Ocala Style February '20

Page 1

FEB ‘20


OCALA BLACK HISTORY ocalastyle.com


Considering Ocala?

Close to WEC - 25, 44 or 69 Acres! Once you stand on the expansive front porch of this charming southern-style home and take in the flawless view of Granddaddy Oaks, rolling hills, and lush pastures, you will know you’re home. 7-Stall show stable with 1/1 apartment, 6-Stall barn 1/1 apartment, plus separate air-conditioned rooms for tack, feed and storage. Additional barn provides ample storage for hay, feed or equipment. A dressage area, lush pastures and shaded riding trails you can consistently ride on all year long complete this incredible property. $1,500,000 to $3,900,000 Call for options

Minutes from World Equestrian Center & HITS Wingspread Farm – Gated Equestrian Estate on 10 Acres. Incredible location plus a wonderful place to call home. Immaculate! You immediately notice the attention to details from the 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath residence, 2 bedroom guest house, private chapel, 4-stall stable with office and a 4 bay multi-purpose building offering a 20’ x 40’ stall which could be divided into 1, 2, or 3 stalls. Luxurious expansive run-ins provide shade for horses in lush paddocks. Irrigated arena. Additional acreage available. Just Reduced to $1,695,000

This is Horse Country

Bel Lago

Signature Stallions

Newly completed home on 1.55 acres with beautiful views overlooking lake in gated equine-friendly community. Open kitchen, formal dining room, family room with fireplace overlooking lake. Pool surrounded by wrought iron fencing. 2-car garage. $859,000

Strategically located close to WEC & HITS. Show Stable with 8 large stalls, office, feed & tack room. Separate 4-stall barn with hay storage above. Office features reception area, 1.5 bath and full kitchen. Round pen, 8 paddocks, and mature landscaping. $1,299,000

Finish Line - 2.99 Acres

Golden Ocala – World Equestrian Center

Neighboring the World Equestrian Center - Charming, site built 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, plus expansive family room. Formal living and dining area is open to kitchen with raised bar seating. Property includes a 4-stall barn plus 3 fenced paddocks. $365,000

Live here and have your horses at WEC or Golden Ocala Equestrian Center. Easy walk to world class spa, pool, tennis and restaurant. 3 Bedroom, 3.5 bath home with master on main level. Nice back yard with room for pets. Also a great investment property. $625,000

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.

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GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Simon Mendoza simon@magnoliamediaco.com Brooke Pace brooke@magnoliamediaco.com

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS & VIDEOGRAPHERS Carlos Ramos carlos@magnoliamediaco.com Patrikk Hamer patrikk@magnoliamediaco.com


MARKETING MANAGER Kylie Swope kylie@magnoliamediaco.com SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST & SOCIAL SCENE EDITOR Vianca L. Torres vianca@magnoliamediaco.com


ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Sheila Gaspers sheila@magnoliamediaco.com Clif “Skip” Linderman skip@magnoliamediaco.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/SALES Sharon Morgan sharon@magnoliamediaco.com CLIENT SERVICES GURU Brittany Duval brittany@magnoliamediaco.com

EDITOR IN CHIEF Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com MANAGING EDITOR Belea T. Keeney belea@magnoliamediaco.com PRODUCTION EDITOR Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR Lisa McGinnes lisa@magnoliamediaco.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sherri Cruz Harriet Daniels Amy Davidson Jim Gibson JoAnn Guidry Danielle Lieneman Cynthia McFarland Jill Paglia Patricia Tomlinson PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Amy Davidson Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Lyn Larson Philip Marcel Dave Miller Rigoberto Perdomo Isabelle Ramirez Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATORS Maggie Perez Weakley Margaret Watts

Distribution Dave Adams Rick Shaw

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CONTRIBUTORS BRUCE ACKERMAN PHOTOGRAPHER Bruce turned his lens on the historic murals at the MLK Recreation Complex and on two participants in this year’s Southeastern Youth Fair for this issue. He is a photojournalist, photographer and videographer who has won awards from organizations such as the National Press Photographers Association, Florida Press Club, Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and Florida Press Association.

SHERRI CRUZ WRITER As spring kicks in and people want to be outdoors having fun, Sherri has a story in this issue about the popular Habitat Ocala Strawberry Festival. Sherri has written for newspapers, business weeklies and magazines. She selfpublished a children’s book about a skateboarding pig and has other books in the works. She plays drums, enjoys pet sitting and makes whimsical clay pigs and beaded bracelets.

HARRIET DANIELS WRITER For this issue, Harriet, a former newspaper reporter who loves learning about black history, explored the rich African American history depicted in the specially commissioned mural panels at Webb Field inside the MLK Recreation Complex. Harriet is a “proud military brat” who enjoys meeting new people and cherishes friends around the globe. She is active with her church, sorority chapter and book club.

RIGOBERTO “RIGO” PERDOMO III PHOTOGRAPHER Rigoberto’s work in this issue includes photographing colorful murals created by artist Jordan Shapot and a view inside the elegant home of Rolando and Sara Sosa. Rigo is an architectural photographer and “artist at heart,” who recently moved to Ocala from South Florida. View his work at PerdomoImages.com and follow him on Instagram @PerdomoImages

APRIL ROSE STYLIST DIY expert April Rose created a custom interior employing some current home trends for this issue. She is an interiors and food stylist known for making a room feel inviting and cohesive, and creating elaborate edible art displays. From grand events to grand spaces, she has been successfully leaving her mark locally since late 2017. Follow her on Instagram @aprilrosedesignco

MARGARET “PEGGY” WATTS ILLUSTRATOR Peggy is renowned for her many artistic creations, including works in oil, pen and ink, and much more. She is especially noted for having chronicled many of Ocala and Marion County’s most historic dwellings, churches and other venues. In this issue, she put her special touch on a one-of-akind work of art depicting the new Hilton Garden Inn Ocala Downtown.







464 S

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SE 25T H AV E.


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Publisher’s Note have shared with you all in my past notes that my husband and I are living in a fixer-upper project home with a remodel list longer than what most sane people would agree to take on. Even with my Mr. Wonderful’s myriad tools and know-how to fix just about anything, we lack one resource to substantially propel our DIY project intentions forward—time. The silver lining to the delay is that it has allowed me to change my mind and priorities without spending any money. So, there is that. In this issue we meet the Sherman family, who recently returned to live in Ocala and went the new home build route, successfully adding touches that reflected their family’s personality. I expect you’ll smile as I did when you read Mrs. Sherman’s account of her request for real brick floors being met with faux options, as well as the compromise she and Mr. Sherman came to on using primarily neutral colors. The mediation process that happens between builders and buyers as they work through these decisions is something that we DIYers miss out on—accountability for time and resources. I hope some of you out there who may be similarly toying with the romantic notion of renovating a home will compare my story and that of the Sherman family and decide for yourselves who chose the better route. It’ll help if you can be truthful in answering the question, Just how patient am I? The Shermans’ decision to go with a neutral color palette is one that many of us lean towards. However, in reviewing recent design trends, we were excited to hear that many of the design experts are proclaiming a return to maximalism, a stark opposite to safe neutrals, that advocates “more is more.” This inspired us to challenge our DIY contributor April Rose to reimagine her sitting room from a neutral palette to one that fits this bolder design aesthetic—on a budget. See the results for yourselves on page 50 and prepare to be inspired. The other design trend we took note of was Pantone’s color of the year—Classic Blue. It reinforced what most of us have known for a long time. Classic blue is always a good choice, because hello!, it’s a classic. In the spirit of our magazine’s motto, Real People, Real Stories, Real Ocala, we present solutions in the context of inspiration that is affordable. For example, many of us swooned over beautiful “classic blue” finds at local furniture stores worthy of the investment, but we also include a thrift shopper’s guide on page 54 that offers resources for those who love to hunt for the perfect high-low mix as much as we do. We wish you happy hunting and ask that you post your finds on social media and tag them #OSHome2020 so we can share in the fun!

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Updated artwork celebrates local African American history.

ON THE COVER This month’s Style File subject, Cody Mansfield, was photographed at his home, exclusively for Ocala Style, by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery. His signature style has been influenced by his extensive travels and his life in Ocala.

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f ea tures

contents 36
















d e p a r tm e n ts

insid e r



Check out some recent festive—and athletic—events that helped raise funds for children, dogs and horses, and celebrated the works of an accomplished photographer.






Our guide to some great upcoming events.

A noted entrepreneur and scientist says we need to redefine how we work.


95 100


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



c u l tu r e



Event hostess Martha Jane Davis serves up her famous bourbon pecan pound cake.





Food contributor Jill Paglia offers her thoughts on families of all kinds enjoying a meal together and tips for how to make that a regular happening.

We’ve got the dish on unique tastes including artisan vinegars and locally legendary pound cakes.










Our tips for choosing interior design trends or embracing them all.

“Gently pre-owned” can be chic with high-end furniture and stylish décor treasures found at local thrift shops.

Cynthia McFarland gives a humorous account of her forays into do-it-yourself wallpaper projects.

The College of Central Florida is hosting an enrichment conference for young black males in the community.






Students involved in the Southeastern Youth Fair compete in the nation’s oldest such event.

The right setting, interesting lighting, a connection between the subject and the photographer—these can help create “magic” in an image.

The new downtown hotel will showcase the area’s rich equine history as visitors enjoy upscale amenities, signature cocktails, craft brews and a food hall.

This local bon vivant is a world traveler with a vibrant Instagram following and a keen sense of style.


There is solid science behind museum staff asking patrons to not touch the art.

Architect Rolando Sosa has designed inviting public spaces, ultra-cool private homes and more over a stellar 25-year career.

The rich history of the area’s black community shines on the recently refurbished mural panels at Webb Field at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex.

Ocala Civic Theatre Artistic Director Katrina Ploof has a script for taking the storied organization into its 70th year.

Three vibrantly colorful murals by Jordan Shapot are vivid highlights on the lanai of an art-loving couple in southwest Ocala.

A young couple creates their perfect family home in a modern farmhouse.

Luxurious looks to up your home game.

Panning for gold, breathtaking scenery, sprawling wineries and a plethora of notable eateries are in store for visitors to Dahlonega, Georgia.

i n e ve r y is s ue

10 92


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Visit the Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention, a museum for all ages. Explore exciting exhibits, programs, and hands-on activities in two labs. Celebrate DNA & Codes from February through March, just minutes away in Gainesville. cademuseum.org

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R A E E E R F E E Y FAM U R FU FEBRUARY 22, 2020 6:00 - 8:00PM

Ocala Eye’s Night for Sight will feature a one mile glow in the dark fun run happening throughout downtown Ocala, followed by an after-run celebration. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Participants will learn fun facts about eye care, receive a complimentary vision screening, and enjoy live music and hands-on visual games and activities. Food trucks will be on site, including Big Lees and Kona Ice. Glow in the dark souvenirs and paint will be provided while supplies last. Attendees do not have to participate in the run to attend. For questions, please contact Charlotte Martin at 352-622-5183. While the event is free to attend, donations are encouraged. All proceeds will help fund eye exams and glasses for those with visual impairments.

OCALA CITIZEN CIRCLE: SE OSCEOLA AVE - OCALA, FL EVENT 6:00 - 8:00P! F)N R)N 6:30P! Preregister for the free run at:www.bit.ly nightforsight 16


Learn more by visiting www.OcalaEye.com


Social Locals and visitors rallied in recent weeks to support causes to benefit children, service dogs and therapeutic riding horses, as well as to celebrate an artist’s first solo exhibit. Photo by Dave Miller

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Kristy Greenwood

Group of trainers and volunteers

Patriot Service Dogs WHISPERING OAKS WINERY Photography by Dave Miller


hree fluffy, furry puppies were the guests of honor at the Patriot Service Dogs Cheers to Patriot’s Landing event at Whispering Oaks Winery on December 11th. Twelveweek-old Captain, Norman and Auggie, and around 100 guests, enjoyed Whispering Oaks’ local blueberry wines, a barbecue chicken dinner, music by Ritchie Q and raffles to raise funds for the nonprofit organization’s next big project, Patriot’s Landing.

Julie Sanderson

Chip Litten




Diane Bryant

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Lisa Seiffer, Alan Abele, Jaye Baillie

Paula Hokanson

Alan Abele Photo Exhibit

BRICK CITY CENTER FOR THE ARTS Photography by Meagan Gumpert


he Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA) on January 3rd hosted a reception for its first-ever solo photography exhibit, showcasing the art of Alan Abele, in what also was his first solo exhibit, as part of the First Friday Art Walk. More than 230 attendees attended the reception and viewed Abele’s work. The exhibit ran through February 1st. William and Denise Spates

Alan Abele and Craig Baggs

Joy David, Felipe and Betty Ann Korzenny

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Stephen Quintyne

Kaitlin Teresa

Goin’ for Gold!

Renee Phifer, three-time Special Olympics gold medal winner

GOLDEN OCALA Photography by Meagan Gumpert


t was a golden evening at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club when Stirrups ‘n Strides Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. hosted its Goin’ for Gold! gala on December 8th. The elegant ballroom was filled with shimmering décor, atmospheric candlelight, delicious delicacies from the Golden Ocala catering team, and guests ready to help raise funds for the center.

Grace McWhorter



Aurelia and Mike Collins

Greg Allen and Mike Moore

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Marc Hallick

Unbroken Ocala CROSSFIT IRON LEGION Photography by Isabelle Ramirez


ore than 200 fitness enthusiasts, along with several sponsors and volunteers, made the inaugural Unbroken Ocala event one for the record books by raising $6,000 to benefit Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection on January 11th. The event was hosted by CrossFit Iron Legion and Zone Health and Fitness and participants could register for any number of athletic stations. Funds also were raised through the sale of food and merchandise. Kimberly’s Center works to help neglected and abused children in the community and relies solely on grants and donations.

Beau Broker and his son Bowman

Ted Dreaver

Kelli Mitchell

Mark Mobley

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Home Sweet Strawberry Home Habitat for Humanity’s annual Strawberry Festival is a fantastic family-friendly day out, but also harnesses the power of our community to provide homes for those in need. By Sherri Cruz

Things to Know

Date: Saturday, March 7th Time: 9am-5pm Place: McPherson Complex, 601 SE 25th Avenue Admission: Free Parking: $5

also well known as a popular performer on Disney Cruise Line. The festival also will highlight local talent, including Noah Hunton —Ocala’s own 21-year-old country singer/songwriter—as well as recent Crystal River High School graduate Presley Lawson, who will sing and play her original songs, which have been influenced by such artists as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn. Notable local race car driver Josh Hart will sign autographs and show off his dragster at the festival’s auto show, sponsored by his company, Burnyzz American Classic Horse Power. Muscle and classic cars, custom motorcycles, trucks and even tricked-out golf carts are some of the vehicles festival-goers can expect to see. Other planned events include a pieeating contest, a pet contest, games, rides and a BMX show. With all that activity, Black wants to make sure you don’t forget to pick up some delicious strawberries from Plant City, which are considered to be some of the best berries in the country. You can buy flats of strawberries or visit the “Everything Strawberry” booths, which will offer all sorts of strawberry treats. “It’s a family fun day,” Black says. “That’s what it’s all about!”

