Renaissance Festival

Renaissance Festival Unveiled
The Bay area Renaissance Festival at MOSI, located at 11315 N. 46th St. in Tampa, will run through Sunday, April 5, everyday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., except Friday, March 13, which runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Daily admission rates at the gate are $16.95 for adults, children ages 5-12 are $8.95, senior tickets are $13.95 and ages 4 and under are free. Discount offers can be found online for each weekend. Advanced tickets are $13.95 for adults and $5.95 for kids. Sweetbay Supermarkets will have advanced tickets available after Monday, March 9. Subway will have coupons for $2 off adult/$1 off child tickets. Parking is free.
Promoters can be reached at 800-779-4910. Advanced tickets can be purchased at participating Circle Ks, Walgreen’s, at MOSI and ClicknPrint Tickets or at

Create Memories Of Your Pet
Pet photos will be coordinated by Flash & Co. at Dog Gone Holistic, located at 5620 FishHawk Crossing Blvd. in Lithia, on Friday, March 27, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Just in time for Easter, these priceless memories of your pets and children can be purchased for as little as $20 for one 8×10 photo.
Call Dog Gone Holistic at 651-0842 or visit for more information.

Got Fleas?
If your dog or cat has fleas, Alafia River Animal Hospital, located at 7017 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia, is the place to go during the month of March. It is offering a free dose of Capstar for any dog or cat with fleas. Capstar is a pill that starts to kill fleas within 30 minutes, and it lasts for 24 hours. Just drop by the office with your pet to receive the free dosage.
For more information, please call 643-1002.

Cleanup In Need Of Volunteers
About two million volunteers in 12,000 communities are expected to join forces from March – May as part of a nationwide community improvement effort during the Great American Cleanup. Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful (KHCB) coordinates the local efforts and expects about 2,000 volunteers to participate countywide during its main cleanup day on Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m.-12 Noon. KHCB is recruiting Site Captains, volunteers and local sponsors to coordinate or assist in project efforts, which include tree/flower plantings, community re-painting initiatives, anti-litter campaigns, recycling activities, and litter removal on roads, waterways and parks.
A list of locations throughout the county will be posted at For more information, call 960-5121.

Lifeguards Needed At Lithia Springs
The Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department (PRC) is accepting applications for qualified lifeguards at Lithia Springs Park, located at 3932 Lithia Springs Rd. All candidates must be at least 16 years old and have a current Red Cross life guarding certificate. Starting pay is $9 per hour and all applicants must undergo a background check.
Please contact Kevin Church at 987-6278 to apply or for additional information.

Poetry & Jazz At The Library
The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative will host Poetry & Jazz on Sunday, April 5, at 2 p.m. at the Brandon Regional Library, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. Please join the library as it celebrates National Poetry Month at the Eighth Annual Poetry & Jazz event. Poets Philip Deaver, Peter Meinke, Gianna Russo and Helen Pruitt Wallace will read some of their original works with jazz accompaniment provided by Michael Ross on upright bass and David Pate on saxophone.
For more information, call 273-3652 or visit

Call For Pet-Loving Volunteers and Owners
Hillsborough County Animal Services is looking for pet-loving residents to volunteer at its shelter. New volunteer orientation sessions – held at the Animal Services shelter located at 440 N. Falkenburg Rd. – have been scheduled for: Saturday, April 11, at 10 a.m. and Wednesday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m. Seized Havanese, Shih Tzu and standard poodle dogs are also up for adoption.
For more information, call 744-5660 or visit

Commissioners Seek Applicants
Hillsborough County Commissioners are seeking residents to serve on several county citizen advisory boards and councils. Residents interested in seeking appointment must be registered voters in Hillsborough County. These are voluntary positions, and members serve without compensation. The deadline for applying is Thursday, March 19.
An application is available in the Commissioners’ reception area on the second floor of County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa, by calling 272-5826 or at

Local GWRRA Chapter Holds Annual Road Rally
On Saturday, April 4, the Brandon Chapter FL 1B of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association will hold their 5th annual Road Rally at the F.O.P. Facility, 9001 N. Taylor Rd. in Seffner.  The Rally begins at 8 a.m. There will be a road rally, games, prizes, door prizes, good food and fellowship. You do not have to ride a Goldwing to attend. All brands are welcome. So come out and enjoy a great day

Contest Announced For Poster
Children in grades kindergarten–eighth grade are invited to participate in this year’s Fair Housing Poster Contest, now under way through Thursday, April 2. This year’s theme is Fair Housing Opens Hearts & Opens Neighborhoods. Now in its second year, the contest is an effort to help children understand fair housing and embrace diversity in their community. Prizes include trophies, gift cards and certificates. The contest is open to all public, private and parochial school students within Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Entries will be judged in three groups and on the ability to communicate the contest theme, creativeness, neatness and compliance with contest rules.
A completed Poster Contest Registration Form must accompany each entry, which can be found at All entries must be received by Thursday, April 2, at Hillsborough County Equal Opportunity, 700 Twiggs St., Ste. 830, Tampa, FL, 33602. For more information, call 272-6554.

Celebrate Literacy
A March Read-a-Thon will be held to celebrate literacy, sponsored by Chick-fil-A Lake Brandon Village, located at 11325 Causeway Blvd. in Brandon. Read an hour a day for a month, inputting your progress on a tracking sheet, and eat free Chick-fil-A – a four-nugget kid’s meal. Pick-up your tracking calendar and get a free bookmark starting in March at Chick-fil-A Lake Brandon Village or the Brandon Library.
For more information, call 655-1237.

The magical world of Dr. Seuss leaps off the page and onto the stage in Brandon Youth Theatre’s production of Seussical The Musical (in cooperation with Music Theater International) opening The Winthrop Barn in Brandon. Based on the books of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, Seussical The Musical is a collection of Seuss’ most whimsical and wonderful characters, brought to the stage by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, the award-winning creators of Broadway hits Ragtime, Once on This Island and My Favorite Year. The Winthrop Barn is located just east of the Winthrop Town Center on Bloomingdale Ave. between Providence Rd. and Kings Ave. in Brandon. Show dates are Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Volunteers Needed For Shelter Move In
On Saturday, March 28, A Kid’s Place, located at 1715 Lithia  Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico, is welcoming volunteers to help move in items to A Kid’s Place starting at 10 a.m. Make beds, hang shower curtains, arrange kitchen utensils and carry heavy boxes – it needs help with it all.
To volunteer, please email or call 728-3165.

School Tours Offered
Through Friday, May 8, Rural Home Life Spring School Tours will be held in Cracker Country. Students can spend a morning immersed in a rural Florida community of the past. By engaging in hands-on activities, they will learn about the differences and similarities between their modern lives and those of children in 1898. These spring tours are held Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Admission cost is $5 per student; one teacher/chaperone is admitted free for every 10 paid students and additional adult admission is $5 each. Reservations are required in advance to attend a tour. Parking is free for these student tours. Group visitors must enter the fairgrounds via the Orient Rd. entrance.
To make a reservation, please call 627-4225 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit, e-mail or call 627-4225.

TechPlayzone Preview
TechPlayzone, located at 13208 Boyette Rd. in Riverview, will be offering students the opportunity to create video games and Websites from Monday-Friday, April 6-10, during Spring Break. Full Day Camp is offered from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.  Half Day Camp is from 9 a.m.-12 Noon. Half Day campers are asked to bring a morning snack. Full Day campers are asked to bring lunch and two snacks. TechPlayzone will host a Spring Break and Summer Camp Preview on Saturday, March 7, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  Staffers will guide visitors through TechPlayzone’s hands-on activities. Campers can register for camp on March 7 and receive 50 percent off Spring Break and Summer Camp registration.
For more information, call 684-7329 or visit

Center Place Announcements
Center Place, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B, in Brandon, will present Johnny Appleseed on Friday, April 17, at 10:15 a.m. by Katie Adams Make Believe Theater featuring storytelling, quilting, puppetry, whirligigs, music and limberjacks in a heart-warming adaptation of the story of America’s beloved folk hero. Puppeteer and storyteller Katie Adams weaves the story of Johnny Appleseed from the early days of the United States. Tickets are $5.50 for members or $6.50 for non-members.
Hop on over to the annual Lunch with the Easter Bunny which will be held at Center Place on Saturday, March 28. Lunch will begin at 11 a.m., followed by an egg hunt. The Brandon Newcomers Club and The Gift Shop at Center Place make this event possible. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, March 6. Cost is $5.50 for members or $6.50 for nonmembers and must be purchased in advance at the Center Place office.
For more information, call 685-8888.

Center Welcomes Eighth Dan Holders
U.S. Taekwondo and Hapkido welcomes Grand Master Billy Lee Burchett, an eighth dan grand master and Gary Keller, eighth dan, on Saturday, April 4, from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. at U.S. Taekwondo, located at  401 S. Parsons Ave. in Brandon. The cost is $50, paid in advance, or $55 the day of the event. It is limited to the first 20 entries, for ages 14 and up.
For more information, call 917-6550 or 263-2732.

Auditions & Boot Camp At Brandon Ballet
Brandon Ballet will offer Ballet Boot Camp. For the beginner, Ballet Boot Camp provides an introduction to ballet and the basics to becoming a good dancer. For the experienced dancer, it will continue education and give more insight to become a better dancer. All levels will have a ballet class each day. In addition, they will learn about a specific ballet from the beginning to the end. Tuition for ages 4-5 is $100 before Friday, May 1, and $110 afterwards. Tuition for age 6 and up is $130 before Friday, May 1, and $140 afterwards. All tuition includes a $5 fee for supplies.
Brandon Ballet, located at 161 E. Bloomingdale Ave., can be contacted at 684-4282.

Scholarships Available Through GFWC
The GFWC Brandon Junior Woman’s Club recently hosted Bunco for Education, a fundraising event that allows the GFWC Brandon Junior Woman’s Club to award scholarships to high school senior girls who have volunteered in the community. In 2008, the GFWC Brandon Junior Woman’s Club awarded three $500 scholarships. Scholarship applications are available now in the high school guidance counselors’ offices. Application deadline is Wednesday, April 1.
If you have any questions, please call Donna Johnson at 244-4758.

