ColorOcala Contest

Grab your crayons, colored pencils, watercolor markers and cray pas, and join the hot new coloring craze!

Floridians, are you ready to COLOROCALA? Create beautiful art and compete for valuable prizes in Ocala Magazine’s latest big giveaway contest. You could win tickets for four to the Walt Disney World® theme park in Orlando, a family Christmas for four at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, and more. Color us excited!

Our latest contest is specially designed with family fun in mind. With a contest for both children and adults, you and your kids will have plenty to do this summer. And best of all, you can be creative together!

You can always count on Ocala Magazine for the best in news and entertainment, family fun, and fabulous prizes, so let’s get coloring! Show off your artistic side, and you might have a summer you’ll never forget.

Feeling Social?

Visit Ocala Magazine’s Facebook and Instagram pages and Colorala’s Facebook and Instagram pages – and while you’re at it, we hope you’ll Like our pages!

Here’s How You Enter:

You must complete Steps 1 through 4 to qualify for prizes!

  1. Download, print, and color your favorite specially drawn Ocala-themed coloring page from contest sponsor Colorala. (You can download pages as many times as you like.)
  2. Fill out the entry form (below) on the Ocala Magazine website before 6 p.m. Eastern time, July 22, 2016.
  3. Upload a photo of your completed coloring page using the File Upload feature provided on the form.
  4. Post your photo on Facebook OR Instagram before midnight, July 22, 2016. Use the hashtag #ocalamagazinecontest on Facebook OR Instagram in your post. Don’t forget to tag your friends and show off your creative genius!

That’s it. You’ve entered!

Click Each Image to Download a Coloring Page! (PDF Format)

Adult Coloring Page – Thoroughbred
Adult Coloring Page - Thoroughbred
Adult Coloring Page – Silver Springs
Adult Coloring Page - Silver Springs

Children’s Coloring Page – Thoroughbred
Children's Coloring Page - Thoroughbred

Children’s Coloring Page – Silver Springs
Children's Coloring Page - Silver Springs


Entries Are Now Being Judged, Stay Tuned!

Click for Contest Rules

Official Rules

  1. By entering, you agree to abide by The COLOROCALA Official Rules.
  2. All contestants must reside in the state of Florida.
  3. The contest will be administered by contest sponsor 7Hills Communications of Tallahassee, Florida.
  4. Entries must be submitted through the online form located at and all entry requirements must be met before midnight, Friday, July 22, 2016 in order to qualify.
  5. Entries submitted will be screened by 7Hills Communications and/or contest sponsor Colorala of Newport Beach, California, to ensure all entries meet contest requirements.
  6. Ocala Magazine, 7Hills Communications, and Colorala cannot be held responsible for email that is misdirected or undeliverable.
  7. Entries that do not meet all the “Here’s How to Enter” criteria will be disqualified.
  8. 7Hills Communications may, at its sole discretion and depending upon volume of entries, notify contestants whose entries are incorrect and must be resubmitted.
  9. 7Hills Communications will send only properly completed entries to Ocala Magazine.
  10. Completed coloring pages, along with the artist’s name, will be posted on the Ocala Magazine Facebook page and Instagram profile, and the Colorala Instagram profile. If the artist is 12 years of age or younger, the artist’s age also will be published.
  11. Following the conclusion of the contest, a team of fine artists from Colorala will judge the entries and select the winners.
  12. A list of winners will be published on the COLOROCALA Contest official web page, located at; the Ocala Magazine Facebook page; the Ocala Magazine Instagram profile; and the Colorala Color Instagram profile.
  13. Winners must claim their prizes by 5 p.m. Eastern time Monday, August 22, 2016. Any prize not claimed by Monday, August 22, 2016 will be awarded to an alternate winner.
  14. Ocala Magazine and/or 7Hills Communications will make every effort to notify winners via email, telephone, or postal mail within the 31-day prize redemption period. Ocala Magazine and 7Hills Communications cannot be held responsible for winners who cannot be located for notification within the prize redemption period.
  15. Ocala Magazine, Colorala, and 7Hills Communications will hold all contestants’ personal information except name, age, and city of residence confidential, and will not reveal said information to any third party unless required by law.
  16. By entering, contestants agree to allow Ocala Magazine, Colorala, and 7Hills Communications to post their names, ages if applicable, and photographs of their coloring pages to social media.
  17. By entering, contestants grant Ocala Magazine permission to publish their coloring pages in Ocala Magazine without remuneration. Published entries will be credited.
  18. By entering, contestants grant Ocala Magazine permission to publish photos of the winners, if applicable, without remuneration.
  19. Anyone employed as a professional artist, or who holds a college or university degree in studio art or graphic design, is not eligible to participate.
  20. Employees of Ocala Magazine, Colorala, and 7Hills Communications and their families are not eligible to participate.
  21. Each participant may enter the contest only once.
  22. All children 12 years of age or younger in a single family may submit one entry each for the children’s contest.
  23. Only one contestant 13 years of age or older from a single family may submit an entry to the adults’ contest.
  24. Only one prize per family will be awarded.
  25. While we encourage parents and legal guardians to experience the joy of coloring together with their children, contestants 12 years of age or younger must color their own coloring pages without physical assistance from any third party.
  26. All contestants 13 years of age or older must color their own coloring pages without assistance from any third party.
  27. Because children must be 13 years of age or older to have a Facebook or Instagram account, entries from children 12 years of age or younger must be submitted by a parent or legal guardian.
  28. Entries submitted by children 12 years of age or younger without parental supervision and consent will be disqualified.
  29. Contestants must abide by all Facebook and Instagram rules. Ocala Magazine, Colorala, and 7Hills Communications cannot be held responsible for any adverse decisions made by Facebook or Instagram as a result of a contestant’s violations of their Terms of Service.
  30. Contestants may use crayons, colored pencils, watercolor markers, or oil pastels (cray pas) to complete their coloring pages.
  31. Contestants may not use online or electronic coloring apps to complete their pictures. All entries colored with electronic coloring applications will be disqualified.
  32. One grand prize and two honorable mention prizes will be awarded in the children’s coloring contest.
  33. One grand prize and two honorable mention prizes will be awarded in the adults’ coloring contest.
  34. Contestants, or the parent or legal guardian of contestants 12 years of age or younger, must pick up prizes by appointment at the offices of Ocala Magazine, located at 743 E. Fort King Street, Ocala, Florida 34471. Ocala Magazine, at its sole discretion, may waive this requirement for winners who are not area residents.
  35. Winners must present a picture ID to receive their prizes.
  36. Ocala Magazine may, at its sole discretion, require a scanned or faxed copy of a picture ID before shipping prizes to winners who are not area residents.
  37. The Children’s Grand Prize Package is subject to the terms and conditions of the Walt Disney World® theme park.
  38. The Adults’ Grand Prize Package is subject to the terms and conditions of Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.
  39. While we invite contestants to be fans, liking or following any Facebook page or Instagram profile is not required to win a prize.
  40. No purchase is necessary to win a prize.
  41. All judging/winner decisions made by Colorala Color are final.
  42. All contest decisions made by 7Hills Communications are final.
  43. Questions about The COLOROCALA Coloring Contest must be submitted via email to No telephone calls, please.

