Growing A Green Thumb!
gardening course starts in January

Levy Extension
Participants transplant and direct seeded cool-season vegetables at Levy County Extension Center during the 2023 fall gardening workshop.

Story and Photo Provided
By Barbara Edmonds, Horticulture Program Assistant
UF/IFAS Levy County Extension
Published Dec. 2, 2023 at 8 a.m.
     BRONSON --
Levy County Extension hosts the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Master Gardener volunteer course titled Growing A Green Thumb!



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     Meetings are set to be on Thursdays, from Jan. 25 through April 18, from 9 a.m.   to 12 p.m., in the Levy County Extension Center, Bronson, 625 N. Hathaway Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27), Bronson. 
     The course includes a comprehensive curriculum, covering topics such as fertilization, efficient watering, pesticide options, vegetable and fruit selection, low maintenance landscapes, and it demonstrates a commitment to addressing the specific challenges of gardening in North Florida.
     The combination of various teaching methods, including lectures, online presentations, videos and hands-on activities, provides a well-rounded educational experience.
     There is an emphasis on participation and weekly objectives, which allow the adult learner to actively engage in the learning process. This course is an educational experience for participants and a fantastic opportunity for individuals interested in gardening, whether they are novice or very experienced with gardening in Florida. 
     Course completion plus 75 hours of volunteer service with UF Extension provides for a certified Florida Master Gardener volunteer status.
     The University of Florida's basic background screening is required.
     Be prepared to present photo identification on the first day of class.
     Internet access is needed. The in-person class is capped at 30 students, with it being on a first-call, first-served basis.
     The University of Florida is committed to providing universal access to all our events. For disability accommodations such as sign language interpreters and listening devices, contact Barbara L. Edmonds, at savemygarden@ufl.edu, or by calling 352-486-5131 at least one week in advance. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs. 
     This class costs a non-refundable $124 materials fee. Payment is by cash, check or money order payable to the University of Florida. For checks and money orders, the MEMO line is Master Gardener.
     The deadline to register is Jan. 11.
     Request an application at savemygarden@ufl.edu or pick up at Levy County Extension, 625 N. Hathaway Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27), Bronson, 32621. Call 352-486-5131. All extension programs and services are open to all without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, or handicap.


Miracle On 34th Street
slated to be at the Chief Theatre
Performances Dec. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17

Mac McKenzie (left) as Kris Kringle and Jensen Dwyer as Susan Walker are seen in the Chief Theatre production of Miracle on 34th Street.

Photo By Jenna Walbaum, Chief Theatre

Information Provided By Elizabeth Burr, Chief Theatre
Published Nov. 30, 2023 at3 p.m.
Everyone is invited to buy tickets and join the Chief Theatre for a Christmas classic, performed live.

     Miracle on 34th Street is the story of faith, and the magic of the holiday season. When a department store Santa claims to be the real Kris Kringle, his case ends up in court. The belief of one little girl makes all the difference.
     This play is presented by special arrangements with Dramatic Publishing.
     The Chief Theatre is located at 25 E. Park Ave. (aka Martin Luther King Jr. Road) in Chiefland, right across the street from the Chiefland Police Department.
     The show runs Dec. 8 through Dec. 17 with performances on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
     Theatergoers can reserve tickets by calling 352-493-2787 or visiting https://www.chief-theatre.org/.
     Tickets cost $15, or they cost $13 for seniors, students and military.


Cedar Key photographers honored
Cedar Key Photographers
This pelican’s eye view shows a table full of food brought by Cedar Key Woman’s Club members and others to be enjoyed during the Tuesday evening festive honorarium.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 29, 2023 at 8:30 p.m.
All Rights Reserved
     CEDAR KEY –
     As Nichole Nordeman wrote, in part, in her song Grace
It's a name for a girl.
It's also a thought that, changed the world.
And when she walks on the street.
You can hear the strings.
Grace finds goodness in everything.”
     In the cold Tuesday evening (Nov. 28), an event unfolded to honor the photographers who contributed to the Cedar Key Woman’s Club (CKWC) 2024 Calendar. In those moments, grace was an unspoken word, and yet everyone there carried the spirit throughout the event.
     This has become an annual occasion, held in the outdoor dining area of the Island Hotel and Restaurant on historic Second Avenue in downtown Cedar Key.
     This year, health issues and other circumstances kept some of the CKWC stars as well as some of the contributing photographers in places other than the charming and historic hotel and restaurant.

