By Jennifer Silverstein

For the 43rd time, Novemberfest will open its gates starting on Thursday, November 8, at 4 p.m. and continue through the weekend on the church and school grounds, located at 705 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon.

Novemberfest is often touted at the third largest festival in Hillsborough County behind the Florida State Fair and the Strawberry Festival. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people come over the course of the five-day festival, which is a fundraiser for religious education at the Parrish and at the school. Novemberfest is completely volunteer-run.

Principal Julie Tipton said, “Being a new member of the community and newly appointed principal of Nativity Catholic School, I look forward to experiencing  the fun and festivities of the long standing tradition of the Novemberfest carnival.  The event is well known for its family friendly atmosphere and supports a great cause, educating our future leaders in faith and academic excellence. I invite everyone to join us and enjoy five exciting.”

But even before the festivities start taking place, a special kickoff dinner will be hosted by Formaggio’s at the Nativity Catholic Church social hall on Friday, November 2, from 5-7 p.m.

A 5K run/ one-mile walk will also take place on Saturday, November 3, starting at 8 a.m. from the parking lot of Nativity Catholic School.

According to Tina Sullivan, director of Stewardship & Advancement at Nativity Catholic School, there is always at least one new ride per year at Novemberfest. Also new this year, she said, is a barbecue kick off on Veterans Day, Monday, November 12 starting at 12 Noon. This competition will feature ten finalists and fairgoers will be able to purchase food tickets to vote for their favorite barbecue. All proceeds from this event will go to the Wounded Warrior project.

Novemberfest Idol, a singing competition now in its third year at the festival,  will take place over the entire five days of the festival, but American Idol finalist and local Valrico resident Jeremy Rosado will be hosting the Friday evening portion.

As far as food goes, Sullivan said residents can expect and “International festival of food,” with German food like bratwurst, Italian food such as Italian sausage, American favorites like hamburgers and hot dogs and traditional fair food such as fried oreos and funnel cakes.

Novemberfest will be held on Thursday, November 8, from 4-10 p.m.; Friday, November 9, from 4 p.m.-12 Midnight; Saturday, November 10, from 12 Noon-12 Midnight; Sunday, November 11, from 12 Noon-10 p.m.; and on Monday, November 12, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

For more information on Novemberfest, please visit Nativity Catholic School’s Website at, or visit the Facebook page for Novemberfest.

Volunteer opportunities are also available. Please visit to sign up.


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Jennifer is the Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer, having climbed the corporate ladder from intern in 2007. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. She lives in Channing Park with her husband, Eric, and their two dogs.