Ocala Dreamin’

Since the beginning of our country, generation after generation has pursued the American Dream – the opportunity to work hard and better one’s economic situation no matter how humble the start. Our nation wasn’t just built on the backs of immigrants, it was formed by immigrants, including the founding fathers.

In 2001, Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch and Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin introduced the first DREAM Act, designed to create a path to permanent residency for illegal immigrants ages 12 to 35 to allow children of immigrants to pursue higher education or join the U.S. military. Recipients, who arrived in the U.S. before age 16 would have to live in this country demonstrating “good moral character” for at least four years, obtain a high school diploma or GED, and (males) register for Selective Service.

The long path to legal citizenship would begin with six years of conditional residency, requiring the applicant to complete two years of college or military service while demonstrating “good moral character”, which would earn them the permanent resident (“green card”) status required to eventually apply for citizenship.

Although the opportunity the bill would grant evoked the longstanding “American Dream” concept, it was actually an acronym for “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.”

Over the years, the DREAM act has been reintroduced with bipartisan support several times but was never passed by the Congress. In 2012, President Obama enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which protected immigrants meeting the criteria of the DREAM act from deportation, and DACA recipients became known as “Dreamers.” In September 2017, President Trump ended DACA, but has expressed his support for immigrants who “do a great job” and “work hard” to “have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen.”

In Northwest Marion County, out past the stop lights and street lights, are the expansive pastures whose venerable live oaks drip with Spanish moss and whose magnificent mares give birth to future Triple Crown contenders. On the Horse Capital of the World’s farms, working hard and doing a great job is the everyday routine which begins before the sun comes up. Grooms are cleaning stalls and feeding and attending to horses as early as 5 a.m. and exercise riders mount up to begin training at 6:00. When thousands of spectators enjoy watching these marvelous animals and the athletes who ride them compete at a Nations Cup or Grand Prix event, they don’t see the hardworking men and women who go to work in the dark to care for the horses every day, rain or shine, in the months and years leading up to the competition. Ocala Thoroughbred farm owner Jacqui de Meric has made it her mission to bring their stories into the light.

“I would trust any of them with my life,” de Meric says of the 47 full time employees, mostly Mexican immigrants, who work on her 320-acre farm. “They’re good people, they take pride in their work, and they love the horses,” she says. “We could not function without them.”

Marco, a DACA recipient, is one of those vital workers on her farm. He was brought to Ocala from Mexico by his parents when he was 15 years old, a year after his father found work as a groom on a horse farm in the area. Marco found part time work mucking stalls at the de Merics’ Manuden Farm while studying for the GED, which he passed with a record high score. Thirteen years later, he is an even more integral part of the farm’s operations.

