By Tamas Mondovics

Families interested in spending the night under the stars now have a chance to do so under the direction of the Hillsborough County park rangers.

Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation officials were pleased to announce the county’s second Great American Camp-Out to be held at Edward Medard Regional Park in November.

County spokesperson, Kemly Jiménez Green, said the event proved to be successful the first time around, prompting the department to offer it again.

“Some times it is difficult for families to get away and experience camping in a safe family-friendly environment,” she said. “This is just another great way for families to enjoy our parks.”

The camp-out is now scheduled for the weekend of November 16-17, starting at 1 p.m. and ending at 9 a.m. Sunday. Families wishing to participate must have at least one child 12 years of age and or younger with the adults. No pets or alcohol allowed.

Green emphasized that the event is perfect for those who have never camped before and want to learn how to set-up a tent, cook outdoors, and learn camping skills in a family-friendly, supervised setting.

Campers can choose to participate in planned activities including crafts and outdoor games or they can simply enjoy the park on their own.

“Recommended items to bring include a blanket, bottled water, flashlight and extra batteries, insect repellent, ponchos, sleeping bags (or sheet and blankets), sleeping pad or air mattress or just a plastic sheet over old newspapers, tent (blanket and tarp), and warm clothes,” Green said.

Those wishing to get a little more fun out of the Great American Camp-Out are urged to bring binoculars, board games and cards, camera, camp chairs, football, GPS device, musical instruments and song books, or something to read.

Camping costs are $2 per vehicle up to eight people per car, which is the park entry fee. Families are asked to register by Wednesday, November 13.

The 1,281-acre Edward Medard Park, located at 6140 Turkey Creek Rd. in Plant City boasts of a 750-acre reservoir and welcomes close to 500,000 visitors annually featuring fishing, camping, swimming and picnicking. The park recently enjoyed a major $2.3 million construction embankment repair and park restoration project.

For more information, contact Mary Clements Fowler, Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, at 635-3519.


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