Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Christmas In The Country At Cracker Country

Bring the family for a great day experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of an old fashioned country Christmas. On Saturday, December 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., learn how the holiday traditions of the 19th century differ from those of the 21st through hands-on historical interpretations, carols, traditional decorations and more.

Cracker Country is Tampa’s only living history museum and is located on the Florida State Fairgrounds. It was founded with the purpose of preserving Florida’s rural heritage in 1978 by Mildred W. & Doyle E. Carlton, Jr. The museum holds a collection of 13 original buildings dating from 1870-1912 which were relocated from across the state of Florida. Our buildings range from public buildings like our Terry Store and Okahumpka Train Depot, to private buildings like our Carlton and Smith homes. Today, the historically furnished buildings recreate the lifestyles of the past, and costumed interpreters portray daily living as Florida pioneers.

The Fairgrounds are located at 4800 Hwy. 301 N. in Tampa. The cost is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and children (6-12), children 5 years old and younger will be admitted free. Parking costs $6 per vehicle (cash only). Enter the fairgrounds via MLK and park near Gate 2 (Cracker Country entrance). Visit

Vanish Point Slides Into Adventure Island In 2018

Guests are in for the slide of their lives when Adventure Island® Tampa Bay’s new epic drop slide, Vanish Point®, opens in March 2018.
Inspired by the point on a wave where water and gravity form a perfect partnership, the crest of this 70-ft. tower challenges you with two 425 ft. wave paths. Step into one of two skyboxes, and face your fears as the floor disappears beneath you. Or, get horizontal on a 455-ft. long slide ending with a high speed finale. 
Vanish Point will be located at the center of the park next to another family-favorite thrill slide, Colossal Curl™.
Visit for more information. Follow the Adventure Island Facebook page and join the conversation with #VowToVanish @AdventureIsland on Twitter. 

Jamey Moody To Run For Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge

Plant City native James ‘Jamey’ Moody III has filed to run for Circuit Judge, serving Hillsborough County.

Moody, a local attorney and Florida native, graduated from Plant City High School and is the son of longtime Federal Judge James S. Moody, Jr. He received his degrees from the University of Florida, and worked in the finance sector prior to receiving his Juris Doctor. He was selected to Super Lawyers Rising Stars (2011-2014), is a member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and the Plant City Bar Association, where he served as President from 2006-2008.  He is admitted to practice in the State Courts of Florida, and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Jamey is a volunteer attorney with Bay Area Legal Services, Rotary member, Federalist Society and Florida Justice Association member, committee member of the Planning Board of Plant City, and former board member of AMI Kids Tampa.  He is committed to serving the 13th Judicial Circuit honorably and will work tirelessly to uphold the Constitution of the United States, as well as the Florida Constitution. 

Jamey Moody is a devoted husband and father, who understands the needs and challenges our community faces.  Jamey will serve the residents of Hillsborough County with the highest integrity, discipline, and dedication.

Local Civil Air Patrol Group Participates In Wreaths Across America

On December 16, Local Civil Air Patrol cadets along with others unload semi trucks loaded full of donated wreaths and actually place each of these wreaths individually on graves. Wreaths cost $15 each and will go to a worthy cause. You can purchase multiples and corporate packages are also available. The donation is tax deductible.

If you would like to place an order online, visit You can ask for a specific person to receive a wreath if you have a veteran in your life laid to rest at a National Cemetery. There are also options to request wreaths in “honor of” a Veteran still living or in “memory of” a veteran that has passed away, or just purchase wreaths with no special indications.

Locally, Paula Drennan’s son is in the Civil Air Patrol Group and will be glad to pick up your monetary donation. Call her at 421-0526 if you would like to donate or have any questions.

You are also welcome to help with the wreath distribution at any local National Cemeteries. The closest is the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.

Master Gardener Class On Organic Vegetable Gardening

Gardener Brad Ward will hold a Master Gardener Clinic on Organic Vegetable Gardening on Wednesday, December 6 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Bloomingdale Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. 

The clinic will inform how to successfully grow vegetables organically and to learn which varieties of vegetables do best in central Florida and when to start those seeds. 

It is sponsored by the Hillsborough County Master Gardner Program of the Hillsborough County Extension, University of Florida, IFAS Extension.

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.