Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Benefit Concert Will Honor Military Veterans And First Responders

The Eastern Hillsborough Community Band will perform a benefit concert on Thursday, November 2 at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Brandon, 121 Carver Ave. in Brandon, in honor of all active and veteran military servicemen and women and first responders. It is free and open to the public.

The 60 member band under the direction of Mr. Kenneth Watts will perform a variety of popular and patriotic songs.

A voluntary donation to Seeds of Hope ( to assist the Alafia River neighboring families who sustained flood damage in Hurricane Irma may be offered. Email or call the church office at 689-4597.

Theme Announced For 2018 Florida Strawberry Festival

The Florida Strawberry Festival announced today its theme for the 83rd annual event – ‘Building New Memories.’

“Yes, it points to the new entertainment venue we’ve constructed,” said President Paul Davis. “But most of all, we want our guests to know we’re in the business of continuously making new and better memories for families.”

The festival’s strawberry character featured in each year’s theme artwork is an iconic part of the event’s branding and advertising efforts. In this theme’s artwork, he wears a hard hat and safety glasses and carries a hammer and construction plans for the new entertainment venue.

“We’re so excited about our visitors having a brand new experience with our new entertainment seating and the added vendor building,” said Davis. “It is our desire for our guests to make lifelong memories with their loved ones at the Florida Strawberry Festival.”

Vendors Needed For Toy Train, Collectible, Hobby Show And Sale

Vendors are wanted for an upcoming Toy Train, Collectible and Hobby Show/Sale on Saturday, November 18 at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Rd. in Dover from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. All Vendors are welcome, any train memorabilia, trains,  accessories, baseball cards, crafts, comic books, coins, crafts, antiques, diecast cars or any other hobby or collectible related items you may be interested in selling.  Six ft. tables cost $20 each. If interested call Joe at 727-244-1341 or visit to rent a table online.

First Wheelchair Accessible Baseball Fields Will Be Constructed In County

Players with special needs will soon have a baseball field that is wheelchair accessible, safer for play and allows even more opportunities for children with special needs and mobility issues to play baseball.

Buddy Baseball is a non-competitive recreational league for boys and girls with special needs where players are paired with a buddy to assist them on the field. Since inception in 2009, the league has been playing on traditional clay and sod softball fields which can be challenging for children with mobility issues. Currently there are no synthetic rubber baseball fields in Hillsborough County for children with special needs.

Buddy Baseball, in conjunction with the City of Temple Terrace, is in the early planning stages with construction scheduled to begin in March 2018. The State of Florida and Hillsborough County will be funding the project. The fields will be located at the Temple Terrace Parks & Recreation – Family Recreation Complex.

 Current funding will be used for field construction. Buddy Baseball is seeking additional donations and sponsorships to support the growing league. All donations are a tax-deductible investment to the league. Donations can be made online at or by contacting Russ Oberbroeckling, executive director at

Buddy Baseball is a non-competitive recreational league for boys and girls ages 8 to 22 with special needs. Each player is paired with a buddy to assist on the field and in the dugout. At the start of the 17th season in September 2017, the league has grown to more than 16 teams with more than 90 different schools participating.

Bloomingdale Library Book Sale

Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, will hold a fall book sale on Saturday, November 4 from 10 a.m. -3 p.m.

The money raised directly funds the Life Story Writing classes and other Bloomingdale Writer’s Connection (BWC) programs at the library.

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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.