About the Event
Light Up Ocala, the community’s official kick off of the holiday season, is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving (11/17/12 this year) on the Downtown square and surrounding streets. With 28 Light Up Ocala events behind us and with annual attendance estimated at over 20,000 participants, this is truly one of North Central Florida’s finest holiday traditions.
This year’s event will see many changes to those of years past. With attendance levels growing each year, the event was literally busting at the seams. To accommodate the larger crowds, the City will be spreading the event out as far as the newly opened Citizen’s Circle to the south of the Square and will bridge the boulevard taking the event a block north of the square. This revised event layout allows us to move entertainment, activities and vendors off narrow streets and instead bring them into the open spaces.
Light Up Ocala will feature live entertainment on three stages including the newly constructed stage at Citizen’s Circle, the main event stage on the Downtown Square and a stage located in the north event zone, “the north pole”.
Because of the extended event zone, event mobility options will be provided to assist people in getting around and back and forth to their vehicles. This event mobility will include horse and buggy and pedicabs.
The event times are shifted to a little later than previous years to better capitalize on the event’s main attraction, a 40 foot decorated tree and thousands of twinkling and dripping lights throughout Downtown Ocala. While the official event start time is 4:00 p.m. the event will “officially” kickoff with the Junior Sunshine Christmas Parade which steps off at 4:30 p.m. The “flipping” of the switch will be at the traditional time of 7:30 p.m. Event entertainment, activities and vendor sales will continue until 9:30.