Ocala Style November '20

Page 1

NOV ‘20





Just Listed

Equine Estates - 10 +/- Acres

Turning Hawk Ranch - 16 +/- Acres

Gated Equestrian Estate with access to the Florida Greenways and Trails, plus close to the Florida Horse Park. 3BR/3BA home, 4-stall barn with room for 10 stalls, office, RV hook-up, lush green paddocks with beautiful oaks, and community bridle trails. $1,249,000

Equestrian enthusiasts will enjoy the 11-stall center aisle barn with feed/tack room plus day quarters with bath. Two large paddocks, round pen, oval riding arena, 4-horse walker. Beautiful mature oaks $749,000 and great building spots for your home.

Riversedge Training Stables - 67 +/- Acres

Signature Stallions - 9.82 +/- Acres

NW training facility with access to 3/4 +/- mile race track (7/8 +/with chute). Located in Eclipse Training Center. Property features: 5 updated barns with 108 stalls, 2 apartments, Eurocizer, walkers, round pens, 28 lush paddocks, and maintenance shop. $2,700,000

Strategically located close to WEC & HITS. 8-stall show stable, office, feed and tack room, wide matted aisles with brick floors and drains for easy maintenance. 4-stall barn with hay storage above. 8 paddocks. Office with full kitchen. $1,149,000

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.

Just Listed

Just Listed

Golden Acres - 4 +/- Acres

Westbury Estate - 1.71 +/- Acres

Gated estate with 6 bedrooms, 7 full and 2 half baths. Grand entry foyer, spacious family room with fireplace, adjoining sun room, formal dining room with fireplace, chef ’s kitchen with center island and butler’s pantry. English gardens, croquet court and guest house. $1,495,000

Recently updated home with open floor plan, expansive family room, formal dining room, kitchen with center island, casual dining overlooking pool. Office, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths. Screen enclosed $799,500 pool with lounging areas. 4-car garage. Many extras.

Personal Paradise - 23 +/- Acres

Great N.W. Location - 10 or 39 +/- Acres

Gated estate with lit drive leads you to this 5BR/5BA 5,100 SF estate with with grand interior spaces, “Smart” house, formal living room, office, theater, and gourmet kitchen. Heated pool & spa sports waterfall surrounded by lounging areas. 1BR/1BA guest house. $2,500,000

This is your opportunity to purchase this income producing 10+/- or 39+/- acres in the NW minutes to WEC and HITS. Stable with 10-stalls room for 12-stalls, apartment, RV-hook up. 2-run in barns, two 3/2 mobile homes on the property which can be rented. $2,200,000

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.


Since 1919


The Peacock Cottage Ocala’s Plant Shop! • African Violets • Unique Houseplants

Hunt Murty Publisher | Jennifer jennifer@magnoliamediaco.com

• Garden Gifts • Fairy Gardens

Recently Expanded With More Plants!

Magnolia Media Company, LLC (352) 732-0073

1515 NE 22nd Avenue, Ocala, FL 34470

Art Editorial

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Simon Mendoza simon@magnoliamediaco.com Brooke Pace brooke@magnoliamediaco.com IN-HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery PHOTOGRAPHERS Tammy Griffin Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Dave Miller Cheri Prill Isabelle Ramirez Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATOR David Vallejo


DIRECTOR OF SALES AND PROMOTIONS Lee Kerr lee@magnoliamediaco.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Sarah Belyeu sarah@magnoliamediaco.com

EDITOR IN CHIEF Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com SENIOR EDITOR Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Lisa McGinnes lisa@magnoliamediaco.com

Located in Chelsea Square 3243 East Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala (352) 624-0116 • thePeacockCottage@gmail.com thePeacockCottage



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Richard Anguiano Ben Baugh JoAnn Guidry Belea T. Keeney Scott Mitchell David Moore Jill Paglia Marian Rizzo Dave Schlenker Leah Taylor Patricia Tomlinson


MARKETING MANAGER Kylie Swope kylie@magnoliamediaco.com MARKETING COORDINATOR Sabrina Fissell sabrina@magnoliamediaco.com

Distribution Dave Adams Rick Shaw


Market of

Marion The largest produce market in North Central Florida

Sat-Sun - 8am-4pm 12888 SE US HWY 441, Belleview, FL 34420



Publisher’s Note

lon Musk, business magnate and bigwig CEO extraordinaire, has been quoted as saying, “It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket, as long as you control what happens to that basket.” Well, that might have been true prepandemic…but it doesn’t ring true in November 2020. Surely business owners reading this letter would agree with me that this year has been a lesson on reassessing what elements we think we control and what elements we cannot. It was for this very reason—dead smack in the middle of this tumultuous year, with all kinds of industries in crisis— that we began to think about how special it was that Ocala had so many businesses that have weathered all sorts of storms for decades. We decided to reach out to a few such businesses to see what advice they had for the rest of us. We hope you draw inspiration from their thoughtful words of wisdom, beginning on page 58. It was also fun to invite some good friends to collaborate with our team in this entertaining issue, including Shelby Goelz, who created some festive holiday cocktails with Jill Paglia, and Paula King, who took on the creative challenge of staging our holiday decorating photo shoot, complete with a chic and festive tablescape. Paula is one of my style gurus. She will laugh when she hears me call her that, but what I appreciate so much about her suggestions is that she always leads me to styles that feel classic to me—making it easy to add to things I already have. In fact, that is what I love watching her do the most…layer. Rather than creating a look I would refer to as ‘matchy-matchy’ or straight out of a catalog, she builds a table that reflects great style, a sense of legacy and a vibrant spirit. Some of you, who have attended years of the Ocala Culinary Festival, are already fans of my friend Shelby. I have been grateful for my time spent with her talking about cocktails (one of my favorite subjects!) over the past few years. Shelby majored in art and illustration in college and she brings that artful eye to her creations. It is my fervent hope that Shelby and other culinary artists in the hospitality business soon find their industry on the road to recovery after experiencing hardships caused by the pandemic. Why is this such a fervent hope of mine? It is not just because I’m a foodie who finds inspiration from the culinary arts, but rather because as we enter this month divided as a nation we’ll need this industry’s special expertise to bring everybody to the table going forward in a way that I believe only good food and drinks can do.

Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher

contents 70



ta b l e

de pa r tm ent s

insid e r




Dave muses on his life with the Ocala Civic Theatre and the significance of the ghost light.









The Silver River Museum’s resident mammoth is ready for visitors.

Get a glimpse into the most special days of local brides and grooms.





f e a tu r e s



Entertaining guru Jill Paglia and master mixologist Shelby Goelz whip up some holiday cocktails. From our readers: Sweet and easy treats to make ahead.


Inspired holiday shopping ideas offer a mix of innovative and personal indulgences for everyone on your list.











Learn how art can be a life affirming force for transformation. Lisa and David Midgett’s new ventures extend their commitment to the local arts community.


A young Ocala couple opens their historic home for our holiday decorating showcase. Tips from local experts can help you get your glam on for the holidays. Some of Ocala’s oldest family-owned businesses share how they’ve stood the test of time.

See some smooth-gaited Paso Finos at the Ocala Cup International. Education and community service are hallmarks for the Cunningham family.

o n th e c o ve r Karine Nigro Queiroz de Aquino photographed on location at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club by Lyn Larson of Mahal Photography, wearing Xscape twist-front allover sequin short split-sleeve gown and Ella-Quent sandals by Gianni Bini in soft pewter, both from Dillard’s in Market Street at Heath Brook.

Clockwise from left: Photo by Alan Youngblood; photo by Meagan Gumpert; photo courtesy of Jim Jernigan’s studio; photo by Meagan Gumpert


Affordable Elegance





1 9 8 8





352.694.5022 3251 SE 31st St, OCALA W W W. C E N T E R S TAT E C O N S T R U C T I O N . C O M LIC # CGC 1511237





You are cordially invited to an exclusive event celebrating 70 years

Discover the new collections from world renowned jewelry designer




Social Brittany Landers, riding Titan, participated in the Sun Country Trail Blazers’ recent Ride for the Cure mounted archery event to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease research. Photo by Bruce Ackerman

November ‘20



Terrilynn Hope-Streid

Karen Kraushaar and Terrilynn Hope-Streid

Ride for the Cure 2020 ARCHER’S POINT STABLES Photography by Bruce Ackerman


Connie Claire



embers of the Sun Country Trail Blazers did multiple socially distanced events for this year’s ride to raise money to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. A mounted archery group led by Terrilynn Hope-Streid rode and shot at targets for donations on October 10th at the stables near Dunnellon.


Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.

Jaye Baillie, Beth McCall and Jessica McCune

Sandra and Jerome Wilson

Applaud the Arts

MARION THEATRE Photography by Tammy Griffin


Ecliff Farrar Telford

Desiree Smith and Isaiah Pepper

he Marion Cultural Alliance’s 13th annual Applaud the Arts event, held October 8th, honored Ocala Style Publisher Jennifer Hunt Murty with the Vision Award, Dean Marino with the Education Award, Les Muncaster with the Service Award and the Reilly’s Matt and Pam Wardell with the Spirit Award.

Lisa Irwin Midgett and Tammy Griffin

Brian Hershberger, Matt and Pamela Wardell, and Dorothy Pernu

November ‘20





@PaddockMall PaddockMall.com

Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.

100 Strong BRICK CITY CENTER FOR THE ARTS Photography by Bruce Ackerman

T Kelly Lehman and Niki Tripodi

he annual Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection’s 100 Strong Campaign culmination event was held September 25th, with the announcement that more than $25,000 was raised for the Helping Children Heal initiative, formed in response to the agency’s $80,000 shortfall due to COVID-19.

Melissa Bianculli

Joe Verwerk and Frank DeLuca

November ‘20


On the Scene A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events


City Hall, 110 SE Watula Ave. Now-January 1 | 8am-5pm Artist Megan Welch, a painter and educator who lives in Northeast Florida, has created an exhibition of portraits in oil and graphite that portray the stories of those navigating the temporal nature of life, the unknown and the human condition. Open Monday-Friday. Call (352) 629-8447 for more information.

13 Magnolia Junkin’ Market

Artist photo courtesy of Megan Welch

Two Sisters Vintage, 540 NE 14th St. November 13 & 14 | 8am-3pm Rain or shine, explore a treasure trove of antique, vintage, reclaimed, hand-painted and unique items, as well as crafts and “junque” from 50+ vendors. There will be curbside cuisine, fresh fudge, cookies, pies and homemade sweets, as well as lots of fun to be had at this free annual event—Ocala’s original vintage market. Visit facebook.com/twosistersvintagethrift



DEC 14

$60-120 PER CAR


DEC 16

$60-120 PER CAR

DEC 18

$60-120 PER CAR

DEC 15

$60-120 PER CAR

DEC 17

$60-120 PER CAR

DEC 19

$60-120 PER CAR







DEC 20

$60-150 PER CAR



DEC 14-20TH



General Admission

Golf Car Rentals Open to Public | Drive In Available Golf Cars & Cars Only Food Trucks & Limit 4 Persons Per Car Bar Station


For more details and to purchase tickets please visit: www.TheVillagesEntertainment.com Presented by

TheVillagesEntertainment |

Sponsored by





Ocala Cars & Coffee


Hackin’ It for Hospice



War Horse Harley-Davidson 5331 N. U.S. Hwy. 441 7:30am-12pm Enjoy more than 300 of Central Florida’s most unique cars, trucks and motorcycles at this free, family-friendly event featuring live music and coffee beverages by Oasis Tropical Café. Call (352) 732-2488 or visit warhorseharley.com for more information.

Candler Hills Golf Club 8137 SW 90th Terrace Road 7am-12pm This charity golf tournament benefits Hospice of Marion County. Registration begins at 7am, followed by breakfast and a shotgun start at 8:45am. Register your team of four at hospiceofmarion.com and plan to stay for lunch after the tournament. Call Damian Romano at (352) 854-4840 for more information.

Brown’s Fall Festival

Brown’s Country Market 13940 U.S. Hwy. 301, Oxford 10am-4pm Shop seasonal produce and plants and enjoy live music, local vendors, food trucks, a classic car show, ax throwing and a kids’ corner. The event benefits Villagers for Veterans and the Humane Society of Sumter County. Call (352) 303-1550 or visit brownandbrownfarms.com for more information.




