Monday, December 11, 2017
Events

Nativity's Novemberfest delivers family fun to Brandon

BRANDON — It never fails.

Every year as Novemberfest draws near, R.J. Brauneker can bank on the return of that same child-like adrenaline rush he's thrived on for close to 40 years.

"I remember looking out of my classroom window and it looked larger than life and now I love seeing the same kinds of smiles on other kids' faces that were on mine at their ages," said Brauneker, once a Nativity Catholic School student and now the parent of two other Nativity graduates, who for many years has served as director of an affair organizers say is one of Hillsborough County's largest family-friendly annual attractions.

Brauneker again will see those faces Wednesday (Nov. 16) when the 47th annual Novemberfest starts its five-day run on the grounds of the school and Nativity Catholic Church, at the southeast corner of State Road 60 and Bryan Road.

The popular affair, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 attendees and raise about $155,000 to help fund the school and other on-campus youth programs, will be action-packed with games, performances and contests, plus the availability of a broad range of craft beers and a wide international assortment of food, prepared on site.

New amid the almost 30 midway rides — which include the returning giant spinning-disc Moonraker — is the 52-foot-high Nitro.

Brauneker describes it as the ultimate "thrill ride" that swings back and forth while rotating in a circle.

"It will get you sick for sure," he joked.

Also on tap Friday night is the return of Tampa-based Soul Circus Cowboys southern rock band, led by Nativity alum Billy McKnight, and rockers Southern Train on Saturday night.

Nativity parishioner Sherry Stewart serves as the event's food fare chairman, and has done so for 36 years. She's thrilled to the extent the food tent has been enlarged and broadened in its selections from basic hamburgers, hotdogs and sausages to a myriad of tasty and unique treats representing multiple ethnic groups.

"It's a lot of work, but I keep coming back because everybody here is like family," she said.

Greg Harrell, operations chair, can attest to the massive collaborative effort it requires to organize and stage an event of such magnitude.

The year-long 9,000 volunteer man hours that go into the project, he believes, tells the story in itself.

The set-up alone requires several weeks, Harrell noted.

"The man who set up the tents last year said he could not believe how much electrical equipment was involved," he said.

Harry Dunlap, a 50-year Nativity church member, recalls a time when the event, staged on a much simpler scale, was held twice yearly and appropriately titled the spring and the fall carnival.

"I'd take a week off before and after to help out and I loved it," said the Valrico resident, also recollecting when on a particular Saturday night Father James Lara, a former priest at the church, announced he would hold a midnight mass so carnival attendees didn't have to get up early on Sunday morning.

"It's no longer Nativity's carnival, it's Brandon's Novemberfest and my wife and I and our kids still come back every year," Dunlap said. "It's like a reunion."

Contact Joyce McKenzie at [email protected]

Comments
Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Guillermo Del Toro’s romantic creature feature The Shape of Water soaked up seven Golden Globes nominations Monday, kicking off another marathon awards season. The Shape of Water is nominated for best dramatic motion picture alongside Christop...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 12

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 12

Petula Clark: The two-time Grammy Award-winning artist is known for hits like Downtown, I Know a Place, My Love and I Couldnít Live Without Your Love. 2 and 7:30 p.m., Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $34.50-$49.50....
Updated: 5 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 11-17

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 11-17

Katy Perry: The Teenage Dream songstress roars into Tampaís Amalie Arena on Friday ($45.75-$195.75). amaliearena.com. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights begins Tuesday, bringing fun celebrations including Hanukkah in the City at the Sundial St. Petersb...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/10/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 10

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 10

Gin Blossoms: The Grammy nominated band fuses melodic rock, pop, folk and country elements. 7:30 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35-$45. (727) 791-7400. Of Montreal: The art-rock favorites and Tampa semi-regulars return to Ybor...
Published: 12/08/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 9

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 9

Santa and Ice Skating in St. Petersburg: Santa and his sleigh will be appearing on select nights in St. Petersburg for visits with area children. After visiting Santa, stick around for "glice" skating on a simulated ice rink. 6 p.m., North Straub Par...
Published: 12/08/17
Wild weather expected, 2 boat parades canceled

Wild weather expected, 2 boat parades canceled

Boat parades that were planned tonight in South Pasadena and St. Pete Beach have been canceled because of weather fears.Organizers said they will not be rescheduled. Heavy rain is expected to approach the gulf coast near sunset Friday ahead of a stro...
Published: 12/08/17
Top holiday events, parades, parties this weekend

Top holiday events, parades, parties this weekend

ParadesApollo Beach Lighted Boat ParadeThe Tampa Sailing Squadron hosts this event and the party afterward with a chili cook off. Good viewing available from the clubhouse and docks. Free. Tampa Sailing Squadron, 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd., Ruskin. (813...
Published: 12/08/17
Fun and profound Hanukkah celebrations around the Tampa Bay area

Fun and profound Hanukkah celebrations around the Tampa Bay area

It’s time to observe the Festival of Lights, starting at sunset Tuesday and ending Dec. 20. Many congregations seem to be having a great time, because Hanukkah celebrations this year are hilarious. There’s a menorah made of fidget spinne...
Published: 12/08/17
From Hogwarts Castle to your home, digital projectors give a real light show

From Hogwarts Castle to your home, digital projectors give a real light show

At night, Hogwarts Castle is suddenly dusted with snow in steamy Florida. It’s not really snow, but light causing this trick of the eye. Projectors and sophisticated software then send ghosts across the castle towers. A turret spins and turns i...
Published: 12/08/17
Time to shine: Embrace this holiday seasonís beauty trends

Time to shine: Embrace this holiday seasonís beauty trends

The holiday season has officially arrived, bringing all the glitz and shine of twinkling lights and tinsel. Itís also bringing festive get-togethers, and whether theyíre office parties or fancy soirees, the instinct is to look as shiny and bright as ...
Published: 12/08/17