Showmen’s Association Makes Christmas A Reality For Needy Children

By Sharon Still

Many children are not able to have a Christmas filled with presents and other treats and the International Independent Showmen’s Association (IISA) of Riverview makes it possible for such children with its annual Christmas Party.

This year, more than 300 of Hillsborough County’s needy and underprivileged children have been invited to the group’s facility on Riverview Dr. on Monday, December 9 at 10 a.m. to experience a Christmas they never could have imagined.

The festivities will include music, live entertainment, drinks, cookies, fruit and other treats, along with a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Each child also will be presented with a stocking, a large bag of goodies and treats.

“The kids love the music and love to dance; they laugh, sing and dance,” commented Betty Tanner, one of the people responsible for spearheading the event.

“For many children, this is the only Christmas they have” she said. “No child goes home without a bag of toys.”

Originally started by the Mullet Heads and then taken over by the IISA of Riverview, this Christmas party has been happening for more than 20 years. This is one of the biggest events for children held at the IISA of Riverview. It is sponsored by the Charity Corporation of the IISA, donations and fundraisers.

“It is the most rewarding event,” stated Tanner. “It is wonderful to see the children have such an enjoyable time and they are always so appreciative of everything. Some even send thank you notes back.”

Established in 1966 as a nonprofit organization, the International Independent Showmen’s Association is the largest showmen’s association in the United States. The IISA donates thousands of dollars each year to charitable organizations as well as issuing scholarships to those in the outdoor amusement business industry each February.

The IISA Showmen’s Club of Riverview is located at 6915 Riverview Dr. Call 677-3590 for more information.