Cedar Key Photographers
Lorraine Gramolini uncovers her stuffed clams, complete with jalapeño peppers for spicy wonderment. Once someone tries one of these homemade stuffed clams, they can’t help but come back for more.

Cedar Key Photographers
Cedar Key Woman’s Club members and guests begin to enjoy some of the many hors d'oeuvres and appetizers of the evening.

Cedar Key Photographers

Cedar Key Photographers
People gather in different small groups, which change as everyone mingles with one another during the moments before the program presentation.

     Cedar Key Woman’s Club President Pat Stephens opened the program by welcoming everyone and noting her appreciation for everyone bringing the wonderful and delicious food.
     The club president ceded the microphone to CKWC 2024 Calendar Committee Chair Vicki Crumpley.
     Crumpley shared with listeners that the committee included her and four others.
     Jane Moore, who was unable to attend, has served as the emcee for the past several years, Crumpley said. 
     Moore is the person, Crumpley said, who spearheaded the calendar project as a fundraiser for the CKWC back in 2011. And she was again a vital part of the committee for the 2024 calendar.
     Judy Duvall earns the title as “Distribution Queen,” Crumpley said. Like a number of other people, she was affected by Hurricane Idalia, Crumpley said. The committee chair said she has faith in Duvall finishing off the sales of “not that many” calendars to wrap up this year’s fundraiser.
     Cindy Leiner is the Calendar Committee’s “Artistic Eye” for the 2024 calendar, Crumpley said. Leiner was able to bring in several photographers who contributed their works to make the calendar whole.
     Teresa Stevens was “our computer whiz this year,” Crumpley said as she wrapped up introductions of the committee.
     Stevens was willing to jump in and do anything to take care of whatever needed to be done, Crumpley said.
     “Cindy and Teresa both put the thing together,” Crumpley said.    
     They placed the order for the calendars right after the hurricane hit, she added.
     “They got the calendars in and actually started selling it,” Crumpley said. “They have been running with it. So, let’s give a big hand to our committee.”
     And the crowd applauded.
     Then Crumpley read the photographers’ names as President Stephens shook their hands, thanked them and gave them each a calendar.

Cedar Key Photographers
Cedar Key Woman’s Club President Pat Stephens (left) and 2024 CKWC Calendar Chair Vicki Crumpley speak to the crowd just before publicly honoring the many photographers who contributed to make another great calendar.

Cedar Key Photographers
Sherry Sicking (left), who took the picture on the cover of the 2024 calendar, is thanked by Cedar Key Woman’s Club President Pat Stephens (right) as Calendar Committee Chair Vicki Crumpley watches on Tuesday evening (Nov. 28). The president shook all of the photographers’ hands while she wore glove, which provided some warmth to the recipients on that relatively cold evening. In the background, the window for beverage service from the Island Hotel and Restaurant's bar is open for service.

     Sherry Sicking, who took the picture on the cover of the calendar, was the first photographer called forward to shake hands with President Stephens and receive her calendar.
     Ann Kamzelski took the January picture. Dee Miller shot the February photo. Leslie Vassall, Chris Black and Chelsea Johnson were thanked for their photos used for March. Vassall, Pat Taylor and Tom Fattori contributed the photographs used for April. Susan Smith shot the May picture.
     Fattori took the June picture. Johnson, Tammy Brinkman and Lauren Blair were honored for their contributions for July. Rory Brennan is the photographer who provided the picture for August. Sharon Goodchild, Angela Woods and Grace Lord are September’s photographers. Sonja Dickson Rine took the photo for October. In November the picture was shot by Frank “Boise” Morgan. Lee Richardson took the photo used for December.
     Back page pictures were by some of the above-note photographers and Nikki Thorsen, Donna Bushnell, Donna Thalacker, Amber Michelle Mooney. Judy Callaway, Darlene White and Alysia Hammel.