Marion County Chili Cook-Off: Quarantine Edition

College of Central Florida, 3001 SW College Road 10am-4pm Fifteen innovative speakers present their ideas on the theme “Voice” at Ocala’s sixth annual TedxTalk. They include renowned horse expert Pat Parelli, international speaker Courtney Epps, and other educators, storytellers, entrepreneurs and artists. Visit tedxocala.com for tickets and more information.

Big Lee’s-Serious About Barbecue 3925 SE 45th Ct. 11am-3pm The 39th annual Chili Cook-Off is scaling back in a pandemic year. Instead of the usual event, last year’s champion Big Lee’s-Serious About Barbecue will serve their winning chili to benefit The Cornerstone School. T-shirts and swag available online at facebook.com/chilicookoff



Six Gun Territory Wild West Weekend

Kirby Family Farm, 19650 NE 30th St., Williston November 7 & 8 | 10am-4pm Experience wild west showdowns, train robberies, shootouts and can-can dancers along with train rides, a petting zoo, live music, food and a carousel. Call (352) 812-7435 or visit kirbyfarm.com for more information.

14 Sunshine State Mopar Show & Swap Meet

Florida Horse Park, 11800 C.R. 475-A November 14 & 15 | 8am-4pm See some of the most impressive cars from across the state, enjoy music, food and vendors and meet “Mr. 4-Speed” Herb McCandless. Call (352) 427-8382 or visit floridamoparassociation.com for more information.

14 Push-Ups for Pups

CrossFit Pinnacle, 7175 S. Pine Ave. 9am-12pm Athletes are raising pledges for push-ups to benefit the Humane Society of Marion County. The winning athlete will choose a shelter pup to take to the park and treat with a puppuccino. Call (352) 209-8213 or email marketing4crossfit@gmail.com for more information.

14 Ocala Pet Expo

Tuscawilla Park, 829 NE Sanchez Ave. 10am-2pm The fifth annual pet expo brings together vendors, demonstrations and adoptable pets, featuring professional dog trainer Letty Towles, Ocala Fire Rescue’s arson investigation dog Gracie and the Soccer Dogs. Human and animal treats available for purchase; leashed pets welcome (no intact males permitted). Call (352) 622-5600 for more information.

15 Drive-In Theater Tour: Chondra Pierce

Ocala Drive-In, 4850 S. Pine Ave. 5-8pm The “Queen of Clean” brings her signature brand of southern comedy to the outdoor stage. Gather the family in the car, bring lawn chairs if you wish and purchase your favorite drive-in concessions for a night of laughs. Visit etix.com/ticket/p/2892485 for tickets and more information.



Invite you by for a visit

The largest combined selection of race supplies, farrier equipment, general equine supplies, western tack and saddlery in the Southeast.

Unique, handmade & wonderful things from locals & around the globe



7715 W. Highway 40, Ocala | TTDistributors.com

Open Mon-Sat 10-5 & Sun 11-3 20799 Walnut Street/11875 Cedar St. Dunnellon 352.465.1460 | 352.322.3968 www.dunnellonfloridaantiques.com


Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | AppletonMuseum.org | 352-291-4455

-an equal opportunity college-


Summit: Preserving Open 19 Conservation Spaces & Beautiful Places

Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 8300 NW 31st Lane Road 12-2:30pm Horse Farms Forever, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited and the American Farmland Trust, hosts Adam Putnam speaking about land conservation and Billy Van Pelt presenting a report on the loss of prime agricultural lands. Visit horsefarmsforever.com/conservation-summit to register.

21 Hot Cars & Cool Cats Car Show

2250 NE 70th St. 10am-3pm A car, truck and motorcycle show set in a large field under the oak trees to benefit the Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS). The family-friendly event offers food, music and vendors as well as an educational tour to meet Maximus the Siberian tiger. Call (352) 266-2859 or visit earsinc.net for more information.


Holiday Market

Marion Therapeutic Riding Association (MTRA) 6850 SE 41st Ct. 10am-3pm The second annual arts and crafts fair supports Small Business Saturday by featuring local vendors while raising awareness and funds for MTRA’s therapeutic riding programs for young people and veterans. Enjoy music, a holiday photo booth, car show, food and family activities. Call (352) 732-7300 or visit mtraocala.org for more information.

ARTS Florida: Explored

City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Administration, 828 NE Eighth Ave. Now-January 15 | 9am-5pm Ocala artist Dan McCarthy’s exhibition includes pieces created during his exploration of Indian Lake State Forest, a hidden gem in Marion County, capturing the mood and feeling of this wild space. Open Monday-Friday. Call (352) 6298447 for more information.

7 18

First Friday Art Walk

Ocala Historic District 6pm Stroll Ocala’s historic district to view and shop local art, enjoy live music on the square and participate in hands-on family art activities. Visit ocalafl.org for details.



Petals and Paint: Antique Hydrangeas and Heartfelt Gratitude

Gallery B an Art Collective Art Gallery 405 E. Silver Springs Blvd. 2-5pm Artist Julie Shealy and floral designer Taylor Grace come together for a unique workshop that allows participants to create a custom seasonal floral arrangement and a painting of the design. Register at julieshealy.com or call (352) 875-2419.

13 Elvis: Era of a King

Reilly Arts Center, 500 NE 9th St. 6-9pm World champion Elvis tribute artist Cote Deonath brings a high-energy show featuring four eras of The King—from the ‘50s through the ‘70s. Opening acts for this show to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Marion County include a Buddy Holly tribute and Ed Sullivan impersonator George Trullinger. Call (352) 3511606 or visit reillyartscenter.com

14 Second Saturday Art Studio

Brick City Center for the Arts, 23 SW Broadway St. 10am-12:30pm Artists ages 12 and up of all levels are invited to bring their own painting supplies for a serene studio session with lead artist Kay Deuben. Canvas, coffee and snacks included. RSVP to Ashley.justiano@mcaocala.com or call (352) 3691500.


Handel’s Messiah

The Sharon, 1051 Main St., The Villages 3pm and 7pm The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring four guest soloists, presents this Advent-season favorite. For tickets and more information call (352) 751-7799 or visit thesharon.com

18 Pipeline

The Sharon, 1051 Main St., The Villages 7pm This timely play examines the school-to-prison pipeline affecting young black men through the eyes of a teacher and mother. Performances continue through December 12th. Call (352) 7517799 or visit thesharon.com for tickets and more information.

19 Artist’s Outlook

Appleton Museum – virtual 7-8:15pm A free Zoom chat with artist Clayton Pond, whose vibrant color interactions offer the viewer a charming, idiosyncratic interpretation of the world through the infinite possibilities that color relationships present. appletonmuseum.org

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Creating a clean habitat for all of nature’s creatures. The Ocala Wetland Recharge Park incorporates treated wastewater and storm water from the Old City Yard a drainage retention area (DRA), that is located near the park, and has historically flooded during heavy rain events. Stormwater can contain many contaminants like: nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants from fertilizers and pet and yard waste, oil, grease, heavy metals, vehicle coolants, bacteria, and litter. These stormwater contaminants are the leading cause of water pollution. The park captures this polluted water, therefore reducing regional flooding. By sending this water to the Ocala Wetland Recharge Park, the total nitrogen can be reduced to nearly undetectable levels, and the total phosphorus will be greatly reduced. This freshly cleaned water will improve water quality and boost regional groundwater supplies.

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Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Entertainment Calendar Date Time Event


19 A Christmas Carol

Ocala Civic Theatre, 4337 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Rediscover Scrooge and Dickens’ classic story with the magic of live theater and the season’s merry message of peace and goodwill. Performances offering distanced seating run Thursday-Sunday through December 20th. Call (352) 236-2274 or visit ocalacivictheatre.com for tickets and more information.


11:30 am


Pi on Broadway


1:00 pm

Jeff Jarrett

Swampy’s Bar & Grille


5:00 pm

Conrad Marcum

Bank Street Patio Bar


6:00 pm

Jeff Jarrett

Ocala Downtown Square


7:00 pm

Conrad Marcum

Pi on Broadway


4:00 pm

Conrad Marcum

Eaton’s Beach Florisiana Cuisine


6:00 pm

Jeff Jarrett

Bank Street Patio Bar


7:00 pm

The Big Bad

The Crazy Cucumber


7:00 pm

Conrad Marcum

Infinite Ale Works


7:00 pm

Becky Sinn

The Keep Downtown


5:00 pm

Jeff Jarrett

Eaton’s Beach Florisiana Cuisine


6:00 pm


O’Calahan’s Pub & Eatery


9:00 pm

Jeff Jarrett

The Lodge


11:30 am

Conrad Marcum

War Horse HarleyDavidson


2:00 pm

Conrad Marcum

Eaton’s Beach Florisiana Cuisine


5:30 pm

Gilly & the Girl

La Cuisine French Restaurant


3:00 pm

Jeff Jarrett

Gator Joe’s Beach Bar & Grill


7:00 pm

Jeff Jarrett

Pi on Broadway


6:00 pm


Ocala Downtown Square


7:00 pm

Houston Keen

The Corkscrew


6:30 pm

Becky Sinn

La Cuisine French Restaurant


7:00 pm

The Big Bad

The Crazy Cucumber


6:30 pm

Conrad Marcum

The Crazy Cucumber


7:00 pm

Conrad Marcum

O’Calahan’s Pub & Eatery


7:30 pm

Gilbert Gottfried

Reilly Arts Center


7:30 pm

Classic Albums Live: The Music of Woodstock

Reilly Arts Center


8:00 pm

Jeff Jarrett

County Line Smokehouse & Spirits


6:00 pm

Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash tribute

Rainbow Springs Club


6:30 pm

Jeff Jarrett

The Crazy Cucumber

by Max Richter: Vivaldi-The 21 Recomposed Four Seasons

Reilly Arts Center, 500 NE 9th St. 3-4pm The Ocala Symphony Orchestra, featuring concertmaster Stewart Kitts on violin, performs Max Richter’s fresh yet familiar new hybrid composition—a 21st century view of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Limited seats are distanced by family groups. Call (352) 351-1606 or visit reillyartscenter.com for tickets and more information.

24 Spoken Word Ocala

Marion Cultural Alliance, 23 SW Broadway St. 7-9pm Spoken word artists of any style—beat to baroque, formal to freestyle—are invited to share community-friendly content in an open mic event in The Brick’s courtyard. The socially distanced event will also be shared on Facebook Live. Find details on Spoken Word Ocala’s Facebook page.

