Santa on the Square

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You better not shout, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town!

On December 2, downtown Ocala presented Santa on the Square. Although Santa’s sleigh was a few reindeer short, the children were still riddled with excitement.

“I asked Santa for a four-wheeler for Christmas,” said 7-year-old, Jacob Booth. “And Mrs. Claus gave me a coloring book.”

There was an abundance of activities for people of all ages. From horse-drawn carriage rides to hayrides to ice skating, there was never a dull-moment in downtown Ocala.

“Even though I fell twice, and it was a little embarrassing, I knew I’d get the hang of it,” said Lyric Calloway.

Patricia Calloway, Lyric’s mother, said, “Once she figured it out, I couldn’t get her off the ice.” Ocala’s Holiday Skating Rink uses synthetic ice but is still a fun and unique way to celebrate the winter with your family and friends.

The Holiday Ice-Skating Rink is located downtown, just north of Citizens’ Circle underneath a blanket of shimmering Christmas lights. Although the hours of operation vary, (depending on the evening’s event), every Friday from 3-9 p.m., and every Saturday and Sunday from 12-9 p.m., you can visit the rink. The cost is $5 for 30 minutes and the skates are included.

To satisfy cold bellies, Santa’s elves handed out hot chocolate and cider. One young lady brought her 4-year-old miniature horse, named Princess, and Princess caught as many eyes as Mr. and Mrs. Claus did. There is so much to see and so much to enjoy.

Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a certain villain. And guess who showed up to crash Santa’s party – the Grinch! However, the Grinch would not have the opportunity to steal Christmas this time. In fact, the Grinch enjoyed the event quite exuberantly.

“I love to dress up for this occasion,” said the woman hidden beneath the rubbery, green Grinch mask. “I even talked my daughter into volunteering as one of Santa’s Little Helpers.”

For the Moms and Dads here at CF, take the kids to get their pictures taken with The Grinch on December 12. Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” will be on the square on December 19 and January 12. And everyone’s favorite Disney character, Mickey Mouse will be there on December 26, accompanied by Woody from “Toy Story.”

Ocala sure knows how to bring the Northpole to the South. Santa Claus will be on the square every Tuesday and Thursday from December 9 to December 18. The Holiday Ice-Skating Rink will be available until January 4. The Square will also be hosting Movie in the Park Night on Friday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. Watch “Christmas with the Kranks” on the big screen with the family. And don’t forget your blankets and beanies.

By: Darbi Darby, Staff Writer