The header to the blog featuring our podcast logo.
Discover Ocala is a brand-spanking-new podcast from Showcase Properties of Central Florida that puts the spotlight on the people, places, and things that make Ocala and the surrounding region so special for us – not just as REALTORS®, but as residents of this unique, beautiful area.

“Discover Ocala has been a trademark of Showcase Properties for years, but it’s more than just a motto or a catchphrase,” explains Valerie Dailey, Owner/Broker of Showcase and podcast host. “For people who live here, it’s a rediscovery of things they might have forgotten or even known existed. For others who may not be familiar with our area, we wanted this to be a good window into what it’s like – and why we love the region so much.”

An image of the fountain at Sholom Park in Ocala, FL.
When people think of the Sunshine State, usually the image of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters come to mind, along with intimidatingly fit, swimsuit-clad sunbathers and surfers lounging on canopied chaises. It’s understandable; we get it. Florida is rather famous for the teeming shores of South Beach’s Spring Break season and the trendy vibe of sub-tropical night life – not to mention stories of studly Apollo astronauts speeding along Cocoa Beach in their snazzy Ferraris.

Central Florida doesn’t really fit that image; we’re about horses and agriculture, environmental conservation, sustainable farming, nature and forest conservation, sparkling springs, a robust art culture, and a much slower-paced way of life.

Discover Ocala has been a trademark of Showcase Properties for years, but it’s more than just a motto or a catchphrase. For people who live here, it’s a rediscovery of things they might have forgotten or even known existed.”

— Valerie Dailey, Owner/Broker of Showcase and podcast host

The MCA building in downtown Ocala.

We have some of the most beautiful and pristine wildlife, natural springs and conservation areas in the country, where ecotourists, nature lovers, hikers, and campers come in droves to enjoy. Our vibrant, robust art culture adds an inclusive energy to the community, with art shows, exhibits, a thriving theatre and music circle, and popular arts and crafts markets and festivals. With our proximity to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, we’re situated very handily within a day’s trip to either one (if you’re into the vibe of sub-tropical night life), and our central location makes Ocala a key hub for commercial suppliers and distributors.

If you’re a regular or even occasional reader of our blog, then you know how much we enjoy writing about what’s going on in Ocala. We love having conversations about the things that enrich and contribute to our community– and believe us, there’s a lot to talk about.

This is the Horse Capital of the World®, where legends in the equestrian community come to raise, breed, and train the best thoroughbreds in the business, and where horses are the nucleus around which much of our economic development thrives. It’s made Ocala a famous and much-sought-after destination for professionals in the equine industry. Arguably, Ocala became the equine powerhouse it is now because of the thoroughbred industry that was generated and built around it. Our climate, limestone-rich soil – which is full of minerals that make super-nutritious and delicious horse food – and sustainable agriculture literally laid the foundation for steady growth as more trainers, riders, and breeders put down stakes. Iconic horse farms sprouted up and flourished for decades, further strengthening an almost exclusively-concentrated equine infrastructure and economic impact.

In short, it’s a juggernaut built by horses.

The track at the iconic Winding Oaks Farm.
A ballet performance.
It’s because of that foundation that we get to enjoy such variety – like an arts and entertainment scene as colorful and dynamic as anyone will find in Tampa or Daytona. Ocala has an active arts culture with a huge amount of community support and engagement; the Reilly Arts Center and NOMA Black Box, where Executive Director Pamela Calero brings in superlative shows and headliners from all over the world, and our first-class symphony orchestra presents a full program of stellar music. The Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA) is one of those organizations that artists dream about having at their backs; they’re constantly coming up with ways of championing and providing opportunities for creative people to be seen and to chart a living doing what they love with events like the Art Walk, Artoberfest, and exhibit venues like the Brick City Center for the Arts. Fine Arts for Ocala (FAFO) and the Appleton Museum are havens for art lovers, educators, and students, and the Ocala Civic Theatre is home to a thriving company of actors, writers, and directors mounting exciting live stage performances.

Beyond that, there’s also a variety of businesses both small and large that create a unique landscape for workers and consumers alike. In fact, Ocala is home to distribution centers, including Chewy, Amazon, Dollar Tree, FedEx, Autozone, E-One, Signature Brands – and with a variety of warehouses currently under construction, we’ll likely welcome even more in the future. There’s also plenty of small businesses and restaurants that dot the landscape, offering plenty of unique products, services, and experiences.

So we think this is a wonderful place to live and grow roots.

“We really want our audience to have the opportunity of discovering the different aspects of the community that they may not have known about before, and to hear about them directly from the organizations, efforts and individuals who make the landscape so interesting.”

— Valerie Dailey, Owner/Broker of Showcase and podcast host

A person picking up trash.

Through the podcast, we wanted to develop a space to get together with amazing people in the community to talk about what’s happening, where it’s happening, and why we’re interested in it. We want to offer a platform that encourages dialogue and informs, illuminates, and hopefully inspires others to get involved. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local charity, a community organization, educational program, or small business – every individual can make a difference that impacts others for the better. Our podcast was created to explore and celebrate all of these things.

“We really want our audience to have the opportunity of discovering the different aspects of the community that they may not have known about before,” Dailey says,” and to hear about them directly from the organizations, efforts and individuals who make the landscape so interesting.”

Each of our podcast topics is selected and researched a few weeks in advance; then we decide who to ask as a guest interview. Once that’s locked down, the prep work and research kicks into gear, and we hammer out and then draft discussion points and questions for the episode. Sean Kaplan and his wunderkind skills are then unleashed for the actual taping of the episode – he handles the video, lighting, sound, and editing, and he’s fantastic at it. Each episode is taped about two weeks before uploading, which is pretty fast, but it keeps the topic timely and current to what’s going on in the neighborhood.
Clayton Wagner, Molly Rowe, Valerie Dailey, and Samantha Dailey
For our first episode, we were pleased to welcome agents Clayton Wagner and Samantha Dailey alongside special guest Molly Rowe, President of the Southeastern Youth Fair to talk about the largest all-youth agriculture exhibition in the country. The SEYF offers opportunities to learn the importance and impact of sustainable agriculture and related industries through competition, exhibition, and enhanced educational programs. It’s a huge event in Ocala for a lot of families, whose participation and involvement are often passed down through generations.
Claire Khuen, Joe Norick, Valerie Dailey, and Liz Gray.
Episode 2 focuses on HITS (Horse Shows In the Sun) with Joe Norick, Chief Customer Officer, Claire Khuen, former HITS competitor and Showcase REALTOR?, and Liz Gray, a current HITS competitor and also a Showcase REALTOR®. HITS is a prominent name in Hunter/Jumper horse shows and dressage competitions across the US, and Norick talks about his excitement in the new direction the organization is moving towards with new owners Traub Capital Partners.

“It’s been almost a complete change, a whole new era – a whole new vision of what they want to see a horse show become,” he says in the podcast. “We started here with Ocala. This is a location that has been part of the HITS family for almost forty years, and we’re thrilled to be here. Traub really believed in the investment to make Ocala special for the HITS family, and it’s just the start.”

Discover Ocala is hosted by Showcase Owner/Broker Valerie Dailey, and can be found on these platforms:


    • Spotify
    • Google Podcasts
    • iHeartRadio
    • Podcast Index
    • Podcast Addict
    • Podchaser
    • PocketCasts
    • Deezer
    • Listen Notes
    • Player FM