November ‘20


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Ghost Lights & Giant Cupcakes By Dave Schlenker | Illustration by David Vallejo


y acclaimed career at Ocala Civic Theatre (OCT) started in 1979 as chorus kid No. 6 in The Music Man and ended in 2015 with a bone-breaking fall off a gingerbread house during The Nutcracker. In the latter show, I was wearing a dress and holding a giant cupcake. Long story. In between, I played a tiny sailor, a hyper dogcatcher and a cross-dressing German saxophonist. I have seen a lot with Ocala’s storied 70-year-old theater group—tears, blood, laughter, my first bare boob—but never did I know the formal name of the crude-looking lamp anchored into a wheel rim. I walked by it hundreds of times backstage and even hung costumes in its glow. Its significance eluded me until September, when the lamp was ceremoniously carried off stage amid a smattering of “See ya, sucker!” applause. In theater, the ghost light is a single bulb left burning whenever a theater is dark—nothing on stage, no one in the audience. At OCT, the six-month, pandemic-fueled darkness ended with the recent opening of Pump Boys and Dinettes, a musical about grease monkeys, gas and girls. “I am so delighted to welcome you to opening night of our 70th season against impossible odds,” OCT Artistic Director Katrina Ploof told the crowd. She spoke while standing next to the illuminated ghost light. It was a sweet moment with a socially distanced audience and, as such, many empty seats. Then a crew

member carried the ghost light off the stage. The theater was no longer dark. On with the show. Chills. It was an emotional wallop not felt since the return of toilet paper in early summer. It was a sign of hope in a place I deeply care about, a place with so much Ocala history, so much of my history. My mother was the box office manager there for years. She and my stepfather played a big part in moving the theater from a ghost-infested, nowdemolished building to what codgers like me still call the “new theater” (we’ve been there a scant 32 years). While I am no longer on stage (you’re welcome), I am an OCT board member. Thus, I know the struggles, emotion, math and diplomacy it took to extinguish that ghost light. This pandemic is not done with us yet, but businesses and artists in Ocala have plotted careful strategies to bring back what makes us happy. Days before that opening night, a friend called me with a request: Can you write about, well, just being nice to each other? The toxic mix of pandemic and political polarization was simply too much for her. I chose to write about the theater, as arts in Ocala make all of us happy. I dare say, the arts could be the key to returning to “nice.” Get off Facebook, turn off the news, take a breath (six feet away, please) and soak in the returning tide of local visual and performing arts. Good stuff is back, friends. Savor it. Smile. And be nice, dammit! Don’t make me get my giant cupcake! November ‘20



The Past on Pause By Scott Mitchell | Photography by Bruce Ackerman


ce Age mammoths have become accustomed to loneliness. Since the last mass extinction at the end of the Ice Age about 12,000 years ago, the poor mammoths (Columbian mammoths to be exact), or at least their fossilized bones, have been largely forgotten. Buried in the sediments of time or some ancient river bed, the poor beasts have waited patiently to be discovered and appreciated. Once found, these ancestors to the modern elephant are more often than not locked away in dusty cabinets in some museum waiting for the odd researcher to visit. Putting large fossil skeletons back together for museum exhibits is costly and space is limited. Thus, the old bones are left unexcavated or biding their time with the earthly remains of other various species that once roamed Florida. Under normal circumstances, the Silver River Museum mammoth is an exception and the envy of most other mammoths (save the lucky few on display at other museums in Gainesville or Tallahassee). Our mammoth, whose reassembled bones and tusks are the museum’s showpiece and semi-official mascot, has greeted visitors since 1997. The towering skeleton has awed tens of thousands of visiting students on field trips and, we think, inspired many dozens to become wildly successful globetrotting paleontologists who have unlocked the mysteries of the past using science (or at least we



hope that is the case). However, as we can all agree, these are anything but normal times. The museum halls have been shuttered since March and we, like most everyone else, are eager to see visitors again. The mammoth has waited patiently but this year has been like no other—no students or weekend visitors for months

on end. It’s been like sitting in the dusty old cabinet waiting for the researcher to arrive. While the mammoth is a wonderful centerpiece, there is much more to our exhibits: ancient Indian cooking vessels and stone tools, cannons that once defended Spanish galleons, Silver Springs memorabilia from the golden era of tourism when our springs were one of the major attractions in the country, interactive exhibits that show how the Floridan Aquifer stores our precious drinking water

and an entire new room full of displays about Native American dugout canoes. In fact, the exhibit Dugout Canoes: Paddling the Americas is brand new and had just opened in February, before closing in March. Even seasoned repeat visitors now have great reason to return. The Dugout Canoes exhibit was created by the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida and is truly a world-class installation. The display explores the central role the simple canoe had in cultures across the New World long before we had the luxury of automobiles and other modern modes of transportation. So as we weather these unprecedented times, let us remember the stately Columbian mammoth—champion of the long game. If mammoths can wait for thousands of years to be discovered and appreciated, surely we can make it through the rest of this current challenge. In the meantime, consider visiting a museum near you to check in and say hello to the lonely fossils who have patiently awaited your return. For more information, visit silverrivermuseum.com or call (352) 236-5401. Scott Mitchell has served as the director of the Silver River Museum since 2004. He has worked as a field

archaeologist, scientific illustrator and museum professional for the last 25 years.

Give Thanks for Art! Patricia Tomlinson, the Appleton Museum of Art Curator of Exhibitions, maintains that art can be more than just inspiring, but actually serve as a life affirming force for transformation. Tomlinson, a former professional archaeologist, joined the museum in 2016 after serving as curatorial staff in the New World Department at the Denver Art Museum. By Patricia Tomlinson


ears ago, there was a popular bumper sticker that proclaimed “Art Saves Lives.” At the time, I thought it was a silly statement. It had the ring of something elitist at best, and downright melodramatic at worst. During the succeeding years, however, I have come to realize just what that statement meant. Having faced a lot of life’s difficulties, one thing has always been abundantly clear—art is my comfort and my company. What I mean by this is that the joy of experiencing art and the satisfaction that comes from interpreting it allowed me to be the person I am today. When I made the decision to leave archaeology as a profession, I felt adrift for the first time in my life. I was the kid who knew from age 6 exactly what she wanted to do—and how to get there. I never veered from that path and, after college, I became a full-time archaeologist. It was an elite club and a fascinating blend of scholar and professional ditch digger; the discipline of scientific reasoning made us smart and we were fit and suntanned from hard physical labor in the hot sun. It was a lifestyle that was hard to walk away from. But I did, for many good reasons, and then had no clear idea of what I was going to do. Enter, art. On a whim, I went back to school to discover phase two of my professional life. One of my classes was an introduction to art history and that, as they say, was that. I found the study of art challenging, fascinating and completely beguiling, and promptly changed my major to art history. A lot of the ancient objects were familiar to me from my former career, so the basic information was comfortingly familiar. It was absolutely

the right choice and I’ve never looked back. Over the years, art has always been there for me. Like a faithful friend, it consoles me during rough times, inspires me and, best of all, it makes me think. In addition to coming through for me, I know people who have completely turned their lives around because their involvement with art gave them something to strive for. Whether it was by going back to school to study art history, becoming a professional artist or volunteering at a local arts organization, the discipline of art can teach you a great deal about the world and even more about yourself. Art can also upend expectations and biases. When I was teaching college art history, one of my favorite things to say to my students was, “You may not like a particular type of art, but you’d better be able to tell me why in an informed manner.” By the end of the semester, many of the students who said they “don’t like so-and-so’s art” had changed their outlook. This was due to the fact that they were able to open their minds and worldview in order to overcome their preconceived notions about what art is. In this season of thanks, I am proud to state that art has been a revolutionary force in my life and I am appreciative for the chance to share it with others. “Art Saves Lives,” indeed. Visit appletonmuseum.org for more information and online offerings. Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., (352) 291-4455. November ‘20


Angels of the Arts Successful artistic endeavors often are supported financially by donors—known as angels. In Ocala, Lisa and David Midgett have starring roles in that arena. By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by Meagan Gumpert


s childhood friends in Miami, Lisa Irwin and David Midgett were involved in the arts. She loved to put on “shows” for her parents, crooning classic songs from the 1940s and ‘50s and dancing. He played piano and sang. The couple, who were married in 1991 and moved to Ocala in 1994, now are well known for their extensive and generous support of multiple forms of the arts, including such entities as the Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA), Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO), the Appleton Museum of Art, the Reilly Arts Center and many others. In 2016, they formed the David and Lisa Midgett Foundation, through which to channel their 26


continuing support. “We realized that our charitable giving had reached an amount where it was a smart move to create a foundation,” Lisa Irwin Midgett explains. “It’s kind of a running joke that David is really good at making money and I am super good at giving it away.” In recent months, the couple has stepped up in even more ways to support area artists whose lives have been altered by the pandemic. Among those endeavors were the very successful Art Castle happenings and the NOMA Gallery, both based in one of the city’s most distinctive venues, the former CocaCola Bottling Plant, built in the

Mission/Spanish Revival style of architecture in 1939. “We were going to put a distillery here, but that wasn’t the best choice,” Midgett offers. “So, around February of this year, I started thinking about doing a pop-up art gallery like I had previously done at a Victorian home I owned.” She said subsequent conversations with her best friend, artist Maggie Weakley, who also is the administrative coordinator for FAFO, and artists such as Justin Alsedek, led her to better understand the significant financial impact the pandemic was having in the local arts community. “Justin explained to me that

the spring shows that got cancelled feed your fall shows. Without spring shows, you don’t have money to make prints, to enter your shows, to buy supplies,” she recalls. “So, I sat home crying most of March and April. And we did as much as we could. We bought paintings via Zoom… those kind of things.” She says she soon was thinking of ways to utilize the historic property at 939 N. Magnolia Avenue to support the arts. She felt it was important to engage artists in the process and brought Mel Fiorentino and Diane Cahal into the loop. “At one point, there was so much to do I was almost at the point of selling it,” Midgett says of the iconic building. “And then, around June, everything just started coming together and, very quickly, things happened. We had our soft opening August 13th, with the grand opening the following week. Every week but one, the events included performing artists.” The various events and exhibits in August and September were known collectively as Art Castle. “She and David wanted to do something to genuinely help artists in Marion County,” Cahal expresses about Art Castle and the NOMA Gallery. “We were all feeling alone and isolated, yearning for connections. Everyone wanted to be part of it and we shared the dream of having a gallery, with events, and we could collaborate and work off of each other. We started small to ensure safety in a pandemic. Musicians, singers, dancers; all the arts. It took off and became something better than we thought it would.” “At first, I would tell people, ‘If I have fun, I’ll keep it open, but what we’re doing is for 2020.’ I explained that we were running the gallery basically as a nonprofit, in that I was

not charging any commissions or fees,” Midgett notes. “But then I had 16 artists in here. The artists got to be together and collaborate. I had a couple of emerging artists and seeing them working alongside some of the greats that have so much experience in this town, then seeing their game elevate, it brought me so much joy. And they sold things. And it turned out I did have fun. So, I decided to keep it into 2021 and beyond.” Midgett says the gallery will be a for profit entity in 2021 and will host a local nonprofit night once a month, for the agency’s donors as well as the community at large, at no charge. “NOMA will always have a philanthropic arm,” she explains. “I have chosen to not be a nonprofit as I do not want to compete for funding with my nonprofit friends in the arts community.” After having to cancel its annual Ocala Arts Festival due to COVID-19, FAFO presented an exhibition by its artists in the NOMA Gallery in October. In November, NOMA will host the Seasons of Change community art exhibit, followed by a few events in December before it temporarily closes for some building enhancements. As for her level of satisfaction with the initiative so far, Midgett declares that she is “at a 9 1/2.” “Nothing is perfect, but this was pretty close,” she offers. “What I had in mind was a space where we had beautifully hung artwork.” Her thinking evolved however as she was stuck at home during much of the COVID-19 isolation when she was watching Netflix and considering her work with MCA and the cultural grants the organization gives to the performing arts and various other art groups.