Attendees Expected: Strawberry Flats: Vendors: Volunteers: Habitat Houses built in 2019:

30,000 1,250 230 700 9

To learn more, www.habitatocala.org/strawberry-festival 22


Photography by Meagan Gumpert


trawberry houses” in Ocala/ Marion County are distinctive and rare—there are only six. So named because they’re built with funds from the Habitat Ocala Strawberry Festival, they provide a local family a home and are funded through the power of community. Each year, sponsors, entertainers, volunteers, church groups and others come together at the Habitat Ocala Strawberry Festival to raise the needed funds—about $60,000—to build one home. This year’s festival is March 7th. “You can’t succeed without us all working together,” says Joanne Black, development director for Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, which harnesses community resources to build affordable homes. This year, organizers have come up with lots of fun and delicious ways to lure you out to the festivities—from all manner of strawberry treats to a chance to see The Voice’s Selkii perform live. The South African-born singer, Jess “Selkii” Yallup, wowed audiences and the judges on the NBC reality show last year with her soulful raspy sound, earning her a place on Team Blake. The Central Florida resident, who will surely cover such memorable Voice performances as Macy Gray’s “I Try” and the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” during her appearance, is

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


Villages Balloon Festival


Ocala Cattle Drive & Cowboy Roundup


Duck Derby

The Villages Polo Club Feb 7-8 | Friday, 2-9pm; Sat, 6:30-9am & 2-9pm Pilots launch colorful hot-air balloons into the sky for a fanciful sight not to be missed. Meet the balloon pilots at “balloon glows” each evening. Tethered rides, food trucks, vendors, a free kid’s zone, music and an antique car show are also slated. All balloon activities depend on favorable weather conditions. For tickets and dos and don’ts, visit www.thevillagesballoonfestival.com

Downtown Ocala and Tuscawilla Park 10am-2pm Celebrate Central Florida ranching and cattle history by watching real cowboys drive Florida cracker cattle through downtown to Tuscawilla Park. Once at the park, enjoy live music by Brett Bass and Melted Plectrum and watch the Six Gun Territory gunslingers. Craft vendors, food trucks, tractors and trailers, farm animals and more. www.ocalafl.org

Tuscawilla Pond 1pm Adopt a duck for a chance to win cash prizes at the Marion County Rotary Clubs’ inaugural Duck Derby fundraiser. Get your ducks for $5 per duck, $25 for a “Quack Pack” of six ducks and $100 for a “Flock” of 24 ducks. First prize duck “parent” gets $2,020; second place, $1,010; and third, $520. For more information, visit www.mydiscoverycenter.org

10 Dr. Jean Twenge at CF Photo courtesy of Keith Franklin

CF Ewers Century Center 7:30pm Generation Z researcher Dr. Twenge reveals her insights on the generation born after 1995. At this free public talk, she’ll give tips for finding a balance with technology and making time for activities that benefit physical and mental health to combat unhappiness, anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation. For more information, call (352) 854-2322, ext. 1485. Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0



2020 New Year. New You. All New Equipment.

GET $20 BONUS WITH 0 GIFT CARD EVERY $10Ranch before 2/29/2020.

Spain 22 Abstract Project Show Opening

8th Ave Gallery 6-10pm After a whirlwind trip to Spain, visiting 12 cities in a month, artist/gallery owner Seth Benzel will unveil a series of abstract paintings inspired by his adventure. However, he doesn’t want you to get lost in the meaning of a painting. “The meaning is not the important thing,” he says. Instead, he wants you to feel the emotion of a moment in time. “It is a representation of the emotion, the occurrences in life that are all around us.” Benzel’s patrons fund his trips. He’s been to Dubai, Los Angeles and, this summer, aims to get inspired in Paris. His patrons track his travels on Instagram and Facebook and when he gets back, he completes a painting for each one of them, using acrylics and mixed-media on canvas, paper and wood. This show will feature about 10 to 12 from the series, including a painting that will take up an entire wall, a first for Benzel. For more information, call (518) 681-9347.



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Ocala Winter Circuit


Ocala Winter I Horse Trials


Majestic Oaks Ocala & Englert-Farren Sporthorses Schooling Jumper Show


Southern Draft Association Horse Pull

HITS Post Time Farm Feb 4-9; Feb 18-23; Feb 25-March 1 | 8am-4pm Grab lunch at the HITS Restaurant and find a grassy spot on the grounds to eat while watching some of the world’s best show jumping. www.hitsshows.com Florida Horse Park Feb 6-9 | 8am About 600 dressage, cross country and show jumping horses will be participating in the trials. Spectators welcome. www.flhorsepark.com

Majestic Oaks Ocala February 11 & 25 | 8am Come watch riders practice stadium jumping. Fence poles start at ground level and go up to four feet. Food trucks will be on hand. Free entry for spectators. www.majesticoaksocala.com The Villages Polo Club 12pm Watch 45 teams of muscular workhorses compete in pulling thousands of pounds. Tickets, $8 and $10 at the gate; children 12 and under, free. No pets. Rain or shine. www.thevillagesentertainment.com/event/ southern-draft-association-horse-pull

29 Hunt Country Horse Show

The Grand Oaks Resort, Weirsdale Feb 29 & March 1 | 9am-5pm Come see hunters and jumpers soar over fences, water obstacles, and solid jumps. Events take place at the Covered Arena, Fiber Arena and Racetrack Arena. Free. www.thegrandoaks.com



After Hours Concert: Chris McNeil


First Friday Art Walk

Appleton Museum of Art 5pm Country music singer Chris McNeil “is a talented inspirational singer—his voice and his lyrics will touch your heart.” www.AppletonMuseum.org

Ocala Historic District 6pm Stroll downtown shops, restaurants and art displays and meet local artists. Inverness-based The Mudds Jazz & Blues Band will perform. www.ocalafl.org

10 Artrageous

Reilly Arts Center 7:30pm From the high desert of New Mexico, Artrageous dance troupe combines fine art, music, singing, dancing and humor for an interactive art and music performance. www.reillyartscenter.com

15 HeArt in the Park

Ocala Tuscawilla Park 10am-2pm Bring the kids to create art in the park and the whole family can enjoy yard games and food trucks. This fundraiser benefits R.E.A.C.H., the Junior League’s project with Marion County Public Schools.

24 Season Reveal Party 2020-2021

Ocala Civic Theatre 6:30pm Enjoy a sneak preview of songs and scenes from the 2020-2021 season at this first-ever reveal party. Space is limited; RSVP to (352) 236-2274. www.ocalacivictheatre.com

20 Winter Carnival

Photo by Dave Miller

Trinity Catholic High School Feb 20-23 This family-fun fundraiser features midway rides for all ages, from enchanting kiddie rides to exhilarating thrill rides, carnival games and fair food favorites. Carnival parking and admission are free. Games and rides extra. New: Armbands required for entry Saturday after 6pm. Carnival hours: 5-10pm Thursday, 5-11pm Friday, 11am-11pm Saturday and 11am-9pm Sunday. Visit www.trinitycatholichs.org/carnival for more information.

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30th Annual Winefest


Big Hammock Race Series Miles for Meridian 5K


Chocolate & Cheese Festival

Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, Clermont Feb 7-9 | 10am-5pm, Friday and Saturday; 11am-5pm, Sunday Sip Lakeridge Winery’s full range of awardwinning table wines, from dry to sweet, while enjoying live music on an outdoor stage. www.lakeridgewinery.com

Tioga Town Center, Newberry 8:30am All ages and skill levels are welcome to walk/run/ roll through the Town of Tioga. The race benefits nonprofit Meridian Behavioral Healthcare. www.BigHammockRaceSeries.com Kings Bay Park, Crystal River Feb 8-9 | 10am-7pm & 10am-5pm Food trucks bring their chocolate and cheesethemed menus, while beer and wine sales benefit Keep Citrus County Beautiful. Fleetwood Max tribute band plays Saturday. www.bestfloridafest.com

20 Picnic Under the Stars

Sholom Park 6pm Picnic under the twinkling stars while enjoying the acoustic pop sounds of Gypsy Sparrow. Pack your picnic basket and Sholom Park will provide a blanket. Register at www.masterthepossibilities.org

21 Southeastern Youth Fair

Southeastern Livestock Pavilion Feb 21-29 | 8am An agricultural event featuring livestock shows, auctions and judging, competitive exhibits, contests and competitions, entertainment, barbecue and food. New this year is a 5K race. www.seyfair.com

22 10th Annual Charity Auto Show

McPherson Government Complex 9am-3pm Marion County Tax Collector George Albright presents this event, which features around 200 cars and 25 trophies as well as kids’ activities. Funds raised will benefit Interfaith Emergency Services and local children’s and animal charities. For more information, call (352) 368-8245.

13 Heart of a Hero Male Fashion Show

Southeastern Livestock Pavilion 6-8pm This fundraiser features a keynote speaker and a diverse group of local male heroes, from firefighters to high school vice principals. They appear in their uniform first and then model fashions by Dillard’s. “These guys put on a show, let me tell you,” says Tuesday May, one of the organizers. May’s husband Albert will emcee. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres served. Visit www.facebook.com/GFWCGreaterOcala for more information.

15 2nd Annual Love for Life Event

Red White and Blues Farm, Williston 9am Live music and performers, food trucks, bounce houses, face painting and more. Bring the family and some chairs to enjoy the live entertainment. www.loveforlife.ticketleap.com

River Knap-In and 15 Silver Prehistoric Arts Festival

Silver River Museum, Silver Springs State Park Feb 15-16 | 9am-4pm Artists demonstrate stone-tool making, pottery and ceramic arts, bone and shell carving, bow and arrow making and more. Food and craft vendors will be onsite. www.marionschools.net/silverrivermuseum



22 Ocala Eye’s Night for Sight

Ocala Citizens’ Circle 6-8pm; Fun Run begins at 6:30pm Tear off on this one mile glow-in-the-dark Fun Run throughout downtown Ocala, followed by an after-run celebration with live music and hands-on visual games and activities. Participants at this family-friendly event receive a complimentary vision screening. Donations are encouraged. Proceeds help fund eye exams and glasses for those with visual impairments. Visit www.ocalaeye.com/nightforsight for more information.

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Entertainment Calendar Date Time Event



7:00 pm

Bill Peterson as Rodney Dangerfield

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


7:30 pm

Marc Cohn

Reilly Arts Center, Ocala


7:30 pm

Almost Abba

Reilly Arts Center, Ocala



2:30 & Asleep at the Wheel 7:30pm 6:00 pm

The Machine Performs Pink Floyd

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale Rock Crusher Canyon Pavilion & Amphitheater, Crystal River


8:00Dueling Pianos 11:00pm

The Lodge, Ocala


5:00 & The Man in Black: A 8:00pm Tribute to Johnny Cash

Savannah Center, The Villages


6:00 pm

Celtic Tenors

Reilly Arts Center, Ocala


7:00 pm

Tom Petty-Damn The Torpedoes, Classic Albums Live

Savannah Center, The Villages

18 & 5:00& Stayin’ Alive-One Night 19 8:00pm of The Bee Gees 19

20 Statue photo by Isabelle Ramirez. Billy Joe Hoyle artwork courtesy of The Appleton Museum


7:00 pm

Southern Fried Chicks comedy

5:00& Comedian Bill Engvall 8:00pm 7:30 pm

Tommy Mara and the Crests

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale The Sharon, The Villages Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

2:30 & B.J. Thomas 7:30pm

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


2:30 & Rhonda Vincent 7:30pm

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

7:30 pm

Tuscawilla Art Park Feb 21-22 | 6-9pm On Friday, tour 10 new sculptures, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, unique art experiences and musical performances by West Port High School Choir and Orchestra, as well as classical crossover rock musicians Cello Fury. Tickets, $25. Saturday, bring the family. Vote for your favorite. Visit www.ocalafl.org/performingarts for VIP tickets and more information.

Savannah Center, The Villages



Art Park Series/ 21 2020 Beginning of Bolted Art

Clay Walker

Reilly Arts Center, Ocala


7:30 pm


Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


6:00 pm

Jay White: The Ultimate Neil Diamond Tribute

Circle Square Cultural Center, Ocala


7:00 pm

The Black Jacket Symphony Presents Led Zeppelin IV

Savannah Center, The Villages


7:00 pm

Elvis Live in Concert, Featuring Cote Deonath and Riley Jenkins

Rock Crusher Canyon Pavilion & Amphitheater, Crystal River

27 Artist Talk: Billy Joe Hoyle

Appleton Museum of Art 2-3pm Street photographer Billy Joe Hoyle and Appleton Curator of Exhibitions Patricia Tomlinson discuss Hoyle’s solo exhibition At Home and the World, on display through June 21st. Hoyle’s two decades of world travel, exploring diverse customs and beliefs, reveals an authentic look into the lives of his subjects. Free for Appleton members; included with museum admission fee for nonmembers. For more information, visit www.appletonmuseum.org Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0



Redefining Work Meet Jennifer Gresham, Ph.D., an outdoor enthusiast, scientist, entrepreneur and rebel, who will be speaking at the Evening Lecture Series sponsored for the community by the Institute of Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC). By Susan Smiley-Height




“spending time with my family and being outdoors. I like to be out in the forest, surrounded by wild nature.” Her lecture in Ocala will focus on two skills that individuals need to develop and that organizations need to hire for, to thrive in the future of work: learning to learn, including lifelong learning, and how to approach complicated problems (putting a man on the moon) as opposed to complex problems (creating world peace). “The world is becoming increasingly complex and connected, and not having an idea, even of the distinction between complex and complicated, much less how to solve those problems and the qualifications we need for people to do that work, is a real issue for business,” she states. “It is estimated half of the S&P 500 will turn over in 10 years. That is a huge impact on the business world and work force. I think one reason that’s happening is a failure to recognize and adequately address complexity. “My hope is that people are going to hear this talk and say, ‘Wow. We can’t keep the status quo,’” she says. “We can’t just keep doing what we’re doing. We need big change. And we need it fast.’” She says people often think she’s fearless because she left the military and started her own business, but that’s not true. “I had no preparation for starting a business. I had to teach myself everything,” she asserts. “I think people would be surprised to know I get scared and anxious all the time trying to do the big, crazy things I’m doing. I just don’t allow that to make my decisions for me.”

The IHMC Lecture Series is a free community event. RSVP for the February 6th lecture at www.ihmc.us or call (352) 387-3050.

Photo courtesy of IHMC

aybe it was the bloody nose she got when she suggested to a summer camp counselor that girls should be allowed into the boxing ring, or starting a newspaper to give her fellow fourth graders a voice, that led Jennifer Gresham to become a high performance coach and business strategist. Or maybe it was walking away from “as good an assignment as you can get,” as Assistant Chief Scientist of the Human Performance Wing of the Air Force Laboratory, because, she explains, “I tend to be a little rebellious and don’t accept the status quo and this was increasingly coming into conflict with the bureaucracy of the military.” Gresham says people thought she was “crazy” to leave the Air Force after 16 years, rather than wait for her full retirement at 20 years. “Life is short,” she states, “and four more years of feeling like I couldn’t contribute in the ways I wanted to wasn’t worth it.” She soon had people asking her for guidance on how to be so bold. “They were astounded at what opportunities were out there,” she offers. “Helping others find the courage and resilience to do what I did is important in the coming years.” Gresham’s experiences led her to establish her nonprofit, Work for Humanity, to help “people see the future as an invitation to create a better human experience of work, rather than a dire problem to solve.” “What do we want the experience of work to look like?” she poses. “We don’t ask that question nearly enough. A lot of the future of work discussions are trying to predict what we think is going to happen with technology and whether that is going to be good or bad, as if we have no control over that, but we have complete control. I like to tell people that we have human agency and we should use it to design work in the future that is more equitable and enjoyable for the majority.” Gresham, 46, was born in London, where her father was a computer consultant for the Bank of London, but grew up in Tampa. She is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Maryland. She has lived in 10 different states and now resides in Seattle, where she relishes


Coming Soon... FEB




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TheVillagesEntertainment 1545 N Buena Vista Blvd, The Villages, Fl | 352-753-3229



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at any of The Villages Box Office locations.

From Spain to the U.S.

Opening January 25, 2020 This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico and is circulating through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions. This exhibition is sponsored by Fine Arts For Ocala.

Museum, Artspace and Appleton Store Hours Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday: noon–5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | AppletonMuseum.org | 352-291-4455

-an equal opportunity college-


You are cordially invited

to celebrate Ocala’s newest brides and grooms, get a glimpse into their most special of days and hear ďŹ rsthand about the memories that will always hold a place in their hearts. Pictured: Madison & Tyler Gleason Photographed by Maudie Lucas Photography


MADISON & TYLER GLEASON December 28th, 2019 Photography by Maudie Lucas Photography Venue: The Barn at Mazak Ranch Her favorite memory: “My favorite memory of our whole wedding day was during our first dance. For a few minutes it felt like it was just my new husband and I alone together for the first time that day, but it was also pretty cool to look around the room and see everyone that loves and supports us.”