Cedar Key Photographers
The photographers who attended the evening celebration in their honor join with Cedar Key Woman’s Club President Pat Stephens and CKWC 2024 Calendar Committee Chair Vicki Crumpley to provide a photo opportunity.

Cedar Key Photographers
The owners of the Island Hotel and Restaurant (from left) Andy Bair, Stanley Bair, Laurie Adams and Bud Adams agree to a photo opportunity after the Cedar Key Woman’s Club expressed gratitude for their help in making the program a success. Each of those two couples were presented with a calendar.

Cedar Key Photographers
After the program, people mingle and socialize.

Cedar Key Photographers
Eileen Senecal (left), a CKWC member who has been at the forefront of many fundraisers, especially for active duty and veterans of the United States military services is seen chatting with some of her multitude of friends.

Phase 2 Hog Hunt registration
begins Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 9 a.m.

By Susanna Martinez Tarokh, Public Information Officer
Southwest Florida Water Management District
Published Nov. 28, 2023 at 11:15 a.m.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will open Phase 2 hog hunt registration Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 9 a.m.
     The District holds a series of hog hunts on District lands throughout the year to help reduce the feral hog population.
     Phase 2 will include five hunts that occur January through February 2024.
     Permits are transferable.
     The single top producer on each hunt of Phase 2 will be placed on the District’s “top producer” list and will be contacted between March and October of 2024 to take part in feral hog management hunts on an as-needed basis, free of charge.
     Feral hogs, which are not native to Florida, can cause damage with their broad snouts and can leave an area looking like a plowed field. They also prey on native wildlife, compete with native species for food and transmit diseases to other wildlife, livestock and humans. Additionally, hogs may facilitate the spread of exotic plant species by transporting seeds and/or providing germination sites through rooting.
     The District has a three-phased hunting system. The first two phases of hunts have separate registration processes. The single top producer from each Phase 1 and Phase 2 hunt will be asked to participate in hog management activities for Phase 3.
     For more information, please visit WaterMatters.org/HogHunts


Hornets defeat Red Devils 34-16
in FHSAA Regional Championship
Red Devils end season 11-1

Williston offensive lineman Carter Benton battles Hawthorne's Darian Bowie (4) despite Bowie appearing to have one finger locked on Benton's face mask. A flag wasn't thrown on the Hornets.

Story and Photos
By Terry Witt, Correspondent
For HardisonInk.com © Nov. 25, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.
The Hawthorne Hornets, the defending state varsity football champions in Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 1R, defeated the Williston Red Devils Friday night (Nov. 24) 34-16 in the FHSAA Region Four Regional Championship Game, played in Williston.

     The Hornets, now 12-0, advance to the state semi-final game in the FHSAA Class 1 R state playoffs. The Williston Red Devils finished the season 11-1, which is its best record in 12 years.
     Hawthorne Middle High School Head Varsity Football Coach Cornelius Williams said he was proud of his team for prevailing against a Williston squad that had one of the most hard-to-stop offenses they have faced this season.
     “We battled some injuries all year long, filled some young guys in, played with a lot of confidence, I’m just proud of this team,” Coach Williams said. “Williston had one of the hardest offenses to stop. There were times when we looked good on defense and times when we looked back like when we gave up some of those dive runs up the middle.”

Hawthorne running back Keenon Johnson powers for a first down.

Red Devils Jackson Islam streaks toward the end zone to score Williston's final touchdown.

Hornets quarterback C.J. Ingram, the tallest player on the field at 6 feet 6 inches, and with a strong throwing arm, looks for running room on a designed quarterback keeper.

Williston runner Ja'Mez Jamison (#11) attempts to escape from the grasp of Hawthorne's Leland Johnson (#12). A facemask penalty was called on Hawthorne for this play.

Red Devils quarterback Shamon Coleman calls a play in the huddle.

Hawthorne's primary runner Keenon Johnson (#9) heads around right end as Hornets quarterback C.J. Ingram watches after the handoff.

