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South Marion’s ultimate holiday event guide

(Thoughts? Submit a letter to the editor here.)

Cottom Farm’s Cruise-In

Bring your family and friends to Cottom Farm, at 4250 Marion County Road, Weirsdale, on Nov. 24 and 25, from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. $5 per person or $20 per carload as guests can experience a drive through tour of their Christmas Light Display! Thanksgiving weekend only. The Christmas Village will be open as well to also experience a hayride through the farm.

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Light Up Lake Weir Boat Parade & Festival

A dazzling light display that will soon take place on Lake Weir. “Light Up Lake Weir”, an event featuring a holiday boat parade, will take place on Saturday, December 2. The festivities will begin with a pre-parade festival at 10:00 am at Lake Weir Carney Island Park, located at 13275 SE 115th Ave, in Ocklawaha. The parade vessel launch is scheduled for 5:30 pm. Boat Parade spectators can take in the holiday sights at either Gator Joe’s Beach Bar & Grill or Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill.

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Light Up Lake Lillian Saturday, December 2nd

Light Up Lake Lillian powered by Gary Yeomans Ford of Ocala & the Villages will be Saturday, December 2nd from 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Lake Lillian. The event will include local food trucks, and over 50 craft and business vendors to shop from. Don’t miss your chance to shop for the family at the Operation Shoebox Secret Santa Shop for Kids with all items $10 or less. Children can also visit with Santa!

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Belleview Christmas Parade Sunday, December 3rd

The Belleview Christmas Parade will take place on Sunday, December 3 at 2:00 pm. Parade organizer Sue Mosley said at a recent Belleview City Commission meeting that “Hopefully this parade this year will be longer than last year.”

“I’m very grateful to your staff and your police department, they have been wonderful in helping me orchestrate this this year,” said Mosley to Belleview commissioners.

Any potential volunteers or sponsors who’d like to contribute may email Belleviewparade@gmail.com or visit BelleviewChristmasParade.com.

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Ocala Christmas Parade

The Ocala Christmas Parade will be Saturday, December 9, beginning at 5:30 pm. This years theme is Christmas Around the World! The route begins at the intersection of SE 25th Avenue and Ft. King Street, moving North to E Silver Springs Blvd. The parade starts promptly at 5:30.

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Christmas Light Spectacular At The Florida Horse Park

Beginning Nov. 23 through Dec. 30, more than a million Christmas lights with dozens of holiday displays will light up over a mile at the Florida Horse Park.

The lights trail is drive through style, but there is also Santa Land open Fridays-Sundays (Nov 25 – Dec. 23) offering train rides, a slide, kid’s activities, live music, and food trucks. Ice skating and food trucks will be available every night.

The event begins in the evening at 6 pm (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) and the last car is in at 9:30 pm. Prices vary on the size of the vehicle. For more information on dates, pricing and to buy tickets, visit OcalaChristmas.com.

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Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Looking for a truly authentic Christmas tradition to do with the family? Christmas Tree cutting permits will be available beginning Nov. 24.

You can actually cut down your very own Christmas tree in the Ocala National Forest. During daylight hours and anytime through Christmas Eve, put on your hiking boots, explore the Ocala National Forest and pick out your favorite Sand Pine Christmas tree to bring home.

Prior to cutting down the tree, make sure to purchase a permit, by visiting Recreation.gov/tree-permits/ocala. This page also offers tips on cutting and selecting your tree and map of the areas you can harvest a tree!

Make sure to print and bring your permit and a map. *The use of chainsaws is not permitted.

For more information you can call the Lake George Ranger District station at (352) 625-2520 or National Forests in Florida at (850) 523-8500.

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(Thoughts? Submit a letter to the editor here.)

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