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



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16397 SE 83rd Ave., Summerfield | Licensed (# CGC034704) and Insured

Open House

A young family returns to Ocala and finds the charm of an old-fashioned farmhouse coming to life in their new home. By Belea T. Keeney


Photography by John Jernigan


ometimes it’s just that one thing that makes you fall for a house. A classic red metal roof protecting a cozy home. A magnolia tree that shades the back deck just so. The patina on a Victorian gate leading to a lush backyard. For Laura and T.J. Sherman of Ocala, their one thing was corner pocket doors. These five sliding glass doors are set in a corner on a covered porch. When open, the entire two walls of the dining area and hallway beckon to the porch and fenced backyard. These pocket doors help make the Shermans’ daily life in their new Magnolia Place home a delight. “I love that it’s open,” T.J. says. “We can have the outside inside. If you come by anytime that it’s below 70 degrees, those doors are open. They’re pretty much open all the time, and when I go to bed, I’ll close it.” Those unusual corner pocket doors are a key element in the modern farmhouse vibe of this home. T.J. is good friends with Ryan Gummer, who owns Secure Built, LLC Custom Home Builders in Ocala. It was natural for Gummer to work with the Shermans on this project—a modern farmhouse that appeals to all kinds of families. “Every family is unique,” Gummer states, “but we’ve seen a common desire for larger, open kitchens with flush countertop islands. The double wall oven has returned, large walk-in pantries with built-in organization systems are popular and of course the farmhouse sink is a must in any modern farmhouse.”

With its clean lines, crisp black-and-white base color scheme, and open concept, the Shermans are able to host parties and enjoy the indoor/outdoor lifestyle that Floridians sometimes take for granted. The living/dining/ kitchen area is filled with light, and the 10-foot ceilings throughout the home make the large space feel even airier. Laura made a conscious decision to keep the colors neutral. “I like the clean lines and it’s a very timeless house.” She knows she can redecorate with accessories and make seasonal changes without the drama (and trauma) of a major remodel. “If it had been up to T.J., we would have color everywhere.” T.J. laughs. “All I got to pick out was this,” he says and points to the stove backsplash tile, which is a deep navy blue. “And I have the blue accent wall in the master bedroom.” Laura agrees. “I told him, I’m saving you money. Because you know me, I would be sick of blue walls and in two years I’d want to have the whole house repainted.” Another unusual element of the home are the brick pavers used on the mudroom floor. Laura had quite a time getting the floor contractor to understand that she really wanted bricks. “They brought me vinyl that looked like brick. I said no. They brought me tiles. And I said no, I want real bricks.” The cheerful red and white of the brick and rough texture makes most every visitor bend down to touch the floor.

To learn more, visit www.hilton.com/en/hotels/ocfdtgihilton-garden-inn-ocala-downtown/

Brick also appears on the outside of the house, acting as the base of the foundation. Its contrast with the white siding and the black shutters give the house a feeling of solid grounding. Gummer notes, “Aesthetically, my favorite part of this home is the front elevation. The color choices paired with the textures really make this home stand out.” The house itself was a model, and Gummer let the Shermans “tweak it to what we wanted,” T.J. says. For example, they tweaked the quartz kitchen island, which is over eight feet long. Laura says, “It’s oversized, and that was one of our things because everybody hangs out in the kitchen.” T.J. smiles. “We went to the vendor and asked how big of a slab can you make? And they made it.”

Laura wanted quartz because it looks like marble, and it’s more durable than marble or other solid surfaces. “And it came in under budget,” she admits. “Helped me save some money and put it elsewhere.” A customization that T.J. especially enjoys is the master bathroom. “I designed the dual showerheads,” he says. That room is also white with marble on the walls, polished chrome fixtures, his and hers closets and a pocket door that saves space yet still allows for privacy. Why Ocala after living in trendy St. Petersburg’s Historic Old Northeast section? “We had gotten to where we wanted kids, but had no family there,” T.J. says. “So we wanted to come back” to Ocala where both sets of their parents live and where both of them had grown up. They moved into the house in September 2019 and hosted “friendsgiving” in November.



Laura and T.J. chose all the finishes, colors and fixtures themselves. There are mixed metals throughout; brushed and regular brass in the guest half bath; polished chrome fixtures in the master bath and kitchen; and black metal with polished chrome accents for the light fixtures in the kitchen and dining area. Most of the rooms are a cool white, except for the nursery. The paint color is named “intimate white” but has a distinctly pinkish hue that fits in with what Laura wanted for daughter Sawyer Catherine, 9 months old. “The color changes as the day goes on,” Laura says. A vintage Jenny Lind crib for Sawyer was a gift, and Laura’s old dresser became a dressing table. T.J., a hobbyist woodworker, got out his tools to create the rustic dining room table and chairs himself (as well as the coffee table in the living room). He created them from “plain old pine” and stained the set a deep burgundy-brown. “When we lived in St. Pete, we saw one, and I said, I can make that! So when she had her bridesmaids’ weekend, I got it done.” The dining set fits in perfectly with the farmhouse theme of the home. The Shermans also find the new urbanism aspects of the neighborhood an asset. Magnolia Park, set within the larger subdivision of The Magnolias off Southeast 38th Street, boasts “The Commons,” a park at the front of the neighborhood. All the homes have alley access to the garages. Having a household’s cars hidden (along with trash cans) adds to the charm of the new neighborhood, as do the magnolia trees planted in every yard. Sidewalks curve throughout the neighborhood, making for a pleasant after-dinner stroll or early morning exercise session. Coming back to Ocala was the right move for the Shermans. This house has become a home for them, a haven from the rest of the world and a place to build their new family life.

From the Ground Up Ocala architect Rolando Sosa has the mind of an engineer and the creative vision of an artist. He has a remarkable eye for seeing how the smallest details can not only occupy a space but tell a story. By Lisa McGinnes Photography by Rigoberto Perdomo of Perdomo Images


orn in Santa Clara, Cuba, with its Spanish influence and vibrant Art Deco style, Rolando Sosa immigrated with his family to New Jersey when he was 8 years old. When they moved to Ocala, he attended Lake Weir High School, where he would discover his passion for architecture, a career he thought would be “cool.” It started when he and a friend were figuring out their schedules for senior year. “I needed a few credits and he was a teacher’s assistant in the drafting class,” Sosa recalls. “I took that course and I loved it. That’s the first time I was ever



exposed to design, drafting, architecture or engineering. I thought designing homes and buildings would be so cool so that’s what led me to architecture.” After graduation he continued at Central Florida Community College (now College of Central Florida) to pursue an associate’s degree in building, although he reveals he’d “never met an architect, not even a builder up to that point.” At the time Sosa graduated, the U.S. was rebounding from an economic recession, but he “applied to a local firm and was hired on.” He started his career as a draftsman with well-known Angus McRae, Architect,

and Associates in Ocala, a job which he laughingly says consisted of “not really sweeping the floor” but “measuring things” and making blueprints, which he says is “not a thing anymore.” He spent 10 years learning the business from the ground up, then he and a colleague decided to open a firm of their own. Eighteen years later, in 1994, Sosa took over the business and changed the name to Architecture Studio. Having his own business gave this devoted husband and father the flexibility to work hard but still make time for his family. “Being successful, it’s not all about the money,” Sosa says. “But can I spend time with my wife and can I spend time with my kids? Can I go do something that I want to do? If not, then why am I working so hard?” His wife Sara’s business, Salon Wow, and son Roland’s company, Advanced Technology Solutions, share space in the same building as his office. Daughter Rita, also an architect, oversees Architecture Studio’s second office in Fort Lauderdale. When they moved to their current home 22 years ago, Sosa enjoyed the process of creating a comfortable home for his family. He had a hand in designing the master bedroom suite and his children’s rooms while Sara endowed the house with charming old world elements such as a chandelier her mother brought from Italy and vintage glass doorknobs like the ones she’d loved in her childhood home, to an ornately hand-carved powder room door. Rolando explains to clients that these personalized touches are what turns a house into a home. “We didn’t go out and buy all brand-new everything,” he asserts. He found their turn-of-the-century front

door at a salvage yard and the powder room sink was salvaged from the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. Sosa designed some of the light fixtures and furniture, including the one-of-a-kind staircase that he and his family members installed. Beyond family, community is important to Sosa. He serves on the Marion County Historical Commission Advisory Board, supports Interfaith Emergency Services and volunteers for Marion Cultural Alliance. He says his biggest charitable gift to date was donating architectural services for Transitions Life Center’s new community center, that opened in fall 2019 to serve intellectually disabled young adults. “It’s very rewarding” to see how the nonprofit helps the community, Sosa says. When he was approached by a few people on behalf of the charity, he had the ability to help, so he did. “We can’t always do it for everybody,” he says, “but we can do it for a few and hopefully that makes a difference. ” Over the past 25 years, Sosa has designed a diverse array of projects—from eye-catching, ultramodern South Florida luxury homes and Marion County equestrian estates to private-public partnerships such as the Marion County Public Library Headquarters and nearby Marion County Veterans Resource Center. Each building is functional but made unique with interesting touches, such as the seals representing the five branches of service that make the Veterans Resource Center clearly visible from East Silver Springs Boulevard. “Attractive but yet cost effective and functional is kind of what I do for a living,” Sosa says. “If money was Below, design elements of Sosa’s home

Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0


At left, images from Sosa’s various residential and commercial projects

no object, anybody can design a billiondollar facility that looks dynamite. But the key is designing a great facility that looks dynamite within a certain owner’s budget. The complications arise when an owner wants that ‘Wow!’ project but they have a tight budget. My job is to figure out how can we make this happen.” Staying on budget is vital for a city or county building project, Sosa explains. He enjoys working on projects designed to boost downtown growth, and one of his newest endeavors is designing a new apartment project that he has dubbed Tuscawilla Art Apartments. “My inspiration for this project was that Tuscawilla has become an art park,” he shares. “I found out the city had the property and wanted somebody to develop this. The studies showed that there was a large need for apartments in our downtown/uptown or midtown areas.” His renderings show two-story, pastel-colored apartments with a decidedly modern, upscale vibe. Sosa figures these new rentals near the north end of the Osceola Trak will attract professionals who work in the area and people “who want to be in the downtown area.” “I’m not exactly a young professional,” he says with a laugh, “but I go downtown, I go out to dinner, I go out to drinks…I wouldn’t mind walking five minutes to downtown.” He believes the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown and the Reilly Arts Center makes the new apartments an important project for the city. He promises the development will be “something interesting, something artsy” and will have the “wow factor” that he’s trying to elicit. Sosa has collaborated with other local businessmen who share his vision for a revitalized downtown. He and Holland Drake of Drake Construction Services took inspiration from similar-sized cities that have transformed their downtowns, including Winter Garden, Florida and Asheville, North Carolina, with their 302 Broadway project in downtown Ocala. The head-turning renovation of an old 1960s telephone building into hip, urban residential lofts opened in 2018. Their newest creation is Bank Street Patio Bar & Grill, which opened in October as an instant hotspot, with its industrial-chic shipping container layout softened by cozy 44


outdoor seating areas. “Rolando and I share a common passion for bringing vibrant trends to downtown Ocala,” Drake says. “We both have many visions from larger cities that draw a crowd.” Sosa believes timing was a key element. “I think Ocala was ready for something along those lines,” he says of Bank Street Patio Bar & Grill. “And you can tell by the enthusiasm it has received. Right now the buzz in the area is certainly that location.” Just a couple blocks away, another destination for downtown cocktails is getting ready to open and is also sure to create a buzz. “The Tipsy Skipper was basically a complete redo of an existing building,” Sosa says, describing a relaxed tropical vibe brought to the new tiki bar next to the historic Marion Theatre. He thinks the craft cocktail lounge with a tropical Hawaiian-Polynesian fusion décor will be a great gathering place to “hang out, relax and have a conversation.” Sosa was also involved with the highly anticipated Hilton Garden Inn Ocala Downtown, which has been under construction at the downtown square for the past two years. “I helped Danny Gaekwad with the project submittals and some master planning of the project,” he explains. “I basically laid out the footprint of the building on the property.” After helping Gaekwad Development submit the package to the City of Ocala, Sosa was retained to design the hotel’s adjacent two-story, mixed-use building which is expected to house retail space on the first floor and apartments on the second floor and will go into construction after the hotel opens. Sosa enjoys the challenge of repurposing existing spaces, and recently partnered with owner Pete Garcia and Stentiford Construction Services to do the architectural and interior design work for Ocala’s new Gold’s Gym, which opened in January in a former Winn-Dixie on Highway 27. “Gold’s Gym is an altogether different project just because of size and complexity,” Sosa says. “At the very beginning we got to be very creative and we got to be creative every step of the way.” He used even the smallest design details, like door handles

Rolando and Sara Sosa

for example, to make the gym interesting. His creative mind’s eye can clearly visualize even a tiny feature’s design value, functionality and safety all at once. Being a successful architect, he explains, is “a whole bunch of things that are innumerable—from door handles to carpeting or ceramic tile or wall finishes, lights, plumbing, air conditioning, and heating. All of that is what an architect does,” he adds. “If you walk into a building and you’re comfortable in the summer, you’re comfortable in the winter, then the architect and the engineers did a great job to make that happen.” Architecture isn’t work to him, Sosa explains, because he loves what he does. So, decades later, the “cool-sounding” job that piqued his interest in high school has turned out to be a wildly successful and rewarding career with plenty of “wow factor” moments. Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0


Building a Legacy A new hotel will energize downtown and serve as a testament to one family’s love of Ocala. By Susan Smiley-Height



ew York elegance in the form of uniformed bell staff. The convenience of valet parking for a stay or brief visit. The history of the equine industry in Marion County showcased in myriad ways. Signature cocktails and craft brews, paired with a food hall of diverse vendors. All of that, says Karan Gaekwad, is what will make the Hilton Garden Inn Ocala Downtown something never seen before in the Horse Capital of the World. The hotel, on the east side of the Ocala downtown square, was four years in planning and two years in construction, according to Gaekwad, vice president of Gaekwad Development & Investments.



Illustration by Margaret Watts

He said the hotel was a custom build and that many elements changed as they encountered people who had great ideas beyond the initial design. “Then you change and stop construction. Then two weeks later, you meet another person and you’re like, ‘Oh, that idea is better,’” he offers. “We thought, we have to make this perfect. It’s a community thing, not just a cookiecutter project.” Gaekwad notes that Hilton Worldwide has been very collaborative along the way, insisting only on signature branding in certain areas. Some highlights of the property will include valet car service from the east and west entrances, with parking

in the nearby city garage. When a hotel guest arrives, the door staff will assist them in entering at the ground level and ascending to the second-floor lobby, where they will be greeted by a massive LED screen showing a video of horses galloping. “You can hear them breathing,” Gaekwad notes of the equines. That level will include a breakfast area, Hilton Marketplace and the centerpiece of the hotel, an expansive indoor/outdoor bar. The outdoor seating area spans the entire length of the hotel and looks into the square. It will include a Jumbotron that can be viewed from the hotel and the square. Gaekwad says he worked with international celebrity mixologist Rob Floyd, featured on the show Bar Rescue, to create signature cocktails to enhance the upstairs “nightlife” vibe. The ground floor, which also may be entered from the square side, will include a spacious food hall where vendors will share a commercial kitchen area but maintain separate kiosks and spaces in which to offer their wares. Gaekwad says the vendors will showcase unique menu items that will be different from others in the area. He proudly notes that he secured the services of a Heineken brew master for the craft brew bar. Portions of the food hall area will be pet friendly. The first and second floors also will have meeting and banquet spaces, Gaekwad adds, noting that they hired a designer from Universal Studios to help refine the décor. One of the areas of which Gaekwad is most proud is a hallway on the ground floor that connects the east and west sides of the hotel. “As a community member, if you’re just walking on the square, you can come in this entrance, and it’s all connected to the other side. As a guest, you can come in here too. This is what I call an educational hallway,” he notes. “This will have the history of Ocala, the equine industry, and different breeds, like all their awards, history, what made Ocala today what it is.” He says he curated the elements in the hallway, as well as those spread around the second-floor lobby and bar area, by working in concert with Louisa Barton, the director of equine engagement at the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership, and with individuals with deep roots in the equine industry. Barton says there has been an ongoing initiative to unite all equine breeds and disciplines and that the hotel has become a key part of the overall plan, which includes 50 commemorative bronze plaques and 1,200 engravable bricks in sidewalks, and more. Among the items to be displayed at the hotel, she notes with pride, are the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes trophies won during the 2019 Triple Crown races by horses trained by Ocala’s Mark Casse. After the hotel is open, Gaekwad says his company will develop an adjacent two-story complex that will include

apartments, office space and two restaurants. The idea, he notes, is to use every inch of valuable real estate on the property and also to “keep downtown alive.” He says his family is committed to the Ocala/Marion County area and that the downtown complex will be a legacy of generations. His father is Danny Gaekwad, who has created multiple businesses and has served in numerous public, private and nonprofit leadership roles.