“I love riding so they gave me the opportunity to ride,” he says of his current position as exercise rider. “People think it’s easy sitting on the back of a horse but it’s hard. It’s dangerous but I like it.”

When Marco broke his leg while riding a horse eight years ago, de Meric took him to the hospital and paid him for the time he couldn’t work. She says that’s just the way an employer should take care of good workers. Marco says Jacqui and husband Nick are his “heroes”, who taught him the business of buying and selling horses. “I am loyal to them because they are loyal with me,” he says.

After he finishes the 10-hour workday at Manuden Farm, Marco goes to a nearby stable he rents to work a few more hours caring for the horses he and his father purchased after years of diligent saving. Four years ago they sold a horse for “good money” that gave Marco enough to buy his own house, an accomplishment for any Millennial. Like many, he dreams of marrying his girlfriend and starting a family. He also worries what will happen when his DACA status expires in two years. And wonders if there will ever be a legal path to citizenship for his girlfriend, who came from Mexico as a nanny on a time-limited work visa.

“If they send me back there [Mexico] it will destroy all I built here,” he says. “What am I going to do – leave everything to go live somewhere I don’t know?”

His coworker Miguel also came to the U.S. as a teenager, knows a lot of undocumented immigrants in the community, but is no longer one of them after getting his green card last year.

“It took me 12 years to get it,” says the 35-year-old, who is married to an American citizen, born in California to Mexican parents. Miguel says his main motivation to fill out form after form, answer a seemingly neverending list of questions, and pay thousands of dollars to become a legal citizen was his children, ages 17, nine, and four. Like many, he works two jobs to support his family and says he came to the U.S. at age 19 because he “needed progress” and “heard people could come here and work hard and make money.” Miguel explains that one of the hardest challenges for undocumented immigrants is not having a driver’s license.

“I give them a ride when I can,” he says of neighbors that need help getting to work or to the grocery store, but says Chaplain Bob Miller of Ocala Farm Ministry is the man who “helps a lot of poor people,” and Miguel cuts trees and mows grass at the ministry’s community center any time he can.

Chaplain Bob, as he’s known to everyone, has been with Ocala Farm Ministry since its inception 14 years ago. As an ordained minister who could speak Spanish, he felt the need to minister to “a lot of under-represented people, socially, culturally and financially.” He describes what he does as “marry, bury, and everything a minister of a church does,” plus the dozens of extra things he does for area residents every day at the Robert Scanlon Community Center on 110th Street, just north of State Road 40, from counseling to document translation and writing character reference letters to assisting with basic household needs, but says his role of advocate may be the most important.

“We advocate with county commissioners, with the police, with the sherriff’s office,” he says. “I’m for law and order. I was born in this country, I served in Vietnam, but let’s be fair. If you can you give somebody a break.”

As a clergyman, Miller certainly has a big heart, but he views the issue of immigrant farm workers pragmatically, as an economic issue.

“The reason we need these people here is no one else is going to do their job, plain and simple,” he says. “You’ve got no option if you’re going to have horse farms – working with crazy horses and shoveling manure. No American is going to do that. You can look for employees all day that are legal but they will not come and they will not last.”

Both Governor Rick Scott and President Donald Trump have urged lawmakers to act to end illegal immigration, and Florida Congressman Ted Yoho supported the President’s decision to rescind DACA.

“The president’s decision to suspend the DACA program after a period of six months is the right thing to do,” Rep. Yoho said in a statement in September.

“I believe that legal immigration makes our country stronger, and illegal immigration makes us weaker,” Gov. Scott wrote in a statement last month. “I’ve long been an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration and I remain so. I believe that immigration policy becomes much simpler once we secure our borders and we put an end to illegal immigration.”

However, Gov. Scott did express support for some provisions to aid Dreamers.

“I refuse to watch these children be punished for the actions of their parents. The United States has become the home for these children — and this should absolutely not be a partisan issue, or even a political issue. While I understand that they did not arrive here in accordance with our country’s immigration laws, it is simply not right to hold these children accountable for that.”

President Trump spoke to lawmakers about immigration at the White House in January.

“Drugs are pouring into our country at a record pace and a lot of people are coming in that we can’t have,” he said. “So, in order to secure it, we need a wall.”

The President explained further in statements on Twitter.

“We need the Wall for the safety and security of our country. We need the Wall to help stop the massive inflow of drugs from Mexico, now rated the number one most dangerous country in the world.”

However, like Governor Scott, President Trump has expressed concern for Dreamers.

“I have a love for these people,” he said last September. “Hopefully now Congress will be able to help them.”

Congressman Yoho has said he supports a legal way for Dreamers to request legal residency.

“For those who came to the United States as children and to no fault of their own, I support a window of time for them to come forward and identify themselves without fear of deportation. I support providing a way for Dreamers who have registered under DACA with DHS to obtain legal status. Such legislation should go hand-in-hand with measures that reduce illegal immigration.”

Miller and de Meric say a meeting with Congressman Yoho helped them develop the immigration reform petition they are working on with Louisa Barton, Director of Equine Engagement for the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP). The petition asks lawmakers to “bring congressional attention to farm labor shortages and the need for comprehensive immigration reform.”

