private lessons can be expensive, particularly for families with multiple children and families without a working disposable income,” says Margaret. “We believe that financial constraint should never be the reason that someone is unable to be successful with their art.” This fall, the Conservatory’s popular Buckets and Boomwhackers drumming class is returning and is open to students in third through fifth grades. They are also launching the first semester of HornSquad, a group class for middle school brass players. Also new this semester is the Steel Pan Ensemble, which Margaret is very excited about. “There is nothing like it in our area,” she says, “and I think it will be such a great addition to the musical community of Ocala. We were able to invest in a quality set of brand-new steel pans.” The Conservatory also offers adult classes that run periodically, like the Buckets and Beer class, where adults can learn bucket drumming, have a beverage and enjoy a great night with friends. Several other group courses are in the pre-planning phase for adults and youth, so be sure to check in regularly for new programs by visiting the website. If you’re looking for private lessons, the Conservatory offers courses in clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone/euphonium, tuba, concert percussion and drum set, piano, violin, viola, cello, THE OCALA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA COMMUNITY MUSIC CONSERVATORY OFFERS guitar and electric bass. All instructors have GROUP AND PRIVATE LESSONS REGARDLESS OF AGE, ABILITY OR BACKGROUND. professional performance experience as well as past teaching experience, and several WRITTEN BY MELISSA PETERSON instructors are long-standing members of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra. “The Reilly has always had the vision of his past spring, The Ocala Symphony “I think what I love most about being Orchestra Community Music Conservatory encouraging the arts throughout the community,” involved with the Conservatory is getting to be says Margaret Dixon, director of education launched its group classes and private a part of the whole process from the ground and community outreach, “and this is one of lessons, creating opportunities for up,” says Margaret. “There’s such a great need the avenues that we can use to pursue that students of all ages and backgrounds to for a program like this here in Ocala, and I’m business in an impactful and accessible way. Arts so excited about the impact that I know it will experience music education. education has an unfortunate history of being Building the Conservatory was an integral make for decades to come. I can’t wait to see less accessible to certain demographics and part of the Reilly Art Center’s recent building the fourth-grade drummer that started lessons people with certain socioeconomic statuses. Our here last week return 10 to 15 years from now expansion. A gift of the David and Lisa Midgett goal is to offer a high-quality music education Foundation, the Conservatory, located in the to take an audition to be a percussionist with experience that is acceptable to everyone.” Reilly Arts Center’s newly built education wing, the symphony.” Private lessons are open to people ages 5 features multiple teaching studios and large THE OCALA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and up, with the exception of some of the band rehearsal and performance spaces. COMMUNITY MUSIC CONSERVATORY instrument lessons (tuba, trombone, horn, The Conservatory offers group and private To learn more about private lessons, saxophone, etc.), which typically start around instruction in almost every instrument, taught register for group classes or complete fourth or fifth grade, and the Conservatory can by professional musicians and/or experienced a scholarship application, visit accommodate any ability level. If the student music educators. Students will learn real, usable reillyartscenter.com/communitydoes not have an instrument of their own, the techniques and receive the experience and conservatory. Conservatory can help with information on exposure they need to be a successful musician.

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SEPT ‘22

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THE PAST & THE PRESENT

Located at the corner of County Road 25 and Highway 42 in Weirsdale just a few blocks from Lake Weir, it’s possible to pass by the historic brick building that houses the Orange Blossom Opry without realizing the musical greats who have graced the Opry’s stage over the years. Built in the 1920s as a school for first through 12th grades, the school closed in 1970 and was left empty until the ‘90s. According to a news article in the Daily Commercial based out of Leesburg, once purchased, the school’s gymnasium became Hawhee’s Country Music Opry and then The Great American Music Hall and the Weirsdale Opry before finally becoming The Orange Blossom Opry (OBO). The current owners, Heather and Roger Beyers, purchased the OBO in 2014 after the death of the previous owner Estelle Benson. Raised in Leesburg, Roger is also the thirdgeneration owner of Beyers Funeral Homes, which recently celebrated its 100th year in business. Both Roger and Heather attended many shows at the OBO prior to actually owning it. Before her death, Estelle spoke with Roger about her vision for the Opry once she was gone, and it was then that Roger knew someone needed to continue her legacy. “The OBO is a place of entertainment, a place to escape when someone is feeling down,” says Roger. “Music lifts us up and brings people together.” Purchasing the OBO just seemed like the next logical step for Heather and Roger, and the purchase was announced by Estelle’s family at her celebration of life service, which was held at the Opry.