Among the items to be displayed at the hotel are the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes trophies won during the 2019 Triple Crown races by horses trained by Ocala’s Mark Casse. “I was born and raised here. My father’s here for 30-plus years. I plan on my family being here,” Karan Gaekwad affirms. “We started a real estate development company that is doing pretty well right now. Ocala gave us everything we have so we wanted to do a project that gives the community what it’s always wanted. At the same time, we want to leave a legacy too. Kind of saying, this is the best thing we’ve ever created for the city of Ocala.” The hotel is on land where previous hotels have stood in downtown Ocala. During construction they found a number of old red bricks from prior venues that are being saved for a special purpose. The hotel site first was home to the Ocala House, a frame structure built in 1847. After a fire on Thanksgiving Day in 1883 destroyed that venue, along with a great many others, a new Ocala House, made of brick, rose on the site. With expansions and renovations, and being renamed Hotel Ocala, it remained there until the City of Ocala purchased it in the 1960s, after which it was demolished. Gaekwad says he wants guests of the new hotel to not only learn about the history of the area, but also to recognize that Ocala is a beautiful and vibrant community that is growing and changing. He also wants them to feel energized as soon as they arrive at the site. “When you pull up and are greeted by a valet, or you walk up to an entrance,” he asserts, “we want no delays. We want to put you right in the action. Boom!” To learn more, visit www.hilton.com/en/hotels/ocfdtgihilton-garden-inn-ocala-downtown/ Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0




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Pu ing it


When it comes to trends, you can pick and choose the ones that feel right. Or you can go all out and embrace the maximalism of it all. By Nick Steele

Room Styled by April Rose

Photography by Rigoberto Perdomo 50


If you’ve been paring everything down to its bare minimum in recent years, you may be ready to embrace the current trend toward unbridled excess, especially what interior design personality Tali Roth calls “vintage maximalism” with lots of color, warmth, antiques and eclectic touches: “We are all craving our own unique stamp on our spaces—pieces to make our personal spaces stand out from the crowd.”

There are no rules with maximalism, only freedom. You bring in what inspires you—each piece is an intentional choice. This opens the door for total originality. – April Rose

” Classic Blue is Pantone’s color of the year and our friends at Koontz Furniture and Design think using it as an accent adds both fun and a level of sophistication to interiors. Ride the color wave with Koontz’s Rustic Tribute Pot (top of page), Zara’s Knit Midi Dress and A&B Home’s “Valora” blue and white vases.

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Heavy Metals

Mixed metals have been having a moment where jewelry and accessories are concerned for several seasons. According to Shannon Roth of Shannon Roth Collection, the trend has made its way home with mixed metals becoming an alternative to having everything so matchymatchy. Billy Martter of JH Design + Build further explains that “living finishes” are a hot home fixtures trend at the moment and that nickel and copper (which develops a natural patina over time) are great choices. Bracelet by John Medeiros at Agapanthus, Mixed Metal Lamp available at La-Z-Boy.

Of the trend toward repurposed and upcycled homewares and furnishings, Paula King of Agapanthus offers that, “As people are becoming more environmentally conscious, we seem them acting on it by purchasing recycled products. Mariposa is a great example of a durable yet beautiful line of home goods made completely from recycled aluminum.” Using reclaimed wood and vintage materials in furniture is great way to add some distinctiveness to your home, as witnessed by Casa Rustica’s one-of-a-kind line exclusively for Blocker’s Furniture. Play it again with Mariposa’s ‘Pearled Collection’ and Silver Box by J. Alexander at Shannon Roth Collection.

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In 2019, she helped sell 90 homes. She offers in-depth knowledge of the purchase/listing process, responsiveness, communication through the entire transaction, negotiation, and insight into the real estate market and the local area. From first-time homebuyers to retirees to investors, she believes real estate is about the personal commitment to the people involved. Her goal is service beyond your expectations. Call Regina today to discuss your real estate needs and put a plan in action.

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Thrifty Business From thrift stores with an artsy side to charity shops that pay big benefits, the hunt is half the fun and home treasures abound. By Belea T. Keeney Illustration by Maggie Weakley


ooking for a stylish vintage loveseat or some fabulous one-of-a-kind artwork? Maybe you’re on the hunt for some flamingo-pink midcentury Fiesta ware. No matter how quirky an item you want, you can probably find it “pre-owned and gently used” in a thrift store. Thrifting has long been a draw for bargain hunters and those seeking unique vintage treasures, and while it never really went away, it has come out of the closet, so to speak. It’s now considered quite chic—especially here in Florida, where high-end, stylish and nearly new home furnishings and accessories are widely available. No longer considered



a step down for home decorating needs, the variety and quality of “gently pre-owned,” used or flea market finds offer great options for making your home unique. There are some variations in store types to keep in mind when shopping used furnishing and décor stores. Consignment stores accept items from sellers and take a percentage of the sales price (in this market, typically about 50 percent). Consignment stores only make money when they sell an item, so they evaluate items with care and may turn down things that aren’t of high enough quality, aren’t in season, or are in poor condition. If you’re looking for

name brands and quality décor and furnishings, consignment stores are a great option as someone has done the quality-assurance legwork for you. Several of the larger consignment stores in Marion County include The Carriage Trade, Renaissance Room, and Infiniti Fine Consignments. A thrift shop may or may not have a charity component and can either be part of a national organization or an arm of a local group. Marion County has several nationally recognized and locally operated nonprofit thrift stores such as The Salvation Army, Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. Though home furnishings are not necessarily a

focus at all of these shops, there are always lots of home décor and home goods on offer. Some notable local nonprofit examples include A2nd Chances Thrift Store which supports a women’s prison program that benefits recently released parolees. The Humane Society of Marion County Thrift Store devotes its profits to helping local animals in need. Some thrift stores are distinctly well organized, clean and orderly (the Hospice of Marion County thrift stores are an example); others are more of a jumble. For many shoppers though, treasure hunting is part of the “thrill of the chase,” so they are happy to root through boxes or hunt and pick, hoping to discover a hidden gem. It just depends on your own shopping style and preferences. Thrift stores can also be independently owned and operated, and whether or not the items are curated depends upon the store’s owner and management. That’s So Shabby That’s So Chic, for example, is a light and bright, curated shop (complete with a charming feline greeter named Tootsie who will distract you from shopping by insisting on playtime) with refurbished and hand-painted vintage


furnishings and stylish vignettes, and items organized by style and color palette. Brother’s Keeper, in their expanded store now on 14th Street, has even more donated furniture that can be purchased by shoppers and also is available free to needy clients given vouchers from the agency. Antique stores, of course, offer valuable vintage and authenticated antique items. If you’re looking for something along these lines or have a specific item in mind—say, a Danish modern coffee table from the 1950s—an antique store is probably the best place to start your search. Many stores like this use a vendor booth model and have different sellers with displays in the store that are changed out periodically. What’s fun about these places is that some vendors specialize in a certain era, style or theme. While it would be a monumental task to list all the shops and stores that fall under the pre-owned sales banner, we’ve assembled a list of some of the standouts, by area, to help on your next treasure hunt. We’d also love for you to share your favorites with us on social media—be sure to tag #OSHome2020 when you do.

Humane Society of Marion County Thrift Store 110 NW 10th St Ocala (352) 732-8424 This charity-based store is consistently brimming with a wide variety of household items and some furniture at low prices. They offer some new/closeout merchandise as well.


Habitat Ocala ReStore 926 NW 27th Ave Ocala and 10800 SW 91st Ave Ocala (352) 401-0075 All kinds of household items and some building supplies at good prices. A great mix of merchandise that turns over quickly and changes daily.

The Salvation Army Family Thrift Store 120 NW 10th St Ocala (352) 732-7058 Another charity-based shop with a true mix of all kinds of household items and furnishings. Good variety and low prices.

Ocala Antique Mall & Estates 4425 NW Blichton Rd Ocala (352) 624-2511 A great source for truly unusual antique and vintage items. The curated mix of merchandise, in a variety of styles and eras, is offered by various vendors/dealers and well priced for the market.

Brother’s Keeper Thrift Store 320 NW 10th St Ocala (352) 732-7988 Recently relocated from its former downtown location, the store has much more room for furnishings, home décor items and housewares, as well as the other items. Good low prices and a great cause.

That’s So Shabby That’s So Chic 3602 NE 8th Pl Unit K Ocala (352) 694-2778 Offering painted furniture, reclaimed items, and how-to painting classes, this cheery shop carries a great selection of home furnishings and décor, collectibles and new gift items, all curated with care at good prices.

The Finicky Flamingo 640 NW 27th Ave Ocala (352) 867-0537 Light and bright with themed furniture and home décor as well as upcycled shabby chic items. Curated with care, reasonable prices, and a distinct vibe.

Legends Vintage Goods 3305 E Silver Springs Blvd Ocala (352) 299-5400 Housed in a former bar, this shop has multiple dealer booths with an eclectic mix of home décor items, some small furniture items, and a funky assortment of vintage finds at reasonable prices.

The Carriage Trade 2005 E Silver Springs Blvd Ocala (352) 369-9298 This consignment store has been serving the Ocala area for decades, offering a carefully curated selection of home Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0


furnishings with delivery available. Housed in a former department store, dressing rooms are now nooks in which to treasure hunt. Infiniti Consignment 2750 E Silver Springs Blvd #300 Ocala (352) 671-1890 Recently reopened after moving from the southwest side of town, the larger space carries a full range of home furnishings, artwork and décor staged in enticing vignettes.


The Mustard Seed Collection 56 SE 1st Ave #102 Ocala (352) 854-0294 Owner Mandy Bucci just enjoys “old stuff ” and has filled her boutique with interesting antique and vintage finds, along with reasonably priced new jewelry and other wearables, all curated to inspire. She also carries milk paints. Rustique Vintage Market 506 NE 1st Ave Ocala (352) 304-5756 Relatively new, this two-yearold shop has a great selection of farmhouse type décor including lots of chicken and rooster-themed items. Dozens of vendors offer reasonably priced casual country treasures. The White Elephant 120 S Magnolia Ave Ocala (352) 732-5580 The main store is small and overflowing with a quirky mix of home décor and vintage items. Larger furniture is housed in a former gas station just down the block, and it’s a true treasure hunter’s delight. 56


Tumbleweed 122 S Magnolia Ave Ocala (352) 433-2084 Next door to the White Elephant is a treasure trove of vintage and antique furniture and décor items— including an incredible selection of unique drawer pull knobs.


The Garden Thrift and Boutique 12740 SE County Hwy 484 Belleview Open since 2010, the store’s inventory comes from auctions, donations, and estate sales. It has an everchanging mix of furniture and décor items. Offers solid selection and great prices. Destiny Antiques & More 10121 US Hwy 441 Belleview (352) 789-1670 This charity-based shop also helps victims of domestic abuse and the disadvantaged get back on their feet. Offering a variety of furnishings, homewares, and décor items at affordable prices. Wings of Faith Thrift Store 3330 SE 58th Ave Ocala (352) 694-1158 This cheery charity shop runs weekly specials and even has a shopper loyalty card program. They stock all kinds of household items, décor and furnishings. House to Home 6108 SE Hames Rd Belleview (352) 347-4006 Boasting carefully curated fine consignments, painted furniture and handcrafted items

along with some vintage finds, this charity store hosts vendor booths, sells mineral paint and offers a custom painting service and painting classes. Operation Shoebox Furniture Store 5940 SE Hames Rd Belleview (352) 307-6723 This veterans organization, which uses funds raised to send care packages to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas, offers large furniture, small decorations and accessories at great prices. They also have a thrift store with lots of housewares at 8360 E Highway 25.


Discount Daze 1211 SW 17th St Ocala (352) 304-6572 With a mix of used, consignment, and some new furniture, this store has a solid selection of painted/ shabby chic furniture, curated with care at reasonable prices. A2nd Chances Thrift Store 5100 W. State Rd 40 #300 Ocala Run by a women’s prison ministry, this store offers curated furnishings and accessories staged in vignettes, as well as a back room with a more eclectic mix of items. Renaissance Room 7380 SW 60th Ave Ocala (352) 854-7022 This consignment store with an ever-changing selection focuses on major household furnishings (think entire bedroom suites and dining room sets), single pieces, and décor accessories. Hospice of Marion County has multiple locations listed at www. hospiceofmarion.com/thrift-stores Clean and well organized, with an inventory that includes accessories, furniture and household items at low prices with changing daily discounts.

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Wallpaper is trendy again and is having a moment. Done right, it’s a simple, relatively inexpensive way to make a big impression in just about any room. But as I learned, technique and planning go a long way when you’re installing it yourself. By Cynthia McFarland Illustration by Maggie Perez Weakley

hen the lion’s share of your information about home projects comes from Pinterest and DIY television shows, it’s inevitable (for me, at least) that you will tackle the makeover projects that come up in your own home. Which is how I ended up straddling a toilet backwards during my first wallpaper undertaking. But I’m getting ahead of myself… Let’s back up a bit. Last year I made over my entire master bathroom, which included building and installing a frame around the large builder-grade mirror, upgrading the hardware and painting all cabinets—a painstaking, time-intensive, tedious process which, upon completion, I vowed never to do again. Funny how we forget those laborious details in just a matter of months when the urge for another makeover project strikes. As pleased as I was with how the cabinets turned out, the highlight of that bathroom makeover is the accent wall behind the toilet, which I wallpapered with paper that so closely resembles reclaimed wood—you have to touch it to realize it’s not actual wood. I got the inspiration from Pinterest, bought the wallpaper on Amazon.com and picked up the few supplies I needed at Walmart. The result far surpassed the few hours and less than $100 invested in the project. The beauty of today’s technology is that a reasonably handy person can learn how to do just about anything by studying enough online tutorials. (Oh, and reading the directions that came with the wallpaper and paste.) Although every video I watched online had the wallpaper hung vertically, I wanted the look of horizontal boards, so I measured and cut my paper to fit the space by hanging each section horizontally. For my first wallpapering project, dealing with these much shorter pieces of paper was a lot easier than managing ceiling-to-floor length pieces. It worked beautifully 58


and I got the exact look I was aiming for. The toughest moments were hanging the sections right behind the toilet tank, but at the end of the day, patience and perseverance paid off. I was so happy with my accomplishments in the master bathroom that this past spring I found myself embarking on a makeover of the guest bathroom. There were far fewer cabinets to paint, but I had an idea I was eager to try for the corner behind the toilet. On one of my favorite DIY shows, the flippers used old metal roofing panels for a bathroom accent wall. I loved the look and had a few pieces of perfectly weathered tin panels stashed out in the barn that I wanted to use. Unfortunately, the toilet tank was so close to the wall there wasn’t enough clearance for the ribbed panels to fit behind it. So, recalling the success with my earlier bathroom wallpapering efforts, I opted for the next best thing: wallpaper that looks like antique metal ceiling tiles, complete with that distressed paint effect. After tearing out the tacky wood paneling on that half wall behind the toilet, I washed the wall and let it dry before hanging the wallpaper. This time, I cut the sections and hung them vertically. Once again, I found myself in the “riding backwards” position when it came to hanging the paper on the wall behind the tank. It was awkward and challenging to smooth out, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you decide to try your own wallpapering skills in a bathroom, it would be easier and faster without the toilet in place. My DIY skills, however, have not expanded to include plumbing-related issues and I didn’t feel like paying a handyman to remove the toilet just so I could more easily paper that wall. As I discovered, it’s certainly doable without removing it. You could also just choose a different wall to accent— which, if I learned one thing from my experience—is what I’m going to do next time around!

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Kevin Quetant, a recent graduate of the College of Central

An Enriching Opportunity The College of Central Florida offers young black men the chance to be mentored by business and community leaders. By Susan Smiley-Height

Why is the college hosting this event? At CF, we are committed to providing opportunities for all community members. Charles McIntosh, Dean of Criminal 60


Justice and Public Service, and Lisa Smith, Director of Student Support Services, recognized the need to reach young black males and family members with information about higher education and provide resources to help them on their journey toward college. McIntosh and Smith received a grant from the CF Foundation in May 2019 to host this event. “We are fully focused on student success,” says McIntosh. “It is important that we establish networks that empower these young men and their parents.”