Barton acknowledges concerns about gang members or criminals seeking asylum here, but says their plan is designed to provide an option for “honest, decent people,” and she believes “the others are going to eventually leave because they can’t get legal.”

Barton says the proposal “would be a step in the right direction,” as it asks for the creation of a five-year visa designed to allow current immigrant workers who would pass background checks, obtain a driver’s license, and pay a fine to stay here legally.

“We’re talking about the people who get up at 4:00 in the morning to go to work,” she says, “who are reliable and love their job and love the horses. If we lose a big part of the equine workforce we are going to have a problem. There are a huge amount of them [immigrant workers] out at HITS, which is a $94 million a year in economic impact to Marion County. Those people who come here and spend money rely on having grooms, stall muckers and assistants, and without those people they can’t come here. If you don’t have staff you’ve got to cut back on how many horses you bring and train and compete with. So that affects us all financially – it’s an industry that’s 18 percent of our economy. We really need to try to keep the workers that we have.

“We’re talking about the families – good people with kids in school, families who’ve been here for years and years. The kind of people that will get involved in this petition are not the kind of people that need to be sent home.”

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, who has spent time visiting local horse farms and talking to equine workers, has expressed his support for the petition.

“The equine industry is a $2.6 billion industry in Ocala,” Guinn said. “These people make the wheels go round, so it would be a huge economic impact on our community if these folks went away… like you can’t even imagine. These people are hard working, nice people, that are paying taxes and having a positive effect on our community. If they weren’t here these farms would cease to exist; [the farm owners] can only muck so many stalls, so I don’t have a problem with them being here. This petition that we just signed addresses some of the issues about bringing them forward and paying some of the money. I just really don’t have a problem.”

Barton and de Meric have collected around 500 signatures for the petition, which they are working to make available online. They plan to take it to Rep. Yoho in the near future “to have him try to get this into the works.”

De Meric asks local residents, as they attend the HITS spring events and the downtown Parade of Nations events this month, to consider the equine workers behind the scenes. She and husband Nick came to Ocala in 1980 and lived paycheck to paycheck, sleeping in an 18-foot camper and showering in the barn while they saved money to buy a farm. Nick, an immigrant from England, went through a four-year process to get his green card.

“We’re not saying give them a free ride; we’re not saying go to the front of the line, we’re not saying amnesty,” she says. “They’re real people and they work hard. I’m proud to call them my friends.”

BLINGO…A WoW Game Night!

The smiles were as bright as the “bling” at the United Way Women of Worth (WoW)’s first-ever Blingo event on January 11. More than 160 women and men gathered for food, drinks, fun and games, raising nearly $4,000 for WOW’s Reading Pals program.

The third event in WoW’s Design Decorate Discover series sponsored by Ocala Health, the game night was a takeoff on traditional Bingo, featuring donated jewelry prizes for each round. The grand prize was a white gold and diamond necklace from Ocala’s Lady Jeweler, Nancy Porter.

Guests enjoyed a buffet prepared by Rosemary & Thyme Catering, including bourbon meatballs, tortelli skewers, lemon chicken kabobs, caprese, and fruit. Over at the bar, husbands and significant others of WoW members had donned pink bow ties and volunteered to serve wine and other libations. The ladies of WoW were blinged-out in sparkly tiaras and Blingo aprons, and caller Linda Arvanitis kept the games fun and lighthearted with her quick wit and great sense of humor.

WOW Chair Christie Casey explained that WoW is the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, and has been in Marion County more than 10 years.

“Our worth is what you give back to Marion County,” she told the crowd. “We celebrate the opportunity to meet the needs of Marion County families and children,” she said, adding that Reading Pals is the current focus of their commitment to early childhood literacy. Some 235 volunteer reading pals meet once a week with kindergarteners who are struggling with reading, and donations from the community allow the program to provide students with at least 25 books a year to take home and build a family library.

Speaker Rose Watroba, Ocala Health’s VP of Neuroscience, explained that game nights are a great way to promote good brain health.

“Playing games improves your brain function,” she said, adding that being social and talking with friends also help to stimulate the brain and keep it healthy.

Women of Worth is accepting new members and Reading Pals volunteers; more info at or on Facebook @womenofworth.

Medical Expo of North Central Florida

On January 20, medical professionals gathered at the India Cultural and Educational Center for the 18th Annual Medical Expo, which featured educational seminars, lunch from Tony’s Sushi and Amrit Palace, and performances by belly dancer Vanja and youth from Dance by Sheila.

“Medical Expo provides a space for doctors across three counties to come together, get their continuing education credits, learn new techniques and learn about recent developments and research in the pharmacy field,” said Coordinator Lakshmi Jagalur. Proceeds are donated to local charities, this year assisting people who suffered due to Hurricane Irma.

Click here to learn more

First Impressions

Although the First Friday Art Walk was cancelled due to cold weather, more than 100 people crowded into the Brick City Center for the Arts on January 5 for the opening of Jordan Shapot’s First Impressions exhibit.