New Jewish Mommy and Me
A new Mommy & Me for Jewish moms and tots has been launched, titled the Gan Rivkah Mommy & Me and is being dedicated in memory of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivky Holtzberg who were killed in the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. Tzippy Rubashkin, Chabad’s educational director, will lead the group Wednesday mornings from 9:30–10:45 a.m.. The group is geared for children ages 1–3, who, together with their moms, will learn about their Jewish heritage by means of crafts, games and sing alongs with a special emphasis on developing each child’s creativity. There is a fee of $7 per class or $85 for the entire session, which runs through May.
For more information, please call 657-9393 or visit

Hadassah’s Brandon Chai Announcements
Hadassah’s Brandon Chai group welcomes all to come and sell their gold. Bring your unneeded or unwanted gold on Sunday, April 5, and leave with cash. And an additional 25 percent profit goes to Hadassah, thanks to member Rhoda Goldsmith.
Call Janice at 571-2029 to make a reservation.
In January, Brandon Chai Group’s President Shelley Homelsky bestowed a special honor on members Sherry Becker and Janice Perelman for their fundraising efforts, honoring each of them with a Woman of the Year pin. Thanks to advisor Florence Barnett for attending.
To learn more about the group, visit

BCWC Breaks Out the Hats and Teapots
Brandon Christian Women’s Connection (BCWC) invites ladies to the Teapots and Hats luncheon on Monday, April 13, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. There will be a short demonstration by Joa Harpster, giving hints on brewing the best tea in the world. Wear a pretty hat and dress for a tea party, as speaker Linda Harrah from Port Richie describes how she found a new book which changed her perspective on life. Sponsored by Stonecroft Ministries, BCWC is a non-denominational group which meets at Bell Shoals Church, Special Events Room, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon. The cost is $12. Complimentary child care through age 5 is provided by reservation.
Please reserve your spot by Tuesday, April 7, contacting Bobbi at 657-8632 or e-mailing

St. Stephen Invites All to Fish Fry
Join St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico, every Friday in Lent for its fish fry and Stations of the Cross. Dinner will be served in the Multi-Purpose Room from 5-7:30 p.m. on: March 27 and April 3. There will be the option of dine-in, carry-out and drive-thru service. Dinners offered are: shrimp-$8, fish-$7, combo-$7.50 or pizza-$5. This is a great community event and all profits go toward the new church. After dinner, the parish will pray the Stations of the Cross in the church or outside each week.
For information, contact 689-4900.

Horizon Recreates Jesus’ Last Days
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 10, 11 and 12, Horizon Christian Church, located at 1720 South St. Cloud Ave. in Valrico, will present Walk the Way of the Cross – an interactive portrayal of Jesus’ last days – nightly from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Walk the Way of the Cross is a dramatic re-creation of the final days Jesus spent on the earth. Be part of the triumphal entry and watch as Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with His disciples.  You’ll feel the torment as Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemene. Become part of the crowd as Jesus makes His way where ultimately, He is crucified. Then, rejoice with the disciples as Jesus is resurrected to live forevermore. The event is free to the public.
For more information, call 689-1457 or visit

“Jewish Answers to Difficult Questions”
“Jewish Answers to Difficult Questions,” presented by Rabbi Betsy Torop, will be held on four Tuesday evenings, including March 24 and 31, at Congregation Beth Shalom, 706 Bryan Rd., Brandon. Contact the synagogue office at 681-6547 for details and reservations. Congratulations to Robert and Priscilla Brinkman for their 40 years of marriage.

Free Language Classes Offered
Brandon New Hope Church, located at 1607 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, is offering free language classes to those interested in learning Spanish or English as a second language. The Spanish class will begin in March at 6 p.m. and is being taught by Pastor Herman Sanchez, a native of Puerto Rico who has a degree in education and has taught in several Florida schools. The English as a second language class is being taught by Leeann Short, the pastor’s wife, and is offered on Tuesday evenings. The church has upgraded its Website to include weekly sermons from Pastor Bob Short. This offers a great opportunity to listen to a Biblical message, at your convenience, when you can’t make it to church. Simply go to the website (; click on the “Sermons” page and then click on one of the messages.
Call 685-6560 for more information and to register.

Church Opens Food Pantry to Community
New Berean Baptist Church, located at 740 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, welcomes residents to its food pantry and clothes closet on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. All those in need can get one bag of food and clothing.
For more information, call 643-7600 or visit

Church Posts Job Opportunities
In an effort to assist churches in reaching as many qualified possible employees as possible, St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico, has created a link on its Website that allows employers to post open positions. The link does average more than a 100 hits per month from its parishioners. The church encourages other parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg and their parishioners who own companies or are managers seeking employers to post open positions on the site.
To post a position, go to and click on the “Job Board” link at the bottom of the page. Each job posting will be reviewed and posted within 24 hours of the request. For more information, call 789-4900, ext. 306 or e-mail

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Carisa Biesecker
Carisa is a Senior News Reporter and Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer. When she's not at work, she continues to write, working on future projects; hangs out with friends and family, her best friend (aka her husband) and her four dogs.