Who will be sharing success stories and offering guidance?

Forest High School alumnus Anthony D. Thomas, managing partner of Thomas Thomas Law LLC in Tallahassee, will share his journey from growing up in Ocala to becoming a corporate lawyer. The group facilitators are attorney Michael Mills of Graham

and Mills, Attorneys at Law in Orlando, and Maj. Earl Filmore Jr., CF and Lake Weir High School alumnus and director of Military Services and Affairs for BethuneCookman University. They will promote higher education, career exploration and self-development.

What are some resources that will be highlighted?

CF Admissions, Financial Aid, Dual Enrollment and the collegeowned Appleton Museum of Art, along with programs that can include mentoring and scholarship opportunities, such as the U.S. Department of Education’s Talent Search, the local Take Stock in Children program and others.

Is this a free event?

Yes. Dinner and refreshments will be provided.

How can young men register?

At www.CF.edu/DaretoDream and also at the door.

Photo courtesy of the College of Central Florida


lack males in grades seven through 11, and their parents, are invited to an enrichment conference at the College of Central Florida (CF) to discuss relevant issues and access community programs to help young African Americans in their growth and education. The event will begin with registration and a resource fair at 5pm on February 20th, with a meal and program from 6 to 8pm, in the Ewers Century Center at 3001 SW College Road, Ocala. It will include giveaways and a chance to win a CF scholarship. To get more information about the “Dare to Dream: Black Male Enrichment Conference,” we spoke with the event’s organizers.

Fall in Love with Where You Live. At Showcase Properties of Central Florida, our priority is finding you that perfect place to call ‘home’ in Ocala and Marion County’s diverse landscape. As advocates to our beloved Ocala, we’re invested in helping our customers become neighbors, friends, and active members of the local community. If you’re ready to fall in love with where you live, contact our diverse group of real estate experts today. We’ll help you through each and every step of your unique real estate journey.

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Some of Ocala’s most significant African American cultural history is on view at the newly updated mural at Webb Field.


By Harriet Daniels


Photography by Bruce Ackerman

cala’s Black History Mural at Webb Field chronicles our community’s rich African American history through colorfully depicted panels that illustrate landmark moments and trailblazers and serves as both a vibrant attraction for visitors and an inspiring monument for future generations. The artwork, inspired by the style of renowned artist Jacob Lawrence, is located a short walk from Southwest Broadway, a once thriving hub of black-owned businesses. The mural project began in 2004 as a partnership between the College of Central Florida (CF), Brick City Center for the Arts (now Marion Cultural Alliance) and a youth summer art camp at CF’s Hampton Center. Several local youth organizations assisted in the project, along with a group of student artists from CF. Local artists Leonard Palmer and Bob Hazelton signed on to assist. Jillian Ramsammy, Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness and College Relations at CF, recalled that the Appleton Museum of Art was featuring an exhibit by Lawrence at the time, while Brick City was simultaneously showcasing the work of local artists who were influenced by the painter. Ramsammy says, “It was an opportunity to introduce youth to the work of this important painter who is well known for his works that explore the history of the African American experience.” When the group was asked to create a community mural, there was surprise and excitement about the 29-panel, 200-foot-long wall on the perimeter of Webb Field at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex. Ramsammy, former manager of the college’s cultural and conference centers, along with Michele Faulconer, who was the former gallery coordinator for Brick City, were instrumental in organizing the effort. “Disbelief was quickly replaced by excitement as we walked along the length of the wall and brainstormed what we might do there,” Ramsammy says. “Nothing like giving artists creative freedom and a big empty wall.” The only guideline for the project was that the mural include the history of West Ocala. Work on the mural took 10 months to complete.

“I left the area for a while and to be back and see it still there and still vibrant is a huge sense of pride for me as an artist and a teacher,” says Faulconer. It’s difficult for her to pick a favorite panel along the mural, she states, saying she views each panel as meaningful. And, she wants visitors to understand how important Ocala was to medicine, banking and technology. “History is not just in the books,” she asserts. “There is such a rich background here. Get out there and stroll the area and see what’s there, take in the history of the community and be proud.” Ramsammy and the committee researched West Ocala to determine which local historic figures and prominent details needed to be included in the mural. They spent time at the Black History Museum and Archives housed at Howard Academy Community Center. The group also interviewed community leaders such as Juanita Cunningham, Peachie Jackson, the late Lois Miller, and the late Pinkney Woodbury to name a few. “It was the interviews with elders and leaders in the community that breathed life into the past,” she says. “We were outsiders to the community, and yet we were welcomed with such enthusiasm when we shared the project.” The information gathered helped organize the panels to focus on education, social, business, faith, and recreation. Individual panels mark milestones such as the first registered black voters, Sheriff M.A. Counts as the first black sheriff in the area, and the list of blacks who held public office in Ocala and Marion County. The faith section depicts Mount Zion AME Church and its beautiful stained glass windows. The building that still stands on South Magnolia Avenue is the only surviving 19th century structure in the city. Locals often refer to the area as Black Wall Street, which was a hub of black-owned banks and prominent businesses. The six founders of the Metropolitan Savings Bank are depicted on the mural, along with Paradise Park where blacks went to relax and enjoy amenities similar to those found at the then-segregated Silver Springs attraction. The mural includes the former Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0


Howard High School and the creation of the West Ocala Historic District in 2001. Narvella Haynes, a native of Marion County who is a community activist, had a group of students with the YMCA Youth Achievers Program help with painting the mural 16 years ago. She remembers the students were excited to be involved and several learned about their own family history. “One of the students learned that his aunt won a beauty pageant at Paradise Park, which was a big deal back in the day,” says Haynes, who witnessed some of the history depicted on the mural. Jillian Ramsammy and Michelle Faulconer



“As a child we would have to get up early in the morning to go to the white doctor in town. But we would have to wait all day because he would see white patients first,” Haynes recounts. “I’ll never forget that. Many of the students didn’t know blacks were treated that way. I lived it.” Years later, Haynes took pride when Dr. John Haile, the first African American to be appointed Chief of Staff at Munroe Regional Medical Center, now AdventHealth Ocala, established a thriving practice in the once segregated office. Initially there was concern expressed that the Black

The original art for the mural panel at top right, created by students in the CF Hampton Center’s 2004 Youth Summer Arts Program, is on display inside the center.

History Mural would be defaced; however, the artwork capturing the historic past of Ocala’s black community was embraced and celebrated. When Laura Walker took over as the Cultural Arts and Sciences Division Head for the City of Ocala three years ago, one of the first tasks to land on her desk was to inventory the public art within the city. The Black History Mural, battered by the elements and time, was in need of restoration. “We got input from the community on who should be on the new panel,” Walker says. “There were many names but we got it down to three.” A call went out for artists to help in the effort, with Ramsammy and Faulconer again playing key roles in the process. The restoration also included a new panel dedicated to longtime Ocala City Council member Mary Sue Rich, community activist Ruth Reed and Carolyn Adams, founder of the Estella Byrd Whitman Wellness and Community Resources Center. During the restoration phase, Faulconer was surprised one afternoon when Reed visited the site with her grandchildren to view the work. Faulconer says she believes the space is a teaching tool and the history should not be forgotten. Restoration of the mural took several months, with work also scheduled during the Levitt AMP summer concert series at Webb Field to spark interest throughout the entire community. Walker points to the historical value of the mural for the community; serving to unite, educate and inspire pride. The city is working to create educational materials that will be distributed to local schools, along with a public art education outreach program. In addition, there is discussion about providing golf cart tours for those with mobility challenges to be able to view the mural described by everyone involved as a “labor of love.” With this restoration project, as well as the new black history murals currently being created for nearby Legacy Park, the story of local African American history continues to be told. The Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex is located at 1510 NW 4th St., Ocala. To learn more, call the City of Ocala at (352) 368-5517. Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0






Cody MANSFIELD By Nick Steele Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery

With boundless energy and an ever-present smile, Cody Mansfield has a charm that has helped make him a popular Instagram personality. Through his whimsically named account, “layingaroundtheworld,” he documents himself literally lying down in picturesque locations. We caught up with the globe-trotting bon vivant to see what makes him tick.

Three words that describe you? Adventurous, joyful and extravagant. Your personal style? I love color and am not afraid to wear a stand-out outfit. Style is unique. It’s how you put your personal touch on it. It’s attitude, it’s how you walk, talk and feel in the clothes. You are perceived as you present yourself. Go-to local clothing store? Greiner’s—I worked there after college and most of the new stuff went home with me the day it came in. In fact, they recently tailored the jacket I’m wearing today. It belonged to my grandfather and his name is embroidered inside. After he died, I brought it to them to have it altered, so I could wear it. It’s very special to me. Last, best purchase for yourself ? A Longchamp Le Pliage expandable tote from Agapanthus. Favorite place for a haircut? Salon Hartwell. I don’t let just anyone touch my hair! Most regrettable hairstyle you rocked? The Justin Bieber...with no hair gel.

Entertaining style? What’s the budget? Yeah, we aren’t sticking to that. You want that wow factor! Signature dish? Pizza a la Cody—with red peppers and onions. It’s the only thing I know how to cook. Favorite restaurants? Mom & Dad’s in Lady Lake, for pizza. Mark’s Prime Steakhouse for a filet and their amazing scallops. The Hungry Bear for their fries and vanilla shakes. Sweet fix? When I’m sneaking candy into the movies, I usually stash away Nerds or the SweetTARTS Ropes. You have to be careful. Nerds will get you in trouble... they are loud! Where you indulge your sweet tooth? Betty Cakes. TV obsession? I used to watch I Love Lucy with my Mom. My favorite episode was “The Great Train Robbery” where Lucy kept pulling the emergency stop and Fred and Ethel kept leaving the dining car with food all over them.

Local organization you support? My grandfather was a 55-year member of the Lions Club, a great service organization. They renamed their golf tournament after him last year. My grandparents and parents taught me the importance of helping others. Best recent conversation? A family friend spoke about when my grandfather would go into meetings, his smile would light up the room. He went on to compliment my smile, telling me I got it from him. After I stopped crying, I was like, Wow! My ‘Pop-Pop’ had the capability to change your attitude just by being around and showing a little kindness. We get caught up in life, with all the bad that is going on, but he just chugged along, only seeing the best in people. People might not always remember what you said, but they remember how you made them feel. Proudest moment? Graduating from college on Mother’s Day and being able to give my mom that gift. Chair dancer? Car singer? Late-night snacker? All the above. I’m notorious for latenight snacks, like “emergency Nerds” under my pillow. Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0


fit, flat-front pant by INC and Perry Ellis Portfolio belt, all from Macy’s. Carlos: INC Shirt, slim-

photographer Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery fashion styling Nick Steele hair & makeup by Nicole “Nicci” Orio, Pretty n Pinned

Kayla Matthews knows a thing or two about setting the scene in beautiful style. The visionary lead planner and coowner of Making It Matthews, a fullscale wedding planning company based in Ocala, is a married mother of two whose mission is “Making life beautiful one wedding at a time!” We enlisted her help to explore a laid-back yet decidedly luxe-casual approach to dressing for some serious at-home lounging. The stylish setting we chose for our story is Trilogy at Ocala Preserve’s sophisticated “Excite” model home, which offers the perfect balance of great interior design and a thoughtful floor plan that delivers an inviting living space. So go ahead and get cozy!

Button-down shirt with French cuffs by Calvin Klein from Dillard’s; BCX gauze wrap pant from Macy’s; rose gold necklace by Pandora from Agapanthus.

Blouse by INC International Concepts and Michael Kors pull-on leggings from Macy’s; python embossed feather pendant from Agapanthus; mixed metal ring and Naturalizer “Banks” slingbacks from Dillard’s.

Carlos: INC Shirt, slim-fit, flat-front pant by INC and Perry Ellis Portfolio belt, all from Macy’s.

Dress by Current Air Los Angeles from Shannon Roth Collection; Sticky Sweet charm bracelet and faceted bead necklace with tassel, both from Agapanthus; Gibson & Latimer “Viollette” d’Orsay pumps from Dillard’s.

Leni sweater from Agapanthus; On The Road “Pim� pant from Shannon Roth Collection; Pandora tiara wishbone and claw-set cubic zirconia ring from Agapanthus.

BCX gauzy twist-hem blouse from Macy’s; KanCan skinny jeans from Maurice’s; Pandora “Arrow” pendant necklace from Agapanthus.

Sweater by “a loves a”, flower necklace and Gibson & Latimer “Viollette” pumps, all from Dillard’s; Current/Elliott “Stiletto” jeans from Macy’s.


Healthy Living at Paddock Ridge A community where seniors feel safe, cared for, and like they’re among family By Lisa McGinnes | Photography By Meagan Gumpert


addock Ridge isn’t like other assisted living and memory care communities—there’s a vibrant culture of vitality, social engagement and activity. Seniors are encouraged to live as independently as possible, with the security of knowing the trained medical staff and caregivers are always available to help. This is a place where even the nurses and therapists feel like family, and that was exactly what the owners had in mind when they decided to build a better assisted living facility—where seniors can truly feel at home. “When we created Paddock Ridge, we wanted to take aspects of a home and integrate them into a plan that would create a more inviting and familiar environment,” says Cody Mansfield. “We have eliminated the need for long, drafty corridors to connect our residents to our amenities. Within each neighborhood are designated, living, dining and recreational spaces. At Paddock Ridge, our residents are family.” Each of the four neighborhoods is home to no more than 18 residents and is staffed with the same nurses and certified



nursing assistants, which allows the residents and caregivers to bond. The care staff says it becomes more like taking care of a family member, which is a comfort both to residents and their families.

Nursing Care

Unlike many facilities, Paddock Ridge has nursing care around the clock, which gives residents quicker access to evaluation and care. A nurse can respond to a resident who doesn’t feel well during the night or has a need for medication, and that sometimes can prevent an unnecessary trip to the emergency room. “Having nurses available 24/7 makes it quicker to get treatment for the residents,” explains Debra Bullard, director of health services. “It gives families the added sense of security that their loved ones have nurses readily available to care for their family member right away.” Nurses work closely with certified nursing assistants, who help residents with all their day-to-day needs, including serving meals in their own neighborhood dining room. They personally monitor what residents eat and drink to ensure they’re staying hydrated and receiving proper nutrition. If they notice someone has a swallowing issue, they can request speech therapy. If a resident isn’t eating, they can consult with the dining services director, whose goal is to provide an individualized dining experience based on each resident’s needs. It’s this kind of integration that allows the staff at Paddock Ridge to provide outstanding, personalized care to every resident.

Therapy Services

Another important aspect of caring for assisted living and memory care residents is therapy. At Paddock

Ridge, therapy is accessible and enjoyable. Morning exercises are led by a licensed physical therapist, with fun, laughter, and movement designed to help residents feel their best, so they can continue to take part in all the activities they enjoy. The therapists who work onsite full time are an important part of the care team. Because they interact with residents on a daily basis and accompany them on outings, they know each residents’ abilities to stand, walk and take care of themselves and can quickly spot any changes in functional abilities. A resident can quickly be evaluated, and because of a unique partnership with home health companies and a mobile physicians’ group, they can almost always start therapy within 24 hours if needed. Physical, occupational and speech therapy are available to residents both on a home health and outpatient basis, which means therapists can assist a resident in the privacy of their room if they are having challenges with dressing, bathing or getting in and out of bed. They can also work with residents in the onsite gym, making use of a full range of therapy equipment. The continuity of care and holistic wellness programming at Paddock Ridge support each resident’s physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing with a wholeperson approach to wellness. It’s more than a senior living solution for those in need of assisted living or memory care. It’s a lifestyle that promotes health and happiness with a personalized balance of socializing and privacy. It’s home.