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AN INTIMATE EXPERIENCE

The OBO is a boutique venue, intimate and comfortable, seating 500 guests for an upclose-and-personal concert experience. “There’s not a bad seat in the house,” says Heather. “Most artists will stay and offer meet and greets following their shows.” Heather says people often ask about the difference between a performing arts center/ concert venue and an opry. 24

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HEATHER & ROGER BEYERS “A performing arts/opera house is usually a multi-level venue that accommodates theatrics, ballets and large bands,” she says, “while an opry is a term coined in 1927 by radio announcer and host of the WSM Barn Dance George Hay following a grand opera radio program. He joked that the audience will now be listening to a Grand Ole Opry show, and now the term opry is used to demonstrate the realism of folk and country music.” The Opry hosts all genres, including country, Western, bluegrass, rock, Southern rock, doo-wop, folk, gospel, rhythm and blues, and even comedy. “We have hosted everyone from the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, The Issacs, Pat Boone, The Drifters, Kentucky Headhunters and Kingston Trio to Elvis and rock tributes,

One of the most unique aspects of the OBO is it's amazing in-house band, known simply as the Orange Blossom Opry Band, which opens every show—even for national acts—and even sometimes closes them out. Heather and Roger believe that their house band’s high-energy music is helping drive younger audiences to the Opry. This six-member band plays all genres with a focus on classic country and Southern rock. All the band members have toured with national acts and have over 30 years of combined experience on


variety shows and comedians such as Jeff Allen and Gallagher,” Heather says. “From the minute our show begins, our six-piece house band opens with a 35-minute opening set. This is what sets the OBO apart from all other venues in the state. We host national acts, and occasionally we back the national acts, but we always open for them.” The OBO utilizes Nashville-based booking agent Gary Kirvis to scout out new talent. He will call Heather and Roger to find out if they’re interested in a particular act or tell them that a musician is interested in booking their venue. “We’ve created a lot of buzz in Nashville and beyond over the last several years,” Heather says. “It’s quite a compliment when acts come to us looking to book because they heard from a fellow artist that they love the OBO, the food we serve them and the audiences at the OBO.” Some of the couples’ favorite acts over the years have been Lee Greenwood, Hotel California, Oakridge Boys, The Crests and Mickey Gilley, while the most historic musician to grace the OBO stage has been Pat Boone. “He was full of stories and songs,” says Heather. “We would like to have artists such as Clint Black and Trace Adkins, and our ultimate dream would be artists such as Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Trish Yearwood.” Their love of music, especially live music, comes from influences when they were young. Roger was in his high school band, playing trombone, and was invited along with his bandmates at Leesburg High School to play during opening day at Disney World. With a great ear for music, he prefers Southern rock and the OBO stage. Band Leader Bobby Randall (vocals, guitar, fiddle and steel guitar) is a former member of Confederate Railroad and founding member of Sawyer Brown and has been with the OBO since 2018. He’s written for many famous artists and recorded several original albums independently and with well-known bands. Dustin Jenkins (lead vocalist, piano and harmonica) is from Nashville, Tennessee, and Kevin Kingston (bass guitar and vocals) has been with the OBO since 2013. Band Director Doug Stock (steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle and banjo)

classic country. Heather, however, grew up in Louisiana with a father who was a Cajun music radio DJ and learned to love all genres of music. “Loving live music as much as we do is a big reason we own the OBO,” Roger says. “Live music is more than a concert—it’s an experience, and people who really enjoy and love live music will appreciate the sights and sounds that our unique venue has to offer. Not only is every artist performing to a live band, they are up close and personal to the guests. They share more than just music. They share experiences and stories, and many say they love feeding off an audience so close to the stage. And the audience relates to that performer, and the concert becomes more personal.” Heather and Roger’s long-term goal for the OBO is to just keep improving and growing. This past summer, they retired the

joined the OBO band in 2017, while Mickey Adams (lead guitar, steel guitar and vocals) is the band’s newest member, joining in 2021. Todd Bowers (drums) has been with the OBO since 2014, and Nathan Smith, the OBO sound engineer, is from Nashville and has been with the OBO since 2019. The Opry does sometimes bring in special guests, like songwriter Jim Dowell, who will sit in with the band from time to time. Jim wrote for George Jones, George Strait and many other national artists. The Opry has also had local favorite Chad Brock guest star a

concession stand and converted it into a new café, while extending the menu and adding more beer and wine options. “We have several opportunities to expand and possibly bring the old schoolhouse back to life,” says Heather. “We would love to repurpose the schoolhouse and continue to preserve its history in Weirsdale. We hope to be able to keep growing and become a destination people will be drawn to and bring business to our small community.” If you’re a fan of rock tribute bands, the OBO is where you’ll want to be this fall. The fifth anniversary of the Rock the OBO concert series begins on October 1 with Captured— The Ultimate Journey Tribute and wraps up on November 19 with Live & Let Die, a Paul McCartney tribute. “Our rock tribute bands are some of the best in the country,” says Roger.