“I hope this work inspires other local artists to do great things locally,” Shapot said of the collection of oil paintings based on the early 1900s photographs of Native Americans taken by Edward S. Curtis.

The event also featured Native American flute music by Frank Sunshadow Curtis, the great-great grand nephew of the photographer, and the Sioux-style teepee he constructed in the courtyard.

Smocala Smoke & Vape

A fine tobacco & vape store where the scents are pleasant, the atmosphere is clean and bright, and the staff provides service with a smile.

If you’ve traveled College Road after dark, chances are you’ve seen the Smocala sign — a bright, color-changing neon sign in College Park Plaza, across from Paddock Mall.

This clean, welcoming, high-quality smoke and vape shop recently celebrated its first anniversary. They pride themselves on offering customers an all-in-one-shop for e-cigarettes, e-juice, hookahs, and a wide variety of tobacco products — sold by friendly and knowledgeable staff.

“We get great satisfaction out of spending time with customers and finding out their needs,” says the owner, a native Ocalan who opened the hometown business in November 2016.

Manager Tyler Ming has been at the store since before the doors were opened. He and his staff of six make it a point to greet everyone who comes in the door.

“We have a great group of employees who are always willing to help anybody who comes in the store,” he says. “Our employees know our products and are friendly and willing to help customers — it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you’re looking for.”

The clean, bright shop features a wide variety of products in well-organized displays.

Vaping devices, or e-cigarettes, and liquid, or e-juice, are the most popular products Smocala sells.

“Vaping is an awesome alternative to cut traditional tobacco out of your life,” Ming says. He explains that in contrast to traditional cigarettes, many of which contain more than 8,000 chemicals, vape has only four ingredients. The popular Naked 100 line, one of their best sellers, features all natural and organic flavoring.

Ming himself quit cigarettes in favor of vape.

“I quit smoking five years ago,” he says. “I’ve stuck with vaping the whole time and I’ve never been happier — I can run, I can breathe, I can smell.”

Ming explains that vaping liquids come in a variety of pleasant scents, with the most popular being fruit or dessert scents, like Hawaiian passionfruit/orange/guava, key lime butter cookie, and rainbow sherbet, but there is no burning or “ashy” smell.

One of the first things you notice walking into Smocala is that is smells good. They carry the full line of Wildberry incense and their clean-burning, natural soy wax candles.

For more traditional tobacco consumers, Smocala offers the most popular brands of cigarettes, as well as more natural, additive- and chemical-free brands like Native Spirit.

Smocala has one of the biggest selections of cigarillos around, including all the popular brands like Swisher, and a variety of limited edition and hard-to-find flavors at competitive prices.

While they carry various gauge cigars, their offerings are limited to two high-quality brands: award-winning Archetype and customer favorite ACID.

Pipe smokers can find a full line of pipe tobacco and a beautiful selection of clean-burning, American-made artisan glass pipes. Smocala carries the highly-sought-after Rooster Apparatus line from artist David Goldstein, who pioneered the crushed-glass percolator technique.

Hookahs in all sizes, shapes and colors are available, along with flavored wet tobacco and all the accessories.

Although it’s a smoke shop, Ming says they have actually helped people quit smoking with the aid of other products.

“We have a customer who’s quit smoking for six months using our nicotine toothpicks,” he says. “If anyone’s looking to move away from tobacco, our staff is very knowledgeable about alternatives.”

Even if you don’t smoke, vape, or use nicotine products, Smocala’s gift and novelty items are among the best. Their large assortment of Zippo lighters includes many hard-to-find Harley Davidson and military designs. Their novelty section includes a fun array of party games, toys, t-shirts and posters.

“It’s a place where everybody can be happy for a little bit,” Ming says.

College Park Plaza
3131 SW College Road, Suite 403

Monday – Saturday 9 am – 10 pm, Sunday 11 am – 10 pm

Follow Smocala Smoke & Vape on Facebook and on Instagram @smocala_smoke_and_vape

Click here to learn more

Molly Maguire’s of Ocala

Fresh food selections with a wee bit o’ Irish flair

Written by Lisa McGinnes, Coordinating Editor
Photography by Chris Redd, Chief Photographer

Just a block from the Downtown Square, tucked into a cozy spot on SW 1st Avenue, is Molly Maguire’s Eatery. Don’t let the unassuming storefront fool you – this place is hoppin’ with fresh food, beer and Irish fun!

The neon Guinness sign in the window announces what you’ll find behind the wooden bar – a case of cold, frosty mugs waiting for a perfectly-poured dark Irish stout. The tap features five other brews, including a locally-brewed Infinite ale selection. Their bottled beers range from other Irish and imported favorites, to more than 20 craft beers to Irish and domestic hard ciders – with more than 50 choices on the menu. They also offer a full selection of wines.