Paddock Ridge › 4001 SW 33rd Court, Ocala FL 34474 › (352) 512-9191 › www.paddockridge.com

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Golden Getaway There are many among us who crave truly authentic experiences and off-the-beaten path destinations when we travel. If it’s adventure, natural beauty and a healthy dose of Southern hospitality, experienced like a local, that you’re craving, then pack your bags and head to Dahlonega, Georgia in the pastoral Blue Ridge Mountains. By Amy Davidson


he current “authentic getaway travel” trend allows you to not just get away but immerse yourself in a culture—from food, arts, music and history to nature and outdoor adventures. The county seat of Lumpkin County, Dahlonega is a charming destination with a vibrant food, arts and music scene, as well as some notable historic sites. Just an hour north of Atlanta, it’s a six-hour drive from Ocala. “Dahlonega has a great small-town feel and the aesthetic quality of our town is hard to find these days,” explains Dahlonega-Lumpkin Chamber and Visitors Bureau Tourism Director Sam McDuffie. “What I love about Dahlonega and Lumpkin County is that there is so much to do. It’s what made me fall in love with the community.” McDuffie explains that the region offers a plethora of outdoor recreation, agritourism, historical attractions, wineries, unique hotels and some exciting culinary experiences. Downtown Dahlonega is listed on the National



Register of Historic Places and is also a “Great American Main Street Award” winner. The historic public square, connected by shaded brick sidewalks, is the hub of activity where musicians can be found jamming and artists hover over sketchpads or set up easels. It’s the true heart of the town, where locals and visitors alike can enjoy more than 100 shops, restaurants, galleries and many other local businesses that occupy distinct 19th-century buildings. There are green-space parks and walking tours that offer an alternative to the retail offerings and are a charming way to spend a laid-back afternoon.

A Golden History

The history of gold runs deep in Dahlonega, where the first Gold Rush occurred in the late 1820s. The Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site was once the Lumpkin County courthouse, and now hosts over 25,000 visitors per year. The curated collection of original gear, personal mementos and historic artifacts is included in the interactive exhibit. Fun fact: there are still

gold specks evident in the building’s original bricks. Crisson Gold Mine, established in 1847, is the oldest public mining enterprise in Georgia. Their stamp mill is one of two still in operation. Owner Tony Ray began working at the mine at 14 years old and purchased it from the original owners in the 1990s. He, wife Tammy and daughter Brianna have devoted their lives to preserving the historical and educational facility and resources. You can go on an above-ground tour of the site, pan for gold and mine for gems to allow you to feel a connection to the tangible history of the Crisson Gold Mine—which involved backbreaking work and the excitement of “the find.” Consolidated Gold Mine takes visitors 200 feet underground to tour the actual tunnels that were created by men and women (and sometimes children) who risked their lives on the hope of striking gold. The mine’s underground adventure package is a 40-minute tour filled with history, facts and a reminder of the power of nature—you traverse the rough stone caverns with fresh water flowing along the sides of the red clay walkways. After the tour, you can pan for gold and mine for gems. Visitors frequently discover garnet, amethyst, ruby and tiger eye, which they can bag and take home or have made into jewelry.

When in Wine Country

Left photo courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development. Right photo by Amy Davidson.

Dahlonega earned the distinction of being the Wine Tasting Room Capital of Georgia and is often referred to as the “Heart of Georgia Wine Country” because it has the highest concentration of wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms in the state. The ever-growing industry has grown into a multi-million dollar business and the region, which annually produces around 100 acres of a variety of European, French hybrid, and American wine grapes, has produced some notable and award-winning wines. There are also seven tasting rooms, from area vineyards, located in the downtown district. Montaluce Winery & Restaurant believes that wine tastings are an experience and one best accompanied by an exquisite meal. The Tuscany-inspired architecture and views of the vineyards from the restaurant’s balcony make the setting the epitome of wine country. Montaluce’s bestselling 2018 Seyval Blanc, a white wine with hints of green apple and pineapple, is a great example of the distinctive varietals coming out of the region and their Apple Wine, crafted with 100 percent of the apples grown in the north Georgia mountains, is a fun and refreshing wine. Executive Chef Christopher R. Matson’s menu for Montaluce’s restaurant focuses on fresh, locally sourced ingredients prepared with classic techniques to deliver a sophisticated culinary experience. Kaya Vineyard and Winery, known for its wine grown, bottled and produced on-site, sits boldly at 1,600 feet elevation and boasts a panoramic mountain view, accentuated by cascading grape vines and rolling hills. Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0




Tuesday through Sunday, they offer a casual light lunch menu and encourage guests to enjoy wine and food on the covered patio. If you can’t make it up the mountain, The Dahlonega Square Hotel & Villas, just steps from the downtown square, serves as a secondary tasting room for the vineyard and offers fun, hands-on “Paint and Sip” events. The Dahlonega Resort and Vineyard is at the heart of the region’s wine country, within a few miles of several other notable vineyards. It offers a serene flow, from peaceful cabins to all-natural spa treatments and yoga classes to delectable meals created by Executive Chef Sean Fritchle. Early risers might spot a family of deer congregating on the hazy, foggy landscape.

Natural Benefits

Hiking, biking and equestrian trails and scenic waterfalls abound in Dahlonega with the nearby Appalachian Trail, Etowah and Chestatee Rivers and Chattahoochee National Forest. Forrest Hills Mountain Resort offers wellappointed cabins nestled in the forest and onsite horseback riding and chuck wagon dinners.

Distinctive Dining

This historic town proudly offers unique food experiences for a variety of appetites. At 19° North Seafood & Grill, the Southern cuisine and beachthemed decor combine to offer a casual dining experience on the square. Among the menu highlights

are the bourbon bacon char-grilled oysters, roasted Brussels sprouts and pork belly, seafood cobb salad and the low country boil. After your meal, stroll through downtown and take in the sights. Lots of residents or “nuggets,” as they are affectionately referred to, visit The Picnic Cafe & Dessertery, as there is a strong sense of community within this sweet, Southern establishment. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the café is committed to providing scrumptious and beautifully prepared dishes and desserts based on authentic family recipes. They also offer gluten-free bread and cookies. Standout sweets include the cinnamon buns and cheesecake. The Corner Kitchen Deli and The Fudge Factory are both owned by Tony Owens, who is an unofficial Dahlonega historian. The Corner Kitchen is casual eating with a fancy feel. Try the roast beef sandwich with caramelized onions and the homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. The Fudge Factory is located on the Dahlonega Square. They specialize in made-with-love treats and confections. It’s difficult to pick any favorites among the shop’s exceptional offerings, but the chocolatecovered Rice Krispies treats, pralines, and assortment of fudge will not disappoint. “People feel Dahlonega’s authenticity and appreciate the period architecture and just the culture of our square,” Owens says. “It is an artists’ community. From candymakers to potters, glassblowers to painters to winemakers, Dahlonega has it all.”

Photos by Amy Davidson

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Small Town. Big Appetite.

March 25-29 Come taste what happens when local, national and international chefs, winemakers, farmers, ranchers, brewmasters and distillers converge in a small town for a celebration of all things epicurean with a dose of southern hospitality.

Visit our website for more information and RESERVE YOUR SEAT! 82




In The Kitchen With Martha Jane Davis If you had an opportunity to attend an event catered by Woodlea Gardens during the past 25 years, you assuredly had a memorable meal and might have crossed paths with the charming force of nature behind the beloved catering company. Since her retirement last year, she has focused on cooking for family and friends—and now, hosting events and bed and breakfast guests at her charming north Marion County estate. By Lisa McGinnes | Photography by Meagan Gumpert Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0



artha Jane Davis is the picture of the kind of innately elegant Southern woman that one rarely encounters in the modern world— exquisitely well-mannered, thoroughly accessible and utterly gracious. She has an effortless way of making the ordinary seem extraordinarily special and adds a touch of true Southern hospitality to everything she serves. Her most cherished recipes were handed down to her from her mother. That’s also where she acquired her passion for growing beautiful flowers and plants. “Mother was a huge gardener,” Davis recalls. She thought she might follow in her mother’s footsteps during the period of transition after the family lost her father, Sen. L.K. Edwards, at age 72 in 1989. Davis and her husband Doug moved in with her mother, sharing Davis’ charming childhood home, Woodlea Gardens, surrounded by cherished family heirlooms and her mother’s beautifully cultivated gardens. “I was trying to think, Well, what am I going to do the rest of my life? I loved gardening.” Davis offers. “So, I thought I was going to grow cut flowers. And I started on that.” The lush ferns, ornamental grasses and extensive shrubbery that decorate the grounds of the expansive 116-year-old estate attest to Davis’ green thumb, but she also has a talent for the delicate art of flower arranging. She began supplying fresh floral centerpieces and wedding flowers for the nearby Ocala Jockey Club and was soon hired full time to help with catering, which she enjoyed. But the hours were long and Davis went back to her own small business, creating gorgeous



flower arrangements for weddings. Then a couple of friends asked her to cater an event. “I did it. So that was it,” she explains. “And pretty soon catering definitely became the primary thing. Everybody had to have food at a wedding and you didn’t really have to have a whole bunch of flowers.” She named her business after her family home and Woodlea Gardens became synonymous with Southern hospitality and charm. The dishes Davis enjoyed preparing became customer favorites. Chicken Marjorie, the chicken and pasta casserole her mother used to prepare for ladies’ luncheons, was enjoyed by another generation of women sharing the comfort dish at bridge club gatherings and charity board meetings. She never thought of herself as a baker, but over time Davis found she enjoyed baking the pound cakes her mother “made all the time.” She developed three specialty flavors: vanilla, bourbon pecan and almond amaretto. It takes more than an hour to prepare one of her delectable Bundt cakes, from the deliberate process of mixing in each egg one at a time to pouring the glaze on top while the cake is still warm from the oven. Sweet treats like pound cake and her mother’s apricot tea bread are among the thoughtful touches Davis offers to Airbnb guests who are seeking a trip back to a more genteel time—for although Davis offers some thoughtful modern conveniences—Woodlea Gardens provides a historic home experience and a respite from the bustling world beyond its doors. Guests have a choice of staying in the elegant Mathews Suite, with its canopy bed and antique chandelier, or the

spacious Kirkland Suite, with its large wooden armoire and adorable en suite bath with a vintage blue soaking tub. They also have access to the parlor, with its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the grounds, and cozy living room with French doors that open to the backyard. They can enjoy one of her homemade quiches or a grits and egg casserole in the stately breakfast room, at their leisure, and relax with morning coffee and evening wine among the venerable live oaks surrounding the terrace or under the covered breezeway. These spaces also are available for private event rentals, which Davis says appeal to those “who want that old Southern look.” The events are often catered by Chef Patti Moring, who purchased Woodlea Gardens Catering upon Davis’ retirement and renamed it La Casella Catering. “It’s been good for events,” Davis says of the property, adding that “everybody in the family and friends married here.” She has hosted small groups on the terrace and large weddings of 300 people in a big tent on the lawn. Whether it’s that most special of days or a curated corporate event, Davis offers a thoroughly gracious experience in a one-of-a-kind setting. For more information about event rentals at Woodlea Gardens, call (352) 572-9648.

Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake

6 large eggs 3 sticks quality butter 3 cups pure cane sugar 3 cups cake flour 1 cup quality sour cream 3/4 cup pecan pieces 1/4 cup bourbon (Martha Jane uses Jim Beam) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla 1 teaspoon salt Pinch of baking soda › Allow all ingredients to come to the same room temperature. › Preheat oven to 325 degrees. › Prepare ingredients and measure carefully. › Sift the flour once before measuring. › Add salt and soda and sift once more. › Cream the butter on medium/high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes), frequently scraping sides and bottom of bowl with rubber

spatula. › Gradually add the sugar and continue beating another 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom. › Lower mixer speed a notch. › Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, until fully incorporated. › Lower mixer speed to low. › Mix bourbon into sour cream. › Add flour and sour cream alternately, beginning and ending with flour. › Add vanilla. › Raise speed to medium and beat until batter is well blended. › Grease and flour a Bundt or tube pan (Martha Jane prefers cake pan spray with flour added.) › Sprinkle pecan pieces into cake pan then pour in batter. › Bake around 45-50 minutes or until a tester stick comes out clean—be careful not to overbake. › Optionally, while cake is still warm, pour over a thin glaze made from confectioners’ sugar and water.

From left, Paglia family members John IV, John III, Kimberly, Jill, Roman, Rocco, Vinnie and John

The Family Meal It is a sacred tradition, an opportunity for communion with those we hold dear and an essential part of what shapes our children—it also seems to be in jeopardy of becoming a lost art. By Jill Paglia Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery


here is something about a shared meal that anchors a family. And I don’t mean those big holiday blowouts or some “once in a while” thing. I mean regularly and reliably—even on those nights when the food is fast and everyone has someplace else they’d rather be. And then there are those evenings when the mood is right and the family lingers, caught up in an idea or an argument—explored in a shared safe place where no one is stupid or shy or ashamed—that you get a glimpse



of the power of this habit and why social scientists say that such communion acts as a kind of vaccine, protecting kids from all manner of harm. Yet, over and over we read that the family dinner is in decline. And there are likely hundreds of reasons, such as parents who work long hours to keep the mortgage paid, a decline in cooking skills, the popularity of fast food and increasingly irregular schedules. I suspect, however, that we’ve simply fallen out of practice. Family dinners can end up playing a small, but crucial, part of family life. I believe the family dinner has the power to cure all kinds of ills and help navigate problems. Not everything, though. Heaven knows, family dinners didn’t keep me out of trouble as a strong-willed child. During those years in the ‘60s and ‘70s, there were very few nights that I was anxious for our family dinner, but it was still an important part of our routine. At our table, we were never allowed to take a bite before my mother sat down, because, most of the time, she made dinner and that was the respect we paid to her. Family dinners don’t have to look like they are sometimes portrayed on television or in movies, of course. Maybe both mom and dad can’t be at the table. Maybe the family is a mom or dad and a child, a couple or a family of any sort or incarnation. Maybe it’s grandpa bringing home some chicken and biscuits from Kentucky Fried Chicken. The important part is the regular-ish timing of it. It’s

the setting of the table and the sitting down to a meal on plates, whether it came out of an oven or a bucket...even if it is peanut butter sandwiches and milk. It’s the conversation (What was the highlight of your day? Did anything interesting happen today?) and the attempts to just be present for each other, even if everybody would rather be holed up in their rooms in front of the television screen or a gaming console.

Small Bites

For the littlest family members, sharing a dinner at the table with their parents has several benefits. First, it helps promote language skills. It also helps them develop patience and dexterity, through the use of utensils. And, it helps them develop social skills, including good manners and the discipline of taking turns. For young children, dinner conversation helps to boost vocabulary skills, even more than being read aloud to. They end up with a more expansive vocabulary which, in turn, leads to better reading skills. Studies indicate that for school-age children, regular mealtime is an even more powerful predictor of high achievement skills than time spent in school, doing homework, playing sports or creating art. They also indicate that kids who regularly enjoy family meals often develop heightened self-esteem and a more positive view of the future.

From left, John Paglia III, with his parents Jill and John Paglia John Paglia IV

The Proof is in the Pudding

When my children were in grade school, homework was always done before dinner. Later it was fit in around sports and extracurricular activities. During that time, when we had dinner fluctuated, but we always made time to gather for an evening meal. Studies show that adolescents who ate family meals five to seven times a week were twice as likely to get As in school as those who ate dinner with their families fewer than two times a week. I can recall with my kids, for example, how we talked about what test was coming up what week. I was then able to quiz them, or they would quiz each other. In my house, triple points were given for teenagers showing up. And nothing made me smile more than the nights I’d have beef stew in the crock pot and I’d hear them coming in through the garage—excited because they could smell the aroma from the kitchen. I was not a short order cook and we all ate the same meal. I did, however, take polls in the morning as to what everyone wanted for dinner. During their high school years, family dinners were regularly Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0



attended by many of my children’s friends from soccer and baseball teams. I fed a whole lotta kids! And, now, I am now a proud mom of five college graduates, two from the University of Florida, two from the University of Central Florida and one from Charleston Southern University.

Rare Meets

Family meals can be rare these days. We’re often on the go—eating while running out the door, in the car, stopping off for a quick bite, chowing down at sporting events—but when a family eats together, they form a strong bond with one another. Everyone leads disconnected lives at work and school, and this essential time together allows them to reconnect. Dinner is a truly reliable way for families to find out what’s going on with each other. So, I challenge you to make family dinners a habit. Start with a week, go to a month and build up to 40 days. They say it takes 40 days to create a habit. This doesn’t just have to be meals at home, it can include meals enjoyed at a restaurant. Then, I want you to observe, after those 40 days, if the family dynamics have changed for the better. I think they will, and I’d love to hear your results!

SUGGESTIONS FOR GREAT FAMILY MEALS: • Gather at roughly the same time every night. Aim for a time that’s realistic. • Evenings don’t work? Make breakfast your family meal. • Do it seven days a week. • Everyone is required to sit at the table, unless they have to work. And parents should not use this as an excuse very often. • Everyone must participate, even if they think it’s silly. • Try preparing meals from scratch together. • Aim for one really great meal every week, maybe Saturday evening, and follow it up with family games or movies. • If you are so inclined, offer a simple blessing or express thanks (whatever your tradition) over the food before you begin. • No electronics allowed and no TV. Soft music is allowed. (How many times do you go out to eat and no one is communicating because they are all on their phones and children are on tablets? It’s as if they are dining with strangers.)

Find Jill’s recipes for pasta and meatballs and Italian Cannoli Pound Cake with White Chocolate Ganache with this story on our website. Interact with Jill and follow her lifestyle posts on Instagram @festivelysouthern

From left, Keith Kohl and Matthew Schott

John Paglia III, center, with his sons Rocco, left, and John IV



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this takes the cake When you pair “Miss Jackie’s Famous Pound Cake” with fat and juicy Plant City strawberries and homemade whipped cream topping, you might come close to dessert nirvana. Todd & Shelly’s Farm Fresh Café & Pub in Belleview has built a reputation on serving delicious salads, sandwiches, gyros and hot daily specials—and the locally legendary pound cakes. The cakes are created by Jackie Anderson, based on a recipe shared with her by Mary Moody, both of whom are longtime residents of the town, according to Shelly Mayer, co-owner with her husband of the eatery. “Miss Jackie was born and raised here, and her dad built this building,” Mayer says of the venue that houses her restaurant. “Miss Jackie still owns the building.” Mayer says Anderson makes a variety of pound cakes from scratch. “We never argue about any flavor,” she explains. “The most popular is the sour cream but she takes it to every level with her different flavors.” Dessert lovers can get a slice of “Miss Jackie’s Famous Pound Cake” to eat in or take home and can even order a whole cake. To learn more, visit Todd & Shelly’s at 5625 SE Abshier Boulevard or find them on Facebook.


Ocala Style

unique tastes A foodie’s toy store, The Olive Oil Market on the downtown square carries a variety of sauces, rubs, herbs, spices, olives, honey, jams, vinegars, and of course, its namesake—olive oils. Chef Randal White of Mark’s Prime Steakhouse especially likes its white balsamic vinegars. Artisan vinegar imported from Italy is a key product for the store’s fans. Store owner Tony Procida explains that white balsamic vinegar is made from trebbiano grapes, a green grape that gives the vinegar a rich, clean taste. His vinegars are aged 8 to 10 years in wood barrels—much like wine—and those with keen taste buds might even be able to distinguish between chestnut or oak-aged vinegars. Typical supermarket vinegars have 30 to 70 percent wine vinegar added; Procida’s vinegars are only 10 percent wine vinegar, creating a thicker, smoother taste and rich mouth feel. Flavorings range from fruits like raspberry and blueberry to garlic and various herbs and spices. Procida thinks white vinegar is often preferred by chefs because it doesn’t color the food in the way a dark balsamic might. We bought luscious chocolate balsamic vinegar and can’t wait to use it over strawberries, pound cake, and maybe…maybe…yeah, we’ll say it, ice cream. To learn more, visit The Olive Oil Market at 16 S. Magnolia Avenue or online at www.theoliveoilmarket.store

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Tony’s Sushi & Steakhouse 3405 SW College Road, Ocala

(352) 237-3151 › tonysushi.com Mon-Thu 11a-10p › Fri & Sat 11a-11p › Sun Noon-10p

Book your party at Tony’s today.

With abundant menu choices and over 100 off-menu rolls, you certainly won’t run out of options at Tony’s Sushi. If you can’t decide, the waitstaff is excellent at suggesting items you’re sure to enjoy. Every roll and sushi dish is made to order from the freshest ingredients. In the steakhouse area, highly trained chefs prepare a memorable meal as they cook on the tableside grills, preparing chicken, steak or seafood just the way you like it. Entrées include soup or salad and rice. Tony’s Sushi has a family-friendly, casual atmosphere, along with a full bar, including imported Japanese sake and beer selections.

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

(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-10p › Fri & Sat 11a-11p › Sun 11a-9p 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, Mahi Hoppin’ John (pictured). Other favorites, like French Baked Scallops and Bourbon Street Salmon, are complemented

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 Mardi Gras Parade of Flavors – February 1st - March 1st

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).



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




Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar 10 S Magnolia Ave., Ocala


(352) 512-9458 › brickcitybbq.com Sun-Wed 11a-10p › Thurs 11a-11p › Fri-Sat 11a-12a


Located in downtown Ocala’s historic town square, Brick City Southern Kitchen’s aroma is recognized for several blocks around. Once inside, you are met with a wall of over 400 whiskeys from around the world and a collection of custom folk art from Nicklos Richards. To the rear of the restaurant is their scratch kitchen where all the sides, barbecue sauces, dressings and seasonings are prepared. But the heart of this kitchen is the custom-built smoker, where the low, slow heat of burning hickory smokes beef brisket, ribs, pork shoulders, whole chickens and turkey breast.

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 Treat the special ladies in your life like queens for a day—make your reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner. They will be treated like royalty in a romantic setting at Braised Onion! Winner of Culinary Combat and Taste of Ocala for four years and most recently voted Ocala’s Best of the Best; the menu options are plentiful and guaranteed to make your taste buds explode with happiness. And don’t forget the dessert menu, which includes our prize-winning bread pudding and coconut cream pie. So call to make your reservation; she will love you for it!

Formaggio Pizza & Italian Restaurant 1053 NE 14th Street, Ocala

Make your Reservations now for Valentine’s Day Special Menu & Regular Menu on Valentine’s Day Follow us on Facebook for Specials @ocalaformaggiopizza

(352) 509-3661 › Mon-Fri 11 a-9 p › Saturday 4 p-9 p › closed Sunday › Dine-In or Take-Out Formaggio’s is bigger and always better, now in a new larger location in the 14th Street Plaza minutes from the Reilly Arts Center and Historic Downtown Ocala. Formaggio’s, a family-friendly casual restaurant, serves authentic dishes made with only the freshest ingredients, from pizzas and calzones to pastas and subs. You can taste the difference in our food. Voted the Best Pizza in Ocala for the last 4 years. And, voted the Best Italian Restaurant in Ocala in 2019. We invite you to try Formaggio’s and see what the rest of Ocala is raving about! Formaggio’s “Delicious As Always”

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Sponsored rom Athens, GA to Ocala, the Moose is Loose! Locos was founded in 1988 in Athens, GA, as a tiny general store and deli. It was first referred to as Locos Deli and General store, serving anything from sandwiches to milk. Eventually the concept would expand, and the menu would grow into what it is now. Founder Jamey Loftin made the decision to become Locos “Grill & Pub” to better explain what kind of food Locos serves and the atmosphere Locos provides. The concept currently has two locations in Athens, GA and four other Georgia locations. Owners Brad & Jessica Harper, and James & Sandi Clardy are excited to bring the first Locos Grill & Pub to Florida. The location has been fully renovated and is Ocala’s newest full-scale restaurant. Sarah Butler will serve as the restaurant’s Regional Director in Ocala. As for the menu, you can look forward to a large selection including award-winning wings, mouth-watering burgers, sandwiches, signature salads, specialty tacos, and delicious dinner options, all at reasonable prices. Locos also offers a full bar with beer, wine, liquor and signature cocktails. Lunch, happy hour, or kick-off for the big game…meeting up at Locos is the winning pick! In addition to dine-in services, Locos offers catering for large groups and take-out orders. Head to www.Locosgrill.com to view the full menu.

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Leading Lady A veteran actor and director is bringing fresh energy to the stage of Ocala’s beloved community theater. By Susan Smiley-Height Photography by Meagan Gumpert

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ere’s the script for welcoming the Ocala Civic Theatre’s (OCT) new artistic director. Cue the backstage crew. Dim and then raise the lights to signal the audience. Curtain up and spotlight on Katrina Ploof. Ploof, a native of Maine, is the daughter of a music teacher and a vocalist, so it’s no wonder she gravitated to the theater. She has performed on stages across America and Canada, and has directed and choreographed more than 200 productions thus far. In the last quarter of 2019, following the death of the theater’s longtime executive director, Mary Britt, the board of directors brought Ploof on as interim executive director and then reorganized leadership roles and named her artistic director. “We at OCT are very pleased to welcome Katrina as the permanent artistic director. Before Mary passed away, she suggested we contact Katrina to help us transition,” says George Kirkland, president of the board. “She began helping us in late spring. It was obvious to us all immediately why Mary had suggested her. Her background, skill set and enthusiasm were felt the first day.” “After evaluating how we would organize for the future, we made an offer and were pleased that Katrina accepted the position,” Kirkland adds. “Katrina’s enthusiasm has already encouraged the very talented and hardworking staff at OCT as we complete the 2019/2020 season. The soon-to-be announced schedule for 2020/2021 will demonstrate her skills and creativity to all theater lovers in North Central Florida.” The current season continues through June with productions of Always… Patsy Cline, Father of the Bride, To Kill a Mockingbird and Brigadoon, giving Ploof plenty of opportunities to showcase her directorial talents, and she also will play an important role in organizing what could be a record shattering special event. From March 29th through April 2nd, in honor of its 70th year, OCT will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous theatrical performance. “The time to beat is 78 hours, 45 minutes and 16 seconds,” notes Larry Kiernan, director of marketing and promotions for the theater.



I’ve been a dancer and a singer in more musicals that I can count. I’ve designed sets and built props and choreographed and directed. I’ve stage managed plays and written and produced plays. I’m happiest now directing, and of course the best version of that is to be an artistic director of a theater. – Katrina Ploof


He says the 3 1/2 day undertaking, “79 for 70!,” will be a community event involving hundreds of participants and volunteers. “It would be a new world record to commemorate the hundreds of shows, thousands of songs and 1 million-plus patrons of the last 70 years at OCT,” he offers, “and launch the beginning of 70 more.” With so much going at OCT, we wanted to learn more about Ploof and her future plans. What is your background in theater?

It feels like I’ve always been in a theater somewhere my entire life. I started out as an actress and made my living for over 20 years performing in everything from community theater to national tours. I was a pit-singer (performing off-stage) in New York, worked as a milliner for a ballet company part-time and ended up designing costumes. I’ve been a dancer and a singer in more musicals that I can count. I’ve designed sets and built props and choreographed and directed. I’ve stage managed plays and written and produced plays. I’m happiest now directing, and of course the best version of that is to be an artistic director of a theater, which is not something I’d ever thought I’d be lucky enough to achieve. The book Audition, published in 1979, has been kind of a bible for theater people. It was written by the great casting director and teacher Michael Shurtleff and there’s a quote in the book that pretty much defines my life: “If you have a choice and could reasonably be happy doing something else, by all means go at once and do something else. Acting or writing or directing in the theatre…is only for the irrecoverably diseased, those who are so smitten with the need that there is no choice.” So, I’m one of the diseased ones—I have never felt like I could make any other choice. I’ve also been one of the lucky ones, and I try and remind myself of that every single day. I’ve happily spent 54 years in the dark. It’s the only place I’ve ever wanted to be. This is my last incarnation. This is the kind of place you want to end your career. How did you arrive at this juncture?

I didn’t have a formal education in theater. I studied psychology in college so, for me, the love of the art form came, as it does for many theater folk, from the teachers and mentors I had. I worked as a young actress with a very traditional director, Eugene Casassa, who was a fiery Italian, a passionate theater artist. He was a stickler when it came to detail; everything had to be perfect. I got my obsession with specifics and the fine points of a play from him. Pam Thompson continually gave me new

material to read and study, and instilled in me a love of language and story. She taught in my small high school in Maine, but the values she instilled in me about text I’ve taken all over the world to every project I work on. Director Michael Fortner was probably the most important adult mentor I had. He passed away recently, and I’ve spent the last year trying to honor him with the work I do. He was really funny and generous and great with people. I try to emulate that every day now in my new position with OCT. Norman Small is a producer I’ve worked with for almost three decades. I still ask him for advice when I get stuck. He has produced theater in Florida for 50 years, so he gets it. And, of course, Mary Britt. Although I met her later in my career, she was the only woman I had ever known who was running a theater by herself. She was instrumental in helping me understand that I wasn’t limited just because I was female, that I was capable and deserving of responsibility and that I had the skills to lead in the art form. Without these people, and so many more, I don’t know that I’d have had the courage to embark on theater as a life choice. But now I can’t imagine doing anything else. What is your vision for the future of OCT?

When I dream about the Ocala Civic Theatre I want to see in five years, my dreams always include the beautiful front windows of our building. I love them, because so much of what makes the city of Ocala special can be seen from our windows. The natural world surrounds and shelters our theatre, which as an organization has remained a vital part of Ocala for 70 years. And I love those windows from the outside too, especially when our lobby is filled with children or actors or, most importantly, our audience. When I dream about a day five years from now when we celebrate 75 years in this community, I always see those windows. I see the doors open wide to a diverse and enlightened audience of all generations. I hear the buzz of conversation at intermission, with our friends and neighbors enjoying the good company of a great story brilliantly told. I dream about a theater that truly reflects the community it serves and helps lead that community into the future with bold and insightful productions that spark imagination and thought. I want an audience that is both entertained and challenged, an audience that comes to us to see the world with fresh eyes, to walk in someone else’s shoes, and to leave with a new understanding of both our own community and the larger community of humans we share the planet with. Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0


What are the challenges in producing community theater?

One challenge is perception. The Little Theatre Movement, which is the DNA of our present community theater tradition, started because over 100 years ago folks decided they’d get together and act out some stories. People performed in their living rooms and churches and schools, and of course there was every level of talent involved. Frankly, some of the shows and the performances, weren’t very good. And so now, a century later, community theater still carries with it this kind of stigma that it’s just your neighbors and friends up there, and you shouldn’t expect too much. Ocala Civic Theatre is one of the top 10 community theaters in the nation. We have an incredible talent pool in Ocala, and in Florida, and our actors, designers and directors are some of the best in the region and indeed in the country. Our budget is healthy enough that the technical quality of our productions is top drawer. We beat out even the regional equity theater in Gainesville with our production quality. Where else can you go and hear a musical with a full live orchestra and a cast of 30 or 40 people? Making sure the community knows that about us is really important. Word of mouth about the quality of our work is our best marketing strategy. Another challenge is funding, because we do so much more than just plays on our stage. We have a vital and growing education department. Hundreds of children go in and out of our building in a year. We have a volunteer base of over 500 people. And a 30+ year-old building that constantly needs care and tending. So,



money, of course, is always on my mind. But, honestly, the absolute pleasure and delight of running this theater far outweighs any challenges. I continue to believe we are vital to this community and that at the end of the day, if we do great work, the community will continue to support us. How can people help?

We will always welcome financial help and any amount is welcome. A pair of good dancer tights costs $12 and most dancers in a musical can go through three to four pairs of tights during the run of a show. So, a $100 donation pays for two dancers’ tights for a musical, and that is no small thing. Many ways to help us are free. You can volunteer for the box office, you can usher, you can paint scenery or work with carpenters in the scene shop. You can sew on buttons or polish shoes. The opportunities to volunteer are really limitless. Most importantly, you can buy a ticket, come to our shows and talk about us on social media, in your community groups and to your friends and neighbors. You can spread the word about us. That’s the best support the community can give us.

