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GET OUT: Weekend Events Preview Nov. 30-Dec. 2

With a variety of entertainment venues in the area, there's no reason to spend the weekend at home. We've put together a list of fun things to do in the Bloomingdale-Riverview area.

There's plenty of holiday events taking place throughout the community this weekend guaranteed to put residents in the spirit of the season.

WINTERFEST

WHERE/WHEN: The Greater Brandon Community Foundation will host its annual Winterfest Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 in the field beside Winthrop Town Centre on Bloomingdale Avenue.

WHY GO: The weekend will kick off Friday, Nov. 30 from 7 to 10 p.m. with a tree-lighting ceremony, entertainment and a campfire and outdoor movies with s'mores and hot chocolate.

The event will continue Saturday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to sunset and Sunday, Dec. 2 from noon to 5 p.m. with bounce houses, hay rides, Santa's workshop, face painting, entertainment and craft vendors.

HISPANIC-AMERICAN CHRISTMAS CONCERT

WHERE/WHEN: The Cultural Diversity Ministry at St. Stephen Catholic Church invites residents to get into the spirit of the season at the Navidad en Los Americas Concert Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the church, 5049 Bell Shoals Rd., Valrico.

WHY GO: Concert-goers will experience the Hispanic customs and traditions of eight Latin American countries -- Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Honduras, Panama, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The concert will feature traditional Christmas songs in both Spanish and English sung by visiting guest artist soprano vocalist Brittany Mruczek and local artists Jose Rivera and Mariachi Guadalupeno Den San Clemente.

Tickets are $15 at the door.

MUSIC AT THE FARM

WHERE/WHEN: 2012 Music Evangelist of the Year Tommy Brandt will perform in concert at The Farm in Lithia Nov. 30. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with hamburgers and hotdogs. The music will start at 7 p.m.

WHY GO: Brandt has had 12 No. 1 songs on the charts, was named Male Vocalist of the Year four times and was named 2012 Music Evangelist of the Year. There are 350 seats at The Farm but concert-goers are urged to come early and bring their own chairs. There is no admission but donations are appreciated.

NIGHT OF SHIMMERING LIGHTS

WHERE/WHEN: The Hillsborough County Fair is hosting its second annual Night of Shimmering Lights Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 17 and then nightly up until Christmas at the fairgrounds at 4810 State Road 60 in Dover.

WHY GO: Nearly 1 million twinkling lights will decorate the fairgrounds. There will be an animated light show, a Christmas village, an outdoor holiday movie, arts and crafts vendors, pictures with Santa and fresh doughnuts. Admission is $20 per car.

ALL JAZZED UP

WHERE/WHEN: Congregation Beth Shalom of Brandon will present its annual All Jazzed Up Art Festival Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Winthrop Barn Theatre, 11349 W. Bloomingdale Ave., Riverview. A VIP reception will begin at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m.

WHY GO: The evening will feature fine art, food by Little Greek, a holiday boutique with original handcrafted items, a silent auction and entertainment by the Bloomingdale High School Jazz Band. On the patio, Guinness Book of World Records-holding cigar roller Walter Reyes will demonstrate cigar rolling. Artists' works to be featured include works by fused glass artist Virginia Spalter, watercolor artist Doreen Donovan, clay artist Alice Valazquez-Suarez and sculptor Susan O'Hara. Proceeds will benefit A Kid's Place in Brandon, a home for abused and neglected children.

SANTA TO VISIT BLOOMINGDALE

WHERE/WHEN: Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their debut appearance for the Bloomingdale Homeowners Association Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bloomingdale Special Taxing District office, 3509 Bell Shoals Rd., Valrico, behind SunTrust Bank.

WHY GO: Children throughout the community are invited to meet the jolly old couple and share their Christmas wish lists. Each child will receive a complimentary digital photo with Santa. The event is free but those attending are asked to bring a nonperishable food donation for area food banks.

