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Light Up Ocala kicks off holidays Saturday in Marion County

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While Thanksgiving is still a week away, many area cities are ready to kick off the rest of the holiday season.

The City of Ocala will be hosting its 29th Annual Light Up Ocala celebration this Saturday, with the event starting at 4 p.m. and official lighting at 7:30.

Crews have been hard at work for several months preparing for the event.

Stan Creel, special events supervisor for the Ocala Recreation & Parks department, says that it can take three weeks to set up all the lights, with crews working all day.

The city puts up more than 150,000 lights in the city’s downtown, and the main attraction is a 40-foot lit Christmas tree.

He says there will be much more to the night than just holiday lights, citing live music performances, childrens’ events and a Punch and Judy show.

The event is the city’s official kickoff for the holidays.

“This is 29 years, I’m barely that old,” Creel said. “It’s the coolest thing to think that there are people that have grown up with this thing. Twenty-nine years ago this city was much smaller and the development from then to now is amazing.”

Creel says there are 50,000 residents in Ocala, and he expect nearly half of them to come to the event.

For more information, visit http://www.ocalafl.org/lightup/.

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