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Fun everywhere you look

The entire county, it seems, has something to offer this weekend for entertainment.

In the first weekend of December the holiday mood gets started with music, parades and food.

Floral City Heritage Days goes into full swing, with a tour of historic homes and buildings, some great food prepared outdoors and a living history program.

Heritage Days will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today in "downtown'' Floral City, meaning Orange Avenue. There, you'll find the Heritage Hall Museum and Country Store. Down the street, you'll find a large open field full of demonstrations of the trades and living skills of early Florida pioneers and live music.

Follow your nose to the pavilion next to the Church of Christ for some great food. Free parking and admission; the self-guided home tour is $10. The museum and country store will be open 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday as well.

There are two Christmas parades:

- The Crystal River Christmas Parade has a new look, an earlier start time, a different route and double-sided floats. Previous parades were at night, and the floats were decorated only on one side because the other lanes of U.S. 19 stayed open.

This year's parade starts at 3:30 p.m. today. The theme for the 45th annual parade is "A Story Book Christmas."

The procession will start on NE Third Avenue and head north on U.S. 19 toward the Crystal River Mall, where it will end on NW Sixth Avenue.

Onlookers will be able to view the parade from both sides of U.S. 19, which will be closed from Turkey Oaks to State Road 44. Through traffic will be detoured onto Turkey Oaks.

- The Beverly Hills Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Central Ridge, begins at 10 a.m. today. The route is from Beverly Hills Boulevard to Civic Circle. About 30 units will be in the parade, including the Lecanto Middle School Marching Band and several outfits from the Young Marines.

After the parade, the Beverly Hills Community Church on Civic Circle will sell lunches and offer free pictures with Santa.

- Guitarist Richard Gilewitz returns to the Art Center Theatre for his holiday concert at 8 p.m. today. Gilewitz, an Inverness resident, tours the world giving guitar concerts. Expect to hear holiday favorites, some classical selections and some of his own compositions. Tickets at the box office are $15 for adults, $12 for students. Call 746-7606 or 746-0648 to reserve tickets. The Art Center Theatre is 2644 N Annapolis Ave., Citrus Hills.

- The Citrus Community Concert Choir announces its fourth annual presentation of Handel's Messiah. This year's concert will be performed with an orchestra, a first for the choir. Performances will be 2 p.m. Sunday at Faith Lutheran Church, 935 S Crystal Glen Drive, Lecanto; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, at First Lutheran Church, 1900 State Road 44 W, Inverness; and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 again at Faith Lutheran Church in Lecanto. Admission is $8 at the door, free for children 12 and under. Call 628-6452.

-The Singing Christmas Tree will be performed free of charge by the Crystal River First Baptist Church at 700 Citrus Ave. It is presented by the Celebration Choir, community members, and dance and drama participants from the church. Performances are 4 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Wednesday; 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10. Tickets are free and you must have a ticket to enter. Tickets are available online at or by calling the church at 795-3367. Choir members sing from an animated Christmas tree. The Journey to the Manger focuses on Nathan Wise, a sculptor who has a great deal of difficulty sifting through the commercialism of the season to get to what Christmas might really means.

-The Central Florida Community College Winter Concert will be 7:30 p.m. today and 3 p.m. Sunday in the college's Fine Arts Auditorium, 3001 SW College Road, Ocala. The CFCC Patriot Singers, Concert Band, Brass Ensemble, Flute Choir and String Ensemble will perform a variety of favorites including Mozart's Regina Coeli and Rutter's For the Beauty of the Earth. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5 through 12, free for those under 4. For tickets or more information, call the college box office at (352) 873-5810.

- Folk musician Mem Semmes, along with her son Jon Semmes and bassist Pete Price, will perform a holiday concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lions Club building at Walnut Avenue and State Road 40 in Dunnellon. Refreshments will be available. Admission is $8 at the door. Call (352) 489-2181.

-The blues band The Accelerators plays from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Softail's Lounge at State Road 44 and County Rod 486, Crystal River. The lounge has an outdoor stage. Free admission.

Jorge Sanchez covers arts and entertainment in Citrus. Contact him at or (352)860-7313 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505 ext. 7313.