     Williston Middle High School Head Varsity Football Coach Robbie Pruitt, now in his second year leading the coaching staff, said his team fought hard against a good football team.
      “We made mistakes early,” Coach Pruitt said. “We knew we would have to play a nearly perfect game to have a shot (at the regional championship title). We didn’t. My hat goes off to Hawthorne. They got a great program and a great team.”
     Former Williston Red Devils Football Coach Jimmy Ray Stevens was on hand to watch the game as he was among a capacity crowd of fans who filled the entire home side stands of WHS Booster Stadium, and there were Red Devils’ fans lining the fenced areas on both sides of the home team’s stands as well. 
     Hawthorne brought a big crowd from their home field in Alachua County, too.
     Like the Hornets, the Red Devils came into this gridiron matchup with an 11-0 season as both teams entered the first round of the FHSAA post-season playoffs.
     (The FHSAA Class 1R State Title Championship Varsity Football Game is scheduled to be broadcast on the Bally Sports Channel on Dec. 7 at a time to be announced later. The FHSAA State Championship Varsity Football Team Information Is Powered By MaxPreps.)
     Williston Middle High School, which is the easternmost Levy County high school varsity football team, is seeing 16 or 17 seniors leave from this year’s team as they move on from high school, but Pruitt said Williston’s varsity football team has a lot of good young guys who will return next year to form the core of the 2024 Red Devil roster in this sport. He said he is trying to build a culture in the Williston football program.
     Pruitt said many of their starters were injured and had to miss practice this week, which robbed the team of some of its sharpness.
     It didn’t help when starting quarterback Shamon Coleman sprained his ankle late in the first half. When he came back late in the second half he was limping as he led the team.
     Williston took an early lead in the game when it marched downfield on the first offensive series only to be stopped within 10 yards of the goal line. The Red Devils settled for a field goal from Eddie De LaCruz.
     Hawthorne answered on its first offense drive of the night with a short touchdown pass from Hornet quarterback C.J. Ingram to receiver Alvon Issac. The extra point was good.
     Teams traded possessions before Hawthorne took possession midway through the second quarter and scored on a 44-yard run by Issac running up the middle. Hawthorne led 14-3 with 5:57 left in the half.
     Williston responded, with 3:53 left in the first half, on a 40-yard touchdown run by Ja’Mez Jamison. LaCruz added the extra point to close the gap to 14-10.
     Hawthorne quickly answered on its next offensive series with a touchdown pass from Ingram to Issac, bringing the score to 20-10, as the Hornets closed the close first half as leaders.
     The visitors from Hawthorne scored again on their opening drive of the second half on an 80-yard pass from Ingram to Mathew McKinley-Daniels. The extra point was good. 
     Williston was unable to move the ball on its next possession, but Hawthorne scored on a 12-yard pass to a wide-open Andrew Zock.
     The Red Devils put the final touchdown for the home team on the scoreboard midway through the fourth quarter when Coleman threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Jackson Islam.
     Williston’s final drive of the night ended a couple yards short of the end zone with just seconds left on the clock when a pass was deflected.


Gentlemen - Start Your Ducks!
Duck race raises money for WGP

Duck Race
The crowd begins to gather to watch the ducks race down the river. It appears a big relative of one (or more) of the racers is in the crowd!

Story and Photos
By Peter Weiss, Ace Reporter For HardisonInk.com
© Nov. 21, 2023 at 3:15 p.m.
The 42nd Annual Inglis Yankeetown Lions Club Seafood Festival has come and gone in 2023.

     One of the highlights of the festival is the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve (WGP) Duck Race. The WGP Duck Race always is conducted at noon on the Sunday (Nov. 19) of the Seafood Festival. The event takes place on the Withlacoochee River behind Blackwater Restaurant.
     The ducks in this race are little, yellow, rubber ducks.
     Entrants sponsor a duck for $5 (or less per duck for quantity entrants). Each sponsor hopes one of his or her ducks wins (or loses). The first place duck wins $200 and the “Lazy Duck” (last place) receives $50. All of the profits from the race are used to support the WGP, a beautiful 413-acre preserve in Yankeetown.
     The WGP is open daily to the public during daylight hours and there is never an admission charged. The WGP has been called the “Jewel of Yankeetown” by many of its visitors.