few times, Mo Thaxton from the rock group Dr. Hook and several other special guests. The house band has a show at the OBO every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. During the Thursday Night Showcase, the Opry backs 12 different performers from around the state and beyond. On Saturdays, the band typically opens for national bands, while Fridays are for Friday Night Live when only the Orange Blossom Opry Band performs. “This is one of the fastest growing shows we offer,” says Heather. “The band is so good, so entertaining and is becoming the buzz around this

area and in Nashville. We stream our house-produced shows on Thursday and Friday nights on Facebook Live.” “The OBO stage is more than just a place to sing,” says Roger. “The OBO has history with some of the most iconic artists of the past and present. Our visiting artists love to share the same stage as their predecessors and have said they can channel that energy from our stage. We think this comes across to our audience and artists feed off the audiences’ reactions.” SEPT ‘22

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Tickets to the OBO shows can be purchased online through the website, in person or by calling the box office. Some seating was removed for Covid purposes to accommodate distancing, and Heather and Roger have decided to continue with the configuration, seating right at 500 guests. Many shows do sell out, so purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. Four levels of pricing are available, with tickets starting at $13 for showcase nights up to $75 for certain series tickets. Tickets are available the day of the show if it’s not sold out. Most evening shows start at 7pm, and matinees usually begin at 2:30pm. Dress is casual. “The Weirsdale community is rich in history,” says Heather. “It’s a small town with a large presence. Having the OBO here not only attracts up to 1,500 plus people each weekend, it allows visitors from all over the country a place to come together for live music, great entertainment and fellowship.” For the couple, continuing the tradition of

doug stock steels the show SEPTEMBER 10

Doug Stock will entertain guests with the iconic sound of classic country music and subtle twang of the steel guitar. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear one of the top steel guitar players in the country.

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live music in our area on the scale they offer is their main goal in owning and operating the OBO. They want the Opry to be a place the community can come to escape the daily grind and headaches life brings and simply enjoy an evening of live music. “I always leave feeling better about myself and my country—something great live music does,” explains Roger. “I never want to see shows that are all canned music; live music is so special. Our customers say they are blessed to have a venue like ours. It is almost always— without exception—that everyone leaves with a smile and feeling better. If you love live music or have never experienced live music and want to, the Orange Blossom Opry is the place for you.”

ORANGE BLOSSOM OPRY 16439 SE 138th Terrace, Weirsdale (352) 821-1201 To see a full list of shows and purchase tickets, visit obopry.com.

retro country with jay alan and the obo band SEPTEMBER 17

Come out for an evening with local fan favorite Jay Alan and The Orange Blossom Opry Band, performing classic country music from Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, Ray Price, George Jones, Johnny Cash and many more.

george trullinger SEPTEMBER 24

Back for some high-energy, comedic fun, laughter and music, George and his many impersonations take the OBO stage. See him as Buddy Holly, Hank Sr., Ed Sullivan and other special guests. An all-around good time at the Orange Blossom Opry is a promise.


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CONVERSATIONS WE CAUGHT UP WITH MAGGIE WEAKLEY, ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR WITH FINE ARTS FOR OCALA, TO TALK ABOUT ALL THINGS FOOD. WHAT’S YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE MEAL? This vegan lasagna recipe by Sam Turnbull. I always like to add my spin to recipes, and in this one, I add a few extra veggies like spinach. Sometimes I roast zucchini and layer them in there. I serve it with a side of sautéed asparagus, homemade garlic bread and a nice glass of Merlot or Pinot Noir. Check out Maggie’s favorite meal at https://bit.ly/3dwGbzH.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SNACK? Air-popped popcorn drizzled with olive oil and Himalayan pink salt.

WHAT’S A FAVORITE LOCAL EATERY AND WHY? We love Ayuttaya Thai Cuisine because they have so many delicious choices. Stella’s—the Artichoke flatbread, hold the cheese, is a favorite of mine. Big Hammock Brewery has amazing vegan ramen bowls. For yummy Chinese food, we love Wok N’ Roll, they make broccoli in brown sauce with fried tofu and cashew nuts served over brown rice. We also have the vegetable mei fun and spring rolls— so yummy.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL PLACE TO GO GRAB COCKTAILS? La Cuisine, Big

DO YOU FREQUENT THE OCALA DOWNTOWN MARKET? ANY RECOMMENDATIONS ON SHOPS OR BOOTHS? Yes, we try to go to the farmers

Hammock Brewery and Stella’s Modern Pantry

market as much as we can. They have many great vegetables there, and the mushroom

guys have a huge variety that we love. My husband makes the best oyster mushroom “scallops.”

WHAT ABOUT DESSERTS? The sorbets at La Cuisine are wonderful. A favorite dessert I make is a mixed berry torte with coconut whipped cream.