BOOKENDS BOOK SALE

WHERE/WHEN: Book lovers seeking bargains to give as holiday gifts or to keep and read themselves will finds hundreds of titles at the annual Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library Book Sale Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The book sale will take place the McLean Community Room at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico.

WHY GO: For the past few months, the Friends have been setting aside choice selections donated to the Bookends bookstore located off the library's lobby for this year's sale. Offerings on Saturday will include Christmas books, coffee table books, cookbooks, large-print books, children's books, DVDs and CDs and barely read hardback best sellers.

DOG GONE HEALTHY PET FEST

WHERE/WHEN: Dog Gone Holistic, 5620 Fishhawk Crossing Blvd., Lithia, will host its fifth annual Dog Gone Healthy Pet Fest Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot in front of the store and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. inside the store.

WHY GO: Several tents in the parking lot will feature pet products, holistic dog food companies, local pet businesses and gift basket raffles to support pet charities. Smokey Bones of Brandon and Kona Ice will sell food and drinks and music will be provided by Pure Power Productions. Inside the store, Dog Gone Holistic will off 15 percent off all items. Pets are welcome to attend but must be on a leash.

CRAFT BAZAAR

WHERE/WHEN: Brandon Christian Church, 910 S. Bryan Rd., Brandon, will host its fifth annual Craft Bazaar Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHY GO: There will be a variety of local crafters and vendors selling items for holiday gift giving.

NO FUSS FOODS

WHERE/WHEN: The Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, will present "No Fuss Foods: Mediterranean Flavors" Friday, Nov. 30 at 10:30 a.m. 

WHY GO: Join Rowena Sjovall of No Fuss Foods as she demonstrates how to make easy Mediterranean dishes. Free samples will be available for participants to taste. Shellfish or seafood may be used in these recipes. Participants must register in advance at the Ask Me Kiosk or by calling 813-273-3652. There is a limit of 10 participants.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

WHERE/WHEN: The Village Players will present the holiday production of Miracle on 34th Street Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7-8 and 14-15. Curtain time is 8:15 p.m. A matinee show is Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.

WHY GO: The show, directed by Gail Pierce, features Kris Kringle, a white-bearded, older man from a retirement home who gets a job working as Santa at Macy's in New York City. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for students, senior citizens and military.

FESTIVAL OF THE NATIVITY

WHERE/WHEN: Come celebrate the season and the birth of our Savior with a Festival of the Nativity, a free community event hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4806 Bell Shoals Rd., Valrico, Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m.

WHY GO: Visitors can enjoy a display of nativities from around the world, a live nativity, musical performances of seasonal songs, family and children photos, crafts and refreshments.

PEDAL FOR A CURE

WHERE/WHEN: On Saturday, Dec. 1, Revolution Cycle & Fitness, 524 Oakfield Dr., Brandon, will host its first “Pedal for a Cure” to raise funds for the ALS Association Florida Chapter. The event is dedicated to Belinda Poole, a 38-year-old mother of two young boys who has ALS. The indoor ride will run from 10 a.m. to noon.

WHY GO: The registration fee is one hour for $20 or two hours for $40. Proceeds raised will support patient care and comfort, as well as research for treatments and a cure for ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease that progressively paralyzes its victims, attacking nerve cells and pathways in the brain or spinal cord.

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HOLIDAY SHOPPING AND WELLNESS DAY

WHERE/WHEN: Uncle Mike's Smokehouse Grill and Harley Davidson of Brandon, 9847 E. Adamo Dr., Tampa, will host a Holiday Shopping and Wellness Day Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHY GO: The event will benefit A Kid's Place in Brandon and Toys for Tots. The day will include live music, shopping, food, wellness experts and door prizes.

HOLIDAY MARKET

WHERE/WHEN: Lucky Day Emporium, 3322b Lithia-Pinecrest Rd., Valrico, will host its annual holiday sale and craft market Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHY GO: The event will feature local artisans selling handmade treasures, small gifts and holiday decor, markdowns in the store and Back in the Day's famous hot cocoa and peppermint marshmallows.

