By Carisa Biesecker
It’s time to ring in another spring season with the eighth annual St. Stephen Catholic Church’s Spring Jubilee. The four-day event, which attracted more than 40,000 residents last year offers something for everyone from festival rides to a chili cook off.
The festival will take place at 10428 St. Stephen Cir. in Riverview, one-fourth of a mile west of the corner of Bell Shoals and Boyette roads, the Spring Jubilee will span four days: Thursday, April 16, from 4-10 p.m., Friday, April 17, from 4-11 p.m., Saturday, April 18, from 12 Noon-11 p.m. and Sunday, April 19, from 12 Noon-8 p.m.
All residents are welcome at the free-admission festival which will offer 30 rides, made possible by Arnold Amusements; a raffle featuring tickets for events, local companies’ self-created gift baskets and gift certificates and cash drawings; concerts; dance and karate presentations; a motorcycle event; food and beverages and much more, enabling a night out for the whole family. On Saturday, residents can purchase an all-day ride armband for $32. The remaining three days will allow for five midway ride sessions at $20 a piece. Residents can also buy tickets per ride, food, beverage or raffle.
Sunday’s itinerary includes the Krewe of Alafia Norsemen-sponsored chili cook-off, judged by St. Petersburg Times columnist Ernest Hooper.
“Despite concerns of the economy, we feel this year’s festival will continue to draw large crowds,” comments Marketing and Media Director Deb Heine, who mentions that the last seven years of operation amassed a whopping $50,000 in donations towards charitable organizations and efforts such as Brandon Outreach, All Children’s Hospital, Brandon Care Pregnancy Center, Project Cure and various food distribution centers.
Sparked from the mind of Father Pat Irwin, the Spring Jubilee was first conceptualized as an accompaniment to Nativity Catholic Church’s Novemberfest and “originally established to create fellowship among our members and to expand the event throughout the surrounding community,” says Heine.
The event has grown tremendously over the years, made possible through the sponsorships of public entities as well as St. Stephen Catholic Church itself, a church established in 1987, today encompassing a parish of some 4,000 members. This year’s sponsors include St. Petersburg Times, Brandon Crossroads Bowling, The Alley at SouthShore, Cornerstone Medical, Dacey Dewatering, DeCort Law Offices and Family Medical Care of Riverview, with more needed. Also, those residents willing to donate their time are encouraged to come out and take part in the event which encapsulates over 5,000 volunteer hours, according to Heine.
She leaves residents with this tidbit: “Spring Jubilee continues to be an affordable local community event. Spend time with family and friends in a safe neighborhood atmosphere while listening to local talent and enjoying a variety of specialty and favorite foods under the tent. There is something for everyone.”
For more information, visit www.springjubilee.com or call 689-4900, ext. 311. St. Stephen Catholic Church is located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico.