New Musical at OCT Tops List of Fun Weekend Events in Ocala, Florida

“Hands on a Hardbody”

The live musical kicks off the 2022-23 season for Ocala Civic Theater, 4337 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. The show runs from September 1-18. This upbeat country/pop musical is inspired by the 1997 documentary of the same name, directed by Jason Bartosic and choreographed by Greg Thompson. Tickets: $30 adults and $15 18 and under. To purchase and for additional details, visit or call 352-236-2274.

First Friday Art Walk

The Art Walk returns to downtown Ocala on September 2 from 6-9 p.m. at the iconic Downtown Plaza. The event takes place every first Friday in May. Hands-on arts activities and demonstrations from local arts and culture organizations, extended hours, local artists and artwork, and live music throughout the evening. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact the City of Ocala Arts Division at 352-629-8447 and [email protected]

Orange Blossom Opry

Friday Night Live at the Opry, 16439 SE 138th Terrace, Weirsdale, features former Sawyer Brown band member Bobby Randall on September 2 at 7 p.m. for an evening of wild country music with the Orange Blossom Opry Band. Tickets starting at $25. For details, visit

Where the locals eat:At Scrambles Cafe in SE Ocala, they get breakfast, lunch just right

Good food:New Zella’s Pizzeria restaurant serves pizza and chicken wings in South Ocala near Belleview

‘Little Man Big Mouth’:Ocala Author Dave Schlenker Gets Seriously Funny in New Book

Appleton Museum free first Saturday

Admission is free for all to the Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, every first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the permanent collection, special exhibitions, or make art in the gallery‘s art space, then relax in the museum’s beautiful outdoor spaces for lunch all day September 2. Big Lee’s BBQ Truck will be on site from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit

40th Annual Ocala Sanctuary Rodeo

This event will take place September 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2200 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets $25, with children 5 and under admitted free. Children 6-11 pay $10 with a paying adult. For more information, visit

Coming soon:

The Rocket Man/Elton John Tribute Show

Rus Anderson is the official lookalike of Elton John for the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, chosen by the man himself. Rus performs as young Elton (formerly known as Reginald Dwight) with a perfect voice, fierce piano, flamboyant costumes and a feast of Greatest Hits. Part of the Feel Whole Concert Series sponsored by AdventHealth Ocala. The Crocodile Rock takes the stage at the Reilly Center, 500 NE Ninth St., Ocala on September 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets starting at $25. For details, visit or call 352-351-1606.

'The Karate Kid.'

After Dark in the Park: “The Karate Kid”

The City of Ocala Parks and Recreation Department hosts the “After Dark in the Park” film series with the classic movie “The Karate Kid.” The film begins at 8 p.m. on September 9 at Tuscawilla Park Oak Grove, 500 NE Ninth St., Ocala. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Reilly Black Series – Dayve Stewart

Known for his engaging style and masterful mastery of smooth jazz, bop and bebop music, Dayve Stewart brings his flair and imagination to the Reilly Arts Center, 500 NE Ninth St., Ocala on September 9 at 7:30 p.m. This performance is part of a series of nine shows each month at NOMA Black Box through May 2023. Tickets $25 for general seating; VIP tables are available for $175 and include four tickets, reserved seating and one round of drinks per package. For more information, visit or call 352-351-1606.

Ira Holmes International Film Series

Films celebrating humor and the tireless perseverance of the human spirit take center stage at this year’s Festival at the College of Central Florida, which kicks off Sept. 13 with “Wild Men” at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The 2 p.m. matinee will be screened at the Appleton Museum, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, and the 7 p.m. screening is at the CF Ocala Campus, 3001 SW College Road, Building 8 / Room 110. All Movies on the CF campus are free and open to the public and free to all members of the museums and film series at the Appleton (non-members pay museum admission). Movies may contain mature content. To see the full list of this year’s films and for more details, visit

An Evening with Judy Collins

The legendary Grammy-winning singer-songwriter takes the stage at the Reilly Arts Center, 500 NE Ninth St., Ocala, at 7:30 p.m. on September 17. Tickets available at, at the door, or call the box office at 352-351-1606.

Who is your hero?