Duck Race
A Bucket O' Ducks is dumped into the Withlacoochee River at the start of the race. Notice big duck is on the boat.

Duck Race
As one of the Duck Wranglers looks on, the field is tightly bunched up. But wait! One duck has surged ahead of the pack. As the race progressed, this duck would indeed become the winner.

Duck Race
D- After completion of this year's race, the Duck Wranglers begin their task of chasing down the ducks. All ducks were retrieved before reaching the Gulf of Mexico via the Withlacoochee River.

     This year's race was sold out with 790 ducks in the running (or in the floating). The Winning Duck was sponsored by Ann Weber, and the Lazy Duck was sponsored by Paul Skipper.
     After the two winning ducks are plucked out of the river, the “Duck Wranglers” are turned loose to retrieve the remaining ducks to be used at the next year's race. The WGP Friends send a big shout out to the Florida Paddling Trails Association, whose members volunteered to wrangle the ducks.
     The Friends of the WGP also noted “Thank you all -- for your continued support in keeping the real Florida available to everyone.”
     To learn more about the WGP, visit https://wgpfl.org/.


Yankeetown Seafood Festival
has a zillion stories

Seafood festival
Jim Allen plays guitar and harmonica. He is among the talented performers helping to draw the crowds to help the Lions.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 19, 2023 at 8 p.m.
All Rights Reserved – Do Not Copy Material
There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This is not one of them.
     Instead, since there are a zillion stories from the second of the two-day 42nd Annual Yankeetown Art, Crafts & Seafood Festival (Where Art Meets Nature) held Sunday (Nov. 19). This is one of them. (Yes, more are forecast to be published from this year.)

    Jump backward in time to the Naked City. Then, after looking at Day Two of the 2023 event, check out the archived Yankeetown Seafood Festivals of yesteryear. 
     The Naked City is a television series from Screen Gems that aired on ABC from 1958 to 1963. It was inspired by the 1948 motion picture The Naked City. Each episode concluded with a narrator stating the iconic line, “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.” Hence, this story starts rather than ends with that while adding “not” to this being one of them.
     As in recent years past, the festival was in Yankeetown on Riverside Drive, from 60th Street going west to 64th Street more or less. The number of vendors and food trucks fit into that space is again – impressive.
     Organized and hosted by the Inglis Yankeetown Lions Club for 41 years before this festival, and now with Year 42 in the history books, the festival has a history of food and fun as well as fine art and performing arts.
     Music this year was provided by the Yankeetown Parks and Recreation Committee and the Lions Club -- featuring local talent. There were some Yankeetown School graduates who said they can sing and dance, however that part of the entertainment must wait for another time for a future revue.
     One of the adult musicians performing on Sunday was Jim Allen, who played guitar and harmonica, as well as sang.
     Just as in years gone by, seafood and artworks were plentiful.
     Some years have shown more non-profit groups and there did not appear to be as many politicians at the second day of the festival as in some years.    
     All net profits from the festival support charitable causes through the Lions Club's Foundation. These funds support local, state, national and international projects. The Annual Yankeetown Art, Crafts & Seafood Festival features food (including seafood and many other kinds of food), entertainment, art works to see and purchase, crafts and other interesting merchandise of all sorts.
     At noon on Sunday, there was the Annual Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve (little yellow) Rubber Duck Race the Withlacoochee River.
     This is a fundraiser to help the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve. (A story and photo from the race is very likely to be published here in the not-too-distant future, God willing.)
     The infamous sand gnats that burrow into humans’ skin to drink their blood were found, only they were east of 60th Steet on Riverside Drive, where one journalist parked on Sunday.
     Meanwhile, by a few pictures and captions, and a tad more text, a very cursory review of the wonderful second day of a great festival is published below.

Seafood Festival
Nicole Kohlbus of Ocala is seen in her second consecutive year at the festival. The night before she was at the Light Up Ocala event, which was very, very well attended. In addition to the tropical shaved Kona Ice, other nearby vendors here offered salsa, honey, kettle corn and more.