Come in for a pint and relax in a comfortable chair in one of the corner conversation nooks or claim a stool at the bar, but stay for the food. Lunch specials always include the homemade soups, which are so popular they are also sold by the pint and by the quart. Follow Molly-Maguires-of-Ocala on Facebook for soup-of-the-day announcements that will have your tastebuds twitching well before lunchtime.

Homemade salad dressings including Greek, lemon vinaigrette and ranch are delectable atop their diverse lineup of fresh salads like the beautifully-presented Ahi Tuna Salad, with its cracked-pepper-rubbed, gently-seared tuna filet atop mixed greens. It’s an explosion of flavor and textures – grape tomatoes, fresh cucumber, tangy Feta cheese, salty sunflower seeds and sweet dried cranberries. Salads and the soup of the day are always gluten free.

Their menu claims it’s “where the filthy birds roost” and, indeed, the Molly’s Dirty Bird is one of the most popular items on the menu, with its hand-carved applewood smoked chicken breast, carmelized onions and gooey melted cheese all pressed on hot Cuban bread.

Meats are smoked on the outdoor smoker every morning by the lovely Miss Patti, and on a fair day you can enjoy your meal at a sidewalk table, which offers a peek at the western sky come sunset.

Molly Maguire’s is open for breakfast and lunch every day except Sunday, and now offers later hours and live music Thursday through Saturday. Be warned, however, if you want a serving of the homemade banana pudding, come early – it’s so delicious that it often sells out before evening!

Owner Geroge Carrasco and his crew are already planning for St. Patrick’s Day, which is their biggest celebration of the year, and this year will mark their first anniversary at this location. You can expect savory shepherd’s pie and hearty portions of corned beef and cabbage. Watch their Facebook page for updates, and plan to get there early. With the holiday falling on Saturday this year, you can spend the whole day reveling in good times galore!

Molly Maguire’s of Ocala
17 SW 1st Avenue Ocala FL

Keeping the Dream Alive

On one of the coldest mornings of the year, thousands of men and women, young and old, braved a cold north wind and temperatures barely above freezing. They bundled up their children and grandchildren, pushing the little ones in strollers. For many, Monday, January 15 was a day off work or school, but that didn’t stop them from gathering as early as 7:00 a.m. to join in Ocala’s annual MLK March. As marchers lined up on Broadway Street, the beat of the drums and cymbals from Vanguard High School gave the gathering a parade-like feeling.

“You might have a day off, but take it as a day on,” said Ire Bethea, Chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission, the group of volunteers that organizes the event. He called the annual march “a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King.”

According to the commission, around 3,000 people, including nearly 50 church and school groups, carried banners with sayings like “Keep the Dream Alive” and marched the mile from the Downtown Square to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Complex on West State Road 40, where they were met with the mouthwatering aromas of barbecue and carnival food vendors’ fried fare.

Bethea estimated that a total of around 6,000 people participated throughout the Day in the Park event, which featured six hours of entertainment by a lineup of locals including musicians Selwyn Birchwood Band, Samp Da Champ, and D-Nice, jazz bands from Lake Weir and West Port High Schools, and performers like the Marching Majorettes. The events on MLK Day are the culmination of a week of activities sponsored by the commission, including a youth day, prayer breakfast, ecumenical church service and wreath ceremony.

“I’ve done the march every year since I was hired,” said Sherriff Billy Woods. “An event like this is what makes our community so great. Everybody is here, it doesn’t make a difference what race or ethnicity. This community is the greatest.”

Dr. Jim Henningsen, President of the College of Central Florida, marched with the school’s men’s basketball team. “We value diversity and inclusiveness, and are trying to help educate the world about reducing discrimination and making sure we have equality for everyone,” he said. “The vision of Dr. King is amazing and we’ve got to keep that message going forward.”

Marion County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Heidi Mayer was proud to see so many young people participating. “This event shows what proactive, positive leadership does,” she said. “By remaining calm, civil, yet passionate and informed, look what you can do — you can change the course of history. Today is so important. You had a man who would not respond to hatefulness but would continue loving people and trying to show them his point of view and it worked. This is a message that we have to carry on every day.”

Esther Johnson, who comes from Fort McCoy every year with her group from Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, said the importance of the event for her is also tied to love.

“It gives us an opportunity to show love to all mankind,” she said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination and the 55th anniversary of his March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

“Why am I so tired?” Part 2: Vitamin Deficiencies

Fatigue can be an early indicator of many serious illnesses, but in many cases, the solution is simple. If you are in good health and still feel constantly tired, a few easy lifestyle changes may be all it takes to feel your best. In this three-part series, we explore how dehydration, vitamin deficiencies and constipation contribute to fatigue.