DO YOU HAVE ANY GO-TO FOOD APPS? Happy Cow is a great app that helps us find vegetarian/vegan restaurants. We use it a lot when we travel. I also have the Forks Over Knives app—they have a ton of amazing recipes in there.

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Situated on the water’s edge on Lake Weir, Gator Joe’s has been a local favorite since 1926. The Key West-style restaurant features a laid back, relaxed atmosphere, perfect for an evening out with friends or a family dinner. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Located along the boardwalk of Lake-Sumter Landing in The Villages, Lighthouse Point Bar & Grill is the perfect place to catch a beautiful fall sunset. Enjoy the live entertainment Friday and Saturday from 7-10pm, Sundays from 1-4pm and Wednesdays from 5-9pm.

Nestled on the Withlacoochee River in nearby Dunnellon, the Blue Gator is much more than just a dinner destination. Check out the Blue Gator Express airboat rides, or rent a pontoon boat to explore the backwaters of the river before dinner.

12431 SE 135TH CT., OCKLAWAHA

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925 LAKESHORE DR., THE VILLAGES

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DRIFTERS RIVERFRONT BAR & GRILL 55716 FRONT ST., ASTOR

Located just over the Volusia County line on the beautiful St. John’s River, Drifters Riverfront took over where the Blackwater Inn was once housed in Astor. Check their website for the live music and events schedule.


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Photos courtesy of Seen & Savor

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ombine Emmeline Basulto’s skill and passion for cooking with Sabrina Lewis’ charcuterie and wine expertise, and you have a winning combination. The foodie duo joined forces recently to form Seen & Savor, a unique culinary experience that invites participants to experience food and wine from around the world. Seen & Savor was created by Emmeline, who also owns and operates El Puente Catering, and Sabrina, who owns and operates Graze & Prosper, a successful charcuterie and wine company. The next time you’re having a special family dinner or a gathering of friends, consider creating a dining experience everyone is sure to remember. “Book a date, pick a country and leave the rest to us,” says Emmeline. The pair creates fivecourse meals, including a beautiful charcuterie and wine presentation, based on the country of your choice. Options include Spain, Cuba, Argentina, France, even America among others. Emmeline says that although her personal background specializes in Spanish cooking, she loves to learn and experiment in the kitchen, perfecting new and inspired dishes. “Cooking is an amazing experience,” she says. “I learn more and more as I evolve,

picking up various techniques and styles. I think of cooking as a science—it’s all about experimenting, creating new flavors and trying something new. When Emmeline and Sabrina come to your home or event locale (they currently serve parties of six to 10), they come bearing gifts. “We bring everything with us,” Emmeline says. “Plating, silverware, napkins, food, wine, glasses and more. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy.” Most of the meal prep is done ahead of time; however, if the client desires, the meal can be finished off in the home to provide the private chef feel to the evening. Throughout the evening, Sabrina and Emmeline share insight into the provided dishes and the flavors being experienced. There’s a lot of laughter and even some educational insight mixed in. Emmeline gives credit to Sabrina when

it comes to educating their clientele on the finer points of pairing and savoring wine. “This is about building relationships, building friendships,” says Emmeline. “And, of course, it’s about the food and the wine that’s paired with it.” A recent dinner party took participants on a tasting tour of France, passport included! The five-course feast started with pears double cream brie french baguette, jambon de Paris and a Blanc de Blanc, 2021. Course two brought out nicoise salad with a Picpoul De Pinet, 2021. The third course included potatoes au gratin paired with a 2020 Revelation Chardonnay. Beef Bourguinon with a Chateau La Fleur Poitou from 2018. The evening concluded with crème brulee and a 2020 Grand Classique Cotes Du Rhone. “One of the most exciting things is that we change up the menu every time we host a party to keep it fresh and new,” says Emmeline. SEEN & SAVOR seenandsavor.com On Instagram: @seenandsavor


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Treat yourself to a memorable dining experience at La Cuisine. Only the highest quality ingredients and produce are used to create traditional French fare in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Reminiscent of a quaint Paris bistro, La Cuisine offers an ambiance that is ideal for a family brunch, a business dinner or a romantic evening out. With award-winning dishes that are prepared fresh, in-house, each meal includes personal touches that only La Cuisine can provide. Indoor and outdoor patio dining is available in the heart of beautiful downtown, and you’ll enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

Head to El Toreo for the best Mexican food this side of the border! Enjoy all of your favorite traditional Mexican dishes in a friendly and festive atmosphere. Beyond the outstanding Mexican food, El Toreo simply offers a warm, fun place to be— whether you’re dressed up or casual. Any day is a good day for one of El Toreo’s tasty margaritas: Mondays and Wednesdays $2 margaritas, Saturdays 2-for-1 margaritas and 2-for-1 happy hour every day from 4-7pm (excluding margaritas).

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