Seafood Festival
Greg Johnson, a retiree from Bradenton, brought wooden birdhouses built and painted by him for sale. Johnson is a retired New Yorker who was a retail executive. He worked for Gimbels, and Abraham & Straus, before taking leadership posts with Macy’s, Burdines and Maas Brothers.

Seafood Festival
Katie Fink and her husband James Fink are seen at the booth for Levi’s Smoked Jerky. The business is in the Port Richey or Hudson area of Pasco County, it is
Levi’s Smoked Jerky. (Their daughter is named Levi Fink.) James Fink said he is planning to progress from tent-based mobile sales to having a food truck for future festivals.

     In the picture above, the couple who have the business in Port Richey (Pasco County) are seen in 2023.
     James Fink has been selling his delicious beef jerky since 2015.
     The company is Levi’s Smoked Jerky. The company is named after James Fink’s and Katie Fink’s daughter Levy Fink. This is like when Dave Thomas named his chain of hamburger eateries after his daughter Wendy.
     His smoked jerky is said to be “Florida’s Best” and “Always Fresh.” The packets of jerky are named after Florida cities – Sizzling St. Petersburg; Straight Up St. Augustine; Sweet Sarasota; Original Oldsmar; and Hot Homosassa. On the back of each packet are fun facts about the various cities.
     There were other flavors available on Sunday, although one of the brands was sold out after the Saturday crowd visited the booth.

Seafood Festival
Representing the South Levy YMCA (from left) are member Jessica Gonzalez, Zumba Instructor Anna Olivero and member Cheryl Thrower.

Seafood Festival
Here is a place to find eight million stories. The Friends of the A.F. Knotts Public Library, one of five Levy County public libraries, was selling books again this year. Library Board President Anne Sayward (left) and Vice President Diane Fineout helped festival visitors at the booth on Sunday, while other Friends were on active duty on Saturday.

Seafood Festival
Representing AmVets Post 447 on Sunday were Post Commander Brenda Binegar (left) and Marian Cain, who is active in the Auxiliary as well as being a past president of the Auxiliary 447 of Inglis.

Seafood Festival
Smoked mullet dip as well as smoked mullet were available for purchase Sunday from Joel Ayers, Ashley Nicholson and Bentley Ayers, 8, of Inglis. Another family member who was there, and a pet, were out of the picture at this moment.

Seafood Festival
Dawn ‘Sunshine’ Gurtner and her 12-year-old dog Macey are seen at her booth, where she offers face-painting. Her business, Sunshine Dreams Art Center, is in Inglis.

Seafood Festival

Seafood Festival
Robert ‘Lobster Bob’ Barnett and Jill Barnett are seen in their food truck. Their company is Red Zepplin – Rockin’ Lobster Roll. Just so people know, vocalist Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page of the band Led Zepplin ate food from this truck when it was in Jupiter (Palm Beach County). Bassist Charlie Jones and drummer Michael Lee are among the other members of the band Led Zepplin, by the way.

Seafood Festival
Here are some of the many, many food options available at the seafood festival on Sunday.

Seafood Festival
Inglis-Yankeetown Lions serve people some delicious shrimp at the festival. 

     Here are some archived stories from the Yankeetown Seafood Festival covered by HardisonInk.com over the years, although this is not the entire collection. To see the stories, photos and on occasion see and hear videos, click on the underline words.

2016 - Yankeetown Seafood Festival goes worldwide
2017 - Sprinkle of rain spices the start of the second day of the Yankeetown Art & Seafood Festival
2018 - Yankeetown Seafood Festival draws people together
2019 - Seafood festival grows; Legacies are formed


Museum Of Art Celebrates the holidays
with Annual Exhibition, Community Day
Community Day is Dec. 2

Appleton Museum of Art
The visitor-favorite Dickens Village by Department 56.

Story and Photos Provided
CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Director Lois Brauckmuller 
Published Oct. 23, 2023 at 4 p.m.

     OCALA — The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, welcomes back one of Ocala's best holiday traditions.