“You realize that’s who is entertaining us,” she says. “So, I imagined visual arts and a working artists’ studio. And that happened. I also wanted a place where children were welcome. If I didn’t have to close in December and paint, I think I’d be at a 10.” She reveals that she and her husband have plans, along with Bert and Xochitl Smith, to use the second floor of the venue as headquarters for a new professional indie record label, which is no surprise given the Midgett’s backgrounds. “We’ve known each other since we were 11,” she explains. “He comes from a very musical family. I was in drama club in high school and loved to write. David and I sang in church and helped lead worship. We’ve just always had music and art

in our lives.” She says their working-class parents encouraged them to take traditional routes in life. “We were both taught you go to school, you get a job and then you retire and live your life,” she recalls. “And then my mom died at age 59. My dad had been retired for just a few months when she became ill. David and I were about 32 and, after experiencing that, we decided that as long as we didn’t go into debt, we would live our lives now.” Along the way, David became a successful attorney. Lisa worked in retail management and owned a number of businesses, as well as a horse farm. It was while she was working as a county manager for subsidized child care that they adopted Jake, age 8, and Liz, age 5,

UPCOMING EVENTS AT NOMA GALLERY November: • November 8th, Seasons of Change Sunday brunch show opening, Noon-2pm • November 13th, Introduction to Oil Painting Part 1: The Fascinating Frida, 6-9pm, class taught by Mel Fiorentino • November 14th, Pop-Up Holiday Art Mart featuring handmade gifts, 12-5pm; and “Return of Two Sketchy Characters,” 30-minute portrait sessions with Jordan Shapot and Justin Alsedek, noon-7pm • November 15th, Holiday Paper House Making class with Diane Cahal, 2-4pm • November 19th, Beginner Sewing class with “Florida Sewcialite” Steph Howard, 6-8pm • November 20th, Introduction to Oil Painting class. Part 2: The Fascinating Frida, 6-9pm, taught by Mel Fiorentino • November 21st, Seasons cocktail reception in partnership with the Reilly Arts Center, celebrating Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, recomposed

both now adults. The family now includes son-in-law Isaiah Pepper and granddaughter Isla. Pepper is the manager of the NOMA Gallery, with Fiorentino and Cahal as co-directors with Midgett. “A year from now, I want people from other countries to come to Ocala looking for this gallery,” Cahal states. “All the artists can’t believe how generous Lisa and David have been. My year turned out to be way more profitable than ever in the past. When good people, with some smarts and good hearts, ask questions instead of giving people what they think they need, and find out a way to make that happen, that is the biggest gift. I believe it will benefit the community and arts as a whole and flow out from there.”

by Max Richter, 4-6pm • November 28th, Seasons closing party, 6-9pm December: • December 5th-7th, Jingle Bell Pop-Up Shop with artists Maggie Weakley, Kent Weakley, Esta Mann, Richard Schleicher and Michelle St Laurent (Friday and Saturday, 10am-7pm; Sunday, noon-4pm) • December 5th-13th, Horse Fever 2020 Anniversary Horse, Clockwork Fury, artist Mark Hershberger (hours of appearance by the artist to be announced at a later date) • December 9th-13th, Artists “Ignite” Fundraiser, hosted by Ignite in partnership with NOMA Gallery (times to be announced on igniteforocala.com) 2021: • February 2021, David D’Alessandris One Man Show Some events will have a charge for admission. For details, go to nomaocala.com



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HITS Returns to Marion th County for 40 Year

he highly anticipated 40th Anniversary of the Horse Shows In The Sun (known locally as HITS Ocala) Winter Circuit at Post Time Farm is set to run for a combined 12 weeks of USEF-Rated competition. The Ocala Holiday Series runs from December 9th to the 20th, 2020, followed by the Ocala Winter Circuit, from January 19th through March 28th, 2021. Since its inception, HITS Inc. has grown into one of the largest producers of Hunter/Jumper horse shows in the United States. Following a record-breaking 39th season that resulted in more champion titles and blue ribbons to every level exhibitor, from lead line to Grand Prix, the upcoming shows are

expected to offer the best season yet. With a history of excellence spanning several decades, the HITS organization has established itself as a market leader and built a legacy of community involvement and unrivaled competition that is truly undeniable. HITS has called Central Florida its winter home since 1982 and has been hosting shows in Ocala since 1985. With the move to Post Time Farm in 2002, HITS cemented its commitment to the Ocala/Marion County community, basing one of the largest and most popular show circuits in the country here. The economic impact of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit on the area is

particularly notable. According to an independent study conducted by the Sport Management Research Institute (SMRI) in 2014, the show infuses approximately $94 million annually into the local economy. Taking inflation into account, today that number would be closer to $101 million. HITS also has been honored with a number of community and business awards over the years. This winter, HITS will award more than $4 million in combined prize money throughout the season. The crown jewel of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, the annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, is perhaps the most anticipated event of the series


and takes place on Sunday, March 28th. President and CEO of HITS Tom Struzzieri is the passionate visionary behind the brand. A true leader in the industry, he has been guiding the evolution of the modern-day horse show for the past 40 years. Struzzieri is not only one of the most accomplished show series founders in the history of the business, but he has an eye on innovation and is dedicated to providing a consistent and top-notch experience for both his clients and spectators. His deep industry knowledge, enriched over time, is a true advantage and allows him to guide HITS in a way that honors his personal vision while also maintaining a strong and profitable vision for the future. Struzzieri followed his passion for the equestrian world during the 1970s, when he purchased Rose View Stables in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he trained hunter/ jumpers and produced local horse shows. “I always wanted to be a professional horseman,” he recalls. “At 18, I acquired a little horse farm. I held a few one-day horse shows at the farm and found myself really enjoying those. Around the same time, I realized that my career as a rider was not going to get me as far as I hoped. So, I started to concentrate more on running horse shows. I put on a couple of multiple-day horse shows and then decided it was time to do something a little more challenging—that was running horse shows in

Florida in the winter.” While he first focused on Gainesville, it didn’t take him long to find his true place in the sun. “I did horse shows in other parts of Florida, but since Ocala is the Horse Capital of the World, it felt like a good fit,” he explains. “It’s a pretty special place for the equestrians. You can walk into any restaurant, really any place in

Ocala, in your boots and britches and not be looked at as someone who stands out. Horse people are everywhere and they can feel at home wherever they go. If you don’t feel at home there, as a horse person, I’m not sure where you do feel at home! If I’m wearing one of my HITS jackets or something with the brand on it, invariably someone will want to talk to me about our shows or their horses. “There are very few places like it in the world, as far as I know,” he adds. “And when I travel to other horse events around the world, people there know Ocala. It’s unique that way.” Another unique place soon became a part of the HITS Ocala story and has helped enhance the experience for all. “I had horse shows at the Castro Farm and then went on to buy the equestrian property from the Castro family. I later sold that and bought Post Time Farm in 2001. I really love the property,” Struzzieri shares enthusiastically. “It’s very horse friendly and the horses are really happy there. There’s very little concrete or steel. There are lots of big, wideopen spaces to ride, with four-board

fencing and huge oak trees. All that puts a horse and rider in a very relaxed state.” Bobby Braswell, the owner and trainer at Terrapin Hill, has echoed that sentiment. “The facility is a top-notch competition grounds, but it also has a wonderful ambience for the horses. If you need to ride and train, there’s plenty of room for that, or if you want to take a horse out for a relaxing graze or trail ride, there’s plenty of space for that too,” he offers. “You couldn’t ask for more than to have this caliber of USEF-Rated show in such a horse friendly area.” The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit also has a tremendous impact on tourism in the Ocala/Marion County area. “We look forward to being back in Ocala each winter and bringing all our clients back,” Struzzieri asserts. “Those folks will be staying in local hotels and eating at local restaurants. Ocala and HITS have been great partners throughout the years. Ocala and Marion County have offered HITS so many opportunities to serve our clients and offer great, quality experiences...with open arms! We

have been so supported and we feel we return the favor by supporting the community with patronage and by offering some great entertainment.” HITS has been able to stay at the forefront of equestrian sports by offering a varied range of classes for every level of horse and rider, and with such diversified offerings that one may find a child attending his or her first show while standing alongside a real life Olympic athlete. “When we started, high-performance riders had great programs that they could go to,” Struzzieri explains. “I cut my teeth on the grassroots program. Then, as we expanded and grew, we began to attract the high-performance riders as well. So now you will come to one of our horse shows and it is terrifically eclectic. You will find lots of grassroots classes and yet we do the biggest Grand Prix in America, prize-money wise,” he continues. “Our goal is to cater to a broad range of clients.” Another distinguishing factor of the HITS shows is consistency, which Struzzieri explains extends both to the purses but also to the overall quality of the experience

Portrait by John Jernigan

Tom Struzzieri

for all involved. “It’s always excellent prize money,” he offers. “But you also know the event is going to start on time and finish on time. You’re always going to get a consistent feel at all our horse shows.” For those who cannot attend, HITS has you covered. “To allow for social distancing and for parents and others to watch from home, we put all our classes on a live feed so they can still watch and enjoy. You go to our HITS Shows website (HITSShows.com) and click on ShowHorse TV,” Struzzieri explains. “You can choose the ring you want to watch and watch it live. That goes around the world and we get huge viewership numbers.” The success of HITS is due largely to Struzzieri’s ongoing passion for the industry and providing the best possible shows he can produce. “I still have that same passion I started out with,” he admits. “I say, if you are blessed enough to follow your passion, then good for you. I still work 24/7 on my horse shows. It’s what I do. I never think of it as getting up to go to ‘work.’ I look at it as getting up to do the thing I love. That is not to say that it isn’t challenging, but I’m so happy I chose this as a career and that we’ve been as successful as we have been with it.”

SCHEDULE EVENT Ocala Holiday Classic Ocala Holiday Festival

2020 DATES


December 9-13

National / 4*

December 16-20

National / 4*

2021 DATES Ocala January Classic - I

January 19-24

Regional I / 4*

Ocala January Festival - II

January 26-31

National / 5*

Ocala Premiere - III

February 2-7

National / 5*

Ocala Winter Classic - IV

February 9-14

Premier / 6*

$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

February 9-14

Ocala Winter Festival - V

February 16-21

Premier / 6*

Ocala Masters - VI

February 23-28

Premier / 6*

USHJA Zone 4 Handy Hunter Challenge

February 23-28

Ocala Tournament - VII

March 2-7

Premier / 6*

Ocala Winter Finals - VIII

March 9-14

Premier / 5*

World Champion Hunter Rider Week

March 9-14

Ocala Winter Celebration - IX

March 16-21

Premier / 6*

Ocala Championship - X

March 23-28

Premier / 6*

$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

March 23-28

Great American $1 Million Grand Prix

March 28

For more information, visit HITSShows.com. Stay connected with HITS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email info@hitsshows.com.

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Gift Guide It can be hard to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, so we have selected a great mix of innovative and personal indulgences that are both thoughtful and useful. By Jennifer Hunt Murty

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Together Time



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Home for the Holidays Whether you are planning an intimate gathering of friends and family or a stylish soirÊe for the holidays, setting the scene with a festive air will help make it a season of memorable moments. By Nick Steele


Photography by Alan Youngblood


e enlisted the help of local home décor and entertaining expert Paula King, owner of the wonderfully curated retail emporium Agapanthus, with locations in historic downtown Ocala and Butler Town Center in Gainesville, to help create some inspired ideas for decorating your home and dressing your table during the upcoming holiday season. Nicole and James Heller graciously allowed us to use their gorgeous historic home, built in 1933, in southeast Ocala, as a backdrop to stage our fantasy fête. Nicole, an RN who soon expects to complete her certification as an APRN, is director of surgical services at The Villages Hospital. James is a licensed real estate professional with The Villages. The couple, who were married in 2017,

moved into the home in 2019. They are expecting their first child in March. When a friend first sent them the listing for this enchanting bungalow, it was love at first sight. “We said, ‘We have to have that house,’” Nicole recalls. The couple says they enjoy living in the historic district and that their home is often bustling with activity as they entertain family members, friends and neighbors. Pictured: Handblown glass pumpkins by Simon Pearce, Lastra dinner plates, Fauna pasta bowls, Italian baking dish by Vietri, Bistro flatware, Berry & Thread goblets, teal bubble glasses, linen napkins by Juliska, paper napkins by Caspari, acrylic servers by Sabre Paris.

Sentimental Journey

“Decorations become traditions,” King offers. “As with this idea, where each year a family photo taken during the holidays is added to the collection and displayed. Before you know it, they fill your tabletop.” Tip: Buy similar style frames (the same color or style) and stock up when you find ones you love.

Center of Attention

Create small vignettes of your prized collections on a sideboard or console where they have a greater impact, like the glass trees below, arranged near a sunny window. Tip: Add evergreen garland or stems and strands of LED lights for a more dramatic evening look. Pictured: Handblown glass trees by Simon Pearce.

Level Best

A tiered server (bottom right) is a versatile serving piece for entertaining. It’s also the perfect choice for desserts, fruit, charcuterie or even small party favors. Pictured: Berry & Thread stoneware tiered server from Juliska.

Garden Party

Mary Weaver, opposite with Nicole in her garden, of Floral Architecture, created a custom arrangement to complete King’s tablescape with fresh cut flowers. Weaver suggests looking around your yard to find interesting natural items to add to your centerpiece. “For this arrangement, I used fresh red ginger and swamp sunflowers, which are very easy to grow at home. I added sword fern and jasmine vine for greens. Then, to brighten things up, I added some white stock, which also adds a light fragrance, and fall yarrow flower, with touches of grapevine branches throughout.”

Weaver has more than three decades in the industry. She provides floral services for clients at their homes and for special occasions, corporate events and weddings, and also decorates homes for holidays—from a single Christmas tree to an entire house. Weaver started Floral Architecture eight years ago. She meets with clients at their location or in her office space at the Beautiful Moments campus in southwest Ocala.