HOLIDAY BRUNCH WITH SANTA

WHERE/WHEN: FishHawk Ranch will present a Holiday Brunch With Santa for FishHawk residents Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Palmetto Club, 17004 Dorman Rd., Lithia.

WHY GO: The event will include a catered breakfast by Puff 'n Stuff and a visit with Santa. Tickets are $15 per adult and $7 per child under 12. Those under 2 are admitted for free.

CHRISTMAS LANE

WHERE/WHEN: The Lane family once again will present its annual Christmas Lane light and decorations exhibit starting Dec. 1 and running through Dec. 28 from 6 to 10 p.m. at 2091 Wooten Rd., Dover.

WHY GO: Visitors are invited to stroll through the 1 1/2-acre winter wonderland that includes Santa from 6 to 8 p.m., a kids' train ride, a manger scene and other holiday scenese, a nightly musical, hot chocolate, coffee and ice-cold drinks, freshly popped popcorn and cotton candy.

ALAFIA LIGHTED BOAT PARADE

WHERE/WHEN: The FishHawk-Riverview Rotary Club will at the International Independent Showmen's Association, 6915 Riverview Dr., Riverview.

WHY GO: The free event includes photos with Santa, kid's activities, entertainment, food and beverages for purchase, a silent auction, door prizes and a chili cook-off as well as a chance to see lighted boats parade up and down the Alafia River.

HOLIDAY HOME TOUR

WHERE/WHEN: For the 20th year, residents will open their holiday-decorated homes to the community as the Brandon Service League hosts its annual Holiday Home Tour Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHY GO: The tour will feature four decorated homes as well as a gourmet bake sale, several opportunity baskets and refreshments. Tickets for the Holiday Home Tour are $15 each and are available from any BSL member or at several area businesses including: The Green Boutique, Sumatra Café, Greg’s Hallmark and Attorney B. Lee Elam’s office.

SUMMERFIELD HOLIDAY MARKET

WHERE/WHEN: The Summerfield Social Committee's fourth annual Holiday Craft Fair will take place Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the community center gymnasium, 13011 Summerfield Blvd., Riverview.

WHY GO: The event will include 40 artisans and vendors. Those attending are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy for a chance to win a basket. The bake sale proceeds and toys will be donated to the Deputy Darling Foundation.

HOLIDAY TEA

WHERE/WHEN: Center Place, 619 Vonderburg Dr., Brandon, will host its second annual Holiday Tea Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2 to 4 p.m.

WHY GO: Ladies are invited to don their best hats and holiday attire and enjoy Sugar Plum Fairy scones and holiday teas provided by The Tea Cup Tea Room. There also will be chicken salad croissants by Chick-fil-A of Lake Brandon Village, tea sandwiches and assorted specialty desserts by Jute's Box. Holiday entertainment will be provided by the Flexible Four Barbershop Quartet. The event also will include a Silent Night Auction. Prizes will be give for the best hat and best table.

FISHHAWK FARMER'S MARKET

WHERE/WHEN: The monthly FishHawk Farmer's Market will take place Sunday, Dec. 2 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Park Square.

WHY GO: The market features homemade foods, fresh produce and fish, crafts and other items.

COOKSON HILLS TOY RUN

WHERE/WHEN: The 19th Cookson Hills Toy Run benefiting children in need, special-needs residents, seniors and veterans will take place Sunday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park off U.S. 301.

WHY GO: There will be an auction from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. as well as ticket sales for raffles, prizes and 50/50 drawings. The ride will leave the park at 1 p.m. and head to Evans Park, 1104 Kingsway Rd., Seffner. At the park, there will be a barbecue, Santa and Mrs. Claus, cotton candy, funnel cakes and sleigh rides with the Samoyed Dog Club. A drawing will take place at 4 p.m.

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