To learn more about the Ocala Civic Theatre, visit www.ocalacivictheatre.com




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Evolving Canvas Jordan Shapot’s artistic journey has grown both figuratively and literally, from small illustrations to abstract paintings to wall murals. The latter includes residential murals and soon, those in a very special Ocala heritage park. By JoAnn Guidry Photography by Rigoberto Perdomo


uses come in myriad forms. For artist Jordan Shapot, his have included ninja turtles and a broken heart. “When I was a kid, I was really into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” says Shapot, who grew up in Citrus County. “One day, my father drew a picture of a ninja turtle for me. And suddenly I had this epiphany that cartoons were based on drawings come to life. That’s when I started thinking about being an artist.” In high school, Shapot attended the Lecanto School of Art. He followed that with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design. “After graduation, I faced the same dilemma most artists do of how to pursue art and make a living,” offers Shapot. “My solution at the time was to become a commercial illustrator. I moved to Colorado to pursue that, doing illustration work for magazines, band posters and album covers. And I was very much in love

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with someone at the time. So I was relatively happy.” But as time went on, Shapot realized being a commercial illustrator was not feeding his artistic soul. “I fell out of love with commercial illustration,” says Shapot. “And then just about the same time, my longtime girlfriend fell out of love with me. It was very sudden and very unexpected. Crushed, I moved back to Florida to sort things out with my art and my life.” Describing the return home as a pivot point, Shapot decided to face his art head on and see where it led. “Artistically, I felt a different energy and was drawn more to the fine arts. I dove into multiple mediums, finding my passion in oils and acrylics,” says Shapot, 32. “Then I became involved in the wonderful Ocala arts scene and things really began to fall into place.” In 2017, Shapot won “Best In Show” at the Magnolia Art Xchange (MAX) and City of Ocala’s Student and Emerging Artist Competition. He encored that with his First Impressions show in January 2018 at the Brick

City Center for the Arts. The latter was his artistic re-imagining of Edward Sheriff Curtis’s iconic North American photographs into abstract paintings. “Those two events really sparked my new career and gave me name recognition,” notes Shapot. “I am so grateful for everyone who has and continues to encourage and support my art.” As his art evolved, Shapot acquired a few more muses. “Nature really inspires me. I love to paint elements of nature and landscapes,” says Shapot, who is as unassuming as his paintings are bold. “And people inspire me. I love painting just everyday people doing everyday things. I like to shed light on what most people might see as mundane, but is actually quite beautiful.”

Supersized Canvas

While participating in a First Friday Art Walk in 2019, Shapot had the good fortune to meet Felipe and Betty Ann Korzenny, recent retirees to Ocala. “We really liked what we saw in Jordan’s artwork,” says Betty Ann, who has a doctorate in education. “Felipe and I have always loved art of all kinds and Jordan’s work really spoke to us.” Felipe, who has a doctorate in communications and marketing, taught at Florida State University before moving to Ocala, agrees, saying, “We have a very eclectic taste in art, from paintings to Persian rugs to metal art. If we like it, we buy it.” The Korzennys also are very involved in the Ocala arts scene. Working with the Marion Cultural

Alliance, they established the Korzenny Grant Fund for Art Educators. The couple also supports the Ocala Symphony Orchestra’s youth programs. At that first meeting with Shapot, the Korzennys, who have owned horses, bought a brightly colored abstract painting of a horse. Not long after, they bought another three-panel abstract painting from Shapot. Soon they would collaborate on a large-scaled art project. “After we moved into our new home in Ocala, every time we sat out on our glassed-in lanai, we felt like

Art for Art’s Sake By Susan Smiley-Height

A burgeoning art movement in Ocala is attracting attention from far beyond Marion County. Born out of a conversation between artists EJ Nieves and Teddy Sykes, which led to the Neon Dreams project, which morphed into the Neon Truck and the Neon House initiatives, Art House Ocala is an innovative collaborative art movement in which downtown buildings temporarily serve as art spaces. Art House Ocala 1.0 was based in a 100-year-old Victorianinspired home located in one of Ocala’s historic districts and owned by Lisa Midgett. She planned to renovate the house, but offered it up for the artists first to create works inside the home. “I told EJ, ‘You can paint on these walls,’” she recalls. “They’ll be painted over, so it won’t be permanent, but have fun.” Nieves and Sykes were the first artists to paint there and then other artists began to participate, including Shapot (whose mural is pictured above). “They painted murals, canvases, even ceilings—finding loveliness where I saw none,” Midgett offers. “The project created a feeling of fellowship and community that was palpable. They inspired me with their joy in simply being present in the moment, in that space, working in synergy. The artwork was so beautiful I almost didn’t go through with the renovation. But several artists, including Jordan, told me they were simply creating art for art’s sake.” Now, Art House Ocala 2.0 is the scene for fresh creativeness in a former downtown automotive dealership building that also is owned by Midgett.

Learn more at www.jordanshapot.com To learn more, find Art House Ocala on Facebook and Instagram. 102


Art House photo courtesy of Dave Miller

something was missing,” states Betty Ann. “We took a few paintings of the house and hung them on the lanai walls, but that just didn’t do it.” “Then we started thinking about having murals painted on the walls,” Felipe adds. “Of course, we thought of Jordan and gave him a call.” The trio conferred and agreed on a nature theme. Shapot painted several postcard-sized watercolors and the Korzennys selected their three favorites. Come June 2019, Shapot was spending a lot of time on the Korzennys’ lanai. “The texture of the stucco walls was a challenge, as was dealing with the summer’s heat and humidity,” recalls Shapot, who took four weeks to finish the project. “I had to prep the walls with a clear primer. Then I projected my drawings up on the walls to paint. I used the best quality acrylics and then added multiple applications of clear sealants to protect against the sun’s UV light.” The end result was three boldly colored abstract interpretations of nature scenes. Dreams of Flowers is 5 feet by 7 feet and features teal, orange, blue and reddishorange foliage reaching for the sky. On the walls on each side of the outdoor dining set are Flowers of the Night and Dancing Swan, both 9 feet by 7 feet. The former is inspired by water lilies, these in bold purples and blues. The latter features an abstract swan in the center, framed by swirls of red and purple. “Now every time we’re out on the lanai, the murals bring us such joy,” says Betty Ann, whose favorite, as well as Felipe’s, is Flowers of the Night. Shapot, who’s partial to Dancing Swan, says, “I love working on the large canvas and the impact of murals.” And he is already working on another murals project. “I’m painting four murals on aluminum panels for the City of Ocala’s Legacy Park,” he offers. “Each panel is 4-by-8 and will depict an aspect of African American history in the area. I am very honored to have been chosen for this special project. I feel like this is another important part of my artistic journey.” One muse at a time.


A Legal Solution With Your Best Interest in Mind IF YOU’RE INJURED, AN ATTORNEY WITH PERSONAL INJURY AND TRIAL EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST CHOICE. No one plans or wants to have an accident or suffer other injury, but if it happens you’ll want the best legal team on your side. Choosing the right attorney is a serious matter. This is particularly important when you’ve been injured, whether as the victim of a motor vehicle accident or because of premises liability, medical malpractice, or have experienced the wrongful

death of a loved one. It’s crucial to select an attorney with trial experience, because a personal injury attorney should always seek to obtain the maximum available compensation for accidental injuries or wrongful death. “The most compelling reason to hire an attorney with trial experience is that the insurance companies know which

attorneys will take a case to trial and which ones will not,” notes King Law Managing Shareholder Greg King, who founded King Law Firm in 1995. “The insurance industry will never award attorneys who don’t try cases the fair value of their clients’ claims, because if the attorney has a reputation for settling rather than litigating, there is no risk to the insurance company,” King explains. Before hiring an attorney, you want to ensure that the attorney you will be working with has the necessary experience, so always ask for their record of results. When considering an attorney, ask the following:

go to trial? • What is your win/loss record? • What are your largest total judgment cases and for what amounts? It’s not unusual for a personal injury case to be settled prior to trial. In fact, this happens frequently, but you still want to hire an attorney who is skilled in the art of trying cases. Otherwise, you won’t receive full value for your claim. And make no mistake, insurance companies definitely know which firms/attorneys “just settle” and which ones try cases effectively on behalf of their clients.

• What percentage of your cases end up with the filing of a lawsuit? • Of those, how many actually

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Please Don’t Touch the Art Appleton Museum of Art Curator of Exhibitions Patricia Tomlinson mixes art and science to discuss the guidelines for carefully enjoying artworks. Tomlinson, a former professional archaeologist, joined the Appleton in 2016 after serving as curatorial staff in the New World Department at the Denver Art Museum. By Patricia Tomlinson


Conceptual illustration. Not a part of the Appleton Museum of Art’s collection.

t’s pretty hard for museum visitors to surprise curators with things they say or do, but recently I had that happen. Museums are, after all, highly public spaces, and when you have many different people visiting a space, you’ll have many different things happening. Like the time a visitor hopped onto a display platform and began trying on incredibly old and fragile beaded moccasins. Or the time a person bragged about stroking priceless paintings in famous museums all over the world. But the most surprising for me was when a visitor was asked not to touch or get too close to a painting. They turned around and asked, “Why?” When I heard this, I’ll admit I reacted like the infamous Mr. Bumble in the musical Oliver. “Why? Why? Why is someone asking why?!” And then it hit me—the person asking the question honestly did not know why museums ask people not to touch the art. It’s not about visitors being unclean or not good enough—I’m not allowed to touch the art and working directly with the art is my job. The reason why we don’t touch museum objects has to do with science. Yes, you read that correctly—science. The science connection is that sweat on a person’s hands contains salts, which are corrosive, as are the natural oils found on skin. If you’re touching a historic painting created with natural pigments and binders

(and most of the paintings in museums were) you’re placing corrosives directly on the surface of a painting, which will destroy it. Even if you’re not actually touching a painting, getting too close is problematic because human breath contains carbon dioxide, which is also destructive. Multiply the corrosives and potential damage by thousands of people, and you can understand why museums won’t let anyone touch the art. We also ask that visitors keep a safe distance from the art. Even if not actually touching something, if they’re too close and misjudge distance or stumble slightly, that might send them directly into the painting. Many of the frames are rare and fragile, too. By getting too close, the frame could inadvertently be damaged. Because the mission of a museum is to preserve and protect its collections for future generations, it makes sense when museums work hard to safeguard the art for the benefit of all. Many of the Appleton’s paintings are over 100 years old and fragile. When we work together to protect the art, we can make it last for another 100 years and let future generations enjoy it too. Visit www.appletonmuseum.org for more information. Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala (352) 291-4455 Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0 1 0 5

Getting a Picture of the

COMPLETE YOU LOW-DOSE COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (LDCT) This patient’s LDCT chest scan isolated a tiny 3.5cm cancer mass in the left lung, which was treated successfully with no spread of disease. If you are or were a heavy smoker, ask your doctor if LDCT screening may be right for you. Taking a few minutes out of your year to get an LDCT screening may be all you need to protect your life. That’s enough to leave you and your lungs breathing a little easier.


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Agricultural Advantage Local students learn leadership and personal development skills while participating in one of the nation’s oldest and largest youth fairs. By Susan Smiley-Height Photography by Bruce Ackerman Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0 1 0 7


Cora and Lane Taylor with their lambs


hile watching his son and daughter, Lane and Cora, wrangle cantankerous lambs, Dustin Taylor gets a mischievous glint in his eyes and tries to hold back a cheek-splitting grin. “That was my whole childhood, between 8 and 18,” he says of his days of showing lambs, steers and heifers in the Southeastern Youth Fair (SEYF). His son Lane, 13, and daughter Cora, 11, are participating in the 2020 fair, which will take place February 21st-29th at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala. They’ll be showing steers, lambs, rabbits and chickens. The fair is the oldest all-youth fair in the nation that continues to operate without a midway. It is the largest such event in the state. The Steer Show, the foundation of the fair, started in 1941. Dustin Taylor recalls showing animals from 1993 to 2002, including one lamb that took the grand champion title. While agriculture and livestock were a big part of his growing-up years, Dustin has a knack for music, which took him to South Carolina. “We moved to Myrtle Beach for a while. I’m an entertainer, I play piano, sing and stuff, and they offered me a job up there,” he says. “But we ended up coming back, mainly because I wanted to make sure our kids could have what I had in 4-H and we couldn’t do that up there. We came back for a lot of reasons, but 4-H and family were the two big ones. “They weren’t too sure about it at first,” he adds, nodding toward his children. “But once they got to the fair that first year, they were addicted and I’m like, ‘There you go.’ It’s neat it’s all coming back around again for my young’uns.” The Taylor family also includes mom Christina, and daughter Hazel, born January 12th.



Southeastern Youth Fair participants must be members of a local 4-H or FFA group. Lane and Cora, who are homeschooled, are members of Town & Country 4-H. Countywide, there are 45 4-H clubs and 19 FFA chapters. The mission of the youth fair is to be a showcase for competition, exhibition and educational opportunities, and for the promotion of self-esteem and personal growth and development for the participants, while also helping people understand the importance of agriculture, which is a $1.2 billion industry in Marion County. The fair is free to attend and is open to the public. Activities range from livestock shows to a tractor driving competition and home arts exhibits such as needlework and photography. New this year are classes for equestrians with disabilities and a barbecue contest for those ages 5 to 7 (they’ll grill hot dogs under the supervision of an adult). The event remains a “production” fair, “fostering a unique experience for a child to act as a producer, to market their animal from beginning to end.” Fair organizers say this gives participants opportunities to learn life skills such as taking responsibility, daily management of animals, record keeping and how to best represent their animals and themselves. Lane’s lamb is named Nick Furry, Cora’s is Jeff. Both lambs are about a year old. “Last year was their first year in the fair,” Dustin says of his children. “We did a lot of boot camp stuff and went to a mock lamb show so they could see what would be expected in the show ring.” When asked how they get the lambs to obey, Cora offers, “Just pull on them, pull on them, pull on them.” Sometimes, though, even the best preparation can go awry. Last year, when Cora entered the ring with her lamb, it took off “with her holding on,” notes Dustin. And, being a market fair, where the animals often are sold to the highest bidder, there are times a participant

will weep at parting with their animal, even though it means the student gains money, which most times goes into a college account. When asked if he likes raising and showing lambs or steers best, Lane stands up tall and says, “I’ll tell you when I see the check.” Sara LeFils is executive director of the Southeastern Youth Fair, which is a nonprofit organization. She explains that the annual event is made possible through donations from individuals, businesses, and an annual fundraiser. This year, the fundraiser will be the SEYF Ag Dash 5K, at 8 am on Saturday, February 22nd. The event will begin and end at the livestock pavilion. LeFils says cowgirls and cowboys on horseback will be at the start and finish lines to welcome back all the runners. A supplemental element of the fair is Ag Venture, an agriculture education field trip, sponsored by the Marion County Farm Bureau, Marion County Public Schools and others. Over three days of the fair, more than 2,000 second-graders will learn where milk and eggs come from, what kinds of produce are grown locally and much more. Through the run of the fair, more than 200 volunteers, including some local business leaders, will guide and help educate participants and visitors. “I just love how the community supports these kids,” LeFils notes. This year’s fair is dedicated to Dale and Connie Sauls, longtime owners of the ConDale Dairy in Anthony.

Cora Taylor and Jeff

Connie, who died in November 2018, was on multiple committees for the youth fair and received numerous awards for her leadership in agriculture locally and nationally. Dale was named Florida Farmer of the Year in 2004. He now operates a 250-head beef cattle operation in Mountain Grove, Missouri. While Christina Taylor and LeFils did not grow up participating in the youth fair, both women have come to see how much the participants support and care for each other. “I didn’t grow up in fair, but my kids did,” LeFils offers. “It hooks you.” “Nobody in Myrtle Beach got it,” offers Dustin Taylor, puffing out his chest a little as the proud father of two kids who more than “get it.”

BY THE NUMBERS • 2,000+ exhibits and contests, including tractor driving, cooking, gardening, sewing, ceramics, photography, animal judging and more • 1,496 animals, including steers, heifers, swine, lambs, goats, chickens, rabbits, horses and dogs • 899 student participants • 79 years the event has been in existence

For more information about the Southeastern Youth Fair, visit www.seyfair.com Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 0 1 0 9


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In observing the beauty that exists in the here and now, we can find the extraordinary revealed within the ordinary. Each month we invite you to see our community with fresh eyes through the lens of our talented photographers.

Every day “on set” is a different experience. After 15 years behind the camera, I’ve learned there’s a moment between subject and photographer when a connection is made. These moments can be combustive, lasting a nanosecond in time; when aligned with composition and lighting, magic happens. I’ve made a lifetime’s worth of friendships and met amazing people. Capturing images like this one of Hannah Ow is a gift I cherish every day.

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