Setting the Scene

King suggests creating a tablescape with the colors of the season to create anticipation for the main event. Adding salad or dessert plates and fresh linens is a great way to dress up your basic white plates for the holidays. Using woodenware and texture creates warmth. A low floral centerpiece and votive candles at every place setting will keep your guests’ view of one another unobstructed and keep the conversation flowing. Party “crackers” at each place containing toys,

musical instruments or games, are an English tradition that has found its way to American tables while everyone lingers. Pictured: Handblown glass pumpkins by Simon Pearce, Lastra dinner plates, Fauna pasta bowls, Italian baking dish by Vietri, Bistro flatware, Berry & Thread goblets, teal bubble glasses, linen napkins by Juliska, paper napkins by Caspari, renewal wooden bowl, acrylic servers by Sabre Paris. All featured decorative accessories, tabletop and serving pieces are available at Agapanthus in store and online. November ‘20


Trim the Trimmings

While Nicole and James haven’t likely acquired enough decorations and trimmings to need to purge just yet, King says it is never a bad idea to sort your stash and simplify Marie Kondo-style. “After the Thanksgiving meal is over is a good time to make use of any extra hands that may be around. Bring out your seasonal decorations, assess what you have, and plan your decorating,” King suggests. “Placing that first wreath on the door is a simple and sure way to put you in the holiday spirit.” Tip: A fresh or preserved wreath, like the laurel wood version pictured opposite, always looks best. Choose nice wired ribbon. Get twice what you think you may need and use it year after year.

At left: Nicole and James Heller Below: Paula King



“Before you decorate, spread out all your trimmings on a table and take a look at what you have,” King advises. “Toss or repair anything that is broken or anything that you no longer want to incorporate in your holiday decorating. This may be a good time to freshen up your color palette. This is also a great time to pass down sentimental pieces to your children or other family members.” Tip: Solid color balls in large quantities will make your tree look professionally decorated. According to Kondo, if an item doesn’t spark joy in your heart, it’s probably time to part with it. Consider donating items to local thrift shops or charities, where they can have a new life. If a certain snow globe or nutcracker brings to mind good memories but won’t be making it into this year’s rotation, then store it in a holiday bin with other like items. There’s always next year! However you choose to adorn your house, whether your celebrations are intimate or bustling, we hope the spirit of the season fills your home with love and laughter. November ‘20


A Season of Beauty Meet three local beauty pros whose expert advice can help you look your best for the holidays. By Susan Smiley-Height Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery & Bruce Ackerman Karine Nigro Queiroz de Aquino shot on location at Golden Ocala. Hair & makeup by Nicole ”Nicci” Orio.


o ahead ladies—it’s OK to admit that the gorgeous cocktail dress you’ve been admiring has you feeling like getting all dolled up for a festive evening out or a holiday gathering at home. And, as we enter the season of entertaining, that is what many are planning to do—as safely as possible. To get some tips, we tapped the beauty aficionados we rely on each month to glam up our local personalities and models with their extraordinary talent for hair styling, grooming and makeup. Elizabeth Rowell of Breeze Day Spa at Agapanthus, Becky McQuade of Hello Gorgeous Salon and Nicole “Nicci” Orio of Pretty n Pinned are experts in helping their clients look their best. Their expertise ranges from airbrush makeup to Brazilian blowouts to keeping up with trends, such as curtain bangs. Here are some suggestions of what you can do to get ready for the holidays, either by booking salon appointments or getting the look at home.

Twist-front sequin gown by Xscape and Ella-Quent sandals by Gianni Bini, from Dillard’s. Photo at left by Lyn Larson.

Hair Apparent

Give yourself the gift of great hair—which could include a fresh cut, new color or a totally new look. This a luxury anytime and even more so if you are stepping out for a special occasion. Just as fashion styles change with each season, the same can be said of hairstyles. “I’m seeing a lot of requests for curtain bangs,” asserts Rowell. “They frame your face very nicely and are customizable to emphasize your best features. I’m also doing big body curls—big, voluminous curls that fall beautifully. That is Rowell styles the hair of Arleen Arenas.

something you can also do at home. Just use a 1 1/2 inch curling iron and be sure to curl away from your face.” Rowell says a lot of her clients love their salon blowouts. “One thing I like about blowouts is they also are very customizable,” she explains. “If you want straight hair, we can blow it straight. If you want volume, we have techniques to get all the volume we can. We can even curl the hair with a round brush with a small barrel.” Orio says half the battle in achieving a hairstyle you love is to not force your hair to do something it doesn’t want to do. “Once you have a system, it’s not so bad,” explains Orio, who has been a lead hairstylist for the Golf Channel and a hair stylist and makeup artist for opera productions at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando and on tour with recording artist Tiffany. Her tips for do-it-yourself styling at home before heading out for a holiday event include “curling your whole head first.” “That’s a good place to start because you can then take a lock or two and pin it back, or play with twists and braids to create a style that works on your hair,” she offers. “You can create an updo or something that feels a little more put together than just your everyday style.” McQuade says that a lot of people are cutting their hair a little bit shorter to get rid of those summer dead ends and choosing lower maintenance styles for the holiday season. “Bigger hair is coming back. More curls are coming back. More natural hair, not straightened

Makeup Magic

McQuade gives a fresh cut to Sueanne Mazzurco

as much,” she reveals. “People are wanting more pops of color, more reds and rich browns. And you can still have highlights and lowlights to give volume, definition and depth, which is always nice.” She adds, “I always ask, ‘What does your dress look like?’ If it’s got a beautiful back, you want your hair up for people to see it.” As for hair health, McQuade says if you are using any kind of heat—blow dryer, curling iron or especially a flat iron—“you really, really need a heat protectant.” “Keeping the edges trimmed helps keep hair looking healthy,” she declares. “If long hair is stringy, sometimes a healthy cut is what’s needed.” She suggests these at-home tips for when you are between stylist appointments and a party pops up on your calendar. “Color Wow makes a palette you put on roots and they have a huge assortment of colors,” she states. “You can also use dry shampoo to give hair volume, if you can’t get in for a haircut.” The experts all agree that if you plan to work with a stylist, it is more important than ever to book ahead—and keep your appointment. “If you normally do color every six weeks, book ahead of a big party,” McQuade states. “It’s easier to change the appointment than to squeeze someone in. It helps your stylist too, as we’re still trying to ease our way back into how things are and make everybody happy, especially with the extra precautions.” 54


Orio believes the most important part of a makeup routine is good skin care. “The better condition your skin is in, any product you use will go further. And if you’re taking care of your skin, you’ll have fewer blemishes and may find you’ll be more comfortable with less makeup,” she asserts. “The biggest thing is finding a system that works for your skin and then making adjustments as needed. When you put your foundation on and it looks like it’s pulling into the skin or looking dry, you probably need to up your moisturizer or add a moisturizer. I think serums are a sort of ‘special sauce’ and can potentially do the most work in your skin care routine.” For those times when you want your makeup to go the distance, Orio is a fan of the airbrush technique. It is a method that is very popular with her clients. “It is simple and quick, and the big advantage is a flawless face that lasts,” she contends. “In Florida, with it being so humid, a lot of times makeup will run or move. I was recently in a wedding and the air conditioner was broken at the venue. My airbrush makeup lasted 10 hours.” She also advocates for a more glam look for holiday parties and says that creating a smokey makeup effect at the corner of each eye is really easy to do. “It doesn’t overwhelm the eye. It’s more universal for every eye shape,” she says. “Use a deeper shade on the outer corner, then lighter on the inside, with a light pop of shimmer in the inner corner.” As for lip color, she suggests exploring a seasonal palette. “Think of beautiful berries and don’t be afraid to try something different, such as burnt orange with a hint of a red tone instead of your regular cool red,” she suggests. “Change it up a bit. Play around and see what you like.” Rowell says she also can help clients with makeup to coordinate their outfit. “If you’re going to an event, you can bring your dress in or show me a picture. I can customize the makeup to your dress to emphasize the features,” she offers. “I can get your hair and makeup looking glamorous in about two hours. We also do manicures and pedicures.”

Adorn Me

Rowell reveals that among the trends she is seeing are headbands and hair accessories. “One thing that is really big this year is accessorizing,” she notes. “For example, you can do a hard part on one side, with more volume there, and then add hairclips in the back.” And, when you accessorize with a great evening bag, Orio advocates that you include two essential items. “Always have your lip color with you. And if

you’re wearing a liquid matte, have a lip balm because as the night goes on and it starts to wear, rather than applying matte on matte, which gets really cakey, use the balm to rehydrate,” she suggests. “Also include a compact with translucent powder and a sponge so you can blot during the evening.”

Indulgent Offerings

MaRah Williams with hair and makeup by Orio

Orio applies makeup on a model

If you are searching for the perfect gift for your mom, sister or your favorite girlfriend, consider a gift of beauty. A blowout or makeup session at a local salon or at home is a particularly thoughtful and personal present. It’s also something that one might not think to book for themselves, but could sorely use in such a frenetic season. It’s also a great indulgence for yourself, especially if you’re hosting a festive soirée or making the transition from work to an evening event and need a little help to look and feel your best. Orio says she recently provided her services, for example, at a fun event in which a small group of women wanted to have a dinner party in a safe environment. “They met at one woman’s home and brought me in to do their hair and makeup while they sipped wine and chatted,” Orio offers. “They had a ball and felt comfortable being able to be together in that setting.” We hope these suggestions will help you to get your glam on this season and that you avail yourself of the talents of some of our favorite beauty specialists.

Top: photo by Lyn Larson

Contact the artists: • Becky McQuade, Hello Gorgeous Salon, (352) 351-5358 • Nicole “Nicci” Orio, Pretty n Pinned, (732) 977-8497, Prettynpinned@icloud.com, @prettynpinned • Elizabeth Rowell, Breeze Day Spa, (352) 401-0800, breezedayspa.com November ‘20


In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Ocala Lung & Critical Care wants to empower our community and stand together against lung cancer

Ocala Lung & Critical Care November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and doctors at Ocala Lung & Critical Care are encouraging smokers to quit the habit and hoping they’ll also consider early screening for the deadliest form of cancer in the U.S. Photography by John Jernigan


n honor of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the staff members at Ocala Lung & Critical Care are working together to combat lung cancer. At the top of their list is early screening, particularly for people between the ages of 55 and 77, and especially for smokers and those who quit smoking within the past 15 years. This includes people with a 30-pack per year smoking history. “It’s a team effort,” insists Dr. Andrew Seevaratnam, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist who has been practicing in Ocala for 11 years and has come to be known by his patients as Dr. Andrew. “I’m just a part of it,” he says. “All of the six physicians and four nurse practitioners are involved in all levels of diagnosis

and treatment up to and including follow-up care.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lung cancer is the third most common form of cancer in the United States. More people die of lung cancer than from any other type of cancer, the CDC website states. “The thing with lung cancer is, it usually doesn’t present with symptoms early in the disease,” Dr. Andrew explains. “By the time the patient gets symptoms it has spread to other parts of the body. That’s why it’s called a silent killer. With screening we can detect lung cancer early. What we do is a stage shift. We want to shift the stage where lung cancer can be detected to Stage 1 instead of Stage 2, 3 or 4 and before

it spreads to other parts of the body. If we can detect it early when the nodule is much smaller it’s easier to take it out and we may not have to use chemotherapy or radiation.” The early screening helps to determine which nodules—even very small ones—are cancerous so treatment and recovery can begin early, assures Dr. Andrew. He says many people have nodules on their lungs, but there’s no reason to panic. “We look at it with the patient, counsel them, and calculate their risk for lung cancer. Not every nodule you see is lung cancer; in fact most of them are not.” According to the American Lung Association (ALA), 541,000 Americans living today have been

diagnosed with lung cancer at some time in their lives. The ALA designated November as Lung Cancer Awareness Month and placed an emphasis on the need for preventive care. “It’s a good time for people to stop smoking,” reflects Lori Muder, APRN, the lung nodule clinic navigator at Ocala Lung. “I emphasize lung cancer screening and smoking cessation, and I provide them with ways to quit through nicotine patches, lozenges and medications.” Eleanor Tapp knows what it’s like to fight the quit-smoking battle. The 56-year-old Belleview resident got into the habit when she was 15 years old, setting her up for a longtime struggle that didn’t stop until last year when she was