     On view Nov. 4-Jan. 7, “A Dickens Christmas: The Urban Family’s Holiday Exhibition” features themed trees and much more from the collection of Ocala cardiologist Dr. Paul Urban, his wife, Joyce, and daughters, Katie, Kristie, Kassie and Karlie.
     In addition to ornately decorated trees, see the architecture, customs and history of Victorian England come alive in the popular miniature Dickens Village, alongside an extensive collection of nutcrackers from all around the world and much more. The display is different every year.
     Adorning the second floor of the museum are trees decorated by community groups and organizations. Participants include Bridge to Hope, CAMPUS USA Credit Union, Hands Up Communications, Hiers-Baxley/Highland Memorial Park, Jack and Jill of America, and Urban Counseling. Outside, the museum’s majestic oaks will shine again with twinkling lights. Additional large-scale decorations will deck the grounds with holiday cheer.

Appleton Museum of Art
Face painting is free for children from 10 a.m. to noon.

Appleton Museum of Art
Visitors can enjoy holiday decorations outside the museum, as well as inside.

     “The fall and winter holidays have a way of bringing the community together,” said Appleton Director Jason Steuber. “There’s no better way to spend time with family and friends than visiting the Appleton from November to January to enjoy festive holiday displays and world-class art.”
     On Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the annual Holiday Community Day event offers free admission sponsored by the Urban Family. Visit the permanent collection and special exhibitions including “A Dickens Christmas” and “Skylines to Hemlines: Art Deco Design from the Permanent Collection,” make holiday crafts in the Artspace, and have your photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. From 10 a.m.-noon, enjoy Face Painting by Tonya. All activities are free. Food trucks will be onsite throughout the day.
     If you’re searching for the perfect holiday gift, an Appleton Museum of Art membership is truly the gift that gives all year. A variety of membership levels are offered to fit the needs of every individual, couple or family. Visit AppletonMuseum.org for membership details. We also invite you to visit the Appleton Store any time with no admission fee to find unique gifts for all ages including artist-made jewelry, art books and activities for adults and children, holiday greeting cards, home décor, fine glassware and more.

About the Urban Family Collection
     Joyce Urban’s love of Christmas began when she was a child in the city of Philadelphia. Every year, she would go see the elaborate decorations at the department stores that were set up along the path she walked as she went to see Santa. This wonder of Christmas has stayed with her through the years.
     She began publicly displaying her collection in 1989 because she wanted to provide a place for children of all ages to experience the holiday magic she enjoyed as a child. Over the years, her Christmas Tour has raised money for many local charities including Harvest International, Interfaith, Pilot Club, Women’s Pregnancy Center and the Counseling Resource Center, where she once worked as a counselor.
     In 2012, Joyce opened Urban Counseling where she continues her legacy of helping others.
     The Appleton Museum, Artspace and store are open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. A campus of the College of Central Florida, the Appleton Museum of Art is located at 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, east of downtown on SR 40 (exit 352 east off I-75 or exit 268 west off I-95). Parking is free. For more information, call 352-291-4455 or visit https://www.appletonmuseum.org/.


CF Webber Gallery to present annual
‘Trains at the Holidays’
from Dec. 16 through Dec. 29

Part of the exhibit from 2022 is shown above.

Information and Photos Provided
By Billye Mallory | College of Central Florida                                
Manager of Marketing and Public Relations
Published Nov. 13, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida will present the 27th annual “Trains at the Holidays” exhibit Dec. 16-29 at the CF Webber Gallery, 3001 S.W. College Road, Ocala.


Part of the exhibit from 2022 is shown above.

People enjoy part of the exhibit from 2022 as shown above.

     The exhibit will feature model trains by the Ocala Model Railroaders’ Historic Preservation Society and is a family favorite, with moving train displays featuring holiday themes and local landmarks.
      “The CF express has been chugging along for 27 years,” said Jim DeLawter, president of the model railroad organization, adding that the “Ocala holiday tradition is a fun time for all ages.”
     The exhibition will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, through Friday, Dec. 29, with the exception of Christmas day, Dec. 25. On Christmas Eve, the exhibit will be open noon to 3 p.m.
     For additional information, call 352-854-2322, ext. 1664.


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