By: Whitney Willett / Medical Editor

Thinking back on our childhood, many of us remember doing things with the promise that they would help us grow up big and strong. If you were a kid in the 1970s or 80s, I bet you remember the beloved Flintstone chewable vitamins. They smelled like candy, were shaped like your favorite characters and didn’t taste like any of the other horrible things in the medicine cabinet. Taking vitamins gave us the confidence to protest eating our vegetables. And even though most of the vitamin was caked up in our molars and never digested, it was a staple that mom insisted on.
All these years later, we know that those vitamins were really a novelty. While vitamins are very important to our health, the source is also important. Vitamin deficiency anemias are a very real thing and can play a huge role in contributing to fatigue. If you are in generally good health and still find yourself dragging and never feeling fully rested, a vitamin deficiency may be the culprit.
Vitamins and minerals play a key role in our blood health, bone health, immune strength, nervous system function, muscle strength, vitality of our hair/skin/nails and our body’s ability to repair itself. Our body cannot work efficiently if we have a deficiency in certain vital nutrients, which can be a big contributor to your energy level and stamina. The most common symptoms of vitamin deficiency are fatigue, dizziness, muscle weakness and metal confusion.
The causes of most vitamin deficiencies are our lifestyles. Some deficiencies are congenital and exist from birth, but fortunately, most of us have deficiencies we can correct with lifestyle modifications. The most common causes of vitamin deficiencies are: lack of a balanced diet, drinking soda, smoking, and taking certain medications. Eating a diet that is lacking certain food groups (especially dairy, red meat, fish, and leafy green vegetables) is almost certain to leave you with a vitamin deficiency. Soda contributes to vitamin deficiency in two ways: it depletes vitamins and minerals from places like your bones, and creates an environment in your digestive system where vitamins are unable to be absorbed efficiently. Smoking impairs the absorption and synthesis of vitamin C. Finally, NSAID pain relievers and most prescription acid reflex medications also inhibit the body’s ability to absorb vitamins because of how they affect the environment in the digestive track. (Side note: Vitamin deficiencies also result after having gall bladder removal surgery or gastric bypass surgery.)
Common vitamin and mineral deficiencies that lead to chronic, long-lasting fatigue are also the ones that have the most impact on how our bodies function, and thus are the most crucial. They include folate (B-9), B-12, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, potassium and magnesium.
A deficiency in folate causes fatigue and reduces the number of red blood cells in your blood stream, and may lead to poor growth and unhealthy hair, skin and nails. Foods that are high in folate include beans, lentils, leafy greens and fruits.
B-12 deficiency can be either congenital (known as pernicious anemia) or acquired through lack of intake or absorption. If you are born with pernicious anemia, your body lacks intrinsic factor proteins that help the small intestine absorb B-12 and you need to be monitored by a medical professional. For the rest, it is usually caused by a diet lacking in fish, chicken, milk and yogurt. B-12 plays a vital role in the production of DNA, which is needed to replace damaged DNA as we age or heal from inflammatory conditions. B-12 is also key in the production of neurotransmitters, which our nervous system uses to tell our bodies how to operate properly. Signs of B-12 deficiency include fatigue, lack of balance, muscle weakness and memory loss.
Vitamin C is often referred to as an antioxidant and our bodies need it for numerous functions – most notably for its role in boosting our immune system. Vitamin C also helps defend the body against free radicals, aids in healing, and makes many other important contributions to overall well-being. A mild to moderate vitamin C deficiency causes fatigue, depression and mild connective tissue disorders. A severe deficiency can lead to serious conditions such as scurvy. Foods rich in vitamin C include strawberries, pineapple, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower and kale.
Vitamin D is essential for our bone health as well as other important functions. Prolonged periods of vitamin D deficiency have been proven to lead to osteoporosis, especially in women. Consuming milk and yogurt, as well as a safe amount of sunlight will help avoid this deficiency.
Iron anemia is the most commonly known deficiency. Iron helps keep our blood rich in oxygen. Low iron levels cause fatigue, pale skin and thinning hair. Eating beets, oysters, beans, lentils and spinach regularly help keep your iron at optimal levels.
Potassium plays a key role in making sure our heart, nerves and muscles are strong and work properly. Low potassium causes muscles weakness, constipation, numbness and tingling sensations and abnormal heart rhythms. Bananas, whole grains, milk, beans and peas are all high in potassium.
Another important contributor to bone health is magnesium, which plays a role in energy production and aids in efficient elimination. Deficiency in magnesium is marked by fatigue, loss of appetite, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting. Magnesium-rich foods include almonds, cashews, peanuts, spinach, black beans and soy beans.
If you suspect a vitamin deficiency may be to blame for your fatigue, your doctor can perform simple blood tests to check your vitamin levels. If you know you are missing certain food groups from your diet, you can try increasing those foods and noting their affect on your energy level. Eating our vitamins is always the best way to ensure we are getting the nutrients our body needs.

Dr. Jessica Perhealth, a chiropractor at Strive Physical Medicine in Ocala, believes nutrition is a key to good health and says she counsels patients to get their vitamins from food whenever possible.
“Eating a diet of colorful vegetables and fruits is an important way of getting vital nutrients so that our bodies can function they way they’re intended to,” she says.