Sponsored Ocala Lung uses the latest diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. technology, including navigational Tapp credits the care she received bronchoscopy and a SPiN from physician Dr. Nagesh Kohli electromagnetic navigation system, and nurse practitioner Muder for the which operates much like a GPS, treatments and advice that helped her to further evaluate and biopsy lung reach remission. nodules. Muder notes that 92 percent “I tried to quit before and never of those screened early have a 10-year could,” admits Tapp. “I was coughing survival rate, while only 15 percent like you wouldn’t believe, and I was have a five-year survival rate when the short of breath. This time Lori told cancer is found in the late stages. me to try little stick pretzels. She “Symptoms are typically not said, ‘Carry those with you and when present in the early stages of lung you get the urge for a cigarette disease,” contends Muder. “By the you’ve got the pretzel.’ It worked. I time symptoms appear, cancer has haven’t smoked in eight months. I often spread to late stage disease. By feel a lot better.” screening early we can potentially According to Florida Health save lives.” information, three months after you quit smoking your lung function improves up to 30 percent. After 10 years your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker’s. “The staff at Ocala Lung works closely with all hospitals in Ocala and The Villages through a multi-disciplinary tumor board approach to better serve our community,” Muder attests. Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test

Doctors: Nagesh Kohli, Purus Mitra, Raj Karunakara, Anil Gogineni, Andrew Seevaratnam, and Hardik Bhatt; Nurse Practitioners: Lori Muder, Stefanie Westcott, Angel Adams, and Megan Blanchard. Ocala: 352-732-5552 1834 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 101 Ocala, Florida 34471 The Villages: 352-307-3804 10969 SE 175th Place, Suite 200 Summerfield, Florida 34491 After hours: 352-732-6529, 800-213-8513 (Toll Free) ocalalung.com


• Lung mass referrals seen within 48 to 72 hours. • Eliminate unnecessary procedures due to close monitoring. • Procedures include bronchoscopy, navigational bronchoscopy, and EBU bronchoscopy. • Participation in tumor boards offering multidisciplinary approaches. • Thorough follow-up based on treatment recommendations. • Pre-operative evaluations for lung cancer. • Cardio pulmonary exercise and pulmonary function testing. Source: Ocala Lung & Critical Care


• Set a quit date two to four weeks away. • Get support from friends, family, co-workers, and your health care provider. • Use FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies correctly. • Know your triggers and develop coping mechanisms. • Don’t give up if you get off track. Source: Florida Health

Lori Muder, APRN Lung Nodule Clinic Navigator

Taking care of At the heart of a community are its family owned and operated businesses. Some of Marion County’s oldest companies share how they’ve stood the test of time. By Lisa McGinnes


ince Florida businesses reopened under the Phase 3 announcement in late September, local business has started to pick back up—although nowhere near pre-COVID-19 levels. A Florida State University study in June showed that 10 percent of Florida businesses were closed either temporarily or permanently and around one-third had to lay off employees. With the future still uncertain for many Marion County small businesses, we asked some of our community’s oldest local businesses for inspiration, to find out how they survived the economic recession of the early 1980s, the Great Recession of 2007-2009, and for some, even the Great Depression.

Staying Relevant

Just two years after the great fire ravaged Ocala’s business district on Thanksgiving Day in 1883, Keever McKay began offering funeral home services as part of a downtown general store. John Hiers purchased the funeral home shortly after the Great Depression, in 1936, and when Ocalan Dennis Baxley joined the company in 1970 it became Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services as we know it today. According to Community Outreach Manager Leena Williams, research by the Historic Ocala Preservation Society shows Hiers-Baxley to be the oldest continuously operating business in town. Williams says staying true to their mission has been key to their staying power. “In business, and particularly in difficult times, there are core truths which allow us to navigate through the journey,” she explains. “Our core truths are partnership, relationship, innovation, compassion and a people focus. When you know who you are and why you do what you do, perseverance comes as a byproduct, because you believe in your mission and what it means to the community you serve.” Williams says Hiers-Baxley’s advice to those small businesses currently struggling is to stay relevant. “Stay true to what you believe and why you exist,” she advises. “Focus on what you can do to serve consumers regardless of the circumstances and never stop innovating solutions that go where the consumer is headed.” 58


Growing with the Community

Just over 100 years ago, H.D. Peebles drew on the experience he gained while working for two local furniture stores and opened his own. After World War II, Peebles’ son-in-law, Madison Koontz, joined him in running Ocala Furniture Company. Business was booming as more families purchased homes and, in 1953, the renamed Peebles-Koontz Company built a brand-new store just south of downtown Ocala, where Koontz Furniture and Design is still located today. The company has seen U.S. 441 go from a two-lane road to a six-lane highway. They’ve seen trends in furniture sales go from selling pieces directly off a truck that drove around the county to drawing in customers with the design-forward displays that are at the heart of their current showroom. Vice President Mak Koontz says they’ve “always approached their business like a family, taking care of each other” as well as taking care of their customers, selling quality pieces that “will last a long time.” Mak’s father Michael, the company’s president, remembers his father Madison’s motto: “Furniture you’ll love to live with.” Michael says the company intends to continue to grow with the community and implement new technologies for online shopping while preserving the passion that has kept them going for more than a century. “In this day of enormous, rapid changes in the way merchandise is sold and distributed, we hope to be of benefit to people who love their homes and want them to be special,” Michael says. “I imagine we will always work with people who love their homes because they are the reason we love what we do.”

Keeping Standards High

Gause & Son Jewelers has been a cornerstone of Ocala’s downtown square since Mr. and Mrs. Otha Gause opened Marion Jewelers in 1950. Their son Jerry would change the name when he took over the store, which is now managed by his daughter, CEO Cammie McLeod. She attributes the company’s longevity to good, old-fashioned hard work.

Clockwise, from top left: Diane and Michael Koontz; Koontz showroom opening day 1953; Koontz Furniture in the 1980s; Former Ocala Mayor Jim Kirk and Madison Koontz present china to a contest winner; Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, built in the 1920s; J. Miles Hiers and his graduating class at the New England Institute of Anatomy in 1956; Clydie and Otha Gause.

November ‘20


Clockwise, from top left: Honey Nick; a Gause and Son Jewelers ad featuring original owner Otha Gause and son Jerry Gause; Jim Jernigan surrounded by his photographs; Turner’s Transmission Service in the 1960s; Betty Jernigan in front of the original Jim Jernigan’s Studio in downtown Ocala.

“My dad, Jerry Gause, always said, ‘Never give up. Always plan for the good times and bad, and have a positive attitude.’” McLeod remembers her dad also advising her to “stay the course, keep great service and always have great people around you.” McLeod’s mother, Teddie Gause, says she and husband Jerry “always stood for quality.” “Even when things are tough, we always tried to keep our standards high,” Teddie remembers. “We always want to give our customers the very best. We always stood for quality.” 60


Gause & Son celebrates its 70th anniversary this month.

Evolving with the Times

In the 1950s, as Ocalans cruised the streets in the first Chevrolet Corvettes and Ford Thunderbirds, enjoying cars’ new luxury options such as air conditioning and power windows, a less-visible but transformative invention revolutionized driving: the automatic transmission. In 1954, Ocala native Henry Turner opened the community’s first automatic transmission shop, Turner’s Transmission Service. He believed Ocala deserved to have

a shop completely dedicated to transmission services, and he ran his business with wife Esther by his side. Sixty-six years later, Turner’s Transmission Service is still a family owned and operated business, run by Henry’s grandson, Skip Kinsey, who co-owns the shop with his mother, Louise. “If a mechanic is a car doctor, a transmission shop is the specialist,” Kinsey explains. He believes Henry’s legacy is alive and well today. “Hard work, family struggle and, many times, just sheer determination, has made Turner’s one of Ocala’s oldest family businesses,” he says, noting the company has made it through many ups and downs. “Owning and operating a small business is no easy feat,” he admits. “But if you work hard, stay the course and are prepared to grow and evolve with the times, the American Dream is still a possibility.”

Keeping the Faith

According to owner Charlie Chappel, Ocala Heating & Air Conditioning is Marion County’s oldest established air conditioning and heating company and has been in business since 1964. His family purchased the company in the early 1980s, and Chappel worked side by side with his mom and dad, starting in high school, learning the family business from the ground up. When he joined the company full time after graduating in 1987, he remembers they had only four employees. Chappel took over the company when his parents retired 20 years ago and since his wife and co-owner Joy joined the business in 2005, they’ve grown to 21 employees. “We pride ourselves on giving our customers above and beyond what they expect, with the highest quality of work from our top-notch team,” Chappel says. “Our company has been through ups and downs over the years and we have continued to move forward.” Chappel credits their success to the “awesome” team members they consider friends, some of whom have been with the company more than 20 years, and their “very dedicated customer base.” “We always discuss treating our customers’ homes and businesses as if it was your own,” Chappel reveals. “We really love and appreciate our community that we live in and provide services for and look forward to many more years.”

In 1961, young mother, dancer and Ocala High School graduate Honey Nick opened Honey’s School of Dance. Now over 80 years old, the active great-grandmother still goes to the studio every day to see the dance students and teach a class when needed. She taught her daughter, Shari Paglia, and granddaughter, Dianna Woodall, both accomplished dancers and now co-owners of the studio, to Creating Art dance and to inspire a pasOn East Silver Springs Boulevard sion for creative movement in Ocala, behind a simple sign in young people. that reads “Jim Jernigan’s Studio,” Now in their 60th generations of local families have Esther and Henry Turner and mechanic Ray Mack season, through their had their family portraits, baby multi-generational leadership, Honey’s offers girls and pictures, professional headshots and senior pictures takboys the opportunity to learn ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, en. Started by Jim and Betty Jernigan in 1947 and in its contemporary dance, clogging and acrobatics, and to current location since the 1960s, the studio’s venerable participate in competition teams. tradition continues today with owners John and Sheila Their motto is painted on the waiting room wall: Jernigan, who say their story is “a lifelong love of art.” “Psalm 149:3 – Let them praise His name with dancing,” “The philosophy that Jim Jernigan passed down is to and Woodall says they advise other small businesses “to treat every person the same, no matter how small or large lean more on the Lord and trust that His plan is much the job,” says John, who grew up immersed in his father’s better than anything we could imagine.” photography and art. Seventy-three years later, John and “It’s been a difficult year,” Woodall admits, explainSheila say they put “100 percent of our creative energy ing that the studio had to adopt virtual class formats. into everything we produce.” But through it all, they keep dancing, Woodall says, The couple are experts with business and product and she keeps this optimistic outlook: “We will get photography and branding, and those services are how through this together.” they’re helping other local small businesses in what they

Going Above and Beyond

If your air conditioning has ever gone out during the dog days of a Central Florida summer, you appreciate the value of an air conditioning service company

point out is “not a typical year.” “Strengthen your business by positioning yourself in marketing through brand awareness,” the Jernigans advise. “This will build business today and set you up for future business.” November ‘20


Photo & Design: StunningSteeds.com


Sipping Season In this season of entertaining, I met up with a master mixologist to learn how to turn some classic mixed drinks into spirited new cocktails. By Jill Paglia | Photography by Meagan Gumpert

Champagne Cocktail .75 ounce Cognac Park cognac .75 ounce St. Petersburg Distillery Tippler’s orange liqueur .5 ounce fresh lemon juice 2 dashes Tiki style bitters Small pieces of edible gold leaf Shake over ice and strain ingredients into a Champagne f lute, decorated with gold leaf (put a small amount of honey on the rim, then apply gold leaf with small tongs). › Top with prosecco, cava or Champagne.