Join David Fritz conducting the Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band at Marion Technical Institute, 1614 SE Fort King St., Ocala, as he performs “Who’s Your Hero” at 2 p.m. September 17 and 3 p.m. September 18. Free and open to the public. Donations are gratefully accepted. For more information call 352-390-0491 or visit

Stearns Lecture Series: Robert Watson on Alexander Hamilton

Fans of the Pulitzer-winning Broadway musical “Hamilton” might be interested in Robert Watson’s presentation, “Alexander Hamilton: Man, Myth, Musical,” at 12:30 p.m. September 19. This conference is the inaugural event of the College. of Central Florida Stearns Speaker Series, presented at the Dassance Fine Arts Center, 3001 SW College Road, Ocala. Free and open to the public. Watson’s talk is followed by a 2 p.m. reception at the Clifford B. Stearns Learning Resources Center. More at or 352-854-2322, ext. 1440.

In progress:

CF Webber Gallery Presents Competitive Printmaking

The biennial Extreme Pressure of American Prints 2022 is an inaugural competitive national exhibition hosted by the Webber Gallery at the College of Central Florida, 3001 SW College Road, Ocala. It will be open until September 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday. Open to all forms of traditional printmaking, this exhibition presents a celebration and examination of contemporary printmaking by artists from across the United States. Free entry. Call 352-854-2322, ext. 1664 for more information.

“Moments of transition in the landscape of nature”

This art exhibit by Julijana Perst runs through September 30 at Ocala City Hall, 110 SE Watula Ave. It is free and open to the public. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Perst, a Florida-based visual artist, has shown her work in New York, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. For more information: 352-629-8447, [email protected] or

“Colorful Pleasures”

This art exhibit by Christine Dozier runs through January 17 at Ocala International Airport, 1770 SW 60th Ave., Suite 600. Free and open to the public. Ocala resident and Memphis native Dozier works in oil and acrylic. More at, 352-629-8447, [email protected] or

“A floral retrospective”

This exhibition of Gregory Dirr’s work runs through December 9 at the Clerk’s Office at Ocala City Hall, 110 SE Watula Ave. Free and open to the public. Boca Raton-based Dirr is described in a City of Ocala press release as “an interdisciplinary visual artist, creating work as a cathartic response to his surroundings with a focus on environmental conservation.” . The Clerk’s office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. More at, 352-629-8447, [email protected] or

Spy Science Exhibit at the Discovery Center

Learn about the history, science and even Hollywood connections within the spy industry with this new exhibit, which takes visitors into the world of espionage. The exhibit is in place at the Discovery Center, 701 NE Sanchez Ave., Ocala, through September 17. Admission is $8 per person and $28 per party of four. The center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 352-401-3900 or visit

“Journey to My Soul: The Landscapes of My Mind”

This art exhibit by Kelley Batson-Howard is held at the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Administration Building, 828 NE Eighth Ave., and the Eighth Avenue Adult Activity Center, 830 NE Eighth Ave., until September 13. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free and open to the public. According to a city press release, Batson-Howard is “a contemporary painter creating abstract works” who moved to Central Florida in 1988. More information at, 352-629-8447, [email protected] or

‘Squares without dots’

This exhibit runs at the Barbara Gaskin Washington Adult Activity Center, 210 NW 12th Ave., Ocala, through January 12. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free and open to the public. More at, 352-368-5517, and @OcalaRecPark on Facebook.

Photographs by Steven Benson

The Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, presents “Invented Observations: Photographs by Steven Benson,” on display through November 6 at the Balcony Gallery for Florida Arts. Benson is a professor at Daytona State College and a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Midwest Fellowship. His work has been exhibited in numerous collections, including the Museum of Fine Art Houston, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Museet for Fotokunst in Denmark. For more information, call 352-291-4455 or visit

‘Finding Beauty’

This exhibit features costumes, set photos, interactive experiences and sketches, as well as a plethora of fabrics and a video of the costume design process. These objects, from the Appleton Museum’s permanent collection, inspired the art and design of the Ocala Civic Theater’s recent production of “Beauty and the Beast.” This exhibit runs throughout the winter of 2022. The museum is located at 4337 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. For details and admission fees, visit

Comments are closed.