If consuming certain food groups isn’t an option or is something you are unwilling to do, you can use supplements. BUYER BEWARE: Not all supplements are beneficial. Just like those novelty Flintstone vitamins, many vitamins you find in your local drugstores and big-box retailers are made from synthetic chemicals that our body cannot use, which is the biggest reason over-the-counter vitamins are not FDA approved. Look for whole food vitamins, which you can usually find in health food stores. They are a bit more expensive, but in the case of vitamin supplements, you get what you pay for. The body can better absorb and use vitamins that come from food.

Special Events to Attend During the 2018 Ocala Winter Circuit

$300,000 Longines Grand Prix | Friday, February 16, 2018 | 2pm

Come watch some of the most competitive show jumping riders in the world, compete for the win in this prestigious Grand Prix, before taking on the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ on Sunday.

International Village | Friday-Sunday, February 16-18, 2018 | 10am-3pm

Join HITS in attending our International Village during the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Week of the Ocala Winter Circuit, February 14-18. This family friendly event will feature different food selections from around the world, activities for adults and children, and a meet and greet with some of the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ riders. This event will be fun for equestrians and non-equestrians alike. Activities will include face painting, pony rides, music, and more! We will also be hosting the Budweiser Clydesdales throughout the week. The hitch will make several appearances, including at the International Village. The International Village will take place Friday-Sunday, February 16-18.

Jump Downtown | Saturday, February 17, 2018 | 4:30pm

The second annual “Jump Downtown” event will be held in Ocala’s Downtown Square on Saturday, February 17, 2018. Presented by Ocala Main Street, IHMC (The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition), and the CEP (Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership), Jump Downtown will feature a Parade of Nations honoring the countries and the riders participating in the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ event, followed by a Celebration of the Horse presentation of the 30-plus horse breeds showcasing the diversity of the “Horse Capital of the World”. The Budweiser Clydesdales will also be making an appearance during the event. Additional festivities on the Square will include snacks, music, horse drawn carriage rides, s’mores, and more!

Nations Cup-Children/Juniors | Saturday, February 17, 2018

This event will follow a similar format to the Longines FEI Nations Cup™, but is catered toward young upand-coming riders. Come cheer on these young riders as they put their skills to the test in this challenging competition!

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 | Sunday, February 18, 2018 | 1pm

An event you won’t want to miss; the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA 2018 is back for the fourth year in a row at HITS Post Time Farm. Watch some of the most talented show jumping riders in the world take on this unique team competition.

Great American $1 Million Grand Prix | Sunday, March 25, 2018 | 2pm Join us for the 5th Annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. This is the second Grand Prix in the HITS Triple Crown of Show Jumping, which includes the AIG $1 Million Grand Pix in Thermal, California (Match 18), and the Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties, New York (September 9).
Check for more details and more events in the near future.

HITS and Marion County – 37 Years and Counting

For 37 years, HITS has called Central Florida its Winter Home, and since 1985, Ocala, the Horse Capital of the World, has been that home. From the Golden Hills property HITS leased for 10 years and then purchased from the Castro family in 1995, to the purchase of Post Time Farm in 2002, HITS’ commitment to the Ocala Winter Circuit has been unwavering.

“We started to outgrow the Golden Hills property,” said Tom Struzzieri, Owner and CEO of HITS, Inc. “As much as I loved it there, and as much history as we had there, it was time to make a change.” Post Time Farm wasn’t for sale when Struzzieri first found it, but the moment it was, he jumped on it. “There is such a great feel to this property. It’s a great place for horses to be. I remember how I felt the first time I stepped onto this property – and I still feel that way today.”

The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit has been a staple of the Show Jumping calendar for decades, and is a proud member of the Ocala and Marion County communities. “We’ve always felt welcome here. We always felt like the community embraced us, but that relationship has really gone to another level in the last few years.”

HITS works closely with the Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Marion Country Tourism Development Council, and the Florida Sports Foundation. “The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit brings a great tourism impact to the Ocala/Marion County area each season,” says Corry Locke of the Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau. The economic impact of the show on the community is unmistakable – $94 million annually according to an independent study by the Sport Management Research Institute (SMRI) conducted in 2014. And the County and state have noticed: HITS Ocala was named Best Event of the Year – Small Market by the Florida Sports Foundation in 2015, and the Medium Business of the Year Award of Excellence by the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) in 2016.

“We want to give back to our communities,” said Struzzieri. “We bring so many people to the area and it translates into jobs, spending, real estate purchases, heads in beds – it’s all part of creating a symbiotic relationship that is good for HITS and for the communities where we run our events.

“I believe the backing of the community is also one of the reasons we have been awarded the Longines FEI Nations Cup for the fourth time. When we first brought this event to Ocala, I knew that we could run the horse show part of the event. I hoped the community would get behind it too – and they did – to an extent I never imagined.”

The City of Ocala hosted a Welcome Parade and Rider Reception for last year’s Nations Cup, and plans to expand that event this year. “HITS is the event we have looked forward to each and every year for the past 37 years. We appreciate so much the people who attend and participate in the event and the economic impact it creates for our community. It is one of the great events that makes Ocala, Marion County, the ‘Horse Capital of the World,’” said Kent Guinn, Mayor of Ocala.


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