It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about December, when the traffic is life sucking and the weather makes you wonder why you ever leave the house.
The most wonderful time of the year is actually October. The Florida weather is starting to cool, just enough to begin layering fall fashion – the best fashion.
In Ocala, festivals start popping up around town and everyone is in the mood for a pumpkin spice latte. This year, there are some particularly interesting events and activities happening in Marion County. Here are some of my favorites:
First Friday Art Walk
This downtown event happens every month September – May, but October is particularly special. The theme for this month’s Art Walk is Day of the Dead and Coco is playing in Citizen’s Circle, so it’s the perfect start to spooky season. Enjoy live music, local art lining the streets and extended shopping hours.
Beer, brats, live music, axe throwing – what more could you want? Oktoberfest in Tuscawilla Park is presented by the Reilly Arts Center (love them), and this year they’ve rented a giant tent so rain won’t dampen the day.
The Pickin’ Patch
September 28th – October 27th
I’m partial to this patch because it’s where Kendrick proposed! With a huge selection of pumpkins to pick off the vine and a beautiful sunflower field, this place is worth driving to Dunnellon for.
Historic Homestaeding: Broom Making
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Kait, what white nonsense is this? I love crafting and I don’t have kids, but I might borrow one so I can seem normal while I participate in broom making. Also, I’m envisioning the scene from Hocus Pocus where they jump on their brooms (or vacuum) and sing their hearts out, and I’m vibing with the idea of making my own.
Stories Under the Stars: Phantoms in the Fort
I’ve never been to this event, let alone the fort, but this is one of the events I’m most looking forward to this month! I’m a sucker for spooky stories and supporting local events – it seems like the perfect way to get into the spooky spirit.
After Dark In The Park
Maybe what I’m most excited about this month is After Dark in the Park showing Hocus Pocus. My mom is driving from Williston to attend this event with me, and you better believe I’ll be singing, “Come Little Children,” on my broom from the broom making class.
Fort King Haunted Trail
I should probably take Karen and Georgia’s advice and Stay Out of the Forest, but I’ll definitely be checking out this free haunted wooded trail. I’m no fan of Halloween Horror Nights or intense haunted houses, but the description says the earlier you attend the less spooky, so I’ll be there with all the 12-year-olds.
Ocala Arts Festival
October 26 – 27
I wrote a piece about the festival’s student art section for Ocala Magazine, and you can find it here.
If you’re a creative like me, you’ll love the Ocala Arts Festival. This festival essentially shuts down downtown traffic and fills the streets with art ranging from abstract to sculpture for the weekend. The artists are with their pieces, so it’s really interesting to be able to ask them about their work.
McIntosh Fall Festival
I grew up attending this festival with my family, so it’s near to my heart. There are a ton of great vendors and I wait all year to stock up on my favorite goodies. This is where I find my favorite candied jalapenos that pair perfectly with cream cheese on a Ritz cracker. The food trucks are amazing and the antiques for sale are always top notch.
Marion County Halloween Run 2019
I’m not typically a fan of 5k/10k activities (don’t sign me up for cardio), but this one includes a Boo and Brew element! The race will have food trucks, live music and a costume contest. I may or may not have to convince my husband to dress up like the Flash.
Now let’s get out there, wrap ourselves in layers and embrace the most wonderful time the year!