s we approach the holidays, I started to think about cocktails and how they can set the mood and tone for a festive gathering. All my close friends, and the bartenders from restaurants that my husband John and I frequent, know when it comes to cocktails, I love the classics. A couple of my favorites are a Tito’s Dirty Martini or a refreshing Negroni. But it can be fun to mix it up a little bit too. I like to take a seasonal color, for example, and let that determine my cocktail for a gathering. For a golden cocktail, I would choose a rum- or tequila-based drink; for a red cocktail, I look to incorporate

sweet vermouth, cranberry juice or Campari. The colors really strike people and that theme can carry throughout the party. To up my cocktail game and craft some special cocktails for the season, I reached out to professional mixologist Shelby Goelz, of Dunedin, who has a national following and has been a frequent guest presenter at the Ocala Culinary Festival. The Country Club of Ocala, where I live, graciously granted us access to the Clubhouse Bar, where Shelby and I had a fun time putting a new spin on some timeless classics. One of the things I loved

learning about Shelby is that she knows about blending spirits like I know about combining spices and ingredients to create a special dish. I learned how you can substitute different liquors to create a cocktail that complements the season and also that when a cocktail contains citrus it should be shaken and not stirred so the citrus can blend in with the liquor instead of standing alone, which can make it acidic. We also talked about how providing one special pre-made cocktail—along with wine and beer—can cut down on the chaos and cost of hosting a party. So, whether you are planning November ‘20



a socially distanced gathering of friends and family, a festive dinner for two or even a virtual cocktail party, these delicious cocktails will be a welcome addition. Before she arrived in town, I sent Shelby a list of a few of my favorite cocktails. “That is where I typically start my journey in developing drinks,” Shelby offers. “Whether it is a specific liquor, flavor profile, ingredient or ratio, there is always something to be inspired by. I took Jill’s cues and added a fun little seasonal element to craft lovely fall and holiday inspired options.” “Jill mentioned a Negroni and, being Florida based and subtropical, the rum variation of Man About Town immediately came to mind and I added a touch of spiced Tiki style bitters,” she adds. “We stirred the ingredients in a cocktail

pitcher versus shaking them. This is a traditional technique when making cocktails that do not include citrus or do include delicate spirits that are easily ‘bruised,’ such as vermouth.” Shelby told me that since cranberry is a big tradition around the holidays, she was inspired by Ocala’s deep horse history in creating a custom cocktail for us named Yippee-Ka-Yay! She added a southern twist with a little vodka or, as she notes, “if you are feeling frisky, a little white whiskey/ moonshine and cinnamon.” In creating the Bear Hug, Shelby took inspiration from a traditional Old Fashioned, which I love. The Bear Hug features a boozy bourbon base, with a hint of sweetness with the pecan-infused maple and a touch of Cynar instead of bitters to round it out.

“This cocktail is just delicious and makes you feel warm and cozy inside,” Shelby says, “like a big ol’ bear hug on a cold night.” Shelby also created an oh-soholiday Champagne Cocktail by combining one of her favorite cognacs, a touch of orange liqueur and baking spice bitters, and topping it with bubbles and an edible elegant gold leaf garnish. Shelby started her beverage career in Chicago and has worked with such famous chefs as Grant Achatz and Jeannie Pierola. In addition to beverage development, she has done event planning, catering and bar directing and managing. She is a frequent traveler and loves to find and incorporate regional or local spirits into her arsenal, such as ice wine and whiskey in Canada, absinthe in


2 ounces St. Petersburg Distillery Vodka (corn vodka or white whiskey) .75 ounce fresh lemon juice .5 ounce honey syrup .5 ounce cinnamon bark syrup 1/8 teaspoon Amaro Averna or Cynar liqueur 10 cranberries 1 egg yolk Cinnamon sticks Muddle cranberries with honey syrup. › Add other ingredients, with ice. › Shake over ice. › Strain

over fresh ice. › Garnish with cinnamon stick. Honey syrup: Combine equal parts honey and hot water. › Stir until incorporated. Cinnamon bark syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and 2/3 cup hot water. › Stir to incorporate. › Add 2-3 sticks cinnamon. › Allow to infuse for 1 hour. › Strain for use.

France, vermouth in Italy and wine barrel finished whiskies in California. She says Florida has some amazing options and used products from St. Augustine Distillery and St. Petersburg Distillery in our session. If you don’t already know, it’s worth mentioning that right here in Marion County we have Fish Hawk Spirits and James Two Brothers Distillers. I loved the cocktails Shelby and I created together. It’s always fun to have a cocktail that creates or enhances an “experience.” I know I will have the ingredients for a Bear Hug prepped and ready to serve my family and friends at our next gathering. That will be a sure way to feel all warm and cozy even when it gets chilly outside. Country Club of Ocala offers various memberships for purchase by non-residents. Venues are available for special event rental. Call (352) 237-6644. thecountryclubofocala.com 68


Bear Hug

1.5 ounces Buffalo Trace bourbon .75 ounce pecan-infused maple syrup .75 ounce fresh lemon juice .5 ounce Hamilton Pimento Dram liqueur 1/8 teaspoon Cynar Shake over ice. › Strain over fresh ice. › Garnish with toasted pecans (from syrup making). Pecan-infused maple syrup: Mix 8 ounces dark maple syrup and 1 cup dark brown sugar and cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved. › Add 1 cup fresh pecans and 4

ounces water. › Stir and leave on low heat for 5 minutes. › Allow mixture to infuse overnight. › Strain and bake pecans for 20 minutes at 300 degrees. › Garnish drink with candied pecans.

Man About Town

1 ounce St. Augustine Distillery rum 1 ounce Campari liqueur 1 ounce Cocchi rouge vermouth Spiced bitters Stir over fresh ice. › Strain into a chilled coupe/martini glass. › Garnish with dehydrated orange wheel.

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OCALA COOKS Submitted by Ashley Lopez Photo by Meagan Gumpert

Introducing Ocala Cooks, our place to showcase our readers’ recipes. Want your recipe featured in Ocala Style? There are four ways to submit. Send your recipe through the form at ocalastyle. com/ocalacooks, email your recipe to ocalacooks@magnoliamediaco. com, put your recipe in our Ocala Cooks Facebook group, or post your recipe on social media using #ocalacooks

Salted Caramel Chocolate Bars This recipe is from AvantGarde Vegan by Gaz Oakley (avantgardevegan.com) and they call it “a sweet treat that is surprisingly healthy!” We can attest that this gluten-free, refined and raw sugar-free dessert with a nutty cookie base has the most amazing flavor. These are the perfect make ahead treats to have on hand for last minute guests.

Serves 16

Almond Cookie Layer 2 cups almond flour 1/2 cup macadamia nuts 1/2 cup pecans, plus additional for topping 3 tablespoons agave nectar 3 tablespoons coconut oil 1 tablespoon peanut butter Pinch Himalayan salt Salted Caramel Date Layer 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 cup almond milk 1/2 cup filtered water 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt “Chocolate” Coating 8 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 10 tablespoons organic raw cacao powder 3 tablespoons agave nectar or 1 tablespoon maple syrup Line an 8-inch square removable bottom cake pan with parchment paper. › For almond cookie base:

Blend pecans and macadamia nuts in blender until the texture is fine and crumbly. › Pour into a mixing bowl. › Add almond flour, peanut butter, coconut oil, agave nectar and salt. › Mix well by hand or in blender until combined. › Pour into cake pan. › Using a spatula, press cookie layer down well, including edges, until it is even and compacted. › Place pan in freezer while you prepare the caramel layer. › For caramel layer: In blender, blend dates and almond milk. › Add coconut oil, water and salt. › Blend on high for about one minute. › Spread caramel evenly over cookie base. › Place pan in freezer for at least 3 hours. › Remove from freezer and remove bottom from pan. › Dip a chef ’s knife in hot water. › Cut into eight slices, then cut across once to make 16 bars, dipping knife into hot water between each slice. › Place bars on a tray lined with parchment paper. › Place 3 pecans on top of each bar. › Place tray in freezer for 30 minutes while preparing chocolate. › To make chocolate, melt coconut oil. › Add cacao powder. › Stir until there are no lumps. › Add agave nectar or maple syrup and stir. › Quickly but gently, pour over bars. › Place bars in freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving. › Store in freezer for up to three weeks. November ‘20



Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille 24 SE 1st Avenue, Ocala

(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-9p › Fri & Sat 11a-10p › Sun 11a-8p Located in the heart of downtown Ocala, Harry’s offers traditional Louisiana favorites like Shrimp and Scallop Orleans, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Blackened Red Fish, Louisiana Gumbo and Garden District Grouper. Other favorites, like French Baked Scallops and Bourbon Street Salmon, are complemented with grilled steaks, chicken, burgers, po’ boy sandwiches and salads. Their full bar features Harry’s Signature Cocktails, such as the Harry’s Hurricane, Bayou Bloody Mary or the Cool Goose Martini. They also feature wines by the glass and a wide selection of imported, domestic and craft beer.

El Toreo

3790 E Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala

(352) 694-1401 › 7 days 11a-10p SR 200, Ocala › (352) 291-2121 › 7 days 11a-11p New lunch specials include Taco Salad on Mondays, $5.45; Speedy Gonzalez on Tuesdays, $5.45; Quesadillas on Wednesdays, $7.95; Chimichangas on Thursdays, $6.95; and Burrito Supreme on Fridays, $5.95. New dinner options include Fajita Mondays, $10.95; Chimichanga Tuesdays, $8.95; Alambre Wednesdays, $9.95; and Tacos de Bistec Thursdays, $9.95. Plus $1.95 margaritas on Mondays. On Sunday, kids 12 and under can enjoy $1.95 children’s meals (take-out not included). Wednesday is Special Margarita Day, 99¢ all day. Saturday is 2-for-1 margaritas all day. Happy Hour daily, 3-7pm. Everything is 2-4-1 (exceptions may apply).

Happy Hour Specials: 2-7p every day $3 Draft Beer $4 House Wine & Premium Cocktails $5 Super Premium & $6 Harry’s Signature Cocktails $7 off bottles of wine We are open for dine in, carryout and delivery through Doordash and BiteSquad

Wednesday: 99¢ House Margaritas All Day Thursday: Trivia Night, 7-9pm (Blvd. location) Thursday: Mariachi band at the 200 location, 6-9pm Dine-in now available

Braised Onion

754 NE 25th Ave., Ocala

(352) 620-9255 › braisedonion.com Tue-Thu 11:30a-9p › Fri-Sat 11:30a-10p › Sun 11:30a-8p Braised Onion Restaurant, where you’ll experience “Comfort Food with Attitude” in a fun, warm and colorful but casual atmosphere. Open for lunch and dinner. Our team of experts will be dishing out perfectly seasoned prime rib with creamy horseradish sauce on Friday and Saturday evenings. Don’t forget the decadant dessert menu, which includes the prizewinning bread pudding, coconut cream pie, cheesecake and crème brûlée. Private meeting and banquet rooms available.



Thanksgiving Buffet 11:30am-5:00 pm Early reservations recommended


Sunday Brunch: Bottomless Mimosas & Bloody Mary’s Wednesday: Hump Day Happy Hour all day all drinks half price Thursdays: $18.00 Prime Rib

Salted Brick

At Trilogy at Ocala Preserve 4021 NW 53rd Avenue Road Ocala (352) 509-5183 › Call for hours

The award winning restaurant located in Trilogy at Ocala Preserve enjoys beautiful lake front dining, perfect for watching the sun set over the 18th hole on our championship golf course. The Salted Brick brings to life regional favorites alongside American classics, using locally-sourced, fresh ingredients. Featuring a centerpiece exhibition kitchen and wood-fired oven, watch as items are grilled to perfection above a natural flame. American grill, sophisticated atmosphere, and seasonal menu with fresh and healthy options are just a few of what our brand has to offer. ** Open Table’s 2018, 2019 and 2020 Diner’s Choice award for Gainesville, Ocala and Central Florida**

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November ‘20


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Walking the Walk The Paso Fino, known as the “Smoothest Riding Horse in the World,� will charm you with its distinctive gait, elegant appearance and friendly demeanor. By Belea T. Keeney Photography by Cheri Prill of Stunning Steeds


t’s that tippy-toe, almost-trot, quick dancing step that’s the marker of the historical Paso Fino breed. Looking energetic and fast, and yet amazingly smooth to ride, this distinctive gait is what sets this horse breed apart from any other. The Ocala Paso Fino Horse Association (OPFHA) will be hosting The Ocala Cup International from December 4th through 6th, offering an opportunity to see these charming horses in action. “This is a breed with a Spanish heritage, and it’s easy to bring in the Latin-American spectators because they know the horse,” exclaims OPFHA President Alei Ortiz. “Our number one goal is to get more American spectators and horse owners involved. We love to share our horses.” The breed descended from the conquistadors that traveled throughout the Americas more than 500 years ago. This versatile horse comes in all colors and sizes, ranging up to 15 hands tall. “We want people from throughout the USA and the rest of the world to see, enjoy and appreciate them,” Ortiz notes. The Ocala Cup will offer a variety of classes, including pleasure, performance and the classic Fino, in which competitors ride across a 65-foot-long wooden floor, wired for sound, aptly called the sounding board. The horse and rider are judged on the horse’s collection (when a horse’s center of gravity shifts backwards and they move more vertically rather than horizontally), spirit and, of course, that rapid hoofbeat. Ortiz describes the classic Paso Fino gait as, “Their feet move really fast, but they don’t cover as much ground as in other classes, like pleasure and performance, where they really move out.”



Paso Fino horses move in a four-beat lateral gait, with all four feet hitting the ground at different intervals. This gait, unique to the breed, eliminates the bouncing that comes with riding most horses. The “action” is very energetic, yet riders hardly have to move to accommodate the gait. “A Paso can be a good choice for a rider who has had a medical or back issue,” Ortiz asserts. Paso Finos do walk and canter, and most foals typically gait immediately after birth. “It’s just their natural way of moving,” Ortiz explains. “One thing I want to emphasize—we don’t do anything cruel to them to make them walk that way. The babies perform the gait as they go alongside their mothers.” Ortiz also brags about the versatility of the breed. “Paso Fino horses are also used for Western pleasure, cowboy mounted shooting, working equitation, endurance and everyday trail riding,” she notes. The Paso Fino gait makes them ideal for a long trail ride and their relatively small size (usually averaging about 13.5 to 15 hands) makes them a good choice for young equestrians or as a first horse for adults. They’re not a particularly high-maintenance breed and their refined appearance and conformation gives them that friendly pony vibe that’s often comfortable for folks new to horses. Their demeanor tends to be people pleasing. According to Ortiz, Marion County is the county with the most Paso Finos anywhere in the United States and estimates indicate there are at least 1,300 in the area. “We also have the most Paso Fino farms and trainers,” she offers. The OPFHA has been in existence since 1978. The group’s goal is to promote the breed, expand its


outreach and encourage responsible horsemanship among Paso Fino owners and breeders. In addition to the upcoming show, Ortiz shared that Ocala was awarded the Grand National Paso Fino Championship shows for 2021 and 2022, the first to be held here in more than 40 years. The shows are planned to take place at the World Equestrian Center. This is the second Ocala Cup, says OPFHA Secretary Julia Suarez. The first Ocala Cup was held in 2018. “It’s something to look forward to every two years,” Suarez explains. “It’s a big championship show.” An international group of riders, trainers and spectators will gather to enjoy a variety of classes. Vendors will offer Latin and American food. All of the classes are done to music, and American and Latin music will play throughout the show, giving the festivities even more energy.

Ortiz is excited to announce a new event this year, Ride a Paso, which allows attendees to actually ride a Paso Fino at the show. The rides will be supervised and on a lead line with a handler. This will give people the opportunity to experience this unique breed of horse and the gait for themselves. At the show, people will see the best Paso Finos in the country ridden by top trainers, amateurs and youth riders, Ortiz says. “There will be youth riders competing from other countries,” she adds. “And our spectators are a cheerful, loud, happy crowd!” The crowd usually hoots and hollers while horses move over the sounding board, encouraging horse and rider to perform at a high level. Be forewarned, however, the odds are pretty high that this versatile breed of horse just might tiptoe its way into your heart.

Things to Know

Event: The Ocala Cup International Dates: December 4-6 Time: 9am-5pm Place: Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala Admission: Free To learn more, visit pasofinoocala.com. Follow @ocalapasofino on Facebook and @pasofinoocala on Instagram.

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Life Lessons Longtime Ocala/Marion County educator Juanita Cunningham was awarded the key to the city of Ocala in September. That honor joined the previously declared Juanita Perry Cunningham Days on July 1st, 2005 and June 18th, 2015. But perhaps the biggest accolades should be given for raising her family to rise above racial discrimination and achieve their own successes. Her son and family spokesman James C. Cunningham Jr. shares the story of this remarkable family. By JoAnn Guidry | Portrait by Bruce Ackerman


uanita Cunningham, the 95-year-old matriarch of her family, and her late ex-husband James, squared their shoulders against the headwinds of the Jim Crow era, prevailing to live inspiring and meaningful lives. Despite the odds against them, Juanita and James parlayed higher education to a better life for themselves, their children and their community. “Growing up when they did, my parents were well aware of the social inequities for the Black community,” says James C. Cunningham Jr., 65, the couple’s eldest son, who had a front-row seat to his family’s journey. “But that did not deter them. And they made sure we understood that the best was expected from my siblings and me. The message wasn’t if we were going to college, it was where we were going to college.” The Cunninghams led by example. Juanita earned degrees in elementary education and education administration and James Sr. garnered a degree in mortuary science. As for their children? James Jr. and his brother Courtney earned law degrees while sister Renee has a master’s degree in sociology.

James Jr. proudly points out that his parents paid for their educational pursuits. “Through education, our family was transformed and uplifted,” he says. “We were born in and of a certain time. But we overcame a lot of obstacles as Black people to be part of the change that came out of that time. And it all started with my parents.”

Humble Beginnings

Juanita Perry was born in St. Petersburg on June 18th, 1925 and, while still an infant, her mother moved to Hawthorne in Alachua County. There, Juanita grew up around her stepfather, six siblings and her grandfather, who was the can-do patriarch of the family. In the summers, Juanita worked in the nearby fields, picking beans. James Jr. explains, “The children in Black families were expected to work to help earn money for the family. It was just the norm then.” From first to 12th grade, Juanita attended the segregated Shell School and it was there that a teacher

Historic photo courtesy of the Cunningham family


took a special interest in her. “Mildred Greene was my mother’s fifth-grade teacher and she was the one who told my mother that she could and should go to college,” explains James Jr. “Mrs. Greene planted that notion in my mother’s mind, which proves that just one person, particularly a teacher, can make a difference.” But college would have to wait for Juanita. Right out of high school, she attended the Sunlight Beauty School in Miami. Then she came back to Hawthorne where, according to James Jr., her grandfather built her a little building for her hair salon on his property. And Mrs. Greene became one of her regular customers. “My mother told me that every time Mrs. Greene came to get her hair done, she would say, ‘Juanita, you need to go to college. You don’t need to press hair all of your life.’ Mrs. Greene just wouldn’t give up on my mother,” says James Jr. with admiration. But Juanita’s college aspirations were soon deferred by love when she met James Sr. at, of all places, a funeral. “In the mid-1940s, my father worked for Chestnut Funeral Home in Gainesville while my mother was operating her beauty parlor in Hawthorne,” James Jr. explains. “One of my mother’s many talents was that she had a beautiful soprano singing voice and had been asked to sing at a funeral in Hawthorne, which was conducted by Chestnut Funeral Home. My father was smitten and while everyone was at the cemetery for the burial, he asked my mother if he could call on her. She said yes, he courted her and they were married in 1946.” James Jr. recalls asking his mother once why she married his father, saying she answered, “He was an ambitious man and he was going places.” He adds, “Turns out, it was a team effort and they went places together.”

Education Mattered

The Cunninghams moved to Ocala in 1951 and James Sr. went to work for Chestnut Funeral Home there. But as Juanita so astutely pointed out, James Sr. was an ambitious man and he wanted his own funeral home. “My mother stopped pressing hair as Mrs. Greene suggested, but instead of going to college, she put my

father through college,” James Jr. reports. “She did domestic work to pay for my father to attend Eckels College in Pennsylvania and get a degree in mortuary science. In 1952, my father and his brother Albert established Cunningham Funeral Home in Ocala.” Not only did the Cunninghams start a business in 1952, they also started a family, with daughter Renee being born. James Jr. would come along in 1955 and Courtney in 1962. Shortly after James Jr. was born, Cunningham Funeral Home was doing well enough that Juanita could finally go to college. “At 30, my mother went to Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, staying there during the week and then coming home on the weekends,” according to James Jr. “The plan was that Renee, who was 3, and me, still a baby, would stay with our grandmother. But I wouldn’t stop crying, so my mother just took us to school with her. She would leave us outside the classroom and other students would check on us, making sure we were OK. I know that sounds like something crazy to do, but it was an all-Black school and the Black community took care of each other.” In 1958, Juanita finally made Mrs. Greene’s advice come to fruition, graduating with a bachelor’s in elementary education. None other than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the graduation commencement speech. “My mother was obviously inspired by Dr. King and came home not only with a degree, but with activism on her mind as well,” he shares. “And she and my father were on the same page there too.” Juanita’s first teaching assignment was at the segregated Stanton Elementary and High School Juanita in her youth in Weirsdale, just south of Ocala. She then taught at the all-Black Howard Elementary School. Meanwhile, James Jr. was growing up in a time of segregation that was grudgingly giving way to desegregation. “My parents explained to us that the law wouldn’t permit us to do certain things, like use a restroom designated for whites only,” he notes. “But that didn’t mean they weren’t trying to change those laws. In 1963, my father participated in the March on Washington. And he was part of these mass meetings to organize civil disobedience at Covenant Baptist Church.” November ‘20


At top, James Cunningham Jr. with his mother, Juanita Cunningham. At left, James Cunningham Sr.

Time For Change

Slowly but surely, desegregation moved into the Marion County education system. “From first to fifth grade, I went to allBlack schools, Madison Street Elementary and Howard Elementary,” James Jr. recalls. “But in 1965, the Freedom of Choice program was instituted in Marion County and my parents chose Eighth Street Elementary for me. I was one of only five Black students and the school district didn’t provide us with school bus transportation. My father and another parent took turns carpooling us to and from school.” James Jr. would then go to Osceola Middle School in the seventh and eighth grades, before moving on to Vanguard High School, where he graduated as class president in 1973. By the time he went to the University of Florida (UF) to earn a political science degree in 1976, his mother had also gone back to college. “My mother attended Nova University, which was located in south Florida. The professors would come up to Gainesville on Saturdays to teach and that’s how she 80


got her master’s in education administration in 1976,” he shares with obvious pride. “She then became what was called the dean of girls at Vanguard High School, which was later changed to assistant principal. After that, she became the first program director/ principal of Howard Academy Community Center. She retired in 1991.” And James Jr. adds, “Just like Mrs. Greene had inspired her, my mother inspired her students. She still has past students who stay in touch with her to this day.” Before retiring, Juanita spearheaded the program to have free hot lunches served in schools. She also was a founding member of the local chapter of Altrusa International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making communities better through service. One of Juanita’s pet projects with Altrusa was having members, and others from the community, visit elementary schools once a year to read to the students. The Juanita P. Cunningham Bookshelf is located inside the Tools 4 Teaching room at the Public Education Foundation of Marion County. There also is a Juanita P. Cunningham Endowed Scholarship through the College of Central Florida Foundation, which is awarded annually to an African American student or graduate of Vanguard High School. As for James Sr., he made history in 1975 by being the first Black man in 86 years to be elected to the Ocala City Council. He would also serve as city council president and was re-elected in 1979 and 1983. “My father was instrumental in the city annexation of the section of West Ocala from Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue to I-75,” asserts James Jr., who earned his law degree from UF in 1978 and became the first Black law clerk with the Florida Supreme Court. “When he was first elected to the city council, that part of West Ocala was underserved; there were few paved streets and no city water. My father helped change all of that.” After being married for 38 years, Juanita and James Sr. divorced in 1983 and James Sr. died of a heart attack in 1985. “My parents always made sure that their children had as many advantages as possible. They took us to events that often times we were the only children there,” remembers James Jr., a Miami-based retired commercial litigation lawyer who now creates steel sculptures on commission. “They believed it was important that we got a big-picture view of the world and saw what was possible for us through education and hard work. I like to think that my family is an example of what happens when people are free to be who they are.”

Photos courtesy of the Cunningham family


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